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B2B Brands: Five Marketing Strategies to Come Out of the Recession Strong

There is no denying the Coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm with little-to-no notice, disrupting the global economy in the process.

However, unlike the burst of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s, and the subprime mortgage crisis in the late 2010s, the current economic downturn has not been caused by a structural, endogenous flaw in the financial system but, rather, by an exogenous health hazard.

That’s potentially a signal that although the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is real, and we are experiencing a recession, demand could very well bounce back sooner rather than later, and faster rather than slower.

In fact, that’s already the case for some parts of the digital economy, including e-commerce, SaaS, and online entertainment.

As a B2B brand, the last thing you need is to miss the rebound of the economy when it happens.

In this article, we will look into five marketing strategies you can adopt now to come out of the recession just as strong, if not better.

1. Adjust your communication

COVID-19 has an impact on many parts of the global economy: Even if your organization has not been affected by the current context, chances are at least some of your customers, partners, vendors, employees, and investors have.

25 Stats That Prove Why You Need Link-Building in Your SEO Strategy

You probably already know how crucial SEO is for your website’s traffic.

One of the most important sub tactics within an SEO strategy is link-building. Not sure what this means? Here’s the quick explanation.

When websites link to your website, search algorithms determine that you have “authority” in  your industry because other brands are referring to you. The higher your authority gets, the better your search rankings could be. Additionally, linking to other posts within your site can also help to boost your authority as its a sign to algorithms that you’ve thoroughly covered a topic you’re discussing.

But, here’s where it gets a bit more tricky. When a more credible website, such as a notable publication with a high search ranking links to you, that link counts for more than an internal link or a link from a site with less search credibility. Also, if you link a blog post or page to a site with no or poor search authority, your ranking might go down because you aren’t linking to sources that search algorithms deem as credible.

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These are just a few of the nuances that make link building difficult and time-consuming for many marketers. But, research shows that taking the time to build a solid link strategy can quickly boost your search rankings.

In fact, in 2019, most SEO experts said external links were one of the three most valuable aspects of their search optimization strategies. Meanwhile, 51% of marketers say they notice positive effects of general link building strategies within one to three months of executing on those tactics.

The above stats are just a taste of what link building can do for your web strategy. To help you understand the opportunities, challenges, common tactics, and costs behind successful link building, here are 25 helpful stats.

Link Building Opportunities and Challenges

  • Links are one of the top two criteria considered in Google’s page ranking algorithm. (Search Engine Land)
  • SEO experts say the third most important factor for search optimization is external linking. (Databox)
  • In the near future, 53% of marketers believe link building will have the same impact on search rankings, while 41% think it will have less of an impact. (Aira)
  • 52% of marketers believe brand mentions impact organic search rankings. (Aira)
  • In five years, 92% of marketers believe that links will still be ranking criteria in Google algorithms. (Aira)
  • 13% of search experts say link building is the most valuable SEO tactic. (Ascend)
  • 51% of marketers say it takes one to three months to see the impact of link-building efforts. (Aira)
  • In a study of web content, zero correlation between backlinks and social shares. (Backlinko)
  • 94% of the world’s content gets zero external links. (Backlinko)
  • Only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites. (Backlinko)
  • 41% of SEO experts consider link building to be the most difficult part of search optimization, (Ascend)
  • 65% of marketers measure their link quality by looking at their domain authority. Meanwhile, marketers also use domain ratings (48%) and page authority (36%) to determine link quality. (Aira)
  • If they could only choose one metric for studying link quality, 34% of marketers would look at domain authority while 22% would look at domain rating. (Aira)
  • 38% of marketers say page rankings are the top KPI they use to determine the effectiveness of their link-building efforts. (Aira)

Link Building Processes

  • 36% of businesses hire outside experts or freelancers for link building efforts. (Aira)
  • 48% of marketers report on “nofollow” links as part of their process. (Aira)
  • 42% of SEOs spend equal time on building internal and external links. (Databox)

SEOs spend most of their link building time on getting external links

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Link Building Costs

  • 46% of marketers spend $10,000 or more annually on link building, while 22% spend between $1,000 and $2,500. (Aira)
  • 61% of marketers say they use zero to ten percent of their total budget on link building.  (Aira)
  • It often costs brands $1,000 or more to gain a quality link. (Siege Media)
  • 41% of marketers expect the cost of link building to increase in the future. (Aira)

Common Link Building Tactics

  • 69% of marketers believe that buying links positively impacts search rankings. (Aira)
  • “Why” posts, “What” posts, and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts. (Backlinko)
  • Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition. (Backlinko)

long form blog content pulls in the highest amount of backlinks

Image Source

  • 51% of SEOs say bloggers should include two to three internal links in a blog post while 36% say three to five should be included. (Databox)

How to Embrace Link Building

As you can see from the stats above, link building can be crucial for search rankings, but can also be quite challenging. Luckily, there are a few simple strategies that you can take on immediately to help boost your site’s authority through links.

