5 Valuable Lessons About Online Personalization - and Why YOUR Business Needs It

by Isaac Oswalt on June 22, 2016

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You probably already know indirectly about online personalization through the "Amazon Effect," because Amazon.com has been so proactive in the online personalization world. When you buy something on Amazon, the retailer is very quick to associate that purchase with your account, offer you additional recommendations when you visit the site again, and send you emails with tailored suggestions and news about deals based on your past purchases.

All this adds up to more cross-selling and new sales from customers who know they can count on this personalization to provide meaningful new products. It's also a very consumer-focused strategy, which is why some B2B companies tend to ignore personalization: However, with the right implementation and use of technology, this sort of customization and recommendation strategy can be very effective for every company – and lead to happier, more consistently active customers. Here are several ideas on how to get started and see results fast!

1. Use Visitor Data to Build Out Content

CTAs are especially helpful when gathering information about visitors coming to your website, but even more general reports on web traffic can be highly informative. For example, say that the top keywords bringing traffic to your site this month have all been about "ceramic coatings." Focus your next published content and social media work on ceramic coatings to drawn in more traffic and help sell these products. Capitalizing on web traffic trends this way is within the reach of every business, and is such a general type of personalization that you won't have to bend over backwards to do it!

2. Always Recommend New Products

Have a new product (or new version of a product/service) that's coming out shortly? Make sure that part of your campaign is creating customized messages about it. Take a look at your client list, find the clients who have bought similar products in the past or could use this new solution, and send a group message or targeted add letting them know about the product! This sort of awareness building can go a long way in boosting sales – and even if it doesn't, don't sweat it. B2B purchasers tend to make up their minds well before looking at products: Chances are good some will remember your notification and keep it on file for future buys.

3. Send Direct Messages as Well

Good news! Your company probably already does this: What competent salesperson doesn't send a thank you message to a buyer after a purchase? And doesn't that thank you message often include some type of cross-selling or suggestion for future services? Then you are already sending direct, personalized messages – you just need to start doing it more often and more creatively. Take a look at client histories and take the time to offer personalized recommendations. As Amazon has shown, emails can be very effective at this – as long as customers are aware how important those emails are.

4. Go One-on-One

Here's one spot where B2B businesses have an advantage, because they are more used to forming long-term, interactive relationships with clients and customers. Sometimes the best kind of personalization is setting aside time to ask your valued clients what they need – and offer customized solutions in return. Don't be afraid to turn personalization into a one-on-one offer, consultation or meeting. Sometimes that works better than a personalized email, especially with clients that you've been working with for years.

5. Offer More than Just Recommendations

Recommendations and personalized suggestions are great, but don’t stop there. If you are creating a recommendation, consider adding 1)valuable content and 2)deals. The valuable content could be products tips or suggestions, or interesting industry news. The deals should specifically affect recommended products/services, and can even be tailored to individual clients based on their past interests. 

Bonus Tip: When in Doubt, Build Trust

Remember, you don't want seem creepy, annoying or invasive to your clients. At the bottom, this is all about alignment and building trust: You are showing clients that you care about them, understand their needs, and are proactive in delivering solutions. If you aren't certain about a particularly bit of online personalization, just ask yourself if it will build trust, because that's one of the most important goals here.

About Us 21 Handshake

Isaac Oswalt

Owner of 21 Handshake, a strategic marketing company, driven to grow relationship-driven businesses. Futurist in nature, Isaac displays a deep desire to preserve the human element in today's business. Trust being the ultimate currency, his clients appreciate that "new and stronger handshakes" is a success metric in their businesses.

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