Website personalization has become a serious game changer in both B2C and B2B eCommerce. It all started with those first few recommendations on Amazon some 20 years ago — "You bought this, so take a look, you might also like this!"
Personalized product recommendations are now standard in B2C eCommerce. But how does website personalization affect the B2B world, where purchases are often only made after lengthy consideration, rather than on impulse?
It's time to look at the B2B homepage.
The goal of your homepage is to encourage visitors to click through to discover more on your site. To get that response, your visitors need to see something that intrigues them, or answers a question they already have.
By providing personalized content on your homepage, you send the message that you're the right company to solve your visitors' problem. It's natural for them to click deeper into your site once they see that.
So how do you decide what to personalize your homepage?
The answer to this question depends on your market segmentation.
How many different groups are you trying to reach?
A plumber handling installations and repairs for commercial clients might need just a handful of homepages keyed to specific keyword searches ("hotel plumbing services," "restaurant drainage systems"), plus a few keyed to each geographic area served.
If, on the other hand, you're a global company shipping a variety of high end products around the world, several dozen homepages might be too few.
As you create new personalized homepages, keep testing to see how you can improve them.
Personalized B2B homepages should increase the quality of your leads and provide support for your sales and marketing team.
Each targeted homepage should result in increases in engagement and conversion — and when those increases start to level out, you've probably hit the number of personalizations you need for your current business.
Your own industry, product or service line, and business niche all determine your market segmentation. Your market segmentation strategy in turn drives the choices you make when personalizing your homepage.
Consider personalizing your homepage marketing by targeting the following factors:
In each case, don't assume that a segmentation strategy that works for other businesses (including your competitors) is one that matters equally to your business.
For example, geolocation is easy to target. However, if you're selling classes delivered entirely online, personalizing by geolocation may make very little difference to your conversion rate.
Look for market segments that are easily identifiable based on your research into your own customer base. Consider which types of customers have been most valuable to your bottom line.
For instance, if a significant percentage of your business involves one or more very specific market niches, you should create a homepage targeting each individual niche in a very personalized way.
In addition, make sure that the segments you choose are differentiated enough from one another to make unique homepages worthwhile.
As you embark on website personalization, there are a few best practices you can follow to help you make smart choices.
As a B2B company, you may not be compiling product histories to present new recommendations to returning customers.(Hint: You should.)
Analyzing browsing history data can help hone your market segmentation as you see what onsite behavior different groups of visitors share in common.
Once you've completed market segmentation, consider personalizing your live chat messaging to match.
Program your live chat auto-messages and bots based on the market segment they're addressing. Use phrases and terminology that connect with your customer's industry, for example.
If you've placed your largest clients into their own segment, connect them directly to the right people within your company as soon as they start a live chat.
Sure, you can change the background images of personalized homepages to reflect geographic location — the Golden Gate Bridge for San Francisco clients or the Arch for your customers in St. Louis.
But don't just personalize the window dressing. Rewrite your content to appeal to your segmented audiences, even addressing them by name (or company name) when possible.
Start to answer their questions and solve their problems proactively, with the very first content that greets them on your homepage.
Certainly a static homepage that tries to send one solitary message to every visitor isn't pulling its weight anymore.
But look what's taken its place: Website personalization that surfaces relevant information to your targeted visitors and provides them with answers to their questions and real solutions to their problems.
This new dynamic, personalized homepage — whether it's 10 or 2 dozen or 100 new homepages — is very much alive and ready to do great things for your site.