Digital Marketing | Lars Birkholm Petersen

Category: Digital Marketing

Sitecore Digital Marketing System Execution Strategies

December 31st, 2012 — 10:56am

I was lucky to participate and present in all three Sitecore Symposiums this year, where I met and talked with a lot Sitecore customers and partners. It was really great to hear how our customers are using our platform to grow outcomes of their digital channels.

It was interesting to get feedback in terms of how many are using – and planning to use – our different digital marketing capabilities. These capabilities include testing, personalization and automation.

I spoke with numerous customers who are reflecting on how to use DMS effectively. Across the geographies, personalization, automation, and multi-channel marketing are an entirely new ballgame to many organizations.

The ones that are executing on these capabilities have gained more business value out of their digital solutions.

It’s so easy to get dazzled when you hear how digital mature organizations have improved conversion rates, by using for instance personalization.

We sometimes see that by being dazzled, the focus then becomes “Let’s use personalization”.

However you should always treat personalization or use of other capabilities, as a process towards reaching your goals.

In this post I will share some of the takeaways, from one of my shared Symposium presentations, How to be successful with your Digital Marketing System Implementation in a few simplified steps.

Step 1: Get strategic
Like Paul Arden said “If you don’t have a goal, you can’t score” – so true – also in digital channels.

So before you start diving in to the wonderful world of DMS make sure that you have a Digital Strategy in place. Set clear objectives and make sure they are aligned with your strategic objectives. Your critical KPI’s should not be based on numbers of visitors, page views etc. but focus on actions – conversions – that are relevant for your strategic objectives.

Step 2: Define Engagement Values for your Digital Channels and ensure Data Quality
Sitecore’s concept for Engagement Values is a great dimension to track cross channel outcomes (these outcomes should be related to your Strategic Objectives).

Step 2 on the way to happiness is to make sure to have set Engagement Values on digital goals.

An exercise we often do in order to define the Engagement Value Scale, is to create a pyramid that contains objectives in the form of Digital Goals. The top goals are most important for succeeding with your objectives. Then Engagement Value is set on each goal, according to importance and weight between the goals.

Once the Engagement Value scale is defined, it’s just a matter of creating the goals with the right values.

A part of this step is also defining the critical few KPI’s. You use these for reporting.

We recommend that your captured data has a high quality. Something to consider is to have a structured Marketing Taxonomy in place, so you effectively can track all your multi-channel marketing initiatives.

An additional consideration could be to establish different sets of profiles that will give you valuable information about visitor behavior. Examples of profiles are Personas, Stage in Buyer Journey, Product interest, etc.
(More on profiling in this blog post).

Now you have the foundation to measure qualitative outcome of your digital channels.

Step 3: Use Insights
Besides having access to information about your KPI performance, you should also look at data – not just from a reporting perspective, but dive in – do analysis and find areas to optimize if you have quality data; you have access to a goldmine of insights, like:

  • Which assets are most relevant for Personas A
  • Which keyword does Persona B use to find our site
  • Which Campaigns are giving us most value (in terms of our strategic objectives)
  • Which Marketing Channels are top performers – which are not
  • Which keywords has most potential to be optimized
  • Which pages has most potential to be optimized
  • Etc.
  • Step 4: Optimize
    Based on the insights, there should be plenty of actionable recommendations to work with for optimization – and luckily plenty of integrated tools to help with the execution.

    If you don’t have much experience with optimization then start focus on the low hanging fruit. Here are some considerations for low hanging fruit optimization:

    Start running test on key conversion pages, key real estate – like Call to Actions on most visited pages. Getting more visitors to your conversion pages will optimize conversions and optimizing the conversion pages will add even more on top. Usually a good start is to look at your top landing pages and start running tests on these.

    Start with simple rules based personalization, which could be based on Keywords visitors used to find your site, GEO location, referring sites etc.
    Create Call to Actions that are relevant for those segments and show them on key pages – to move the visitor towards your goals.

    Engagement Automation
    Start with enabling simple engagement plans on for instance Newsletter Subscribe. A simple engagement plan could be a flow of 3 emails being sent over time
    – emails that will educate the subscriber about your brand and services.

    All of these are easy to configure and are supported out of the box, with no need to write any code, implement any tags, etc.

    As you’re getting results and learning what works and what does not work you could move towards more advanced execution strategies. This could be diving in to more advanced multi-channel personalization, which will be the topic of my next post.

    Happy New Year and good luck with getting more business value of your Sitecore solution and please share any insights you come across.

    Comment » | Customer Engagement Platform, Digital Marketing, Digital Marketing System, Online Marketing, Sitecore

    Oh no – can’t see the keywords from Google!

    February 1st, 2012 — 4:58am

    …. And still trying to be relevant for the visitor!

