A Golden Roadmap for 2015: Quarter Two

Jason Sindel Jason Sindel
May 28, 2015
Web Strategy , Digital Marketing

Last December, I wrote about the best path for digital maturity via a Digital Roadmap, i.e. those foundational things all digital marketers should focus on in order to kick start their digital marketing efforts.

The Golden Roadmap for Q1 was all about analytics and content strategy, Q2 will build upon and expand on it, learning off your analytics and establishing quick wins for your marketing and sales departments. If you haven’t already taken the Sitecore CX Assessment, now’s a good time to do so to find and set the tone for appreciable organizational change. In addition, with the data you’ve collected from Q1, you should be able to build a customer journey map that shows all the pain points and current road blocks in the customer experience. These are simple user stories that communicate to your company how your customers interact with your website every day. For Q2, here’s what the focus should be on:

Q2: Mobilize, Test and Optimize

Quick Win #1: Mobile Optimization

There are many options for mobile optimization. For a major win without a huge investment look into a site-wide retrofit in a responsive framework. Roundedcube offers a service that re-uses the desktop design and formats existing content for phones or you can focus your attentions on your homepage, your campaign landing pages and your lead generation forms and build mobile optimized layouts for those crucial pages for mobile devices. Not every page requires mobilization so if you have to pick and choose, choose wisely. Take the Google Mobility test to learn the basics: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.

Quick Win #2: Create a data model for your User Profiles

This is where you’re analytics and your actionable data meet. Start by defining a basic user in broad terms on your site and break down those users in a few easy buckets. Start counting: 

  • Mobile users vs. Desktop – What content do mobile users want to access and is this different than your desktop audience? 
  • Indicators of interest: Products/services or topics
  • Usage patterns based on their site paths.
  • Are your users predominantly:
    • Information Seekers
    • Comparative Shoppers
    • Deal Hunters
  • Are there regional/demographic characteristics that effect purchase/conversion?
  • What content do they share, comment on, and download?
Quick Win #3: Implement the Very Basic Profile (VBP) so that registration requires email only

Beta sites gain a customer database by offering simple registration, remember how Gmail grew its user base from 0 to millions in a week? Why require a username and password just to send a newsletter or a weekly digest. Instead, use email as the only registration requirement, then validate the user through a triggered email. This allows you to recognize that user through the link, cookie their identity and step them through full registration at your leisure and more importantly at their convenience. No need to hit them with full registration and another user name and password until they want to complete an action like change email subscriptions or make a purchase. Any click through on the site’s triggered email should allow you to pre-fill any further forms out automatically as well, so that email is always pre-populated and the additional info required, like name and address is that much easier to complete. The real value here is that the VBP will help you implement personalized content and track usage profiles right away.

All this requires a bit of back-end work, but the quick win here is too remove the blockers that users have to start a profile or get content. Make it easy and make it quick, then build on the profile later through a series of engagement plans. Social sign-on can provide you with a wealth of information for VPB users and later the profile can consume CRM data after a match has been made.

Quick Win #4: A/B your way to an optimized homepage

Let’s start with the most popular destination on your website-- your homepage. Content here should be refreshed at least monthly and your message should improve over time. One way to do this is run simple A/B tests using native functionality in more advanced CMS like Sitecore or Kentico, although manual tests can provide just as much information. To start with tweak the hero content to find the most compelling combination of copy and visuals, then address the most important call-to-actions (CTAs). Color, font and messaging should all be part of your tool set. A competent designer should provide you with at least two versions of everything- keep it simple at first to eliminate the variables. Make sure these CTAs are vetted for SEO, although it’s more important they are effective for users than optimized for bots. If there’s gated content that is highly valued, consider putting it within reach of either a VBP registration or limited guest access right from the homepage. There’s value in learning what users will and will not register for.

Quick Win #5 Personalize your homepage and landing pages

The messaging on your homepage and your campaign landing pages should not be one-size fits all. First, your market research and your sales team should be telling you what customers are most interested in and it’s up to you listen. Take your homepage hero content allow for clear self-selection for interest by providing options that funnel your customers into product categories. Next customize the homepage to reflect that interest within the next visit. Sitecore allows you to create rules-based personalization based on how they got to the website so a simple set of social media campaigns can form the basis for capturing interest based on diverse messaging. Homepage content should reflect a consistent messaging from campaign CTA to the landing page for conversion. Take advantage of beta audiences to test these messages and a combination of personalized content with A/B test can optimize any campaign so you can plan an email or longer-tail Ad Words campaign.

Next are a few Long tail efforts that will help you keep on the roadmap for Q3 and Q4.

Long Tail #1 Foster a “test culture” and push some boundaries

There’s no value in finding out your digital maturity only to maintain the status quo. Push developers, designers and content managers to continually test and re-test content by producing variations and rotating messages. In order to hit your road map, you’ll need to foster a culture that values experimentation and tolerates change. Your secret weapons are your data and your results so make sure you track campaigns and A/B tests rigorously and then communicate often to your major stakeholders.

Long Tail #2 Promote internally

Create a series of simple “updates” that graphically demonstrate these marketing efforts for the company as a whole. Elicit feedback and then share that feedback. Make sure that the overall mission of “Improving Customer Experience” is understood across the organization.

These efforts represent the tip of the iceberg of the types of digital marketing experiences you should be working towards. Treat the entire enterprise as an exploration and don’t be afraid to fail. Most of these can be accomplished through custom code, in the case of Customer Experience Platforms like Sitecore and Kentico EMS, these can be done natively with little code. For more information on how to turn your CMS into a CXM, contact us today.

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