Marketing in the digital realm is about knowing what your potential customers are looking for and anticipating what will appeal to them. That’s why all digital marketing strategies begin with Buyer Personas, those fictional representatives of your ideal customers we all execute so much research to create. And we execute that research because we know the more insight we have into our potential customers, the more effective our marketing strategies will be.
You can find a lot of information online about people in various demographic categories. You can also learn a lot from your existing customers, assuming they’re willing to sit down for an interview or fill out a survey. But no matter how much research you do before redesigning your website, or before creating a content strategy, or before launching a campaign, you’re still making a lot of assumptions.
You’re still creating fictional personas.
More Data-Driven Personas
You can already get plenty of data on your potential buyers from your CMS or your marketing automation system. Traffic metrics and conversion rates give you an indication of what types of content are getting traction, for instance—but who are they getting traction with?
You can follow up with sales and set up closed-loop reporting through your CRM, and that’s extremely helpful. But the cycle from research, planning, launch and assessment tends to span at least six months to a year. In light of how quickly the ground shifts beneath the online world, that’s a really long time to have your personas stuck in stasis.
The ideal approach would be to capture real-time data around visitor interaction with specific touchpoints on your website or blog. And there are some tools on the market already—Hotjar, for instance—that give you a remarkable amount of information about how visitors are behaving on your site. But you still probably won’t know who those visitors are.
The Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud provides a different approach to visitor behavior. Rather than uploading static buyer personas into your marketing automation system and forgetting about them until the next sales cycle, DEC lets you use personas to set up rules that categorize visitors based on their behavior.
Personalization and Dynamic Content
The DEC works by giving points to visitors based on the rules you set up. For example, you might have a rule that says anyone coming to your page from the Sitefinity website gets 10 points. If the first thing that visitor does on your site is click on a navigation bar option for web development, then that person gets 10 more points.
When they reach a threshold number of points, the DEC categorizes them not only based on where they are, but on their potential. For example, a custom software customer might be listed as a potential web customer. This means you won’t just be tracking traffic numbers and conversion rates; you’ll be able to track what different types of visitors are doing on various parts of your site.
This type of data also makes it possible for the DEC to identify what stage in the buyer’s journey a given visitor is currently on. Your Sitefinity CMS can then use this information to offer content that’s personalized not just for the individual visitor, but for the stage that visitor is on in the buyer’s journey. With these capabilities, you’re now able to offer a web experience that’s much more like a back-and-forth conversation than a prolonged and impersonal lecture.
About the author:
Dennis Junk is a Content Strategist at Aptera Inc., a custom software and web design firm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He holds a master’s degree in English and has been doing copywriting and content marketing for Aptera for the past five years. You can read more of his posts at blog.aptera.com.