The Pros and Cons of a SaaS CMS

pros.cons

A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Web Content Management System (CMS) exists in a multi-tenant, fully cloud hosted and managed environment. Pricing for a SaaS Web CMS is usually based on a per-user and/or per-site basis that usually incorporates a baseline amount of data transfer (i.e., bandwidth to and from your site) and storage (for your content). SaaS CMS is not to be confused with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which is a single tenant system that requires more maintenance but also enables much more customization. Also don’t confuse SaaS with a “Managed Services” cloud solution for a CMS that is just a regular on-premise CMS deployment that may run on cloud infrastructure and be managed by a third-party, but provides none of the cost, agility and scalability benefits of a SaaS approach.

In this post, we will focus on SaaS. The following list of pros and cons will help you make the best decision for your enterprise.

Pros of a SaaS Web CMS:

1. Costs are kept Low

Because SaaS CMS is based on a subscription model, users are not faced with a large licensing fee upfront. In most cases a SaaA CMS project entails a small setup fee which covers the cost of a basic implementation.

2. IT Staff Unburdened

Your internal IT staff will no longer feel the burden when a support issue arises. Instead your SaaS vendor will take care of any issue, and typically at no additional cost. Also, upgrades and maintenance are automatically done by the SaaS vendor.

3. Accessible

SaaS CMS is a virtual product which means it can usually be accessed from any computer, tablet, or mobile device as long as an internet connection is available.

4. Easily Add-On More Users and More Sites

With a SaaS model, you can easily add new users as your team grows, and as your content needs grow. Similarly, adding more sites is as easy a click of the button as you want to spin up new sites — microsites, campaign sites, landing pages, etc. With a multiple-user and multi-site model, your price depends on the number of users and sites with access to the system. So you are only paying for what you use.

5. Up-to-Date Software

With SaaS you can count on new features being added in real time. The latest features and innovation are typically available to all users at no additional costs.

6. Security

As your SaaS vendor handles all the development and QA, you never need to worry about malware or buggy add-ons to the CMS. If the SaaS vendor releases it as a feature add-on, you can feel confident that it won’t expose your site to security threats of any kind.

7. Support Included

Support is included in the SaaS subscription so you can rest assured that any issues will be addressed promptly and effectively. With a multi-tenant architecture, if an issue is affecting one customer, then it’s probably affecting all customers. So the SaaS vendor is extra motivated to resolve all reported issues promptly and effectively. This also means you benefit from issues found by other users of the SaaS CMS, leading to a more robust CMS for all.

8. Implementation Speed

Launching a new website is faster than ever since the CMS is already deployed in its underlying cloud infrastructure. There is no setup and configuration for your Dev, QA, and Production sites. As a result, a SaaS CMS is much faster than traditional web and mobile app development.

Cons of a SaaS Web CMS:

1. Internal Control

Because IT departments are so used to have complete control, it can take a second to get used to a new system where  SaaS CMS platforms are built and housed in cloud infrastructure.

2. Subscription Fee

There are “free” and “freemium” systems available so it can be startling at first for smaller enterprises to choose a model with a fee. However it is up to you to decide if the value of the SaaS platform is worth it to your business.  Keep in mind the subscription costs include support too.

3. Closed Development

SaaS CMS platforms are typically proprietary systems that are under complete control of the vendor, and so they don’t allow for the benefits of an open source type development model. Crafter Cloud is one major exception in the industry, as it is a SaaS CMS solution that benefits from the open source development of Crafter CMS. Also, a SaaS solution does not allow for heavy customization (e.g., does not allow back-end code changes) because a multi-tenant infrastructure is, by its very nature, shared across all users. Again, Crafter Cloud is one major exception in the industry, as we provide a unique, secure, isolated development environment based on the Groovy scripting language that enables all kinds of custom development, all without sacrificing the benefits of a SaaS model. So your enterprise can deliver truly unique, branded, personalized experiences.

SaaS CMS solution can be ideal for certain applications and not so great for others, but it is up to you to consider the needs for your team and enterprise when determining different CMS options to find the solution that best fits your project.  Not one CMS platform is the universal choice for all websites and mobile apps, but a true SaaS CMS makes a strong case in most projects nowadays, so be sure you include it in your list of options.

To learn more about Crafter Cloud, the the groundbreaking SaaS Web CMS, visit craftercloud.io. If you need help determining which CMS approach is best for your organization, contact us directly or reach out to one of our certified consulting partners.

