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Five ways how Sitecore can help improve your website conversion rates

03.04.2017

 

Whichever vertical you work in, as a marketer you will at some point question if your website conversion rates can be improved.

It’s a common enough question and one I get asked quite often.  After all, you’ve invested time, effort and money building what you hoped would be the premier showcase of your company’s products and services. 

You put a lot of hard work into getting the website live but the truth is your hard work isn’t over with the site launch.  That’s when your conversion rate optimisation efforts really kick in.

Why is conversion rate optimisation important?

Improving the effectiveness of your website is key to driving revenue and to proving to the wider business that digital is a revenue driver.

Let’s take a simple example, as part of a product launch, a marketer creates a landing page with a form to capture enquires.

The marketer has two goals:

1) Drive traffic to the landing page

2) Convert a % of that traffic by persuading visitors to engage with content and ultimately, complete the form

In order to drive more visits and convert a higher percentage of that traffic, the marketer might attempt some of the following actions:

  • Email subject line testing
  • Create different copy for different segments
  • Run tests of social posts
  • Run A/B tests on landing page copy
  • Test different versions of the form (long forms versus short forms)

 

Your conversion rate is simply the percentage of visits to your landing page or website which subsequently complete an action e.g.  Purchase an item, request a call back, complete a form, sign up for a newsletter etc.


How can Sitecore help with improving your conversion rate?


This is a common question, after all, you’ve already invested in your Sitecore powered website, and now you want to start using the advanced Sitecore marketing functionality to drive a continually optimised website that delivers against your digital and business objectives. From a marketer’s perspective, it is also a very cool part of digital marketing.

When looking to improve conversion rates it’s important to understand conversion rates in the context of the journey customers take when interacting with your company and purchasing your products.


Customers don’t run in straight lines, they go forward, then backwards and sideways before leaping ten feet forward and making a purchase. You need to have an understanding of this journey if you want to improve your conversion rates significantly. 

 

Marketing Sales funnel

Thousands of websites are built using Sitecore technology but for a lot of marketers the CMS is still the part that they use the most in their day to day jobs.

The Sitecore Experience platform (previously known as the DMS) has a host of advanced digital marketing features which allow marketers to create compelling and highly personalised digital journeys.  It’s this functionality that will allow you to optimise your conversion rates.

Let’s take a step back for a moment, when looking at improving conversion rates, it’s important to note it’s never as simple as tweaking just one thing, quite often it could be dozens of micro-tweaks that need to be made in order to turn the dial.


The following are five key areas that leverage Sitecore marketing functionality to help achieve your goal of increasing conversions and driving more business value out of your website.

1) Know your customer – build personas
An important aspect of conversion rate optimisation is to recognise that your audience doesn’t form one large single audience with one set of needs. The reality is that your company will have multiple audiences and segments that they deal with.

Sitecore provides marketers with the ability to define your organisation’s multiple audiences within the Sitecore platform.

How does this help improve conversion rates?

Defining who your audience is within Sitecore, their interests and the types of content that they are interested in is the first step to optimising your conversion rate as you will be able to nurture and deliver the content that’s relevant for each specific audience type.  

Within Sitecore you have the ability to define profiles for each persona your company engages with.

Sitecore persona profiles

Over time you will build up an in-depth profile of your audience covering areas such as content consumed, campaigns interacted with, actions completed.

This ability to really understand how your audience interacts is the foundation on which your conversion rate optimisation efforts are built.


Sitecore Experience Profile
 

2) Triggering hyper-targeted emails
Marketers are busy people. They simply do not have the time to manually create personalised emails for each prospect or customer. Just the thought of it is probably enough to give most marketers a headache.

Sitecore includes its own marketing automation tool: Engagement Automation.


Simply put, Engagement Automation allows a marketer to deliver personalised 1:1 emails based on dozens of variables such as content viewed, stage in their journey and lead score.

From a conversion perspective you can now:

  • Automate processes to increase efficiencies
  • Send triggered emails to basket drop outs
  • Nurture prospects who are not ready to purchase
  • Reactivate lapsed customers


When looking to improve conversion rates, avoiding a one size fits all approach to email marketing and delivering content tailored specifically to an individual is an important step forward.

Here’s an old post I’ve written showing how to go about creating an engagement automation plan within Sitecore.


Sitecore email automation
 

 3)  Creating 1:1 conversations via personalised content

Knowing who your customer is great but can we surface content that is of interest to that individual customer?
Sitecore includes the ability to apply rule-based personalisation to any aspect of your Sitecore built website.

Simply put, personalised content allows marketers to recognise that different segments are interested in different content depending on different variables such as who they are, their location, content consumed, device used, goals triggered.

Sitecore rules editor 

 
4) Identifying user journeys that convert

The majority of visitors to your site will browse multiple pages, researching your proposition, looking at different products, returning once they are ready to buy.

With traditional conversion rate optimisation, your focus would be on optimising one specific page by testing different elements such as different banners and short versus long data forms. 

Depending on your business the likelihood is it will take more than one page to convince a prospect into becoming a customer.

The ability to understand which combination of pages will lead a customer to buying your product, signing up for your service or donating to your charity is an important step towards improving your conversion rates.

Sitecore includes a tool, Path Analyser which allows marketers to identify the journeys that users take which result in positive value being created (such as someone buying a product) as well as those which produce a negative one (someone who doesn’t buy your product).

With an understanding of which combination of pages’ lead to a positive action such as a sale you can then begin to optimise each individual page within that sequence.

 Sitecore Path Analyser

 
5) Testing, testing, testing

 
I’ve left testing to last because in many ways it’s the most obvious and the most important aspect of improving your conversion rates.

Sitecore includes a tool, Experience Optimisation which allows a marketer to run A/B tests on multiple versions of a page as well as different elements within a page e.g. testing different banners  

The ability to test variations of pages is key to improving conversion rates. If you can’t test something, then you’ll simply never know by how much your conversion rates could be increased.

 
Sitecore testing tool