In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, the modern consumer has access to thousands of options right in the palm of their hand. As a buyer, this is great news. As a marketer, however, this makes it more difficult to reach qualified prospects.
So, how can you differentiate your brand from the competition? Enter personalization.
The Importance of Personalization
Consider the last time you opened your inbox—are you more likely to look at an email containing a hand-picked offer or an email containing a generic offer that was sent to thousands of other consumers? The answer seems pretty obvious. In case you’re not sold, consider these statistics:
- In a study of 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns, personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients (source).
- 78% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a retailer that presented them with offers targeted to their interests, wants and needs (source).
- 72% of respondents reported that generic marketing messages turned them off from a company (source).
While the concept of personalization seems simple—without the right tools, it can be difficult to put into practice. If you’re not sure where to start, keep reading. In today’s blog post we explain everything you need to know about personalizing your business communications.
Data: The Key to Personalization
Successful personalization hinges on your ability to understand your prospects and customers. After all, if you don’t understand their motivations, pain points, or interests, how will you influence their purchase decisions?
The key to personalized marketing lies within your database in the form of contact and customer data. Analysis of this information allows you to form detailed buyer persona profiles that you can use to develop a deep understanding of your target audience.
What are Buyer Personas?
For those unfamiliar, buyer personas are profiles of your best customers. These profiles are based on extensive research, observation, and analysis. Consider who your best customers are and what traits they share. For example, do they have a specific job title, work in a particular industry, or come from companies of a certain size?
A very simple buyer persona may look something like this: 45-55 year-old female, working in the food service industry at a company of 55 employees or less, who has ‘director’ in their job title.
A buyer person is often much more than a list of common characteristics— you also need a thorough understanding of each persona’s buying habits. This includes common concerns, shared viewpoints, and factors that influence their purchase decisions.
Constructing buyer personas is no simple task—it requires time, effort, and research. There are no shortcuts in this process.
The Importance of Buyer Personas
In exchange for the time and effort it takes to create high-quality buyer personas, you will see big returns. Consider the following statistics (source):
- 56% of companies have created higher quality leads using buyer personas.
- 36% of companies have created shorter sales cycles using personas.
- 24% of companies gained more leads using buyer personas.
It’s evident that buyer personas can have a huge impact on your B2B marketing strategy. The reason for this is simple; a deep understanding of your audience allows you to tailor content to their specific wants and needs.
How to Construct Buyer Personas
There are many ways to gather data and compile the observations you need to create your buyer personas. But, what works for one company may not be successful for another. For this reason, trial and error will be your new best friend.
Here’s how to start—export your contact and customer data in a way that allows for easy analysis. If you don’t have the time or resources, you can also hire an outside agency to do this for you.
The main objective of the analysis process is to uncover any significant patterns within your existing customer base. For example, if you have an overwhelming amount of customers of a certain gender, age group, industry, or job title—this is worth noting. Pay close attention to the customers that spend the most money, refer more business to your organization, and see the most success with your products.
Once you gather your data, compile important trends and segment your findings into your different buyer personas.
For a more detailed instructions, visit this helpful infographic: Buyer Personas: The Missing Piece to Your Lead Gen Puzzle.
Using Buyer Personas to Personalize Your Business Communications
Buyer personas can inform every aspect of your business—from product development, to content creation, to customer service. Here’s how to leverage your newly created buyer personas to improve and personalize your business communications:
- Marketing campaigns: Use your buyer personas to personalize all marketing communications—from social media, to email campaigns, to direct mailers. Segment your campaigns by persona and tailor your language, distribution, offer, and timing to each persona’s preferences.
- Advertising: In a similar vein, buyer personas can help determine where to invest advertising budget. Is your target audience on social media? Are they listening to the radio? Where do they live? What are their interests? The answers to these questions will dictate campaign settings, ad spend, and other key components of your advertising strategy.
- Customer service: Buyer personas don’t just attract new business; they can also help you retain existing customers. Research your best buyers to personalize each interaction a customer has with your brand. Learn how they like to problem solve, what makes them loyal customers, and how you can keep their business. Consider incorporating product recommendations, hand-picked content, and specialized discounts into your customer service best practices.
- Dynamic Web Experiences: Use your buyer personas to design dynamic web pages that display content based on a visitor’s web history, referral source, location, previous purchases, and other factors. For example, if you work with multiple industries, you might display different imagery, content, and call to actions for a visitor who works in manufacturing vs. a visitor who works in the food services industry.
For a more in-depth guide to marketing personalization, check out the following article: A Marketer’s Guide to Personalized Messaging.
Your buyers have spoken and generic business communications no longer cut it. Your prospects and customers expect your content to be relevant to their needs and wants—not someone else’s. Fortunately, the key to success is already within reach. Take the time to analyze and understand your database. Your prospects and revenue goals will thank you.
Contributed by Molly Clarke, Web Marketing Manager at ZoomInfo. ZoomInfo offers the most accurate and actionable b2b data to help organizations accelerate growth and profitability. The continuously updated database enables sales and marketing teams to execute more effective marketing campaigns and improve lead generation efforts. Visit zoominfo.com for more information.