The Rise of Virtual Reality Experiences

Virtual-Reality

When Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus in early 2014, virtual reality blew up. Now users can experience anything, anywhere through the power of this new medium. Whether they are painting a picture with a virtual reality paint brush, walking through a building that has not yet been built, or enjoying their favorite video game in a more realistic light, virtual reality has changed technology as we know it.

As it becomes more mainstream, the virtual reality trend is becoming more and more popular – especially among a core, technology savvy subset, namely gamers. And, they are willing to pay for it. A recent study done by Newzoo indicates that 11% of people in 12 western countries are considering purchasing virtual reality gear by the end of the year. Already, the awareness of consumer virtual reality is higher than the average consumer may even expect. With viral videos displaying the possibilities, and individuals discovering for themselves how user-friendly the hardware is, the response is growing.

According to the insights shared in the Newzoo report, consumers are willing and prepared to spend some serious dough on VR products. High-end virtual reality hardware ($600 and more) has been available since the beginning of the year for pre-order and sales will inevitably skyrocket towards the holidays. The Newzoo report suggests that an unexpected 16% of Spaniards, 12% of Americans and 10% of British are stating their interest to purchase VR equipment in the next six months.

This year, virtual reality has made its way into the consumer marketplace where even the most inexperienced user can test it out and get a feeling for this progressive medium. Although in most cases virtual reality hardware is pricey, eventually it will become more affordable and lend itself to create endless options for businesses and individuals alike. Much like the iPod or iPhone back in the early 2000s, new and affordable virtual reality options are on the horizon. The virtual reality hardware we have today is unquestionably the best and most affordable VR technology of its kind. Yet, the opportunities for what’s to come are even greater (with growing potential) than anything we have seen up to this point.

So what does this mean for your enterprise? Although, in some ways, virtual reality has just arrived, there are already countless opportunities for your company to jump on the prospects. We built Crafter CMS to deliver high-performance, unique digital experiences across all online channels. And we are certain that virtual reality is the next big digital channel.

If you are interested in learning more about the current state of virtual reality or how the award-winning Crafter CMS platform can help your enterprise create virtual reality experiences, give us a shout.

Four Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App

Blog_MobileApp

With the rise of smartphone usage, the mobile app industry is as successful as ever. This growing trend has become attractive to many businesses as they become more aware of the impact an app can have on their business.

More specifically, mobile apps have quickly transformed the business community and companies are finding this medium to be the fastest and easiest way to reach existing customers and potentially new customers without invading their privacy.

The following are just a few points to consider when you are deciding upon a mobile app for your business.

1. Promoting: Marketing and promotion to get the word out about your company is crucial. With stiff competition in most industries, businesses are thinking up new and creative ways to promote themselves. Mobile apps not only support customer engagement, but they also allow companies to promote themselves and offer a variety of discounts, coupons and deals to their customers. Additionally, push notifications and location-based updates greatly enhance the effectiveness of each promotion.

2. Engagement: Most of us are extremely busy, so in order to reach your customer, you need to engage them in nonintrusive ways that peak their interest. Mobile apps are a way to do this with their potential to increase customer engagement by simply keeping them up-to-date on the latest products or services. Your customers can have updates at their fingertips – something that conventional marketing completely lacked.

3. Improves Sales: Mobile apps allow customers to make purchases right from their smartphones which helps to accelerate your business sales. Your potential customers can order products and services wherever they are rather than waiting until they are at a computer to visit your website and shop.

4. Customer Support and Service: With the app right on your customer’s’ smartphone, it is much easier for them to reach out for support and service. In turn, you can easily address their inquiries while providing support whenever it is required. Prior to the mobile app, the process for customers to get support was lengthy and time consuming.

When you’re ready to build your next enterprise mobile app, contact us at Crafter Software to learn how Crafter CMS enables rapid mobile app development, so you can create the ideal mobile app for your company, stay up with the competition, increase your sales, and ultimately watch your company grow.

How To Select a CMS

With the constant evolution of of the Digital content and experience landscape, it can be difficult to decide which CMS architecture will properly meet your business, user and technology objectives. The following are four items to help orient your CMS search for success:

CMS_2.0

1. The Right CMS For Business

It is important to take into consideration the cost of development against ROI. The maintenance needs and the architecture’s ability to scale should be heavily weighed as well while assessing the risks associated with technology choices. Businesses boost ROI by reducing the cost of development and time to launch – something a CMS platform approach can help with due to less custom development to get the different components working together. Development overhead is reduced with this platform which also adds a layer of functionality.

