by the numbers
of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.
of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant.
of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchasing.
Positive customer experiences start with relevant content and seamless interactions. Providing contextual experiences that are tailored to each individual customer are absolutely necessary for modern businesses. The goal is to provide contextual information along with tailored, focused help and support along the customer journey. Providing the right information to the right person at the right time can have an extremely positive effect on customers.
Personas are the foundation to most web personalization tactics, especially in Sitecore. Recognizing the substantial value differences between visitor personas can inform landing pages and data collection practices. Profiles and patterns can be complicated to grasp and control, but they’re incredibly helpful on the journey. Visitors are real people, so it’s not possible to fit all of them into a subset of predefined boxes. Adjusting from a strategy that matches visitors to a specific pattern to a strategy that allows visitors to define their own interests and fine-tuning for that over time by measuring the rates at which patterns are matched by actual visitors is ideal. Creating a true picture of a customer base, as well as customers individually, requires patience, high attention to detail, and most importantly, flexibility. For more on this, read our post What to Think When Developing Profiles and Patterns in Sitecore.
The Basics of Sitecore Personalization
Personalizing the customer experience is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Setting up your software using customer-centric data and visitor preferences will likely lead to short term success. Long term strategies require tweaking, analysis and vigilance to produce the best results while keeping costs down. This requires vision and commitment, and the process begins with building a solid analytics foundation that can grow it into a robust and flexible program. Technology alone is not enough; the overall success of a personalization based marketing strategy relies on taking your entire digital ecosystem into account. Everything from your website to social media will be impacted by the planning, tests and execution required by the journey ahead.
Implement a handful of entry page tactics and start testing. Get a feel for it. Ultimately you’re driving customers to conversion points so you should see some impact and results from this. Set up goals and engagement value starting just with major conversion points.
Analyze the tactics from January. Create profile personalization tactics; based on relevant pattern matches, you’re now showing your audience more relevant content.
Implement 2 engagement plans. Gather all the data from Q1 and build a plan around that data in Sitecore to test around and measure the results. Review and tweak the tactics from March.
Analyze your engagement plans for improvement. This isn’t a process that you can ‘set and forget’. This is the time to figure out whether your tactics have worked to boost engagement and conversions. If they have, great – time to step it up. If they haven’t, time to reassess.
It’s time to put all the pieces together. You want to expand engagement plans to align with our profiling strategy. Now that you’ve had a whole quarter to analyze the profiling data and engagement plans, it’s time to combine the two. They’re great separately, but the gold standard is these two working in concert to attract not just groups of people, but specific users.
Time for marketing automation. Having combined profiles and engagement plans and with the analytics up and working, and with personalization tactics layered into profiles and engagement plans, you’ve got a full website strategy in place. Now it’s time to consider how the website can assist with efficiency, and the answer to that is automation.
Take a vacation. Just kidding. Now is when you want to look at analytics to make sure that your engagement scales match the results you expect, and continue to create content for your audience.
Analyze everything you’ve done for the first 3 quarters. Rinse, wash, repeat. Go through your profiles and patterns and analytics to begin establishing a marketing plan for next year. How can you take it up another notch?
Set up your plan for next year. You’ve learned what worked and what didn’t; now you throw out what didn’t work and figure how to expand and improve what did work.
Start gearing up for next year. If you read this in 2017, you’re might be super stressed about 2018. You want to do as much work as you can in 2017 so you’re not as stressed about 2018. You’ll thank us later.
Sitecore Case Studies
Two Roads Hospitality
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At Hedgehog, Sitecore is firmly in our wheelhouse; we’re a Gold Implementation Partner with 7 MVPs on staff and a long history of creating dynamic and flexible Sitecore websites for our clients. We specialize in implementing powerful solutions at every level of complexity. Our combination of deep technical expertise and proven processes result in solutions that exceed expectations, every time.
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