Thoughts on Implementing Online Marketing - Part 2

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This is part 2 of the thoughts on implementing online marketing. You can read about part 1 here.

Do You Always Need to Create Segmentation for Contacts?

You may have learned from our EMS training that it’s good to segment contacts, so you know your audience better in order to target them. But is there always the need to segment contacts? I’d say it depends whether segmentation will be reused for multiple purposes or if you only need to set certain conditions for campaigns or landing pages.

For example, a client’s request is that if a visitor from the USA searched for the keyword “XYZ”, a special banner to promote “XYZ” (personal variant) should appear on the home page when the visitor goes back to the home page, to replace the default banner that others see.

In this case, if the personal variant condition is only needed for the home page, is it worth using dynamic contact groups or a persona for the qualified visitor? I would say you don’t need to. The reason for that is — for contact groups or persona, you need to set up rules first (e.g., rule 1: contact is from USA. Rule 2: contact searched “XYZ” onsite). These rules will be checked against all visitors to the site, and qualified visitors will be added to the group or persona. Then you will need to set up the personal variant condition check on the home page to check if the visitor is in group X or persona X. In this kind of implementation, the segmentation rules (SQL calls) will be run against all site visitors, even if they never visit the home page. And there is the final condition check on the home page (SQL call) as well. That’s a lot of SQL calls wasting server resources for nothing.

So instead of segmenting contacts first then checking conditions on the home page, simply add those two rules as a personal variant condition directly on home page. In this scenario, only a single SQL call will be made when visitors visit the home page.

A final thought here is: if contact segmentation is used in multiple places, then it is worth setting a contact group. If there are only ad-hoc needs to deliver personal variants, you are better off setting up ad-hoc variants directly on the target pages for better performance.

Do Not Misuse Personas

Often, I hear clients mentioning that they want to use personas. Great! But when I ask the follow-up question of how many personas, the answers I get range from 10 to 20. If that’s what you are thinking as well, then you may need little bit more understanding about personas.

The first thing you need to know is, unlike the one-too-many relationships a contact can have with contact groups or accounts, a contact and persona is a one-to-one relationship. That means a contact can only be matched up with one persona, and cannot have multiple personas simultaneously.

The most common wrong thinking from clients is “we have X categories of articles or product lines, and we want to set up personas to match those”. When I ask the follow-up question: “do you want your visitor to be associated with just one of the categories or product lines?” the answer I get is mostly NO. So instead of personas, contact groups can be used where a visitor can fall into multiple buckets. Unless you only have a few options and your targeted audiences can only have one option.

Here is a real life example of using personas in the correct way. You are a software company, but you are not just selling software to developers, you also need to convince business users as well because they will be using the software on a daily basis. In this case, you can set up two personas: "Mary" the business user and "Xavier" the developer. With these personas, you can define rules on how to identify them such as what they searched for and what feature pages they looked at, then personalize targeted messages at key areas that speak the same language as the persona. For "Mary", you would emphasize a simple and intuitive UI and easy to understand process. For "Xavier", you would showcase the full support of API and easy-to-build modulation. Now your website can speak to different audiences about the things they care about the most within the same page. Don't you think you have a better chance to convert the visitor into a client?

Here are some simple examples for other verticals. For a higher end website, the personas may be a full-time student and a working part-time student. For a financial website: a young professional, middle-aged with a family, and ready for retirement.

A final thought here is to try and have a correct understanding of the persona. Do not think of too many to start with as you may not be able to manage all of them and produce enough content for those personas. Start with two to three personas as they are manageable, add or adjust personas as you have a better understanding of your audiences.

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Rui Wang

Senior Solution Architect for Kentico located in US.