For example, you can include internal links in your blog posts and web content, publish original quotes or data that people will link to, or create a basic outreach strategy that allows you to share your newest posts. To learn more about how you can start or broaden your SEO strategy, check out this detailed link building guide.

Want to learn about other search optimization techniques and tools? You might also enjoy our Ultimate Guide to SEO.

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Originally published Jul 13, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated July 13 2020

Topics:

Link Building

Five Measures for Proving the ROI of Your Employee Advocacy Efforts

When marketers think of promotion in the traditional sense, it’s likely paid advertising, sales, or direct marketing are what come to mind. But not all promotion has to come at a high cost. In fact, employee advocacy is approximately 1/10 of the cost of advertising.

The definition of “employee advocacy” is straightforward: the promotion of an organization by its staff members. It’s a low-cost, high-return approach to increasing brand awareness—and thus driving engagement and fueling the talent pipeline.

With extensive budget cuts and the overall strain that organizations are feeling in a Covid-driven world, it’s these kinds of strategies that will help keep your brand afloat.

What’s more, your employee advocacy efforts have the ability to impact teams and departments across your organization.

But how can you showcase how that impact is directly related to overall business goals?

Consider the return on employee advocacy efforts in three buckets: retention, revenue, and reputation. The same goes for customer advocacy. Every advocacy strategy should have one (or more) of these 3 Rs in mind.

Let’s test that out by running through five metrics that help prove the ROI of your employee advocacy efforts.

1. Employee advocacy increases engagement

The Future of Marketing Events in the Age of COVID-19

Events have always been a double-edged sword for marketers: They yield the greatest number of leads, but they’re also incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Now, they face an uncertain future.

We have to consider what tradeshows and conferences might look like in the months and maybe years ahead—and whether they’re still worth the time and money for marketers, as attendees or exhibitors.

It’s likely that any events during the rest of this year will be smaller with fewer attendees because of social distancing and travel restrictions, and that could continue well into 2021 and beyond. Cities and states are capping, and will likely continue to cap, larger gatherings.

Remaining profitable while scaling down will be a challenge.

Producing a small event can require just as much planning and execution as producing a huge, multiday event; so, considering the added costs and complexities, some organizations may choose to host fewer in-person offerings (or skip them altogether) in the near term and instead look for purely virtual opportunities to engage their audiences.

The challenge for events in 2020 is how they can remain profitable while keeping the best interests of the industry they serve—and the safety of speakers, sponsors, and attendees—at the forefront.

Hybrid Events

Events may soon have both in-person and remote audiences and speakers. And considering the safety guidelines in place, there will be far more considerations for onsite venues than ever before.

An Easy Three-Step Headline Formula That Grabs Customer Attention in Just Five Minutes (With Examples)

The legends of copywriting agree on a universal truth: It can destroy or skyrocket your marketing campaign.

“It” is your headline.

And that makes sense: The headline is the first thing that gets noticed. If people don’t read your headline, they don’t go on to read your ad/content/email/etc.

Let’s Look at Some Headline Statistics

Using numbers in your ad or content has been proven effective.

BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million headlines and found that the top starting phrase of headlines that had the most Facebook Engagements were…

  • #1: “X Reasons Why…”
  • #2: “X Things You…”

That finding is similar for the B2B crowd on LinkedIn, with two of the top 3 most shared posts starting with numbers in the headline:

  • #1: “X Ways To…”
  • #3: “X Things You…”

Integrations: The Newest Addition to Your Marketing Ops

Marketing isn’t just about campaigns, content, and creativity. There’s a whole lot of “getting things done” that needs to happen behind the scenes for campaigns to roll out on time and performance to scale.

This is where marketing operations comes in. Also called marketing ops or MOps, marketing operations is how a marketing team is run. It’s the processes, technology, data, and people that power a marketing strategy.

Of these key pillars of marketing operations, data sounds like the most abstract one. But getting the data right in your marketing ops is crucial.

How do you do this? By cleaning, organizing, and enriching the data in every app as well as integrating data between your apps.

An increasingly important role for any team or Marketing Operation Manager is maintaining data quality and connectedness. This not only includes marketing apps but also bridges to other departments in the organization.

Let’s dig into how to make this happen so you can scale the impact of your marketing ops.

What Are Integrations?

Integration brings different pieces of software together and enables their data to interact.

When done well, integrations enable your marketing team to:

  • Create the most holistic marketing ops strategy across your software ecosystem.
  • Allow data to seamlessly flow between key platforms and enrich each one.
  • Automate more tasks and free up time.
  • Provide stronger customer experiences with more accessible and insightful data.
  • Remove data silos and other barriers to collaboration.
  • Deliver accurate insights, reporting, and decision making.

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As an example of a valuable integration, think of your CRM and email marketing app. A good email list is a marketer’s most treasured possession, but for your email marketing to be successful, you need accurate and in-depth insights into each contact’s interests, behavior, and communication preferences. You can solve this by integrating data from your CRM.

The integrations that matter most to your marketing operations depend on your organization and industry.

