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Kapil Oliveti
5 Minute read

Sitecore: The Power of Personalization

Showing the same, repetitive content to every visitor on your website is nothing short of consuming the same old, boring meal at all times. Your audience today is aware and demands context, especially when it comes to content. The more you know what your visitor wants, the more you can work towards enhancing their experience. How does this work?

What is personalization? In a nutshell, it is the method of displaying targeted and relevant content to your customers basis their characteristics and behaviour, including their location, gender or interests. This is to make sure that the right content reaches them.

In order to set up personalization in Sitecore, it is essential to understand the significance of the Rule Set Editor to add rules and actions to a specific component. What this Editor essentially does is use logic-based rules to determine whether a contact meets a condition and accordingly changes the content. It is primarily a tool that applies logic-based rules to content management.

This Rule Set Editor revolves around three elements:

1.Conditions

Conditions consist of logical statements that decide whether the condition is true. Let’s understand this with an example; for instance, an item has been locked by me, then the condition is true if I have locked an item. Sitecore has default conditions that one can use, but it is also possible to create your own conditions.

2.Actions

Actions are logical steps that are implemented when one or more conditions in a rule are true. For instance, you can implement a condition for registered contacts that hides a registration form if it has been filled out previously. Of course, you can create actions that implement conditional renderings of a website for contacts who meet this criteria. Besides, you can also list actions that hide or show content if a certain condition has been met.

3.Rules

Rules associate one or more actions with one or more conditions. What you need to do is clearly define conditions and actions before you implement a rule. That’s not all - you can also utilise logical operators such as ‘and’ and ‘or’ and create combinations that include multiple conditions and actions.

To summarise, in the Rule Set Editor, you combine actions and conditions to create rules so that you can personalize the experience.

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Top 10 Sitecore 9 Form Features to Increase Lead Conversions

How to create a field rule in the Rule Set Editor

To create a field condition and a corresponding action:

- In the Experience Editor, click on the relevant web form and a Form dialog box appears

-Click Edit form in Form Designer and the Form Designer appears.

- In the Form Designer, select the relevant web form field and on the left pane, in the Rules section, click Edit.

-In the Rule Set Editor dialog box, in the Select the conditions for the rule field, select one or more conditions.

-The selected conditions appear in the Rule description section.

-In the Select the actions for the rule field, select the action that you want the web form to perform if the conditions are met. The available field actions are:

- The selected action appears in the Rule description section.

-Click the underlined keywords to change or set the values. You can configure conditions using keywords, such as 'compares to', 'is greater than', 'starts with', and so on. Keywords in red indicate that you must click the keyword and enter a value. Use one of the following methods to set the keyword:

  • Click the keyword and enter the value. For example, expression, specific country, and so on.
  • Click the keyword and choose an alternative keyword. For example, compares to, where, and so on
  • Click the keyword and choose the value. For example, specific, specific template, and so on.
  • -When there are no more keywords in red, click OK and save the changes

    Personalization conditions

    While you can use many conditions from the Rule Set Editor to personalize content when using XM, there are some conditions that are only available when you run xDB and the full XP.

    In the Rule Set Editor, the personalization conditions are organized by category. The categories are:

  • Campaign
  • Channel
  • Date
  • Device
  • Fields
  • IP Geolocation
  • Item hierarchy
  • Item information
  • Item version
  • Outcomes
  • Security
  • Sitecore query
  • Social
  • System
  • Tracking
  • Venue
  • Visit
  • Visitor
  • xDB
  • You can use all of the rules in the following tables in XP. The conditions that you can use in XM are marked as compatible (Yes) or not supported (No).


    Personalization tactics

    Here’s a low down on some useful personalization tactics:


    1.Welcome first-time visitors

    We’ve often heard ‘first impressions are extremely important’. This is absolutely true in case of a website, since this can decide if the visitor is here to stay or not. Everyone likes to feel special, so why not give them a special welcome through personalization? This paves the way for future communication with the customer and also tells them how much you care.

    How to implement this on Sitecore: Sitecore can tell you how many times someone has visited your website. To personalize the experience for a first-time visitor, all you need to do is enable personalization by creating a rule based on first visit.