You will also want to assess maintainability. Continuous maintenance of a solution can involve fixing bugs, adding minor enhancements and patches or upgrades. Maintainability  can be difficult in  legacy CMS platform models since the application and the CMS code base are coupled tightly. Whichever CMS platform you choose, be sure to think about user-friendliness, release frequency, packaging and available support.

2. Empower the developer

As with most cases, you never want to make someone’s job harder, same goes with making sure the web application framework won’t make your developer’s job more difficult. You can avoid this by following the model-view-controller pattern. This enables cleaner code, better separation of concerns, and easier testability. This pattern is one in which more developers are familiar and it allows for a more gradual learning curve. Regardless of the architecture, be sure the web application sticks to the M.V.C. pattern.

Additionally, enable continuous delivery from the start to help reduce the time, cost, risk and effort of code production by the development team. The core engineering practices that enable continuous delivery are test automation, continuous integration and automated deployment.

Although it can be more difficult to set up continuous delivery on CMS platforms when the solution codebase ties to the CMS platform codebase, so be sure to offer ways to separate the solution code and CMS platform code. However, packaging and deploying code into environments with automated scripts should be fairly easily.

3. Make the Editor Happy

It’s been said thousands of times, but it still holds true, content is king. So the solution must address the needs of content editors while minimizing limitations to editorial strategies. Start by making a decision about flexible page composition. In content-centric solutions, the ability to create pages with custom layouts and components gives editors flexibility and freedom. Coupled CMSs typically offer this out of the box, sometimes with drag-and-drop WYSIWYG capabilities.

You will also want to determine market standardization.  Enterprises serving multi-markets need to make a decision whether they want to provide a single platform that serves their entire market, reducing the total cost of ownership of the platform while promoting standardization, or giving local markets autonomy to develop their online presences on their own. If a global platform suits you, a CMS platform architecture is most often the best choice. This kind of architecture hosts market sites on a single platform making it easy to share content, templates and functionality. When it comes to local markets, decoupled architectures work better because they allow more flexibility to markets to choose technologies and utilize content services.

4. Deliver value to the user

Users are savvier than ever and with the web literally at everyone’s fingertips these days, it is extremely important that their high expectations are met despite it being an ongoing challenge for you. The challenge in any web build is to address high-end needs and demands of the users while still allowing accessibility across multiple devices. Of course, keeping all of these interfaces within budget is also a challenge. Regardless of CMS platform or decoupled architecture, one key requirement you need is to ensure the web application framework gives developers full control of the front-end technology stack. In general, design and build for the lowest common denominator and then you can layer various functionality for advance browsers and devices. Stay in line with the WCAG guidelines and take a progressive enhancement development approach.

 

Is Your Enterprise’s Website Working?

“Is my website working?” In many, the answer is a resounding “no!” The good news is website analytics make it fairly easy to regularly rate your website’s performance. So, by simply taking a closer look, you can make the necessary changes for it to function efficiently.

For starters, you will need to begin by establishing benchmarks to conclude if your website is meeting your goals. Be it 10,000 more visitors a month or a day you’re looking for, the following are factors you will need to consider when creating these benchmarks.

web_enterprise3

1.) How New is Your Site?

As you know, the digital marketplace is a pretty big beast, so don’t be surprised if it takes your new website some time to gain momentum. By setting benchmarks to gauge your progress, Google Analytics can help you measure how quickly you get there. While it may be tempting to set lofty goals, try to stay reasonable. For example, if you have a big sale in May, your visitor count may be much higher than in say June or July.  Keeping track of your analytics will help you keep it all in perspective.

2.) Are People Aware of Your Site?

Marketing strategies such as paid search and SEO can work wonders to improve the visibility of your site and help you gain more visitors. Brand awareness plays a big role here too. Name recognition will bring more consumers to your site and, in turn, increase sales. If you invest in these marketing strategies, you are more likely to see significant results.

3.) What is the Main Purpose for Your Website?

Simply put, is your website primarily intended for marketing, generation of revenue via traffic or for e-commerce? The analytics for these two are as different as their primary purpose. Websites heavy on content such as blogs, ebooks and other publications rely on traffic and customer engagement because of the correlation between hits and revenue. Page hits don’t matter as much to e-commerce sites because they rely heavily on conversions for success.