That said, there are certain integration best practices that businesses with strong marketing operations follow. Let’s explore those.

1. Understand the Ecosystem Your Marketing Data Lives in

A strong marketing stack that your team loves using is a pivotal part of your marketing operations management.

This can include an all-in-one marketing platform or individual systems for:

  • Content management
  • Marketing automation
  • Lead Generation
  • Email marketing
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Project management
  • Communication

One of the first steps to perfect your marketing ops is understanding the ecosystem your marketing data lives in. Some valuable questions to ask are:

  • What data are we collecting in each app?
  • How should data interact with other apps?
  • How can we sync apps to enrich the data in each one?

With answers to these questions in mind, you can decide how best to integrate your apps and allow data to flow between them.

2. Ensure Clean, Up-to-date Data in Every App

To get the best results from integrations, you need high-quality data in every app. Dirty data in one app is bad, but the negative impact is multiplied for every new app it enters.

To prevent this, clean up the data in every app before adding new integrations. This includes:

  • Duplicate contacts
  • Inaccurate contact data
  • Unsubscribes
  • Bounced email addresses

With clean data in every app, you can seamlessly integrate your marketing platforms and create the most streamlined and effective marketing ops.

3. Make Your CRM the Heart of Your Marketing Ops

There’s a high chance your sales team is already using a CRM to store all of the key insights about your customers and their interactions with your business. That’s because centralizing your data in your CRM is one of the best things you can do for strong contact management.

One way to test the strength of your CRM is by checking if anyone in your business can answer questions about a contact and their interactions with your business – whether in sales, support, marketing, or billing – just by glancing at their contact record.

To make this happen, you can use integration to bring data from other apps into your CRM. The inverse is also valuable: syncing your CRM data with your marketing apps to enrich the data in those places.

Alongside syncing names and emails, you can choose which other information makes sense to have available in your other marketing apps. This could include:

  • Lead status/stage
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Customer Success Owner
  • Business size
  • Communication preferences

4. Use Contact Segmentation

Segmenting your contacts using lists, tags, and properties is a fantastic way to deliver the most personalized customer experience. But it’s also a key ingredient for effective integrations.

With an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solution like PieSync, you can create customized workflows and sync data based on specific conditions. That way, you maintain the segmentation of your database across tools. These specific conditions could be configured according to If-this-then-that rules. For instance:

  • IF a contact’s Lifecycle Stage is ‘Lead’
  • THEN sync the contact to your email marketing tool and add to the list ‘List of leads’

If the contact stops being a customer, you can automatically reflect that in your email marketing app, remove the ‘Customer’ tag, and no longer send relevant communications.

To create powerful if-this-then-that rules, first segment data in individual apps, and then create connections across your ecosystem.

5. Create Strong Alignment With Sales Via Integrations

Your marketing operations strategy isn’t just about marketing. It’s essential to look at the other teams in your organization and understand how to create the strongest alignment.

The most important bridge for marketers to maintain is with sales. By working collaboratively instead of in silos, marketers can deliver the perfect leads for sales and both teams can share what’s working as well as opportunities.

To optimize your bridge with sales, you can integrate your marketing software with sales apps such as:

  • Sales CRM
  • Contact Management
  • Live chat software
  • Sales automation software
  • Integrations between your marketing apps and customer support software

With your marketing and sales apps in sync, both teams are in the best position to exchange data, deliver unified reporting, and do their best work both independently and together.

6. Integrate Customer Data with Your Marketing Apps

Although marketing usually has the strongest alignment with sales, make sure not to forget about your service team.

If your data is siloed, you run the risk of the nightmare scenario of sending a promotion offer to a customer who subscribed a week ago at full price.

With integrated apps and data, you can keep your customers in mind for every marketing campaign and create personalizations based on the products, services, and upgrades that are most relevant to them.

You can align your Marketing and Service team with either:

A good starting point is to make sure that all customer interactions and support requests are synced with your CRM. Marketers can then easily use this information to personalize campaigns and workflows.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Integrations

You can measure the impact of integrations in your marketing operations strategy by asking if:

  • Your data is accurate, enriched, and reliable in every app.
  • You have a centralized contact database that quickly gives you a 360-degree view of each contact.
  • Your marketing team is aligned with sales and can quickly collaborate.
  • You have removed all data silos.
  • You can personalize marketing campaigns for customers or exclude them from certain messaging.
  • You have clear marketing reporting that brings together data from all channels and apps and highlights key areas for optimization.

As you optimize your marketing operations, remember to look at the holistic view of your marketing stack and the individual pieces of the puzzle. By paying attention to the two in tandem, you can understand where to connect the dots for the best overall outcomes in your marketing team and throughout your organization.

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Originally published Jul 10, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated July 10 2020

How to Identify and Maximize Sales Enablement ROI [Infographic]

Sales enablement–providing sales teams with the knowledge, skills, content, and tools they need to meet the needs of buyers–is fast becoming a core function of marketing departments.

