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Sitecore 9 personalization quick wins

If you want to win business start personalizing experiences. The fact is no longer up for debate. According to Salesforce research 84% of customers say being treated like a person is very important to winning their business.

76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.

The intent is clear. Customers want you to know them, anticipate their needs and help them solve problems. If you are reading this post, chances are you have Sitecore or are considering it. Read on to discover how to quickly create personalized experiences in Sitecore.

Sitecore personalization quick wins

First, some disclaimers. You need to have a strategy and you should make sure that you are tracking the right metrics. If you are unsure which metrics to track or where to start, read my blog post on defining marketing metrics that matter. This post will detail some quick wins in Sitecore to start personalizing content.

What are quick wins?

At The Reference when we work on marketing initiatives for our clients we tend to divide tasks into a quadrant. To keep it simple, think of tasks divided in four broad categories: easy effort / medium benefit, medium effort / high benefit, difficult / long-term strategic and not worth pursuing. Quick wins are the easy effort items that can be done in Sitecore that provide a good benefit for marketing. These tasks are starting points to show progress and gain confidence.

Personalization Quick Win – Goal Completion

A goal in Sitecore is any action that a user completed. It can be a page that has been viewed, a form that has been completed or other actions. Goals are found under the Marketing Control Panel.

Sitecore Figure 1

Figure 1 - Goals in Sitecore 9

You can create additional goals and organize them as desired in folders. For this post, we will create a new goal and call it ‘visit consumer page’. For the goal we will focus on two main parts: The name and the points. The name is what you will see when setting the goal and when it is completed. The points are how much value a visitor completing this goal is given. For example, visiting a page may not be worth much or it could be an important path in a conversation. For our purpose, it will be given a single point. So anytime someone visits the page, their score will be increased by 1 for this goal.

Sitecore Figure 2

Figure 2 - Creating a goal in Sitecore 9

On you have the goal setup as desired, you need to save and deploy the goal. The deploy action can be found on the review tab. If you do not deploy your goal, it will not be an option when setting goals.

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Figure 3 - Deploy button

Add the goal to a page

The process is similar if the goal is associated to a form, download or other content within Sitecore. In Sitecore navigate to the page you want to associate the goal with in the Experience Editor. Open the Optimization tab and click on Goals.

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Figure 4 - Setting a goal for page

Once you click OK, the goal will be set for the page. Each time someone visits this page, the goal will be triggered and their score for ‘visit consumer page’ will be increased by 1.

Personalize based on goals

As you will see going through the examples, setting up personalization will follow the same pattern each time. The only differences will be the rules used and the content set for the rule. In the Experience Editor, click on content on page. This should bring up the editor bar.

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Figure 5 - Editor bar

Click on the personalization button. It is the group of people icon as shown below.

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Figure 6 - Create personalization button

This will open the personalization editor. We will follow these steps for all of the examples.

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Figure 7 - Personalization editor

There will always be default content. Click the blue plus sign. This will add a new rule in the personalization editor.

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Figure 8 - Personalization editor with 2 rules

The textbox enables you to enter a name. In this case we have Default and our new rule will be called ‘view consumer page’. Give your rule a name and click the ‘Edit rule’ button. This will open up the rule editor.

Sitecore Figure 9

Figure 9 - Sitecore 9 rule editor

You can scroll through the list of rules that come with Sitecore to get an idea of what is possible. The list of rules can be customized with business specific as required. It is easiest to use the search box to find the rule we are looking for. Type ‘goal’ into the search box to find the condition we want to use. As you type the results will be displayed.

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Figure 10 - Rules filtered by text

Here there are 3 different options based on goals. Read the description of each and determine which makes the most sense for your specific use case. For us, we will choose the simplest which is that the goal is triggered during the current visit. Notice the underlined words? That will be what we will replace with our values. Click on the condition and it will move to the edit rule section.

Sitecore Figure 11

Figure 11 - Editing a rule condition

There are two words that are underlined when editing the condition: where and specific. Click on where and you will see it will toggle between two states: where and except where. You can choose either state. Clicking on specific will bring up the list of goals.

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Figure 12 - Choosing a goal

Notice this is the same screen as when we were assigning a goal to a page. Select the ‘visit consumer page’ goal and click ok.

Sitecore Figure 13

Figure 13 - Rule with condition set

You should now see that the ‘visit consumer page’ has replaced the text specific. It is still underlined, and you can change the goal again. Click the OK button to save the changes. You should now see the rule set under the ‘view consumer page’ rule on the personalization editor.

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Figure 14 - Personalization rule finalized

The last step is to select the content to display should the user visit the consumer page and trigger this rule. This is the same as selecting content for any component in the Sitecore Experience editor.

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Figure 15 - Personalization rule with content selected

Click OK and the rule will be set. The user will now see the personalized content after they visit the consumer page during the current visit. Clicking on the content you added the personalization to will now display additional information. You should see that there is a number on the left 2/2 with the text Default and arrows indicating to scroll or open a dropdown. This is how you can see the personalization that is set for each piece of content on a page.

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Figure 16 - Available conditions for personalization

As you can see, there are two available conditions: default and view consumer page. Clicking on the conditions will toggle the content so you can view what the visitor will see based on these rules.

Personalization Quick Win – Geo Location

GeoIP may require some setup and configuration, but once completed it is a quick way to personalize a user experience. For example, Jet.com now uses location information to provide location specific images for your city, popular brands and other offers.

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Figure 17 - Jet.com localized home page

To accomplish this in Sitecore is quite easy. Following the same steps from the goal quick win, open the rule editor and scroll down the list until you see the GeoIP heading and choose postal code.

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Figure 18 - Personalize based on location

For this rule there is a new piece of text that is underlined, which is compares to. Clicking on compares to will give you several options as see below:

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Figure 19 - Select comparison screen

Choose ‘is equal to’ from the list and click OK. Click on the specific value text and you will notice a textbox is shown where you can enter a value. Enter a ZIP code and click OK. You should see the rule updated to ‘where the postal code is equal to 10016 (or whatever you entered). Click OK.

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Figure 20 - Location personalization complete

If you personalized the same content, you will now see 3/3. Opening up options will now show you all three personalization options that you can toggle between.

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Figure 21 - All personalization options

Additional Quick Wins

Sitecore makes it very easy to get started with personalizing content. Simply scrolling through the list will give you a good idea of the quick wins that are available to personalize on. Below are some examples:

  • Device type
  • Campaign
  • Channel
  • Time of day
  • Content within Sitecore
  • Pages that have been visited

Conclusion

As you can see it is not difficult to get started using personalization within Sitecore. As your marketing efforts mature, you can use Sitecore to build out robust customer journeys.

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