4.) Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Although it might seem archaic in our technology-first world, don’t underestimate the power of real life conversation and simply ask your customers about your site. You can gain some real insights that algorithms and analytics may not be able to identify. Asking a quick question or two can go far.

Is your website working for you? Let Crafter Software help you get better results. Crafter CMS delivers what no other enterprise Web CMS can because it’s built like no other CMS in its class. Crafter CMS combines user-friendliness, powerful enterprise features, and the highest performance on the planet.  So you’re able to easily deliver blazing fast, highly personalized digital experiences to your audience.

For more information head to http://www.craftersoftware.com/

 

Year of the Customer: Top 5 Customer Experience Trends Revealed

Business plan presentation on digital tablet

We are well into 2016 and it has already proven to be the year of virtual reality among other new technologies aiming to deliver flawless customer experiences. The following are just a few more of the newest trends that are reinventing how enterprises spend their marketing dollars this year.

1. Getting Personal
Marketers are getting even more personal with their personalization and tapping into streams of first party data. From CRM data to Voice of the Customer (VoC) data, and leverage predictive modeling to create contextualized experiences, individually tailored experiences are changing the face of the customer experience.  With customer expectations higher than ever and their constant connectivity, hyper-contextualized personalization is on the rise to meet the demands and wants of the individual this year.

2. Entering into the Mobile-Mature World
Mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches because more and more individuals are connected on multiple devices and more websites are user friendly. In fact, Google made sure that websites were more mobile-friendly by announcing those websites that weren’t would be penalized in mobile search rankings. Finally, customers are getting the relevant, high quality website experiences they want across multiple devices. This year even greater innovation for mobile is taking place. Seamless integration between apps, eCommerce and social outlets is becoming a reality. Companies that provide excellent mobile experiences for their users will not only stand out from the crowd but grow.

3. Year of the screens
While more searches are being done on mobile devices, the trend is moving towards a post-mobile world where devices are meshing to expand beyond traditional mobile devices. From wearable devices to tablets, watches and the like, the number of screens users come in contact with on a daily basis is expanding. Because of this, marketers are faced with the task of creating and delivering seamless experiences that continue throughout all points in the user  customer journey. Keeping the experience consistent and complete is key. Brands that understand their users are interacting with numerous digital touch points will go further in keeping their customers satisfied.

4. Intent Data Will Drive Intelligent Retargeting
Retargeting is key to converting visitors to customers and those companies who are smart about the way they do their retargeting will succeed in 2016. This is done by recognizing needs and align campaigns to increase visitor engagement with pertinent messages and calls to action. Companies that take note as to why visitors are coming to their site – to research, browse or buy – are better able to guide them towards making a purchase by offering them a relevant incentive or by showing them appropriate content immediately. Even something as simple as offering free shipping or a discount can encourage a new visitor and retarget their customer experience. A more frequent shopper may need more aggressive retargeting.

5. Customer Experience Analytics Will Be King
Analytics is becoming crucial for brands to obtain a competitive advantage. By utilizing analytics, companies are able to better anticipate and deliver superior experiences to customers and potential customers. Although, at times, the data can be overwhelming, using the right type of analytics is key to extending the ROI of varying marketing efforts and creating a seamless customer experience. This year is all about using the right type of analytics streams correctly. One example of this is utilizing analytics to recognize and personalize in real-time.

This is an exciting time for marketers as they create one-to-one experiences for their customers, become more mobile mature, deliver consistent and continuous experiences, and become completely customer-centric through mastering the use of customer experience analytics.

Top 5 Capabilities Your Web CMS Needs

Website SEO and analytics icons
Marketers expect much more from web CMS solutions now than they did five years ago. Today, web content management is much more about customer engagement and marketing activities than the publishing and content management it was a few years ago.

Because of this transformation, CMS platforms are becoming the central point for everything such as managing data from CRM, ERP, Marketing Automation and other applications, delivering personalized experiences, analyzing customer data and optimizing strategy, and even improving management of organization-wide digital assets. As customers come to expect, and often demand, a perfect experience every time, it’s as important as ever for enterprises to explore how today’s advanced web CMS solutions can help them achieve their goals. The following are 5 essential ways that CMS supports the digital experience.