And no wonder: “organizations that take a formal and strategic approach [to sales enablement] achieve much better than results than others, including an 18.8% win-rate improvement,” sales enablement expert Tamara Schenk points out.

Sales enablement ROI extends beyond win rates–to greater sales productivity and active selling time, less onboarding time, and increased marketing productivity.

All that according to an infographic from sales enablement platform Showpad on the ROI of sales enablement.

For more stats on sales enablement and insights from Schenk, who is lead consultant at Showpad for former research director of CSO Insights, check out the infographic:

COVID-19’s Impact on Marketers’ Content, Investment, and Targeting Strategies

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven most marketers to shift to creating more social media content and thought leadership content, according to recent research from LinkedIn and Vision Critical.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted between April 28 and May 6, 2020, among 452 marketers in the United States.

Some 56% of respondents say they’ve adjusted their strategy to create more social media content because of COVID-19, and 53% say they’ve adjusted their strategy to create more thought leadership content.

Some 47% of marketers say their content and/or creative has become more emotional because of COVID-19, and 31% say it has become more rational.

How to Master Website Personalization

In the summer, there’s so many things I enjoy: The sun, the temperature, chilled drinks, BBC’s Pride and Prejudice miniseries, but most of all … my summer subscription box.

The seasonal subscription box I’m subscribed to gives me a little something extra to look forward to every couple of months, and the company has a knack for making me feel like a valued customer.

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In my opinion, it starts with the website. Every time I log on, the homepage is configured to my account, browsing history, and activity:

Example of a personalized website.

The dashboard greets me by name and gives me an update about my next box, like when it’ll be shipped. Next to that, I can look at order history and manage account settings. Underneath, I can look at what I received the previous season with the option to purchase something I really love.

Websites that are designed to adapt based on previous behavior make me feel like a valued customer. Every time I visit FabFitFun, I know I won’t have to follow multiple links for updated shipping information because it’s displayed at the top of the page. This tells me that the company thought of a question I might have and solved for it beforehand.

If you’re one of the 63% of marketers ready to update their website, let’s talk about an essential: personalization. Personalized websites deliver a customized experience to visitors. They configure based on a visitor’s behavior on the website, demographics, and interests.

88% of marketers believe that customers expect a personalized website experience when they visit. Static, generic websites are becoming a thing of the past. Given these figures, a multi-channel personalization strategy should be among your top priorities.

However, only 12% of marketers are satisfied with their personalization efforts. Personalization helps with traffic, customer retention, and sales. But if you aren’t experiencing that with yours, it can be easy to think you’re doing something wrong.

Maybe there’s something you can be doing better. Let’s look at examples of personalized websites that are doing it right, and tools that’ll help you deliver the best visit possible to customers.

How does website personalization work?

When I visit Disney+ or Hulu after a long day of work, I don’t feel like searching for new things to watch; Instead, I’d rather jump right back into The Bachelor. Hulu tracks which shows I’m currently watching and my homepage configures accordingly — so I can quickly play them without having to go to the search bar. When I do want to browse my options, though, the recommendations based on my interests have me covered.

Hulu’s team thought about the intentions I might have for streaming, like to unwind after a long day, and streamlined the process of catching up on shows by offering them on my homepage. This makes me feel like a valued customer, and knowing I can easily jump back in makes me want to stay a customer. And, when I’m browsing my options, I spend a lot of time going through my recommendations, increasing my time spent on the service.

My challenges are solved before I identify them, making me an advocate for the service. This is how website personalization adds to the customer experience — by making the consumer’s life easier.

You can use website personalization to give customers recommendations based on what they like, and offer premium content to repeat visitors. Ultimately, it tailors content based on your buyer personas to delight your audience.

Website personalization happens with data. Data that’s collected by the website is then used to add unique features to homepages, enhancing the browsing experience for the visitor. For example, you may be recommended products on an ecommerce website based on your past browsing history the next time you visit.

Customers want their website visit to be individualized because it makes them feel valued. Having the security of knowing that I can easily repeat an order on Amazon makes me feel as if they know what I want — it’s the joy of being a “regular,” just online.

Personalization can happen in a variety of ways; It’s not just regulated to a fancy homepage. Having CTAs that are relevant to a specific audience is personalization. Product recommendations and location-based copy are also examples.

Even though subscription services and streaming platforms are probably the most prominent examples of website personalization, nearly every company can benefit from having it on their website. Let’s look at some ways B2Bs, ecommerce, and software websites are using it to engage audiences.

1. English Tea Store

I’m a huge loose leaf tea fan. Unfortunately, new flavors are hard to find — so I decided to get international with my next purchase. That’s how I found English Tea Store, which offers a variety of teas, tea accessories, and sweets.

Today, I visited the website for the first time, and I explored how the ecommerce experience was personalized for leads. When I found a tea I liked, I was brought to a page that was full of customized options:

Personalized offers from English Tea Store

Teas I might like based were displayed to the right, catching my attention. Additionally, I was given a special offer as a lead: I could sign up for the website and use the special code for a percentage off of my first order. A completed form is one way websites collect data to improve future visits.

