It’s a common problem for organisations who have invested in Sitecore that they have not been able to start to use the exciting personalisation features that come with the solution. Here at Appius we have spoken with plenty of them. Here's a simple 4 step process that will help you to develop your first Sitecore personalisation pilot, with tips on how to make sure it can be immediately implemented and measured.
Step 1 – Analyse and review objectives
Take a moment to identify some objectives that are really important within your digital channel, and some outcomes that would prove the value of Sitecore and the effort to fully use its capabilities. Where are you losing most visitors in your website journeys? What type of lead or outcome would be good for a pilot that needs clear quantifiable results to create a model you can apply to other objectives? Don't get too hung up on this being too complete - you only need 1-3 of these to be working with.
Step 2 – Create some Personas with their online goals
Create some Personas that are really important to you and fit with the objectives or areas of the site that were identified in Step 1. These don't need to cover every type of visitor to your site, but do need to be identifiable in some way - the campaign that brings them to the site, the pages they are looking at. These might be roles or sectors for your target audience, or might even be associated with a particular product or service. Sitecore doesn't mind if a user fits with multiple Personas.
Step 3 – Create a User Journey or Engagement Funnel for one or more of your Personas
Taking one or more of your Personas, take them through a journey through your website and digital experience. The journey should start outside of the website with a campaign, email, natural search or referring site. Remind yourself of Sitecore's personalisation options and capabilities. Plan to associate the user with a Persona in the journey and also where you might apply personalisation, split testing, data capture and follow-up emails. Mark out what new content and calls to action might be needed. You can alternatively do these as engagement funnels if you want to think more in terms of moving lots of users from one stage to another e.g. from Attract, to Interact, to Data Exchange and then to Convert.
Step 4 – Conduct a pilot campaign
Pick your favourite user journey or engagement funnel from Step 3 and make it a pilot for your use of Sitecore. This might be your favourite because of the potential value of the outcome or ease of implementation - or both! Make sure you know exactly how you are going to measure success and prove the value of your pilot before you start - both in terms of Sitecore's own analytics but also other key sources of analytics like Google Analytics or your email platform (if you aren't sending email from Sitecore itself). If you can't track it, don't do it or make it part of your pilot when you are in the business of proving the value of the effort you are about to apply. Once you know the bigger picture of how you will track results, you'll need to create some Sitecore Personas, associated Profile Cards and Pattern Cards and any required and Sitecore campaign IDs before you start. These configurations need to support everything you need to gather to be able to personalise, and all the elements of tracking that you need to do with Sitecore and you might use to implement personalisation and marketing automation in the future.
Here at Appius we have delivered engagement marketing consultancy for customers across a wide range of sectors, including B2B and B2C strategies. We hope this simple 4 step process might help you start the most exciting part of your Sitecore journey.
Would you like help with this from a specialist Sitecore agency? We have a simple Sitecore Engagement Marketing Accelerator package where we can facilitate the 4 step process with workshops and specialist team members at your disposal - once we have got you through your first pilot it will be our aim to make sure you and your team can complete the next one without us.
Please get in touch with our Digital Strategy Director Sarah Woolven by email, phone on 01202 553744 or contact us via our website to find out more. With an informal discussion we can take stock of where you are at with your version of Sitecore so far, and give you some free initial advice based on your particular current situation and objectives.