In a blog post I wrote at the end of last year, I explained how to prioritize your personalization campaign ideas so you can achieve the quickest time to value. This is a good approach to ensure your efforts deliver an ROI, but you’ll also want to think more broadly about the buyer’s journey at the same time. If all of your campaigns are at the top of the funnel, even if they are effective campaigns that deliver value and drive people to the middle of the funnel, all your hard work is for nothing if you don’t also drive people from the middle to the bottom of the funnel.
You want to ensure that you deliver a relevant and engaging experience at all stages of the funnel so that no matter which stage a prospect falls into, he or she will find material that helps them reach their ultimate purchase decision.
In this blog post, I’ll describe a fun framework for helping ensure you have the right mix of campaigns to cover the whole buyer’s journey.
The Bingo Card Approach
Think of the prospect journey as a bingo card: the columns (letters) are the key stages in the journey, while the numbers are the plays or use cases that you can take from your prioritization matrix. Thinking about the journey as a bingo card is fun, and it reflects the fact that you are working to check off each of the plays and that the journey is not always sequential.
By the way, here’s what a bingo card looks like (in the US, that is, although the analogy is equally applicable to UK bingo cards).
At the most basic level, we might classify the key stages of the journey as “Top of Funnel,” “Middle of Funnel” and “Bottom of Funnel.” Within each stage, we have goals that we are trying to meet. At the top of the funnel, you might be trying to reduce bounce rates or increase engagement with blog content. In the middle of the funnel, you likely want to encourage visitors to sign up for your emails or download a piece of content. And at the bottom of funnel, you probably want to get visitors to request a demo or start free trial.
By understanding your goals of each stage, you can select campaigns that will meet that goal and drive people to the next stage of the funnel.
Personalization campaigns can be targeted either to segments (visitors in a specific industry, interested in a certain topic, or who came in through a certain ad campaign, etc.) or to individuals using individualized, machine-learning-based recommendations. Ideally, a personalized experience isn’t very obvious. Instead, you want to guide visitors to the next stage of the journey in a way that feels natural. Any messages they see should make them feel comfortable and reassure them that they are making the right decisions.
At the beginning of the funnel, you may want to talk to the visitor based on the industry she is in. As she lands on the site and begins her journey, you can show her images and copy that relate to her industry. For example, if she works in technology, she could see a hero image with racks and servers. If she is from a medical or biotech organization, the same hero area might show a doctor with patients. These are very subtle changes, but they let the visitor know that your site understands them, and this encourages them to continue their research.
In the middle of the funnel, you can track the pages and content she has consumed on your site to present her with a relevant case study. She has a much higher chance of reading the case when it is aligned with her interests and presented at the right stage in her journey.
Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, you could present her with a message to get a demo or get in touch with the appropriate salesperson when her actions indicate she’s ready to take the next step.
As you’re planning your bingo card, think about the needs visitors typically have at each stage of the funnel, and plan campaigns around how and when to address those needs with personalized content.
You’ll also want to add a few abandonment campaigns to your bingo card. These campaigns encourage people to rethink the decision to leave your site or a key page and drive them to the next stage of the funnel in the moment. These are much less subtle than your other personalization campaigns, but they act as a last-ditch effort to re-engage a visitor.
For example, you may deliver an exit intent message on the first page a person visits if it looks like he is going to bounce from the site before viewing another page. This can be done by tracking their mouse movement. If you can get just a small percentage of the people who are about to leave your site to engage with another piece of content, then you are widening the funnel.
At the other end of the journey, you can leverage a form abandonment campaign. If someone is in the process of filling out a form, but he goes to another page, hesitates, or starts to exit the process, you can present him with a message highlighting the benefits of completing the form (e.g. to get a demo or a free trial). If you can get 10% of those people to reconsider and complete the form, you’ll drive many more conversions.
Of course, the more personal you can make each of these “last-ditch effort” campaigns, the more likely they are to make an impact on the viewer. For example, if a first-time visitor came in through an ad campaign around a specific topic, your exit message can recommend content in that topic. Or, your form abandonment campaign can highlight the benefits of your solution to that visitor’s industry or area of focus.
With all of these campaign ideas, your bingo card may look something like this:
My advice to B2B marketers pursuing a personalization initiative is to keep evolving.
Once you have launched one campaign for each of the stages of the buyer’s journey, go for a second or third — just like filling up a bingo card! But unlike bingo, you don’t have a limited number of squares. You can add as many squares to the card as you’d like, continually finding ways to enhance the experience and increase visitor engagement and conversions.
Also, be sure to iterate on your successful campaigns. Analyze which prospects are responding well to a campaign and which are not. Further segment your audience and change the messaging for the those who don’t respond to find something that will resonate with them. With the bases covered, you can take the time to optimize and continuously improve your prospects’ experiences…and shout “BINGO” each time one converts!