1.  Efficient Management of Digital Assets
The use and management of both text and visual digital assets are easily done with CMS platforms. Everything from editing to resizing and previewing assets, as well as pushing media and documents to the web and social channels is simplified through the use of web content management. WCM allows enterprises the vital role of smoothly and efficiently delivering customized digital experiences.

2. Utilizing All Web Properties to Publish Content
At one point having multiple marketing teams for a wide range of products and global services may have worked, it just isn’t feasible now. That approach only causes redundancy of efforts, unwanted licensing and maintenance expenses from websites built on varying platforms, and outrageous marketing team sizes.

Ideally, with the right web CMS platform content will be automatically pushed to social media, public facing sites, internal intranets and any other channel that makes sense. This smoother process is not only more streamlined and efficient, but it also keeps the brand voice consistent across multiple platforms.

3. Optimize The Use of All Data
Once you have streamlined your ability to publish content, you will want to get a better handle on how you optimize the use of all that content and the user’s experience. CMS platforms that are equipped with full support for A/B Testing, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data and customer journey tracking will significantly improve this optimization.

Additionally, CMS platforms offering intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights as well as administrative ability to utilize the insights quickly will substantially enhance the process and raise the bar even higher.

4. Integrated CMS Platforms
To your customers, your online presence is not segregated into the web, social and other silos. To them, it is one entity. So failing to integrate CRM, portals, BI, analytics and other key applications will cause you to spin your wheels in your attempts to reach your customers from all angles in your CMS platform.

The task of integration is simplified with the use of out-of-the-box connectors while easily linking existing web applications through APIs. Everything from search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, major CRMs, analytics, databases and publishing platforms easily come together.

5. Personalized and Integrated Digital Experiences
Leveraging web CMS platforms is key for any enterprise managing multiple brands and/or products. Modern CMS solutions ease the ability to deliver personalized and contextual digital experiences by simplifying the process of personalizing the design and content for landing pages, making it easier to reuse code and display separate content to different user segments.

The Science of Personalization

science-of-person
Most successful businesses strive to give customized and personalized experience to their customers. As a tech-savvy society, we have grown accustomed to services that take into account our interests and preferences to the point where anything less is simply unacceptable.

Fortunately, for marketers, modern technology has made it easier than ever to personalize home pages, landing pages, CTAs, and emails to better reach customers and mold them to anyone engaging with it.  The psychology behind personalization is fascinating and understanding it can improve your marketing techniques and the success rate at which you reach your customers.

Why Personalized Experiences?
Researchers out of the University of Texas took a closer look as to why personalized experiences are necessary and came up with the two biggest factors that play into our desire for personalized experiences; they include: a desire for control and information overload.

Starting with the desire for control, customers like personalization because they feel that they are getting something different than everyone else. For that reason alone, their sense of control is satisfied. While viewing personalized content on a site page isn’t actually causing your customers to make a choice of their own, the perception of having some level of control with the content in which they are engaging, is satisfying.  This sense of control is quite powerful and results in positive effects on the psyche.  After all, who doesn’t feel better when they are in control? That’s not rocket science.

When it comes to information overload, the study discovered that customers prefer personalized experiences because it helps reduce the amount of information they receive. The reduction of information overload lets customers only see the content that is tailored specifically for them – leaving out the content that they (probably) don’t want to see anyway. With personalization, customers aren’t presented with thousands of resources that they need to sort through to find appropriate for them. Instead, the content is presented in a way which is designed exclusively for them, so they never have to feel bombarded or “overloaded” with information.

Relevance is a MUST
The key, however, is to let your customers know they are receiving personalized information. Besides their name in an email, this can be somewhat difficult. After all, if someone is not aware they are engaging with personalized content, then the above-mentioned feeling of being in control and having reduced information overload may seem pointless. Yet, giving people personalization regardless of them being aware of it or not, is completely worth it, and in fact, necessary for the success of your business. It all has to do with your customer’s’ brain reticular activating system (RAS) – the gateway that information is passed through to get to your brain. It’s the filtering system that information goes through and helps us decide what we should and shouldn’t pay attention to.

To make this a little easier to understand, consider the concepts of “selective attention” or “selective hearing.” The ability to focus on some information while simultaneously ignoring others is controlled by the RAS.  Because of that, your customers will naturally orient to information and content they are interested in.

