By 4 months ago in B3labs Development Sitecore

Are you using Sitecore to its full potential?

Branded3 has always been focused on delivering great user experiences that lead to real business results, and this is now even more important because of changes in the SEO landscape around engagement and experience signals.

One of our preferred CMS platforms at the moment is Sitecore, because working to its tagline “Own the experience”, its feature set and tools mean that a visit on site can be personalised by user interaction. One thing that we discovered very recently however is that only around 10% of Sitecore license holders use the the platform to the full extent of its capabilities, meaning a whopping 90% are missing out on a major opportunity to convert visitors into customers.

Sitecore DMS

The Digital Marketing Suite (or DMS) is the wrapper for all of the different features of Sitecore working together from its MVT, personalisation, email marketing and campaign management.

Engagement Analytics Database

First step is to ensure that you have the analytics database enabled. Chances are it is, but you never know and if you’ve never seen or used the personalisation or MVT option in the content editor then it probably isn’t enabled. The analytics database is the starting point of all of the engagement features.

Campaign Management

This is a key one for stepping up the user engagement process and involves setting up campaigns with Sitecore and planning out where the touch points are within the campaign such as landing pages, goals. A campaign within Sitecore doesn’t have to be just on-site too, there are social media enhancements and the email marketing tool which will append tracking information to URLs so that you can track the entire campaign journey and where people move on your site following their first point of contact.

Content Profiling and Pattern Matching

One of the simplest forms of personalisation can be achieved using profile cards and pattern matching. Starting off with a few profile cards means you can get some basic personalisation going, for example, let’s say you have a large banner area at the top of your site and you have blog/news content, you could add categorisation profile cards to each post such as “Market trends” or “Business Information”.

Then, by tagging articles accordingly you can change the main banner based on which article type they looked at and perhaps even prompt them to get in touch if they were reading about your business.

Engagement Value

One of the major signals that search engines (primarily Google!) are looking for is the level of engagement and in Sitecore they have given the ability to put a numeric value against each engagement to allow you to quantify just how valuable a customers visit is.

So this means you should be looking beyond the volume of traffic and pages visited but what customers are doing on the pages and what they are interacting with. So make sure that any goals or events have a sensible values and work to a scale (standard Sitecore example shown).

sitecore-engagement

Engagement Plans

One of the really interesting things within Sitecore is the ability to monitor someone’s visit throughout the site and depending on their actions, move them through an engagement plan, this might be dropping them an email when they’ve completed a form, changing their status within your tracking, right through to giving them a visible banner or content badge on site for being a “Content hunter” if they read 10 articles.

Executive Dashboard

Once you start getting your data, you will want to analyse it to see how people are engaging with your site, which content pieces are great and which aren’t, and most of all formulate a plan on adapting these items to make them more engaging and therefore effective. The executive dashboard gives you information about traffic sources of your visitors, the pages they are viewing and the engagement value they are producing; remember – it’s not just about the number of pages in a visit any more, but the value of the engagement on your site.

Summary

If you are paying for a Sitecore license then you should definitely ensure you are getting the use of it! Branded3 can work with your existing Sitecore partner to identify opportunities to make sure both you and your site visitors are getting the best out of the platform.  Branded3 has had some great experience with clients to build a whole engagement strategy which focuses not only with on-site activity using Sitecore, but also off-site activity such as SEO and content publishing, so using Sitecore for these experiences means you can track, engage and optimise at every touch point of the journey.

By Steven Shaw. at 10:51AM on Monday, 24 Mar 2014

One of the first students to ever graduate from Bradford University's Cybernetics & Virtual Systems course; Steve has transferred his winning enthusiasm to Branded3, becoming our Head of Digital six years ago. Progressing with the evolving digital environment, Steve is a skilled expert in Microsoft development .NET, and PHP Open Source; always aspiring to build upon his expanse of knowledge and find the right solutions for our clients. Follow Steven Shaw on Twitter.

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