I appreciated having a discount offer right off the bat; it gave me an incentive to complete that form. The recommendations streamlined browsing the products on the website. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the many offerings, I was able to navigate through a smaller set of recommendations.

If your business has a large array of products like English Tea Company, use personalization to offer recommendations based on the products viewers are exploring. To gain leads, consider adding a special offer to first-time visitors like a discount — give them an incentive to fill out the form.

2. HubSpot Academy

Every quarter, I challenge myself to learn something new. Online courses like HubSpot Academy make that easy for me with personalized homepages.

When I log into the Academy homepage, this is what I see:

Personalized courses from HubSpot Academy.

The page greets me by name and lists the courses in progress. Unlike the first example, I’ve been using Academy for a while, so every time I come back, I can quickly jump right back in where I left off.

Personalization doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you’re a B2B marketer that prefers minimalist design, think about simple elements that will still give you the results you need. Greeting the user by name and showing previous interactions are great ways to make the customer feel valued.

3. AccuWeather

Every morning, I check the weather so I can dress accordingly. Even though I work from home, I like to match my wardrobe with Boston’s unpredictable forecasts. On AccuWeather, I don’t have to type a thing to find what I need.

Accuweather's GPS personalization.

AccuWeather’s website uses location data to automatically generate the current forecast in that area. This is a great example of how a company guessed what visitors would want to know, then used personalization to cater to them.

If location-based data is huge for your company’s offerings, like Zipcar or Airbnb, offer visitors suggestions based on where they are in the world. It’ll make them feel like you’re an expert in offerings that only locals know.

4. Google News

If I’m on a website I visit frequently, I instantly go to the section marked “For you.” Google News is no exception. This app looks at my browsing history on Google and pulls relevant, recent news articles that I may like in the “For you” section.

For instance, I’ve been really into searching for sci-fi movies and pasta recipes lately, so I had quite an interesting mix of articles for today:

Google News personalized news sources.

Google pulls from different sources, including websites I visit, to give a range of options for me to read. Remember, personalization doesn’t have to be limited to one goal. You can use the data you have from customers to think of new content to offer them.

5. Topshop

Online shopping for clothing is tough sometimes. Often, it’s hard to know what you’re looking for with so many options. Especially if you don’t know your sizes. That’s why I really like Topshop’s personalization.

The website has a quiz that gives visitors an entire edit, wardrobe, and outfit recommendations based on the answers. The quiz asked me to choose clothes I liked, what I wanted suggested, and my budget. For sizes, I go to choose from competitors I frequent, like Forever 21 and H&M, and use their sizing details to inform Topshop of mine.

After taking the quiz, this is the screen I saw (Not before creating an account, so the website could store my data):

A Topshop personalized wardrobe.

I loved that my wardrobe had a name. Plus, I liked the organization — I could choose recommendations by piece, season, occasion, or outfit. It was also cool to see what closet staples to have and avoid.

Topshop’s team thought about the worries I have about online shopping and solved it with a quiz that personalized my visit. Offer a quiz or chatbot that answers questions and uncertainties first-time visitors might face. Use them to create a page just for that visitor or lead them to the one they need.

We’ve seen how personalization can look when it’s done well. So next, let’s talk about some best practices to keep in mind when you’re setting up personalization on your website.

Personalization Best Practices

When website personalization works, it can account for a delightful, interactive website visit for visitors. But what about when things don’t work so perfectly?

For example, what if a repeat customer visited your website and got an offer for leads? Or, what if your website gives inaccurate recommendations to audience segments? Websites that are personalized, but done poorly, may result in a loss of leads or customers.

To make sure your website aces personalization, let’s look at some best practices.

1. Solve for your buyer personas.

Buyer personas are fictionalized accounts of your ideal customer. They help you identify challenges, interests, and demographic information about your audience. Figuring these things out helps you improve the effectiveness of marketing messaging.

Use personalization to create content that will be valuable to your personas. To illustrate, let’s say you’re part of a computer company and you have two buyer personas: The university student and the professional.

The university student is looking for an affordable, functional laptop that’ll allow them to complete assignments without hassle, while the professional is looking for a sleek computer with all the bells and whistles.

To personalize your website for those personas, you can create two content offers for each; One that advertises an upcoming webinar, “Choosing Your College Computer,” and one that promotes an ebook for the best professional laptops by industry. That way, when these personas visit your website, they’ll see special offers that are specific to their needs.

When you personalize according to the challenges, or needs, of your personas, they’ll feel like a valued advocate for your company.

2. Make the design simple.

Poor personalization can be a result of too many moving parts at once. Would you want a first-time visitor to access your homepage and be bombarded with content offers, their name plastered across the banner, and product recommendations from every section of your website?

All of these functions, while helpful, can be overwhelming when working together — and lower the load time of the webpage. To avoid a busy webpage, keep your personalization simple. Choose one or two elements that will be the most useful for your company and audience.