What’s in a Name?
A person’s name is one of the easiest sounds for the RAS to hone in on. So, when you use your customers’ names in various settings, it triggers a unique reaction in their brain. More specifically, hearing, or in the case of online content, seeing their name, triggers greater brain activation, particularly in the middle frontal cortex (most associated with social behavior). Additionally, the middle and superior temporal cortex (associated with long-term memory and auditory processing) are also triggered leaving your customers feeling fulfilled and attended to.

The best way to use this knowledge to the benefit of your business is to start using personalization in all your online digital channels.  One of the best ways enterprises can do this is to have a modern CMS that can automatically target your brand’s audience at any time, on any device and at any location. This will make it possible for marketers to easily connect and engage with customers. Allowing for not only a deeper connection but an increase in brand loyalty and ROI.

When you utilize smart content and technology, there’s absolutely no limit to your marketing abilities!

8 Innovative Web Design Elements That Drive Revenue

8-Innovative-Web-Design-Apr2016

Website design is evolving so quickly that if your site is more than two years old, it’s probably time for an update. Keeping up with these rapidly changing internet technologies can be tough, but with 68% of all Americans owning smartphones, systems like mobile marketing are a requirement for success on the web. Your consumers demand a modern design optimized for mobile, and the future of your company depends on it. The following are a few other elements required for modern web design worthy of your consideration this year.

1. CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS)

Although CMS have been around for over two decade, they are still the most popular and most versatile way to allow for easy updates to your website content. With CMS, no technical coding skills are required because many systems provide the ability to easily drag and drop elements to easily create basic design changes.

There are many CMS platforms but Crafter Software is the difference your company has been seeking.  Crafter offers an open source, agile, and modern Java-based alternative to closed, proprietary WCM solutions from Oracle, Adobe, HP, OpenText, Documentum, and others.  And Crafter provides a much higher performance solution when compared to other open source solutions that are tightly coupled and based on SQL databases or JCR (e.g. Apache Jackrabbit) repositories.  Crafter leverages best of breed free and open source software, including the Alfresco content platform, the Spring Framework, Freemarker Templating Language, Bootstrap, Google Analytics and Apache Solr.

Keep in mind when considering a CMS platform that site speed is crucial for search and your web design should be properly optimized for it. A slow website will turn your current customers and potential customers away. Because of the importance of site load times on smartphones and tablets, having a responsive design is a must.

2. RESPONSIVE DESIGN

Making a responsive website is essential.  Mobile commerce is now 30% of all e-commerce with over $400 billion in revenue generated each year. Because of this, it’s safe to say that over half of your website traffic comes from mobile devices. Keeping your site load times at a minimum is as important as ever. If your site loads too slowly and customers have a difficult time viewing your site – especially on their smartphone or tablet – they may move on to a competitor’s site.

3. BUSINESS BLOG

A business blog is a great way for you to present relevant content to your audience while giving them a reason to continually come back to your site. It educates your customers and prospects with an opportunity to build trust and a relationship with your brand and business.

Because the blog content needs to be fresh and relevant, it’s smart to begin blogging when you have the time to devote to the long-term commitment. If now is not the right time to start, don’t wait too long. Your competition could be blogging and over time this will work against you while you wait, they will be gaining valuable market share, referrals, inbound links, and of course, customers.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING

Promoting your business via social media is a given. And, if you have a business blog, there’s no better way to reach your target audience than by promoting it on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In addition to promoting your content, social media is a great place for your customers and site visitors to connect and share your information.

Trust is important when promoting on social media, so be sure to take time to share relevant information to targeted audiences who will be interested and most likely to share. Avoid spam posts, they will only annoying people.

5. CONTENT PERSONALIZATION

Creating personalized content for your buyer personas will help increase conversions for your website. One great example of a site that shows just how content personalization works is overstock.com. Once you’ve created an account on the site, you will notice products you have shown interest in are recorded. By watching your behavior, the site is able to suggest and promote similar products.

6. CONVERSION PROCESS

The conversion process begins on the landing page. The sole purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads. Your landing page can promote offers, be an opportunity to get site visitor information, offer whitepapers, ebooks, guides and other information.

Be wary of where you try to convert your website visitors into leads. Doing so at too many spots in the buyer’s journey can actually turn them away as they many find it obnoxious to be required to include contact information in order to simply get access to your website’s content.

You can work around this by promoting free offers that require no forms. By giving your visitors an option to see your site and become educated about your business while being exposed to your ideas, they can make the decision to subscribe further.

