Two of the most important trends in martech are real-time and personalization. The reason why is simple: buyers respond better to relevant and targeted messaging. With the right technology and campaign execution, B2B organizations can dramatically improve their demand generation results.
It’s no surprise that in a recent survey, one third of marketers rated personalization as the capability that will be most important to marketing going forward. But as I recently wrote about in “What to Know About Martech in 2016,” martech and real-time personalization, in particular, are still emerging.
And while the tools and technology are important, good strategy and ideas are more so. It can be tough to know what steps to take to make the most impact in terms of lead generation and ROI. One way to outsmart this ambiguity is to run a series of A/B tests. Rather than testing button colors and headline placements, however, you should consider testing key personalization and real-time marketing concepts. Here are 3 simple ideas to help you get started:
1 - Test the Timing of Real-Time Messages
In marketing, timing is everything—especially for complex B2B sales processes. Target your audiences with sales-heavy messages at key ‘consideration’ stages of the buyer’s journey, and you’ll risk turning prospects away. Send a message that isn’t assertive enough, however, and your audiences may overlook your full spectrum of capabilities.
With so many intricacies at play, how do you balance the right combination of variables?
A solid A/B testing strategy can help you arrive at the right answer. When in doubt about the timing of your message, test out a few different options. Try different messages with different degrees of “assertiveness” timed to coincide with key actions taken by visitors on your site.
Your A/B testing strategy should help you identify immediate tactics that achieve long-term benefits. Look for hidden opportunities, be creative in your tests, and be open to disproving your assumptions.
2 - Test Different Value Propositions for Lead Gen Content “Magnets”
Are your best lead gen magnets such as e-books, infographics, whitepapers and guides performing as well as they did in the past?
If your answer is “no,” don’t worry. The content marketing ecosystem is flooded with information, and companies are competing for the same eyeballs. Not to mention, your most engaged audiences have likely read all your best content assets already.
How do you replenish your content supply without breaking the bank?
The answer is simple: focus on optimizing what you already have.
Take a look at some of your most popular pieces of content from the last year or so. Then, analyze which of your customers have downloaded and utilized these resources most successfully. Look into your CRM system, if you can, to see which leads who downloaded different content assets have turned into opportunities and closed/won business. And you may also want to conduct a few qualitative interviews to get these insights. In this case, focus on how they describe your value proposition based on what they read.
Then use these insights to test out different value proposition messaging and imagery by running A/B tests on landing pages, blog pages and other places with content registration calls-to-action (CTAs) on your site.
3 - Test Personalized Experiences
This A/B test—or series of A/B tests—may be the most challenging on your list to execute. But if your company is still delivering one-size-fits-all experiences to your digital audiences, it’s also one of the most crucial steps that you can take to improve your marketing results.
Buyers, especially in a B2B context, have strong filters in place. How else can they deal with the mountains of emails and blog content they receive each day?
One way to circumvent the ‘information overload’ challenge is to only deliver content and experiences that your audiences want and are relevant. To accomplish this goal, you’ll want to take the following initial steps:
- Define your customer personas
- Map out those personas’ buyer journeys
- Produce a list of content assets that you have or need that are relevant to each persona and buyer’s journey stage
(For more on persona development, here’s an article on a storytelling blueprint approach.)
Persona development, journey mapping and content cataloging are key ingredients for a successful personalization strategy. You can start with a basic program and get great conversion results, and get granular as you continue to learn more and evolve. This article will then be a good next resource to provide a number of key considerations for personalization for B2B marketers.
The beauty of these A/B testing ideas is that they are straightforward to execute. You don’t need a hefty budget, lots of person-power, or complicated technology to get started. Take small steps, and you’ll be surprised to see how much you can accomplish in 2016 to advance your demand generation program.