    2.Treat existing customers as existing customers

    Let’s take a real life situation here. For instance, you are a regular shopper at a particular store and often buy their stock. What if you go there and the salesperson shows you the same product over and over again that you don’t like or tries to sell shoes that you’ve already purchased? In the online space too, it is frustrating for a customer to see the promotion for a product that they have already purchased. What we are trying to say is existing customers are equally important and they must be treated in such a manner. A company must not be only focused on new customer acquisition.

    How to implement this on Sitecore: Sitecore has many features to help you differentiate between a new customer and an existing one. Start off by tagging email campaigns sent to existing customers using the SC_camp tag and use that as the identifier. If you are using Sitecore’s Email Experience Manager, it adds the tagging to the email link automatically. You can also create an alias—yoursite.com/customers—that is only shared with customers who have already visited your site. If the customer conversion or commerce transaction happens on your site (e.g., if your site has e-commerce), use the conversion goal as the trigger.

    3.Connect and retarget inbound experiences

    When a customer arrives at your site from an inbound source, they often have an intent in mind.

    This is generally triggered by the message contained in the PPC link, display ad creative, Facebook or Instagram post or any other social channel. For instance, if you are an automotive brand, your primary goal is to drive a lead and get customers to book a test drive. You can do this by launching various SEM campaigns targeting different keywords or phrases. This is where providing them with a personalized experience becomes significant.

    How to do this on Sitecore: To map the inbound source and the intent of the customer, you will need to have a token or a “Campaign ID.” It is also known as a Unique ID, or UID. It is attached to the inbound URL.

    4. Leverage geolocation

    Using geolocation, you can acquire information about a customer’s country, state, city or anything related to it. This way you can show content that’s even relevant to the location. Your content can also consist of directions or deals to get them to a store. For most people, especially those who use smartphones, the idea is to use fewer clicks and have a great experience. With personalization, the clicks can considerably reduce and the engagement can be improved to drive conversions.

    How to implement this on Sitecore: It does not take much to link location to personalization. It is especially easy if you have purchased Sitecore’s IP Geolocation Service. All you need to do is to enable personalization based on geolocation

    5.Connect personalization to conversions

    What happens with static websites is that they generally use the same CTAs time and again and these generally occupy a large chunk of real estate on the website for good reason. This is generally used to generate valuable conversions, even leads. Since a lead is worthy, try and use the data acquired through tracking to provide them with a personalized experience. You can also present new CTAs to them and in turn, nurturing their loyalty.
    How to implement this on Sitecore: Providing personalized content to converted customers requires little effort with Sitecore. In Sitecore XP 8.1, you can also personalize based on a customer’s previous interactions. Firstly, create digital conversion goals, then trigger digital goals with either Form Submit or a conversion “thank you” page. Lastly, enable personalization based on the triggered goal.

    6. Visitor profiling is crucial

    What makes Sitecore so popular is its capability to collect data in real time, at scale, and can also track a visitor’s history based on previous interactions. With Sitecore, you can predict a customer’s interests in an accurate manner and present them with relevant data when they come to your website. With profiling, you can increase conversions and also have superior insights.

    How to implement this on Sitecore: Create profiles (including profile and pattern cards). Next, profile content - this can be a step-by-step approach, starting with high-traffic content. Lastly, personalize based on built-in rules, for either a match on a pattern (recommended) or the profile values

    Besides these tactics, there are some other important ones, including taking the mobile context into account and considering the attention span. This is where a mobile-first experience proves useful. Next, you can score your customers to understand if a visitor can turn into a lead and increase conversions accordingly. Lastly, one can create a journey map, but this is for those who have passed the initial stages of personalization and have advanced objectives.

    The customer today traverses through multiple channels and has a complex journey, unlike earlier. For an organization to achieve its objectives, it is essential to understand and use personalization to market relevant content and improve customer experience.

    About Altudo

    We create and deliver personalized experiences to engage customers in a one to one (1:1) manner at every touch-point to improve customer experience and drive revenue.

    As Sitecore Platinum implementation partners, our deep understanding of the Sitecore ecosystem goes beyond the basics of CMS, to unleash the true potential of a seamless, personalized website experiences & curating engagement analytics throughout the customer journey.

    Kapil Oliveti Director Solution Architect


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