Persona Planning

These days it’s all about content marketing, which is nothing new, really – it’s long been understood that quality content helps drive quality visitors and increase conversions. Great marketers are thinking beyond just content marketing to giving users different content based on their expressed interests on a website. This will increase the likelihood that they’ll stay on the site longer, convert faster, and maybe even return repeatedly. Serve up that personalized content through personas.

What is a Persona?

Think of a persona as a “bucket” that your users fall into based on the way they interact with your website. For example, say you sell shoes on your website – all types of shoes. One user visits your site and only views men’s dress shoes.

women's high heel

Another user visits your site and only views high heels. Boom! You’ve got two personas – “Men’s Dress” and “High Heels.”

Once those personas are defined, you can then use that information to serve relevant content to all users falling into those buckets. The more relevant the content, the more likely the user will convert (buy something, become a lead, become a better qualified lead, take a desired action, etc.).

Sitecore DMS & Personas

With the Sitecore DMS, you can set up personas and custom reports. Before you get started on that part, though, get your plan together. Below are some steps to consider when implementing personas.

1. Define Objectives – what do you hope to accomplish with personas? Common goals are:

  • Increase conversion rate
  • Increase lead quality

2. Define KPIs – how will you measure the outcome? It’s typical to look at:

  • Total conversions
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce Rate

3. Set up Personas in Sitecore – use the Page Editor feature in the DMS to assign personas to respective pages

  • Define Persona Types – start simply and then go from there, e.g.,
    • “Women’s High Heels”
    • “Men’s Dress”
    • “Boys Sneakers”
    • “Girls Sneakers”
  • Set up persona “buckets” in Sitecore – per the initial list above
  • Set up scoring/reporting – your developer may need to assist here

4. Analyze and Optimize

  • Review initial scoring findings – are enough people falling into the appropriate buckets or do you need to refine initial list?
    • There may be some trial and error here so don’t be afraid to fail (just try to fail fast and move on)
  • Serve up custom content – once you have the personas set, then it’s time to decide which “custom” content those personas should receive (a.k.a. “persona personalization”)
    • For example, the “Women’s High Heels” persona users should see imagery of shoes that interest them (like those lovely blue heels above) as they travel across your website
      • They should probably NOT see sneaker images because they haven’t demonstrated interest in sneakers – so why waste that imagery on them?
  • Set up A/B testing – define and execute a few simple A/B tests to prove your personas’ worth
    • Start with imagery, e.g., does a homepage high heel banner increase the likelihood that a “Women’s High Heel” user will click on it and buy something vs. a hiking boot homepage banner? There’s only one way to find out.

5. Use the Data to Make Better Marketing Decisions

Once you’ve set up the personas, have started serving the users relevant content through personalization, and are measuring the results, it’s time to use all of that data to make better marketing decisions.

Are “Women’s High Heels” persona users more likely to purchase heels after they see more of that type of imagery than just standard imagery on your website? If so, then keep on keepin’ on…and continue to implement other “Women’s High Heels” imagery across the site for that particular persona. If not, then rethink your original plan and refine. Once you identify successful patterns, apply that thinking to all of your personas.

It’s all about customized, personalized content – not just content – now. So make sure your website is working as hard as possible for you and get crackin’ on those personas!

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