Think of Amazon or a streaming service. The personalization tool, recommendations, used on homepages are usually separated into minimal, relevant categories. Keep categories based on genres or audience preference — Like “Horror movies” or “Based on your last purchase.”

3. Keep your goals in mind.

Identify the reasons why you’re personalizing your website. In addition to thinking of your customers, keep those goals at the forefront of personalization decisions.

Let’s say one of your goals is to increase customer retention. How can you keep customers coming back, outside of retargeted ads and emails? Design webpages for returners that feel familiar to them and are easy to navigate.

Save login information, make the homepage greet a customer by name, and display recommendations based on their recent purchases. That way, when customers return to your site, they’ll find it easy to navigate and repurchase. In addition, they’ll recognize that your company wants its audience to feel catered to directly, even online.

The ease and delight of your website will keep customers coming back for quick purchases. Because you made personalization choices based on your goals, you were able to delight your customer and accomplish your company’s objectives.  

4. Make sure your data is quality.

We know by now that website personalization is powered by data. This data needs to be accurate to make an impact. When you make forms, add fields that will give you the right information for personalization.

One way to do this easily, especially if you have an ecommerce website, is to use chatbots or quizzes. Think back to the style quiz from Topshop and how the questions were related to products and preferences. Use chatbots to answer FAQs leads might have.

A personalized chatbot example.

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These tactics will give you the data you need to make accurate personalization choices. If you don’t know about your audience’s interests, it can be hard to know which strategies you should implement with your design.

The right data helps your audience do what you want them to, and nurture them along in their buyer’s journey. You’ll have those insights about what they want and how you can help.

5. Pick the right tools.

Behind every great personalized website is fantastic software. Choosing the right software is important — it’s what powers those beautiful web pages. A CRM and a CMS work together to make this happen.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is what you’ll use to manage and organize customers, leads, and your relationships with them. It’s what will store that quality data you need.

This data can range from completed forms and chatbot conversations to lead tracking. Look at the pages your visitors are returning to often and the time spent on pages to personalize offers.

Then, your content management system (CMS) will allow you to implement what you’ve gathered on your website. It will change based on the data it has about specific customers. Data, like location and returning visitors, can be logged by a CMS.

Next, let’s talk about some software options you can use to build your website.

Website Personalization Tools

For ease, look for software that has a CRM and CMS rolled into one, like HubSpot. Software should be simple to operate and its tools should be useful to your customers and business goals.

1. HubSpot

Price: $300/mo. For CMS Hub Professional

HubSpot’s CMS allows you to build and manage a stunning, personalized website. You can also leverage forms and chatbots to enhance the options you give customers to customize their experience with the software.

A personalized website example for HubSpot.

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The drag and drop editor in HubSpot’s software makes it easy to add smart rules or personalized features. Using the CMS, you’ll collect data about the behavior of website visitors and use those insights to enhance your website.

You can also test different web pages to find out which options are the most valuable for customers. This can help you decide on a final personalization design that’s exciting and functional. If you’re looking for an all-in-one software package that’s easy to use and scalable, check out HubSpot.

2. Barilliance

Price: Contact for pricing

Ecommerce platform Barilliance offers tools to personalize online storefronts. Options, like relevant recommendations, can help reduce shopping cart abandonment and close more sales. With Barilliance, you can optimize and customize shopping trips for every visitor.

A personalized website made using Barillance.

Image Source

Pushys website was created using Barilliance. In the image above, notice how you can add relevant product recommendations to fit the visitor’s interests. There are two categories that show off the expansive catalog of Pushys’ health products.

If you have an ecommerce website that you want to tailor to every visitor, consider using Barilliance’s campaign and website features to make that a breeze.

3. Qubit

Price: Contact for pricing

Personalization using Qubit is just as unique as the websites you can create with the software. Offerings are categorized into three parts: Start, Grow, and Pro. These categories target company goals and are separated by experience level.

Qubit Start is for those who just want personalization foundational tools, like chatbots or recommendations. Grow is meant for solving more specific goals — for instance, integrating customer data across platforms. Pro, on the other hand, offers different packages for you to choose.

Every Qubit category comes equipped with the same base features: tests, integrations, recommendations, and omnichannel personalization. If you’re looking for software that has tools fit for your skill level and business size, look into Qubit.

4. SiteSpect

Price: Contact for pricing

If user behavior is one of your biggest goals, SiteSpect is a great option. Its tools offer personalization that is based on user data, like previous visits, sessions, and omnichannel behavior.

This data is collected by SiteSpect, which you can analyze and use to customize web pages for audience segments. When you create segments with the software, choose from an array of factors that will enhance the impact of your site, like location and device type.

Home decor company, Temple & Webster, uses SiteSpect. The “Room ideas” tab offers tons of different rooms styled using the company’s products. As you scroll down the page, you can see similar ideas based on the one you chose initially.

A personalized website made using SiteSpect.

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This website’s personalization features are very interactive and cover a range of decor styles, so it’s easy to find furniture attuned to your interests.

