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Planning for Personalization within Episerver

Personalization is easy. Well, let me rephrase. Implementing personalization and delivering personalized content/products within Episerver is easy. When you look at both Perform and Advance and the ability to deliver personalized recommendations based on some pretty powerful algorithms, personalization is more accessible because the tool you're using is pretty smart.

However, while implementing personalization within Episerver may be easy, planning for personalization and knowing where to start can be tough.  I've seen the challenges my clients go through. Whether it's truly understanding personas, creating enough content to support personalization, and even getting organization-wide buy-in for personalization, personalization planning can be intimidating. 

When personalizing with Episerver, it is important to define the criteria for your various visitor groups/segments. By thoroughly segmenting users, you will not only increase your marketing maturity but you will be well equipped to meet the rising demands of your customers.

Now the next step is figuring out how and where to start.  

Below are a few of the exercises that will help get your team aligned and ready to execute more sophisticated marketing strategies within the experience platform. 

  • Understand your Visitor Groups: This is hands down the most important step, and while it seems like a no brainier, you would be surprised how many different opinions there are of who an organizations target audience groups are and how to best reach them. The bigger the organization, the more ambiguity is around the intricacies that make up the various audience groups. It is so important to not just identify visitor groups, but to go beyond the surface. Focus on identifying what makes them tick, what motivated them to come to your site or interact with your brand. Once you begin to better understand the who and why, you can begin planning more strategic and tailored marketing to each one of these groups. And then, using a tool like Epi's Insight for visitor intelligence, you can continue to refine and update your visitor groups.

 

  • Define and Document the User Journey:  Once your visitor groups/segments are identified, the next step is to define and document the steps in their journey - both at a high level and at the visitor group level. Visitor groups may have a similar overarching journey, but each will have intricacies in terms of duration in the phase - some may have more phases, fewer phases, etc. You get the idea. When defining the journey, it is key to start to think about what the intent is in each step for each audience group, and how site content and marketing efforts align to the journey. Once this is defined, documented and blessed by the powers that be at an organization, this will make all ongoing personalization more straight forward because you will have a better understanding of how user's are moving through the site and how pathing algorithms are being used to deliver content and product recommendations.

 

  • Align Content to Visitor Groups and Journey Phases: One of the key deliverables that comes out of understanding audience groups is a content matrix that aligns your audience groups with the user journey phases. At this point you will begin identifying the pages and content that will help move users through each journey phase. What you may come to find is that you don’t have content that supports users at each phase, and that is OK. The purpose of moving through this exercise is to identify those gaps. When you are building a website, you typically think about the content you need for go live, and not about how you can have 1:1 dialog with each user. As you move through this exercise of aligning content to audience groups and phases, you will identify missing content and inevitably start to create content for visitor groups and their journey.

Once you have all of this documented, you are that much closer to implementing personalization within Episerver and delivering tailored experiences for your visitors that will keep them engaged with relevant content based on their profile and expressed interests.

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