5 Ways to Win with Web Personalization

Here’s a public service announcement for all of my fellow marketers: you should crave web personalization. It can sharpen the tools in your belt and help you attract the exact audience that you want. This not-so-secret weapon is essentially a web-based engagement application that empowers you to create real-time, personalized interactions with your audience. And this meaningful experience is something that your web visitors have now come to expect—speaking directly to their buying habits and guiding them in a purchasing direction they’re confident in.

Web personalization is gaining a lot of traction among marketers and for good reason. It’s simple to use and can target individuals through personalized communications across synchronized channels—email, the web, ads, and more. And another great reason to buy in for all of you self-sufficient marketers? It doesn’t take a web team to implement. With the right solution, it’s actually pretty easy to set up and there are a few provided templates to help you get you started. From there, the sky is the limit because you can clone templates, create customized templates, build web campaigns, and publish to the web in just minutes.

In my experience as an ‎Enterprise Business Consultant, I’ve seen many customers adopt the tool quickly and create outstanding personalized website campaigns that extend to their other channels. If all the reasons above aren’t compelling enough, let’s take a look at five web personalization use cases that will take your marketing to the next level:

1. Location, Location, Location

Ever wish you could show your website visitors content and offers based on their specific location? Well, now you can. With web personalization, a visitor will see specific offers, content, and options tailored to where they are located.

Let’s say your visitor is from California. You can use web personalization to create a different experience for them than a visitor from Florida visiting the same web page and at the same time. For example, you can promote upcoming events that are in Northern and Southern California, and if there are no upcoming events in the area, then that visitor would see a default web page.

If events aren’t your cup of tea, don’t fret. Web personalization can be used for solution and product-based marketing, too. Take, for example, an online retail store. Depending on your visitor’s address, you could promote free shipping to specific locations, while others will have regular shipping rates applied. Or depending on the weather of the geographic regions your visitors are located in, you could promote different items on the homepage banner.

A tip for geo-location web personalization: ensure you have clean data. Inferred country or IP address can be used, but is not always accurate. Your database or CRM should be the source of truth and be subject to strict hygiene. Without it, you’re at risk of delivering a poor user experience—just imagine showing a free shipping offer to a website visitor that can’t be honored.

2. Put on Your Vertical Lenses

The marketing landscape can seem vast, even daunting, and look like a mash-up of known and anonymous records if you don’t section them into different segments. For some B2B companies, vertical marketing is their bread and butter. By putting on ‘vertical’s lenses,’ per se, you can prioritize your most active markets and target your prospects and customers with precision focus (same logic applies to consumer brands looking to target specific demographics). Many companies have already turned to vertical marketing on their websites to deliver relevant messages that not only nurture and educate visitors, but also generate more leads and conversions.

When a visitor interacts with personalized web content based on their vertical (e.g. education, IT, hospitality, or healthcare), it’s like a kid in a candy store. Suddenly, almost everything looks more appetizing. In fact, 82% of visitors find content made for their specific industries more valuable, according to Marketing Sherpa. While the following examples may seem a little obvious, they demonstrate some key ways that leading companies are personalizing their content to specific industries. If you’re targeting prospects from wealth management, you could serve content that educates them on how to grow their assets under management (AUM). On the other hand, for visitors from a higher education institution, you could display web content about educational reforms that provides insight into how it will impact them.

3. Account-Based Marketing is the New Black

It’s said that everything comes back around, and although it’s not a new marketing concept, account-based marketing (ABM) has recently picked up speed and popularity. ABM is a marketing initiative that focuses efforts on the accounts that are most likely to generate revenue or have other strategic importance. It can also be a compelling marketing initiative that you can support with web personalization.

Your top tier accounts will most likely start and continue their buyer’s journey on your website. In fact, 70% of buyers have indicated that a vendor’s website was the most influential channel in making a purchase decision, according to a DemandGen report. So, it’s important that you enhance their web experience with personalization. For example, if your target accounts and key prospects are enterprise organizations with high revenues and employee size, you could display case studies and logos of your existing enterprise customers. This can show your target accounts that you’re familiar with their business needs and are well suited to help them.

4. Good Behavior Pays Off

Often, actions speak louder than words, and this couldn’t be truer for web personalization because what a visitor does on your website reveals a lot about their buying behavior. With web personalization, you can display personalized content based on a visitor’s digital behavior. And from that, you’re more able to listen to, understand, and leverage their digital behavior as an indicator of the next message or offer that would be most appropriate.

Although web behavior can become more advanced start by understanding how long a visitor stayed on a page, how often they returned during a period of time, and how this can relate to what they purchased. Let’s define some of the important activities to track—we’ll just stick to the basics for now:

  • Web page visits: You can learn a lot about your visitors based on the web pages they visit. Frequently visited web pages can indicate where you can add web personalization based on the type of prospects that are visiting the page. You can also advertise special offers to returning visitors to reward their loyalty.
  • Link clicks on a web page: Links on your website could be considered calls-to-action. They can be used as a stepping stone to guide visitors down a strategic buying path—each link building on the previous. For example, the first link could be to download a piece of content, the next could be a pricing page, and the last could be a ‘chat now’ link to connect the visitor with a customer services representative or salesperson.
  • Form fills on a web page: If a visitor fills out a particular form, you can match the content they download with what they’re interacting with on your website. For instance, if they download an infographic about event planning, then the follow-up pages and following forms could be focused on events as well.

5. Personalized Ad Remarketing

Have you ever seen an ad that made you feel like you’re being appreciated by your favorite companies online? If so, they’re probably using some type of web personalization to promote what’s important to you, based on who you are, and activities you’ve done in the past. Your customers are unique individuals, and that uniqueness can be used to create an unparalleled customer experience through web personalization. It comes down to knowing your target audience’s demographics: the verticals they work within, their job titles, their companies, their interests, etc.

You can keep your brand top-of-mind by displaying personalized ads across your different channels. For example, you can display an advertisement just for prospects with the job title “CEO,” whereas everyone else would just see a standard ad. Taking it to a whole other level, you can target specific audiences with relevant ads based on their industry. For example, on the Marketo site, an enterprise visitor might notice different headlines and sidebar ads than a different visitor, such as our Enterprise Marketing Playbook Series: Lead Generation Metrics, while the standard ad is for a Marketo demo. These personalized ads have generated twice as many prospects compared to our standard campaigns, and you can experience similar gains by using it in your own marketing strategy.

Your potential customers and customers want to feel like individuals, not like a record to your growing database. While these use cases are compelling, it’s important to remember that web personalization is strategic. Like any marketing campaign, you should have a goal in mind before you begin. Whether that’s to grow your top accounts through ABM or target specific verticals, it’s important that you establish your goals for web personalization. Then, do pulse checks often and report on how your efforts are paying off.

The sky is the limit with web personalization for marketers to speak to their audience, not at them. Are you currently using web personalization in your cross-channel marketing strategy? Share your favorite use cases in the comments below!