7. EMAIL MARKETING & NURTURING

After you have converted leads, you will want to offer additional content that they might find useful. By doing this, you are essentially hooking them and nurturing them throughout their buying journey. Email marketing is the best way to stay in touch and provide content that is useful to them. Again, you do not want to spam them or over email. Keeping their trust and building that relationship is key. Segmenting your leads by persona type and by stage in the buyer’s experience can help make your email marketing efforts more effective.

8. CONTACTS DATABASE AND CRM

For the best result in both sales and marketing, integrate your website with a contacts database. You will be able to store contact information for all leads and customers. You will also be able to store important information about how your contacts are interacting with your site pages, email marketing, and offers. This invaluable information can be used to create offers to your customers and leads at the most opportune times.

Integrating your contacts database with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform allows your sales team to gain insights to each lead and where they are in their buying experience.

TAKEAWAYS

Websites are constantly evolving and are becoming more complex every day. Technology empowers customers in every part of the buying experience while also empowering businesses to provide better and unique user experiences. By embracing it, you give your company a better advantage over the competition and stay current with the latest trends.

Digital Customer Experience Is Your Enterprise’s Best Investment

customer_is_king

“By 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake both price and product when it comes to differentiating a brand.” (Biz Report)

Years back, price and product ruled the market. In many ways, the cheapest product sold the most and because communication was more difficult brands could even get away with customer complaints related to product/service shortcomings. However, this is no longer the case today. Customers expect that each and every time they interact with your brand, they will encounter a memorable experience. Something that attracts them, something that is different and at the same time seamless and effortless. Deliver on their expectations and they won’t worry if you happen to overcharge them. Because customers pay over the top knowing that you can deliver a great customer experience and engage them completely. Yes! Nowadays, ‘the experience’ just about triumphs everything else.

Successful enterprises not only know this but also understand that the best  customer experience investments their company can make are ones that focus on a strong digital customer experience.  Companies that consistently rely on modern technology to close gaps in performance, to offer a more personal experience and to build trust, regularly see happier customers, increase in sales, and more loyalty as a result. Yet, many companies longing to achieve these results struggle to identify the best plan of action for the perfect digital customer experience. This doesn’t have to be the case; it just takes a little knowledge and understanding of how to make the most of your investment.

Prioritize Your Outline Customer Experience
When it comes to an online experience, consumers are far less patient. A recent study by Nielsen concluded that a 10-second wait for a page to load can make almost 50% of consumers give up, leave, and search for a competitor. In fact, researchers at Microsoft found that if a website takes 250 milliseconds longer to load than a competitors, consumers will move on. Bottom line: when people have a less-than-favorable experience online, they immediately fault the company. In these times, there is no excuse for a bad digital experience.

Create Brand Loyalty Through Consistency
A consumer’s impression of a company is created by a variety of individual touch points. It’s when companies do not provide consistent digital experiences that the consumer ends up with a disjointed and poor impression of the business and brand. Over time, it’s the frustrations caused by these inconsistencies that can erode brand loyalty.  To avoid major issues, do your best to identify customers’ digital interactions and devices. Understand the goals of your customers, motivations, and strive for as much detail as possible. Research your customers so that every phase of their digital experience is accounted for and is unique to their individual needs throughout their customer journey.

Improving Customer Experience Can Also Improve Your Operations
Companies that specifically work towards improving the customer experience are also improving other parts of the business such as online support, mobile customer experience and personalized digital experiences. In this way, the company meets the site visitors where they are and in turns helps themselves through smoother interactions.   An obvious example can be found at any Apple store.  Apple changed how point-of-sale works.  No one waits at a register.  Any Apple employee can ring up your purchase.  The customer wins. Apple wins.  Look for these win-win opportunities that make your customers happy and at the same time, make doing business easier and faster.

Digital Experience Platforms Shape the Technology Investment
The best software platforms to invest in are those which targeted customer experiences, marketing and commerce on smartphones, tablets and computers – really any device where a customer will be interacting. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize the use of digital tools and technologies, so your customers are getting the fastest, most accurate, next level experiences every time they visit your site.

One technology platform that can help any large-scale enterprise with the challenges of digital customer experiences is a modern CMS platform. Modern multi-channel CMS platforms help companies digital customer experiences faster, create brand loyalty and increase revenue.