Sitecore is a very powerful, integrated platform with a broad set of capabilities, each of which can be extensively configured to craft exceptional digital experiences and highly effective marketing campaigns.
Teams select Sitecore because they get excited about its potential, but then don’t always take advantage of the fire power they now have access to. It’s not uncommon for digital marketing functions to never exploit advanced features such as personalization, marketing automaton or advanced analytics.
Sitecore and partners like Cylogy are aware of this and are keen to make sure everybody gets the very best out of the platform. The reasons why teams don’t do more with Sitecore include resourcing issues, a lack of training and even a little reticence about the effort involved; but with a little planning it’s actually far easier to start using Sitecore’s more advanced features than people think.
The power of personalization
One area where we see such potential is personalization. This capability, more than any other, is where Sitecore excels. A personalized digital experience has many advantages from meeting customer expectations to increasing conversions. But for us, the most exciting impact of personalization is felt over the medium to long-term. When done right, personalization is an ingredient that increases customer loyalty, with a subtle impact on the way site visitors and customers feel about your brand.
Personalization also has a positive impact on the digital marketing teams who work with it. For example, starting out on a personalization journey is also a great way to explore the other capabilities of Sitecore. You’ll get to know the platform and ideas will fill your head about where you can go next. In particular, analytics and personalization go hand-in-hand and the potential for marketing automation will also become clearer.
Six steps to kick start your personalization journey
Sitecore says “Think personalization is beyond your reach? Think again. The key is to simply get started.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are six steps that we’ve seen Cylogy customers follow to get started out on personalization.
1. Make the commitment
Digital marketing teams get REALLY busy. As a general rule, the more successful and impactful they are the busier they get, and it is really easy for the entire day to get swallowed up by calls, meetings, “urgent” content demands, firefighting, hand holding and replying to emails. Deeper, strategic activity can get put on the back burner.
The important thing is to make the commitment to get started. Personalizing experiences can make a big difference with your customers so it’s really worth spending some time on setting it up. Get your team and your boss enthused about the possibilities. Then carve some time out in your calendar in order to make it happen.
2. Make a plan
Actually, you need to do more than carve out calendar time – you need to formulate and commit to a more structured plan. This means thinking about the steps described below and then putting in some realistic timelines and how you intend to review and improve your personalization set-up; consider running some kind of improvement process regularly over six months or so.
3. Get the knowledge and confidence behind you
Getting started with personalization can be a learning curve. If you’re new to it, you’ll need to spend time to understand it as well as how you actually configure Sitecore. Thankfully there’s a good deal of resources – many provided by Sitecore themselves – as well as people who can help you. We regularly hold sessions with clients to help them get started with personalization. Of course, as you start experimenting with personalization that builds up your knowledge and confidence too.
4. Identify the obvious use cases that have value
We can guarantee there will be some use cases for personalization that will make sense and have obvious value. Some of these may be logical, for example displaying address or contact details based on the location of the user or welcoming first time visitors with targeted information.
Sitecore has issued a good whitepaper which lists some of the “low hanging fruit”. Identifying obvious and straightforward use cases which have real value means that you will be starting off with something that will be easier to implement, that your boss buys into and that will have more chance of succeeding.
5. Implement your first steps with personalization
It’s time to implement your first piece of personalization on your website. Good luck!
6. Review, improve, repeat
Personalization is very much a learning journey and best done through an iterative process where you review the success of your previous effort through analytics and reporting, make any necessary tweaks and then assess the impact. And then you repeat this process again. This not only improves your personalization’s effectiveness but also ensures you learn as you go. With a regular process in place you can then also start to add more personalization options in the same way you continue to improve your content marketing.
Just getting started? Get in touch!
We’re passionate about everyone getting the very best out of Sitecore. We think personalization is a great first step to leveraging the power of the platform. An iterative process from which teams learn what works and what doesn’t is the best approach, helping to develop knowledge and confidence. If you’re just getting started and need any help or advice, then get in touch!