Let’s talk about the online market for a moment. Unless you’ve been stuck in a cold war bunker and have just recently surfaced, chances are you’re well versed in the automated marketing acronyms, buzzwords, jargon and are (hopefully) well aware of the incredible value it can bring to user journeys and user-brand engagement. Statistics and success stories aside, it can be a bit daunting—especially when trying to figure out how to begin. This article discusses a simple way to begin your online marketing voyage by starting at the most basic and essential piece of the puzzle—the end user.
Online marketing has been on an exponential trajectory for quite some time now, and it’s hard to remember the days when a website was simply a multi-page billboard. Modern websites engage their audience, take them on journeys, help them convert—happy customer, happy business—win-win.
However, the thought of having to create and manage an online marketing strategy can be a daunting one indeed. Where do I begin? How do I begin? Do I need to hire an expert? All relevant questions to a daunting task. Some players on the market offer the tools and the power but miss the mark on providing a system that is easy enough to use for most people.
Let the digital experience platform guide you
This is where the Kentico Xperience DXP shines. Providing not only a very solid automated marketing feature-set comprising content personalization, marketing automation, EDM campaigns, A/B testing, MVT testing, lead scoring, and visitor segmentation, to mention a few, but doing so in such a way that enables a humble novice to create a simple campaign, as well as empowers a seasoned marketing guru to implement a sophisticated online marketing strategy.
So what are the basic things we could do in Kentico Xperience to set up a simple campaign, without any daunting complications, yet to be enough to have a positive impact on a user journey? Glad you asked!
Every journey has a beginning, and in most online marketing campaigns, that means starting with the website visitor—or Contact in Kentico Xperience land.
Whenever someone visits the website, Kentico Xperience records them against the database, storing their activities and personal attributes. Over time, the goal is to yield a healthy, detailed contact list where we can access analytics pertaining to demographics and activities across the site. The idea is to dip into this contact pool and create meaningful contact segments—via, you guessed it; Contact segmentation.
It’s quite simple to begin gathering contacts on your site—a few tick-boxes to check will enable online marketing features and contact tracking. No more to do, just sit back and wait. As you do, Kentico Xperience records all on-site activities and builds your contact database. By way of a browser cookie, contacts remain unique across multiple visits, so an avid shopper who interacts with the website accumulates a wealth of data across time. But what about meaningful data about each contact? Sure, activity tracking is great, but what if we want to know more about the person—such as their age, gender, name even? Easy.
Online forms have always been a staple part of Kentico Xperience, and apart from being able to drag-drop build amazing forms, each form can map form fields to fields in the contact database. For example, if your form has Firstname and Lastname fields, those can be mapped to Contact.ContactFirstName and Contact.ContactLastName, respectively. No developer needed, all part of the Forms app within Kentico Xperience. In this way, as site visitors fill in forms, they are also adding meaning to their contact record.
So now we have plenty of contacts, with some good information about their activities and details. What do we do next?
Next, we make our contacts more meaningful by putting them into meaningful groups. Segmenting is the process of assigning contacts to homogeneous groups, allowing us to target specific demographics—a reason why it is vital to ensure our recorded contact data is as meaningful as possible. Kentico Xperience gives us the tools to segment contacts into Contact groups or to assign them to Personas. Let’s look at each one more closely.
Personas are fictional entities representing a specific target audience—an audience you can target with specific campaigns. For example, your target audience might be tech-savvy millennials interested in photography. You might want to target this audience with a particular line of products. So, you can create a persona named Jane, who will act as a personified representation of this target audience. Kentico Xperience will track contact activities and attributes and organically add contacts to the Jane persona as they meet the required persona rules, or will remove contacts from the Jane persona once contacts no longer meet the rules or have curved their behavior and switched to a different persona.
What simple things can we do in Kentico Xperience to enhance user journeys by utilizing personas? A very effective and powerful tool for enhancing user journeys is content personalization. Once your developer has set up your site widgets, you’re free to run the show on your own, as Kentico Xperience provides you with the tools to easily (and visually) arrange your page components following your segmentation strategies. A great example might be a home page with (among other components) a banner, news article teasers, and the latest event list. Each one of those components can be tailored to a specific persona. For example, let’s imagine that we are the marketing team of the website of a large online department store.
Let’s say we have a site user named Bob. Bob is in a persona named Jane, which is representative of the millennial photography enthusiast. Ideally, when Bob jumps onto the website, he should be served content that is photography-focused—which in theory should improve conversion rates, as photography-focused content should resonate better with this type of site user (being in the Jane persona). Our online marketing gurus then jump into Kentico Xperience and begin editing the home page via the Page builder feature.
First is the banner widget, for which they create a variant that is photography-themed—perhaps even advertising a sale on camera gear. Second, a news article teaser widget variant is created, which sources the latest news from the photography blog instead of the general news blog. Then an events widgets variant is created, which displays the monthly photography courses the department store runs online.
Even a very simple campaign such as this will make a significant, positive difference in the user’s experience if set up correctly. It can make the difference between Bob loving to jump on the website in his free time to peruse the things he likes, or Bob being indifferent.
Content personalization can be used throughout the site as a journey can span several pages aided by call-to-action components. The advantages of creating a personalized experience for your segmented audience make for a far more engaging experience. Personas are a significant key in understanding your target audience and can be comprised of basic rules such as “visits photography blow pages” to complex assumptions utilizing a level of psychology to understand a very specific target audience.
Where personas have a more organic way by which contacts flow in and out of them based on their activity trends and attributes, contact groups are more like a snapshot. A contact can ever only exist in one persona. However, they can exist in an unlimited number of contact groups. A persona is something you set up and leave to segment your contacts passively. Contact groups are purposeful, for a specific moment, for example, a flash sale email campaign over the weekend.
In much the same way as personas yield contacts by way of rules, we create contact groups based on rules. The main difference, as mentioned above, is that a contact can exist in many contact groups. For example, Jerry, the 25-year-old man from Canada, can exist in the following contact groups:
- Residents of Canada
- Millennial men
This allows for a far more purposeful utilization of segmentation as we can target Jerry based on many different levels—allowing for a wider campaign reach. Jerry would get the latest fashion email marketing for his age group. He would also be targeted with specific Canadian sales and events. Kentico Xperience allows us to also use contact groups for content personalization, as mentioned for personas. Still, the ideal utilization of the contact group is for email marketing campaigns.
Emails are synonymous with modern everyday life, and their enormous audience reach is perfectly suited to creating a positive engagement between brands and their audiences. EDM (Electronic Direct Mail) campaigns allow you to economically engage with your target audience on a regular basis—when someone signs up, when there is a special event, when your audience belongs to a specific demographic group for which there is a sale, or when they have hit a point in an automated marketing journey.
All good journeys begin with the user
Capturing and understanding your target audience is the key. Once you do, you should make your audience feel special, unique. Therein lies the beauty, simplicity, and power of automated marketing, and Kentico Xperience has been designed to make it easy. The key is to start small. Start with your audience, and try to understand who they are. At first, simply, on a basic level. Once you do, contact segmentation will allow you to organize your audience into meaningful groups—either by way of personas or by contact groups. From there, begin with some small content personalization on your key site pages; your audience will thank you for it. Build one or two small and simple campaigns such as this, and you can be sure that bigger and better ones will naturally follow!
If you’d like to find out more about how contact segmentation, content personalization, or other clever features in Kentico Xperience work, talk to one of our experts or get stuck in with a free trial.
Kentico Xperience is included in The Forrester Wave™ for Agile CMS
Feb 24, 2021 • 3 minute read