How to increase website conversions with personalization (+ examples)
[UPDATED] Originally published on November 22, 2019
Many B2B marketing teams oversimplify website conversions. They calculate their conversion rates with a simple formula like this one:
You see this kind of metric on marketing dashboards everywhere, reporting on conversion for goals like free trials or account signups, demo requests, or eBook downloads — based on how many people saw your marketing (like a webpage, ad, email, etc.) and then took the desired action.
But you’re not trying to convince every single person who saw that marketing message. You’re trying to convert specific segments.
It’s marketing gospel that one message does not fit all. But in too many of our marketing channels, we continue to operate — and evaluate — for the masses instead of focusing on specific, ideal audiences.
Blanket conversion metrics can lead you astray. To focus on your target prospects, bake quality standards into performance measurement and use a website personalization strategy to get higher-value conversions.
Rethink the catchall website conversion equation
Catchall conversion thinking sets you up to optimize your website for the wrong crowd. Trying to improve an overall conversion rate for a bulk audience means you’re likely letting the behavior of bad leads, or the wrong type of leads, dictate your plans for site improvement. It’s the pursuit of a suboptimal goal, which sets the whole ship off course.
Imagine your business is targeting enterprise customers as you make the transition upmarket. One month, you check the metrics for your website and notice that signups have increased significantly, but they’re almost entirely from SMB customers. So, website conversions are way up but from a segment that is no longer the focus of your business. This mismatch causes costly downstream effects, from diverting the efforts of sales and success to smaller-than-ideal accounts to failing to gain traction with the segments you’re pursuing to hit revenue goals.
If you could see how enterprise leads behaved on your site, you’d probably start problem-solving in a different way, building a different website experience for this smaller, more focused subset of visitors.
Read: The what, why, and how of B2B customer segmentation
Add a quality filter to measure website conversion
To break down how you think about lead conversion, it may be helpful to think in terms of the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Whatever the actual figures are — if the great majority of your productivity, revenue, and impact comes from specific segments, it doesn’t make sense to try to appeal to and move a number for 100% of everyone at once who visits your website.
First, you need to be able to identify anonymous website visitors at some level to measure conversion for specific target segments (and personalize your site for those segments). With a reverse-IP lookup solution like Clearbit Reveal, you can identify companies browsing your site and zoom in on target segments based on firmographic details like company size, industry, location, or company name.
This revealed information enables you to get a sense of quality and quantity. You can now dig into the behavior of a more targeted group of inbound prospects, the ones who get the most value from your product and bring your business the most value.
Your new conversion formula could then look like this:
# of conversions/ # of a certain type of high-value visitors
Learn how to tell if your marketing is on the right track and improve marketing ROI.
Home in on high-value visitors via website personalization
By focusing on target audiences and setting better conversion goals for your website, it’s easier to see that a generic website strategy doesn’t cut it. Instead, you can work toward those goals by personalizing the site experience for those audiences and gathering better signals for measuring performance and making further improvements.
Read: A guide to building your website personalization strategy
Customize key sections of your website
Personalize key elements of your marketing site (like the headline or customer logos) for your ideal customer segments. This approach improves the chances of your message resonating with them — all from the very first visit, right when their motivation is highest and without the friction of requiring them to fill out any forms.
Livestorm, which makes a webinar software, needed to talk to two different groups: startups or smaller companies and enterprise companies. As growth engineer Thibaut Davoult says, “They're so different that it’s not possible to have one website that addresses all these needs.”
Using Clearbit Reveal and the personalization software Mutiny, Livestorm served up a tailored experience for enterprise visitors to its site. By customizing the homepage messaging to larger companies and steering enterprise leads to sales by removing pricing, Livestorm tripled enterprise signups and increased deal size. Plus, as Thibaut reports, this personalized website experience paved the way to better sales conversations.
Focused conversion improvements also add up. When the product analytics company Amplitude personalized its website for key segments of its broad customer base of different company sizes and industries — it saw its overall sitewide conversion rate increase by 40%.
Personalize the buyer journey through automation
B2B companies often provide a “choose your own adventure” experience, where customers have to self-select an appropriate path. Prospective buyers have to choose a button to click: the free trial for a self-serve experience versus a CTA for a demo request to get a higher-touch treatment. Or they have to get to the right industry-specific or enterprise landing page from the homepage.
Depending on your business model, it may make sense to automate some of these choices by deliberately creating fewer opportunities for people to drop off, choose incorrectly, or for bad leads to never get into high-touch funnels in the first place.
A common, non-personalized example of this type of design in action is a B2B website that only accepts work email addresses since there’s a higher chance that someone is a qualified lead if they’re not using a throwaway email address or their personal account.
Another simple personalization example with a sophisticated twist comes from video collaboration software company Frame.io. The company saw a lot of visitors defaulting to the lowest-tier plan, so it made a subtle tweak to its signup flow to automatically shuttle prospects into the correct pricing and service tier. From the moment leads get onto the signup form, they’re set for a trial of the right-size plan based on company size.
With just half an hour of work to make this change, Frame.io raised the number of the higher-tier “Team plan” signups by 7%. “In the grand scheme of things that doesn’t sound crazy big,” VP of Growth Kyle Gesuelli comments, “but for us, it means over half a million dollars in incremental ARR every year. So 30 minutes for half a million dollars in ARR, I’ll take that every day.”
Without website personalization tactics aimed at specific audience segments, making progress toward business goals like acquiring higher-value accounts is inaccessible.
Enhance the live chat with personalized messaging
Your website’s content isn’t the only thing that can be dynamically personalized. Your live chat can offer a custom experience too. Instead of the usual and impersonal, “How may I help you?”, you can greet visitors with their company name and logo, use a sales rep’s headshot to appear more friendly and human, and share a peer’s case study.
And that is precisely what Chargebee did. Using Reveal and Drift, Chargebee offered personalized live chat on its site. A combination of live chat and website experiences targeted to its enterprise prospects drove up its demo requests by 50%.
“From a conversion point of view, Clearbit helps solve the relevance problem at the source. It helps us prioritize the best kinds of leads, even before lead capture happens, and take them through the best conversion process.” — Shri Mithran former Sr. Manager of Marketing, Chargebee
Read: How Chargebee grew new pipeline by 300% by getting laser-focused on its ideal customer
Website personalization yields better leads and more conversions
Gaining a bunch of new users or new leads who aren’t actually qualified or meaningful for your business is vanity conversion — and such leads can take away resources for growth down the line. As the bestselling author of the book “Atomic Habits,” James Clear, puts it, “What often looks like a problem of goal setting is actually a problem of goal selection. What we really need is not bigger goals, but better focus.”
If you have an ideal customer profile or any other types of target audiences, you won’t be able to reach your marketing goals without focusing on and catering to their specific needs. Select better goals by measuring and building for what actually matters.
Ready to personalize your website to drive more conversions? Learn more about the Clearbit Data Activation Platform!