SiteSpect can help you build a website like Temple & Webster’s — and track their effectiveness among your visitors. When you analyze campaign performance, you can know what’s working and what’s not, to better configure your design for customers.

5. Hyperise

Price: Starts at $29/mo.

If your company is a B2B, Hyperise was created just for you. With it, you can use hyper-personalization (using data to recommend products) to boost conversions, all without coding experience.

You’ll be able to use tools that nurture leads such as IP lookup and form completion. For company branding, you can add your logo, profile images, and dynamic text. Additionally, you can create multiple, custom, CTAs to engage your audience.

Hyperise website personalization example.

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This software lets you pull data from your CRM and upload it into Hyperise, so the platform is highly integratable. Hyperise also offers an extension you can download to make it easy to continue on website building.

Maybe you’re in search of a personalization tool that will integrate with your HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, or Google Sheets account. For that, Hyperise could be the solution.

When you visit sites that give you an amazing personalization experience, what about it makes it great? Pull influence from your favorite brands if you find yourself stuck. But ultimately, personalization allows you to take a decent website to one that behaves like customers expect it to, every time.

My subscription box order shipped today, and I can see when it will arrive from my homepage. While I excitedly await its arrival, I can’t wait to see what you come up with for your shiny, new, personalized website.

Discover videos, templates, tips, and other resources dedicated to helping you launch an effective video marketing strategy. 

Originally published Jul 8, 2020 4:00:00 PM, updated July 08 2020

Topics:

Smart Content

How to Succeed in Account-Based Advertising

Right now, Account-based Marketing (ABM) is the hottest B2B ticket in town — with 87% of marketers stating that it delivers better ROI than other marketing activities.

While for many people it may be a relatively new strategy, it has in fact been around for many years in different guises. In fact, you might’ve already heard the term as Key Account Management, Key Account Marketing, or Client-centric Marketing.

The objective of ABM is, quite simply, to treat one account as a market of one, i.e. to focus all your energy (and resources) on engaging, winning, and maintaining one named account.

Expanding on this, ABM has four underlying principles:

  1. Client centricity and insight
  2. Partnership between sales and marketing
  3. Focus on reputation, relationships and, ultimately, revenue
  4. Tailored programs and campaigns

Simple right? Well, the reality is that to justify this level of effort and resources the prize must be sufficiently large enough to warrant this expenditure. ABM therefore is best suited to complex, high ‘ticket price’ solutions with longer life-cycle sales, and where typically multiple stakeholders are involved.

Strategic ABM (one-to-one) and one-to-few (clusters of 15-20 accounts with shared commonality, i.e. vertical, industry, pain, challenge, etc.) have defined ABM for the last few years.

But there is a new ABM kid on the block who is shaking things up: one-to-many ABM.

Free Access: Strategic Account Planning Template 

The Rise of the ABM Tech Stack

One of the key reasons why ABM has become so popular and now forms a key part of any B2B marketing and sales playbook is the use of technology to automate and target those accounts (and individuals) you are looking to influence and convert.

The rise of one-to-many ABM programs targeting hundreds (and even thousands) of accounts has been largely possible due to the technological and data advances that are now available to B2B marketers.

Quite simply, one-to-many ABM would not have been possible several years ago.

Bev Burgess, one of the world’s leading ABM authorities, recently stated “One-to-many ABM now allows companies to have an ‘Always-on’ strategy to those accounts that are of interest to you'”.

What is Account-based Advertising?

The analogy most commonly used to describe the difference between ABM and Inbound Marketing is fishing with spears vs. fishing with nets. As the image below shows, ABM is the inverse of Inbound Marketing:

Image Source

Account selection is the starting point. As such, being able, from the outset, to target named accounts and the relevant Decision Making Unit (DMU) within the account is the foundation of any successful Account-based Marketing program.

And this is where Account-based Advertising comes in. Account-based Advertising allows you to hyper-target and hyper-personalize digital marketing campaigns to these named accounts.

Simply put, account-based advertising means your digital advertising campaigns are highly focused and centered on only those accounts you wish to engage, penetrate, and win.

Account-based advertising allows you:

  • Amplify your digital advertising campaigns to increase the chances of winning a deal. Expanding your retargeting from the original website visitor to the wider DMU will increase your chances significantly.
  • We’re familiar with the large number of target account contacts involved in a decision making process (6-10 according to Gartner). Digital advertising allows you to reach and influence this wider important group.
  • Focus your marketing spend and drive higher ROI of your digital advertising budget by targeting those accounts that display intent signals.

How to be Successful with Account-based Advertising

Let’s take a look at what makes up a successful account-based advertising campaign.

1. Consider your account-based advertising options.

There are many digital advertising options available (and the number is growing). There are a large number of digital advertising partners and ABM platforms that can provide access to these channel tactics.

Ensure you carefully choose your tactics and channels, based on your marketing budget, messaging, and audience.

