This is part three of a three-part series on leveraging Sitecore’s personalization engine to enable digital transformation. The previous posts looked at setting a foundation by defining a content strategy for your personalized experience and configuring that strategy within Sitecore.
Previously, we talked about content strategy and how important that is in setting a foundation for your Sitecore personalization efforts. We also looked at some of the steps required to go in and configure that strategy in Sitecore, using profile keys, profile cards, and pattern cards. So, what’s left?
With a tool as powerful as Sitecore, personalization appears simple and easy. In fact, it is (after you have your foundation setup!). You can change the experience for different customers with a few clicks and with minimal involvement from the development team (and in a lot of situations, with no involvement at all). But even with those first two steps complete, there are still some challenges that you could face.
At this point, you should have a well-defined content strategy (and the content) in place and ready to use. You’ve setup your profile keys, profile cards, and pattern cards in Sitecore. You’ve identified how complex you’re planning to make your initial personalization efforts (targeting a few profile keys or leveraging pattern cards and profile cards). Now you have to resist the urge to apply that to everything on your site with every possible audience segment included.
For the best long-term results, start small. Try one thing. Apply personalization to a specific area that you feel will make an impact. Then give it some time and then review how it performed before you jump head-first into customizing every aspect of your site. See what worked well (and what didn’t work) on your initial test and try to improve it. After you’ve seen some improvement, look for another area of the site to personalize and do the same thing. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
The last thing to keep in mind as you’re putting all of this together, how are you going to track it? Identify that plan to make sure you have actionable insights, not just reports with lots of data. There is a lot of complexity and a lot of moving parts when implementing personalization, and it can become overwhelming fast.
Start by making optimizations, then move forward by slowly rolling out improvements that you can test and scale.
Start by making optimizations, and then methodically move forward by slowly rolling out improvements that you can test and scale. Think more like an aircraft carrier and less like a speed boat. Look at what needs to change about your customers’ experience. Is it the message, the visuals, the path, related products or a combination? Identify those key elements and optimize them.
In theory, the more personalization the better – how could it not be right? But the worst thing you can do is try to personalize everything at once. If you’re not prepared and not taking the time to review the analytics on your tests, you might find that you don’t know what’s working and what changes you should be making. If you find yourself in that situation, you’ll be wondering why you’re not seeing any improved conversions, and worse than that, you won’t know why.
If, on the other hand, you’re approaching this with a methodical intent and slowly making improvement after improvement, overtime, you’ll see the benefits of your strategy unfold. Your conversions will increase and you’ll know why they did. You’ll be more informed about what future enhancements need to be made to the site and again, why those enhancements should be made.
Thanks for reading our series on Sitecore personalization. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below, or if you want to learn more about our Sitecore capabilities, check out our Sitecore partnership page.