    Back in mid-October 2011 Google made some changes, that will impact the visibility into which keywords, visitors arriving to your website from Google have used. However it will only affect visitors who are logged in using their Google Account to

    The reason for the change is “As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, we recognize the growing importance of protecting the personalized search results we deliver”, quote Evelyn Kao, Product Manager.

    According to Google they expect it to be a single digit percentage of visitors, where you won’t see the keywords. However as the service, is being rolled out to various country sites and with broader adoption of Google+, that percentage could be even higher.

    Reported by different bloggers within the SEO community, the numbers are constantly increasing – reaching double digits for some sites in November and are getting higher share each month.

    So how can it affect you and the Customer Engaging websites, which you are trying to create and maintain?

    First – a really low hanging fruit in Customer Engagement is to use the keywords for personalization, the keywords reveal a lot about user intent, like why is the visitor here, which products/services is interesting, are the visitor just searching or ready to engage?

    Not having the visibility into the keywords (the intent), will make it harder for personalization based on keywords, when all you get is a (not provided) parameter.

    But how could you, as an Interactive Marketer, still try to deliver an Engaging experience for the first time visitor arriving on an entry page, from Google with the keyword (not provided) parameter. The Visitor then clicks on the Home page, what would be an engaging and relevant message here?

    The picture below shows the behavior of the visitor, according to what is stored in your site analytics.
    How can you optimize the engagement for the visitor, coming with (not provided) keyword

    So let’s evaluate which information you have access to:
    - Geo information about the visitor (Country, City etc.)
    - Which entry page the visitor landed on
    - Referrer Search Engine is Google

    This will allow you to create targeted messages based on the entry page, if it’s a specific service – the message could be – “Learn more about why these customers use the specific service”, linking to case studies around that specific service. It could also be combined with the Country or City, which the visitor is located in, so the message becomes “Learn more about why these customers in x country use the specific service”.

    However the more dimensions you bring in play, the more messaging you need to create, analyze, optimize and maintain.

    If you take a look at a specific entry page, just like a page about a specific service – is it clear which intent the visitor could have by looking at this page?

    The clearer the more usage you could have of the above….
    Unclear leads to other ways around to be relevant for the visitor.

    If the entry page drives a lot of traffic to your site and most of that traffic is from Search, then chances is that the Long Tail of keywords, maybe similar to this:
    The long tail of Search Keywords

    In the Long tail above, 20.546 visits are coming from 29 different keyword(s) and some invisible (not provided) keywords from Google, which at position 4 are 7.8% of all search traffic leading to this page.

    If we look at the top3 keyword(s) terms, they are driving 76.03% of all organic Search traffic to this page.

    If your analytics is integrated with your Web Content Management System and you have access to the data in real time, just like is the case with Sitecore Customer Engagement Platform, then you can access page level analytics and get info about the top keywords for a given page, just like the top3 keyword(s) in the Long Tail example above and use this data, to be more engaging on the Home Page.

    Here are two examples of what you could show on the Home Page, after the visitor clicks from the Entry Page.

    Example 1: The Top1 Keyword(s) drives almost all Search traffic to the Entry Page
    Then the engaging content – that should stimulate the visitor in taking the next desired action, should be based on that Top 1 keyword term, chances are high that visitor have used this Search Term to find your site.

    Example 2: You get much traffic for different Keyword(s) terms
    How about showing a Tag Cloud based on the Top3, Top5, Top10 used keyword(s) terms, which are driving traffic to the Entry Page, could be a simple spot that asks “Do you want more info about…. Keyword(s) Tag Cloud”. Then you are trying to be relevant and chances are (depending on how many Keyword(s) you use in the Tag Cloud), that you are being relevant. If the Visitor triggers on a specific keyword in the Tag Cloud, then you have more info in the intent and you can use this for further optimization of the visitor experiences on your site.

    Some considerations:
    - Not Every Entry Page leads to personalized spots on the Home Page, identify those which are important in driving traffic and where keywords often reveal some intent.
    - Consider Filter “Bad” Keyword(s) sentences out, before showing them in the Tag Cloud. Worst case could be, you are getting a lot of inbound traffic on “brand product x repair”, properly not an engaging sentence to showcase on the Home Page.

    Having access to data and the possibility to seamlessly integrate these data into optimizing the visitor experience in real time, is getting more and more important.

    Web Analytics are not just about having access to aggregate data anymore, it’s should be a part of the real time optimization framework, which can be used to control and optimize the visitor experience in real time. The Analytics of the future is heading towards being Responsive Analytics.

    Please use the comments below, if you have any comments, feedback or have other suggestions for optimizing the Home page, given the quest above.

    Comment » | Customer Engagement Platform, Digital Marketing, Personalization, Sitecore, Web Analytics

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