The next phase in web design is here: Using web personalization to create a unique experience for each user to best serve the content, resources and solutions specific to them. The goal of personalization is that with proper use, conversion rates will increase while also converting leads that are more targeted and valuable for sales.
Just like your Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds, which are optimized to personalize what you see from your friends, pages you like, and even ads, web personalization is the instant customization view of a website’s layout and interface to better suit each specific user.
How Website Personalization Works
Data provides insight based on behavior, interests, demographics and firmographics of the visitors to your site. The website design is structured to use that data to personalize what is shown to the visitor based on segmentation criteria using dynamic content.
Dynamic content enables web personalization by changing the wording, images and offerings in email marketing, website landing pages, call to actions (CTAs), and even product recommendations to speak to the known information about the visitor instead of a generic website experience.
This could be anything from recommending additional products related to what a user is purchasing (which Amazon does quite well), background images specific to their industry, form layouts, changing gender pronouns, incorporating their company name, and offers based on any of the following items:
- Industry:Focus on your targeted industry verticals, and use personalization combined with A/B testing.
- Geographic Location:As broad as countries, all the way to cities for a more local personalization.
- Existing Customers:Whether it is to enhance their usage of your services or products, or to encourage an upgrade from a legacy system or plan.
- Named Accounts:Group your current and prospective customers into targeted account lists for cleaner segmentation.
- Returning, Engaged Visitors:If they've been engaged with your digital property, create groups for blog engagement, overall website, resources or traffic source.
Ahead, I look at a few reasons why every website should offer a personalized experience and how this will lead to better leads.
5 Reasons Personalized Web Designs Generate Higher Quality B2B Leads
1. Personalized Web Designs Facilitate Both Conversion and Engagement
This reason should be used to compare to a standard conversion-focused homepage or site page.
If a user lands on a standard B2B website with no personalization, they will have to spend more time and energy trying to find what they are looking for. According to Moz, the more time a user a spends looking for an answer to their problem on a site, the less likely they will end up converting, as they click the back button to go back to their original search results.
Here is an example from Legal Zoom that allows the user to easily pick up on finishing an LLC set up:
2. Increase the Quality of Leads
The more tailored your approach online, the more “primed” your customers are going to be when they reach the negotiation or conversion point in your sales funnel.
Personalized content can help reduce confusion, speed up sales cycle times of qualified leads if they know what they are looking for, and give sales and marketing teams more clarity on exactly what potential and returning customers are interested in.
Getting fewer leads that are higher quality targeted leads can help maximize the impact of marketing spend and reduce problems further down the sales funnel, like a lower conversion rate or spending time on unqualified leads that aren’t a good fit for the business or the customer.
For example, Quickbase focuses on the buyer journey.
When I'm not an email subscriber, they push email subscriptions:
After I become an email subscriber, they offer support:
3. More Clear Conversion Paths for Visitors
By offering users concrete, specific actions related to your offerings, you are able to both gain more insight into what they want while also providing them with the exact information and products that they are looking for. Web personalization and dynamic content can be constantly A/B tested, so you can experiment with what aspects of personalization bring in more targeted leads and a higher conversion rate.
Sometimes, the personalized approach will lead to unqualified leads becoming conversions before it’s determined that they are a good fit for a business’ products and services.
For example, signing up for a free ebook on cloud storage solutions might seem like a win for a cloud storage solution provider, but if that conversion is just a user who wants to learn more about what cloud storage is (with no intention to buy any services from a business perspective), that conversion is meaningless in terms of net value to the business.
Here is an example from one of our clients, 5x Technology, that personalizes both the form and the message to IT Professionals, a key target audience:
4. Decrease Bounce Rate, Increase Page Views and Time-on-Site (plus other success metrics)
According to a study posted on VentureBeat, many companies look to web personalization and dynamic content to drive metrics like more return visits, conversions, time on site, and page views. When you are giving your customers exactly what they are looking for, these metrics will increase.
For example, if an email campaign went out promoting a sale on commercial air conditioning units, if users clicked on the link to find out more information, it would be useless to simply send them to the business’ home page. A more personalized approach would be to point them to the exact product page or a landing page of the models that are on sale.
If available, the website could also use cache to bring up the customer’s account (if they are still signed in on the browser) and suggest available on sale air conditioning units that match what they’ve purchased or indicated interest in in the past.
By reducing the clicks and roadblocks to buying (such as time spent searching for the sale or more information), you are removing the user’s reasons for not taking advantage of what you have to offer.
Here is a great example from Citrix that focused on the industry of the visitor.
If the visitor was in the financial industry, the home page made it quick and easy for the financial visitor to get to solutions:
For those in the healthcare industry, Citrix presented solutions for that targeted audience, including a unique image:
5. Drive Your Visitor's Sales Decisions
For many B2B companies, the sales cycle can be long, from weeks to months, or even years. By customizing to the lead or prospects’ stage of the buying cycle and the persona's buyer's journey, websites are better able to offer them the right information that they are looking for at that stage in the process.
For instance, a user who just downloaded a free white paper is at a different point in the sales cycle than someone who just got off a one-hour online consultation with a salesperson. The messaging a prospect or user receives after each of those points needs to be completely different.
A more personalized experience has so many possibilities to make the internet easier to use for prospects and existing leads. However, when you are utilizing web personalization and dynamic text to provide a more catered experience to your users, it is possible to overdo it.
Don’t over-optimize the user’s experience so they don’t see other available products that they may be interested in, and embrace A/B testing to constantly measure the effectiveness of your efforts to determine what is best for your audience.
Mindflash provides a great example of messaging focused on the buyer journey. For instance, using the visitor's referral source, Mindflash offers relevant resource content up front. This not only saves time in finding the resource, it provides the right resource for the stage of the journey.
We see a lot of examples of top of the funnel personalization, but for those in the middle of the funnel, providing the right information to keep them moving them through the journey is vital. Mindflash incorporates personalization into their free trial experience to convert trial users to customers.
Rather than waiting until the free trial ends to simply get feedback or to sell the user, their app offers suggestions to learn more based on their use of the free trial. Here's an example:
When it comes down to it, focusing on a more personalized approach in your B2B web design not only means a better user experience, it elevates how you move your visitors through the buyer journey for your products or services. Speaking to them with personal insight provides contect for who you are, what you solutions you offer, and how your product or service works.
Using personalization, your website will provide answers that speaks to their real situation, and conversions that happen will generate higher quality leads for sales.