Many brands around the world choose Sitecore as their digital experience platform for its advanced personalisation capabilities – journey-based personalisation is just one approach.
Check out our previous articles on Sitecore personalisation – the basics and Sitecore personalisation – what is historical personalisation?, and be sure watch out for our future articles on LinkedIn or Twitter to learn about some other Sitecore personalisation approaches.
How does journey-based personalisation work?
Journey-based personalisation can be used most effectively by B2B companies with a long sales cycle, or by retailers where the purchase is more considered because of the expense.
Imagine the customer journey involved when buying a new washing machine, as an example.
The journey can be simply broken down into the following stages:
- Need – John’s current washing machine might be broken and the repair costs outweigh its value, in which case he needs one quickly, or he might be about to have a child and requires a bigger, more practical washing machine with a larger drum size.
- Research – John looks at different washing machine options – different brands, models, drum sizes, energy ratings; all options that narrow as he goes deeper into his research.
- Decision – John selects his favourite from a shortlist of possible washing machines based on his immediate or long-term needs, and probably his online and offline experience with the retailer.
- Customer – John buys the washing machine and is now your customer.
With Sitecore, you can deliver appropriate content at each stage of the buying journey, helping your visitor through the journey, with the aim of turning them into a customer.
This is journey-based personalisation.
Why is journey-based personalisation important?
Mapping and personalising your buyer’s journey, and providing your website visitors with content and an experience that is tailored to their mind-set and need at each point along their decision path, means they will be more engaged.
Deeper engagement leads to more conversions, and more revenue.
How can I set up journey-based personalisation in Sitecore?
One of the first steps to take is to set up user / visitor profiling based on the customer journey stage.
By mapping the different stages along the customer journey, you can assign different areas of your website, different content, and different content types to each stage.
For example, product or service category-level content might be mapped to an early-stage visitor.
Product pages with more detailed information or PDFs to download might be mapped to later stages of the customer journey.
Scoring your visitors
In Sitecore you can assign a ‘score’ to your visitors.
Giving your website visitors a score can help determine the likelihood of their becoming a customer based on what they do on your website.
Their score – whether high, medium, or low – can be used to serve relevant content that prompts them to move down the different stages of your predicted sales journey to becoming an actual customer.
Let’s take a B2B SaaS (Software as a Service) company as an example – giving website visitors a ‘lead score’.
You can base your scores on how close you think the website visitor is to getting closer to making a decision to purchase and becoming a customer, after viewing or engaging with a particular page or piece of content.
For example, when a website visitor:
- Looks at your product pages, you could give them a score of 5
- Looks at price pages, you could give them a score of 10
- Downloads a product information sheet or a case study, you could give them a score of 30
- Watches a product demo or video, assign a score of 40
In Sitecore, this score aggregates. So if a visitor looks at a product page and then looks at the pricing pages, they would have a score of 15.
You can then set up rules to map and trigger content when a visitor reaches a certain score level – high, medium, or low.
For example, a:
- Low score – below 15 – would trigger a rule to serve a case study
- Medium score – between 15 and 30 – would trigger a rule to serve an offer to watch a product demo
- High score – above 30 – would trigger an invitation to get in touch and book a face-to-face demo or conversation
To do this in Sitecore, you’ll need to set up user profiles, create score profiles, and then map scores to content and activities, personalising content based on the built-in rules for profile values.
Making a journey map
You can create a number of journey maps using the Sitecore Experience Automation tool.
These journey maps can be as simple or as complex as you need.
This journey-based personalisation approach is more complex, more time-consuming, and requires a good understanding of Sitecore – but it can deliver amazing results!
You can enable different paths or triggers, based on goals completed on the site, which help lead and support your website visitor through the journey map to the ultimate goal of purchase and becoming a customer.
Using journey maps in Sitecore consists of three basic steps:
- Create the journey maps using Experience Automation.
- Apply triggers that move a website visitor into a journey map that then starts moving them to the next stage based on their actions.
- Personalise each piece of content at each stage of the journey.
Whichever approach to journey-based personalisation you choose to take and set up in Sitecore, it will deliver better results.
Want to know more about Sitecore personalisation?
Sitecore is a powerful digital experience platform that combines content, commerce, and digital marketing tools that helps you to deliver highly-optimised, personalised experiences for your customers that means a better experience and better marketing and business results.
If you’re thinking about Sitecore as your website platform and you’d like to know more about it, or if you already have a Sitecore website and you’re having trouble using or optimising its marketing features and tool-set, including personalisation, we can help.