Sitecore DMS Quick Win #4 – Engagement Automation

Aaron Branson
January 15, 2014
Sitecore , Digital Marketing

In part 4 of this series, titled "5 Quick Wins with Sitecore DMS" we're going to talk about how you can scale your efforts way up without needing an army of marketers. The key is Engagement Automation – being able to establish predefined sets of conditions and actions that determine the engagement experience for each individual customer.

1:1 Marketing on a Mass Marketing Scale

By creating an Engagement Plan you can automate the entire process of communicating with a customer on a personal level based on the actions they've taken, the content they've seen, and if/when they return to the website. I actually wrote a post about Sitecore Engagement Automation back in May 2012 when the product was very new. But this is definitely worth visiting because DMS was perhaps too new back then – and now the business environment is ready for it.

Automating Campaign Engagement

Let's try a common digital marketing campaign example. We have a product to sell and to promote its value we've written a detailed whitepaper that will give customers great insight into leveraging the product to optimize ROI. So, we think up a campaign to promote the whitepaper. In exchange for downloading the whitepaper, we hope to "engage" these prospects and eventually convert them to customers who have purchased our product. To engage them, we'll need to know who they are, so we ask them to register for the whitepaper. So far, so good, right? What we've described (in more detail) looks something like this:

Sitecore DMS Quick Win Engagement Plans

This is all well and good, assuming the prospect walks right through our campaign perfectly from start to finish. But what about the 90% that won't? Do we lose them? Do we treat them the same as everybody else? The answer to both questions is "NO!" So, let's look at that campaign action "Enroll user in Engagement Plan" and see what our possibilities are there.

Catch Unique User Scenarios with Engagement Plans

Once a user is enrolled in an engagement plan, marketers can design how we communicate and engage the audience through the website, through email and perhaps other digital media. In this situation above, by triggering the DMS Campaign, we enroll the user in Engagement Plan – let's call it our "Whitepaper" engagement plan. So even if the user does not follow through with the form submission, we have made Sitecore aware of this user and to treat them a little differently. Some options include:

  1. If the user has NOT triggered the "Registered" goal, let's pick various components throughout the website to show call-to-action (CTA) messages reminded them of the whitepaper.
  2. Let's wait 5 days and check if the user has registered. If not, let's show a CTA message with a special incentive such as a free trial of the product.
  3. If the user HAS triggered the "Registered" goal, let's use those same components to show CTA messages that encourage them to share the good news about the whitepaper to their colleagues via social media.
  4. For the registered user, let's also wait 5 days and if they haven't come back to purchase (to be defined by triggering a "purchase" goal), let’'s email them a limited time discount offer to encourage them to come back.

As you can imagine, the combination of conditions, checking intervals, and actions can vary greatly. By carefully sketching out your engagement plan on paper, PowerPoint, Visio or whatever, you can then build a clear engagement plan in Sitecore.

Start Small!

It's easy to let your imagination run with the possibilities and quickly over-complicate the engagement plan to the point you're not sure how to implement it. Just like anything else, it takes practice and experiencing it. To keep this a "quick win", I recommend starting a very simple engagement plan just for the sake of practice. It could be as simple as having Sitecore send you an email every time a very specific goal on the website has been achieved. That's it: one condition and one action. Take a look below. This is a real-life engagement plan in place that is triggered if a "campaign" is hit and then simply sends an email to the marketer behind the campaign.

Sitecore DMS Quick Wins Engagement Plans

Get Started!

Working with Engagement Plans may seem overwhelming at first glance when you open up the Sitecore Marketing Center. If you take your time and start small, you'll have the best chances for success. And of course, if you need to start big, then give us a call and we can help.

Now, let's move on to Sitecore DMS Quick Win #5 – Multivariate Testing.

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