Let’s face it — we live in an increasingly personalized world. There are digital locations where everything we click on causes subsequent pages to become tailored to our needs. In fact, purchasing decisions are driven by what that website’s algorithm calculates a visitor will like based on his navigation.
So what can manufacturing companies do to get in on this personalization trend? Technology makes it easier than ever to serve visitors’ best interests, getting them the information they need to make an important buying decision.
Ready? Start by thinking from the perspective of your buyers. They have limited time and want to cut through irrelevant information to get to what matters most to them. According to the 2015 Consumer Research study by Janrain, 96 percent of U.S. consumers say they are mistargeted by marketing messages, which results in 93 percent of them taking action that hurts the brand’s ability to reach them. Personalization can help avoid this problem and connect customers to the products and services they need most.
Here are five ways manufacturing companies can get started personalizing their websites.
Make each visit to your website unique.
Imagine Tammy is a design engineer scoping out new options for an upcoming project. She visits your website, reads some content but isn’t quite ready to commit. She returns to your site a few days later, but nothing new catches her eye. So she leaves the site, only to be swept off her feet by a competitor’s newsletter. You’ve lost the sale because you had nothing new to offer Tammy.
To draw buyers like Tammy to your site and keep them coming back for more, you need to prove your value on each return visit.
This is what it looks like the first time you visit futurist Mike Walsh’s website:
When returning to the Mike Walsh website, the call to action changes once the podcast has been downloaded:
A dynamic Web experience means modifying content, messaging and offers displayed to visitors based on set criteria. Because buyers only care about their individual needs, your website needs to reflect that — every time and for everyone.
Tailor it for your buyer personas.
According to Forrester Research, nearly two-thirds of B2B marketers said engaging key decision makers was their top challenge. Every company has core buyers and decision makers, and your website should be geared toward those personas. The key is to understand what each persona needs most and how your company can meet their needs. Don’t generalize — the needs of a design engineer are different from those of a procurement manager. Get into their mindset and provide them the information most relevant to each role.
For example, a design engineer may be more impressed with your company’s certifications while a procurement manager may be most interested in the value of your product for the price you offer.
Create content specific to your buyers’ lifecycles.
Each step in the buyer’s journey should include personalization. Show different headline messaging and different content depending on what stage the buyer is in.
For a visitor, show a video that gives an overview of your company and what it has to offer so the visitor has a general idea of who you are and what you do.
Once that visitor has expressed interest in your company and converted into a lead, appropriate content includes sample project information that shows the scope of projects you’ve completed in the past and the parts you manufacture for clients. Think of this as your showcase.
When returning to your website as a customer, welcome them back and offer other ways your services can complement the work you have already done for them.
Tailor it to your buyers’ devices.
Seventy-seven percent of senior executives use a mobile device to research a product or service for their business, according to a 2014 study by IDG. With many manufacturers visiting their teams out in the field, they may only have time to look up your information on their phone between meetings. So personalization should go beyond the desktop to also accommodate mobile users.
With mobile usage on the uptick, it is important to customize mobile experiences depending on the device a visitor is using. In fact, according to a report by Google, 40 percent of users will go to a competitor’s website after a bad mobile experience.
To avoid losing business this way, make sure your Web design is conducive to multiple platforms. You never know if your next client will find you on their desktop or their smartphone.
Determine buyers’ next steps by using their behavioral information.
Once a user has visited your website, you can get an idea of their needs based on what pages they viewed. This gives you insight into what to offer them next.
One company that does this well is none other than Amazon. The online retail giant follows your activity through its website and then offers you suggestions based on items you’ve viewed.
The possibilities for products on Amazon are endless — thankfully, there’s personalization. Without it, users would spend hours browsing for items they need, but Amazon does that legwork for them.
The Bottom Line
B2C websites like Amazon, Netflix and Pandora are experts at personalization; your manufacturing company can follow their lead and reach customers in much the same way. Giving your customers a personalized experience — taking into account who they are, the device they are using, their stage in the buyer’s journey and where they went on your website — will be more efficient to your customer and make their transition from visitor to delighted customer a seamless process. Saving your customer time will put you leaps and bounds above the competition.
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