Moving Back to Basics

There are lots of great ideas and trends that will grow and develop in 2019. And lots of people will write about them. Not us. In 2019 we suggest taking a step back to consider the foundation of your Sitecore instance and the basic tasks that may have been overlooked. Our experience with dozens of clients on Sitecore points to five areas where a “back to basics” focus in 2019 will help many marketing departments.

Engagement Value

Sitecore introduced the concept of Engagement Value to help measure the quality of a customer visit, by assigning a numeric value to the micro conversions users experience as they travel through the customer funnel. Engagement Value weights goals, events, and outcomes (and by extension pages and content) and prioritizes them, allowing you to measure a complex set of interactions across your website and gain a more complete understanding of impact. As a bonus, the improvements to design and content from using Engagement Values will mean your marketing budget will be spent more wisely. 
Engagement Value is a foundational part of Sitecore Marketing; many pieces of Sitecore analytics and functionality are improved by (or outright reliant on) Engagement Value, including A/B Testing, Path Analyzer, and Audience Segments. One of the best things any organization can do in 2019 is take the time to develop, implement, and consistently apply an Engagement Value scale. If you already have one in place, 2019 is an excellent time to review it and make sure that your Engagement Value scale still reflects both the goals of your business and the path that your customers are on. 

Personalization

From a contextual marketing perspective, personalization is one of the strongest tools in the marketing toolbox. The ability to provide specific information to specific visitors based on actions they take on your website (or their entry point, or where in the world they are browsing from) is essential. Not only does it provides a better customer experience, but it opens opportunities for conversion and higher ROI by making the most out of a website’s points of contact. 

No matter where you are in your strategic personalization journey, 2019 is the year to take it up a notch. Those just getting started can benefit from entry page tactics like campaigns and referral sites. Those who are further along can explore personalizing by pattern match or geographic location. Any personalization effort will drive increased content development (different images, different copy, different headlines, different calls-to-action) so it also functions as a de facto testing and optimization system.

Site Reorganization

Like a big closet, a website can end up with things in corners where they shouldn’t be. Particularly if your company is considering an upgrade, an SXA rewrite, or an expansion of Sitecore Marketing capabilities, investing in the organizational structure of your Sitecore instance is a prudent choice. A few quick ways to accomplish this:

Naming Conventions - From your Content Tree to your Media Library, these can save your team an enormous amount of time. Agreeing on and maintaining a repeatable standard for naming Sitecore Items, Images, Forms, etc. means that your team can spend less time finding things and more time building things. 

Folder Structure – There’s no time like the present to review the folder structures in your instance. Make sure that they are clearly named and functional – it’s a great opportunity to use naming conventions or to rethink the information architecture. Again, having a clear system where images or campaigns are labeled and stored can add up to huge time savings for your team. 

Mobile 

More than 50% of all website traffic worldwide came from mobile phones in 2018. Placing importance and focus on mobile helps improve UX, reduce unnecessary elements, and make better use of available space. 

We find there is plenty of room to rethink the user experience of mobile and tablets, even if the site is already responsive. Links need to become buttons. Click-to-call needs to be tagged properly instead of relying on the mobile OS (Apple=good, Android=not so good). Top navs need to be ruthlessly reduced to increase usable space. And just because your components are stacked well for desktop doesn’t mean they should be in the same order on mobile. Turn off your monitor for 2 hours and experience your site on mobile; we guarantee you’ll find at least 20 things you’ll want to change.

Languages

Did you know that Sitecore is outstanding at handling multiple languages? Nothing is more welcoming for a visitor than seeing their native language as an option. In the US, for example, 13% of residents speak Spanish as their first language. In Canada, 7.2 million people speak French as their first language. The tools for extracting, translating, and updating language variants are outstanding (check out our own Avtor as an example) and 3rd party modules from translation services are mature and efficient.

In 2019 consider leveraging a core strength of Sitecore and expanding your appeal to an international prospect or customer base. While maintaining a second or third language clearly adds scope to your website, it will be a lot easier to implement than you realize when you have Sitecore.

 At Hedgehog, we live and breathe for this. Let us know what plans lie ahead for your team in 2019!

Keep in Touch and Stay Informed

Get updates, industry reports, white papers and more Hedgehog love.