A) Programmatic Advertising

Many of us are familiar with this form of advertising. These advertisements are generated via cookie-based targeting and the advertisements appear natively in-channel, delivering a far more natural impact. The ads are served up on websites and apps through online platforms such as Google, Avocet, or AdRoll publication networks.

A subset of Programmatic Advertising allows you to target the actual device that conducted the search, as well. This is a step forward from traditional IP-based targeting, particularly in light of the explosion in remote working in the last few months which will undoubtedly continue for some time.

B) LinkedIn Paid Advertising

LinkedIn has become a major player in the digital advertising arena. They offer a (growing) number of formats and options for you to target the Accounts and/or Persona of interest to you:

Advertising options such as Sponsored Content allow you to deliver content to the LinkedIn feed of members beyond those who are following you or your company — which enables you to target specific prospects within target Accounts. The important benefit is specific content can be delivered at-scale.

Additionally, LinkedIn paid advertising allows you to test different ad units depending on the campaign objectives, which stage of the funnel to which you’re looking to promote, and the scale of the tactic/channel.

C) Content Syndication

This is a common awareness stage tactic you might use for one-to-many ABM to promote your content across a wide B2B content syndication network of websites, blogs, social media, etc. (To learn more about how to syndicate your content, take a look at Content Syndication: What It Is & How to Do It Successfully).

D) Retargeting

We’re all familiar with retargeting, although we may not know it. Did you ever notice that ads appear related to your recent searches when you’re reading your favorite blog content or perusing Facebook? This is thanks to retargeting.

Retargeting is a feature that lets you customize your display ads campaign for people who have previously visited your site, and tailor your ads (using dynamic retargeting) to these visitors when they browse the web and use social media apps.

The key here is not to tire your audience with the same ads but to constantly refresh and always be relevant to your audience.

2. Keep your audience and persona top-of-mind when personalizing content.

Data-backed buyer persona research is the foundation of any ABM campaign and this is certainly true with any digital advertising campaign that accompanies it.

Personalization is key. Desk research and in-depth insight reports will shine a light on the account and the industry to which it belongs. Further research into the DMU and named individuals within the account will inform your messaging and digital advertising strategy.

Keeping your audience in-mind will ensure your content resonates.

Remember that your message will be read by human beings who are facing specific challenges, so make it a priority to understand their pain points and challenges.

Always ensure that your message is empathetic, builds rapport, and focuses on how you can help solve their challenges — rather than how great your business is.

Putting your personas at the heart of your campaign strategy will help you see success with your Account-based advertising campaign. Always review which of your previous campaigns have resonated strongly with your audience — what content formats and language do they respond to best?

3. Make your messages as relevant as possible to your target audience.

With an ABM one-to-one campaign, you should research the target company in detail to make sure your messaging is as relevant as possible, speaking to both the challenges of the persona and the organization at-large. With a one-to-few program, you might customize the message by industry vertical or sales challenge.

Even at the one-to-many level, consider how you can add light-touch personalization and keep it relevant. Review whether the advertising tactic/channel you choose enables you to add some helpful personalization tokens, including first name, last name, company name, job title, and industry.

As a general rule, it’s best not to get too carried away with the number of CTAs you use. Rather than presenting users with a short message and five CTAs, start by compelling them to take the most important action first (such as downloading an ebook) and then stagger the additional options using the sequence to ensure there’s enough context around each offer. The ‘ask’ should be crystal clear!

4. Consider your searcher’s intent and use the right keywords to match it.

Intent data can provide valuable insights to help you ensure that you target only those Accounts that are in an active buyer’s journey. The image below illustrates the process to narrow down an initial ‘in-house’ Target Account list by a) looking at your first party data — who is engaged with your brand? and b) using intent data to see which Accounts are in an active buyer journey.

This intersection of first and third-party data is the sweet spot and where your Account-based Advertising can be deployed at will.

Equally, when it comes to the topics and messaging you’ll be sharing, intent data can ensure they will resonate with your intended audience. What keywords are they trending around and does your messaging answer the questions they’re actively trying to solve?

account-based-advertisingImage Source

Work any relevant keywords into your sequence … without going overboard with buzzwords, of course!

Even though your audience may be trending around multiple topics, it’s best to keep your messaging focused on just one topic to avoid confusion. This ad format works especially well when you have multiple assets around a single topic — for instance, an ebook, video, and blog article. This enables users who aren’t ready to convert yet to explore some of your other content and increases your brand awareness within the audience.

Top tip: If you only want users to take a single action, then consider using LinkedIn InMail messaging or a Sponsored update, instead.

It’s All In Your Hands

Account-based Marketing is clearly here to stay, and more and more organizations will adopt or expand their existing ABM programs.

Data and technology now open up a myriad of opportunities to B2B marketers to deliver a hyper-personalized experience that will only increase as new ways are discovered to seek out and target the accounts you wish to win or grow. Account-based advertising will be a thrilling area to watch over the coming months and years.

account plan template

Originally published Jul 8, 2020 9:00:00 AM, updated July 08 2020

Topics:

Account-Based Marketing

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