November 27, 2013
This is Part 2 in a series, titled "5 Quick Wins with Sitecore DMS". In my previous post, I introduced the challenges I've seen as organizations begin to discover and integrate these new digital marketing capabilities into their customer engagement strategies. Sitecore DMS Quick Win #1 was "Knowledge is Power: Engagement Analytics". If you've gotten that one under your belt, I'd suggest you are ready for Quick Win #2.
No Longer One Size Fits All: Rule-Based Personalization
As web marketers, we have to break the old habit of thinking of our website's design and particularly, the content, as one that has to be compromised to speak to our entire audience, each segment. You now have the freedom to tailor a single page to any number of unique audience segments based on many factors such as:
• Who they are (i.e. Business Name associated with IP or known user via email subscription or login)
• Where they are (i.e. Geographic location as broad as country or as specific as zip code)
• Why they're here (i.e. what search phrase led them to your website)
• How they got here (i.e. what other website had a link that brought them here)
• ...Even what they've done while they're here. (i.e. which pages have they read, documents have they downloaded, forms have they filled out)
These conditions can be factors on which you, as the web marketer, can present different (personalized) content to the user that is more relevant than the traditional single version of content that attempts to broadly address any user within your audience. And this ability to personalize results in a more relevant conversation that should lead to higher engagement levels (i.e. lead generation, quote requests, purchases, subscriptions, etc.).
Personalization can be complex! So, as a "quick win", we're focusing on a particular type of personalization called Rule-Based Personalization.
Low Hanging Fruit
Let's start with something simple. Generally, a homepage has a primary feature area that conveys an important message, value proposition, or specific offer. I suggest you think about that offer and how you would change it based on these conditions:
- What if you knew the visitor was from a specific geographic location? Would you show them a more relevant offer? Or perhaps hide the offer if it didn't apply to people in their state?
- What if you knew the visitor had come from a particular website (i.e. a specific partner website)? Would that imply they were interested in another product offer than the one you are currently featuring?
- What if you knew what search phrase they typed into a search engine that led them to your homepage? Would you show them the product or service that was included in that search phrase?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say the answer was "Yes!" So, let's personalize this homepage feature content. Here are the basic steps that you, as a web marketer (not a developer!), can manage this.
NOTE: Your Sitecore website must be implemented correctly – meaning leveraging Page Editor, Page Designer and be architected to leverage components – for this to work as illustrated below.
Step 1 - Create Alternate Content
For your homepage feature to be personalized, you first need to create this alternate content you may want to show. Using the example of personalization based on geography, create a feature that is more relevant to the particular region (country/state/city/zip) that you are targeting. The screenshot below is an example of feature content intended for website visitors in the city of St. Louis. Your website content structure will differ.
Step 2 – Personalize Your Component
With your alternate content available now, access your homepage via Page Editor and click your feature content component. Select the Personalize icon and you'll be able to add a condition and choose the content it should display when it is true.
Step 3 – Publish!
It's not called a quick win for nothing! That's essentially it. With your feature content and homepage published, users from that particular geographic location are now automatically seeing more relevant content. This is just the start of great things to come – hopefully this sparks some ideas.
Stay tuned for Quick Win #3 regarding Campaign Management that will help you better measure the ROI of each targeted marketing effort.
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