Four Ways Businesses Can Give Back Using Digital to Make a Difference

There is a quote by Maya Angelou that goes, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” For many companies, being able to give back sets the tone for creating the core values of the culture.

And, if you want your work and business to impact the world, you need to be able to connect your business with others who can benefit from your brand. One of the greatest challenges is where to start, especially with so much information available online and viewed through different digital channels. Don’t worry; in this post, we will give you ideas on how you can give back and even take advantage of all the digital information out there.

Here are four great ways a business can give back and use online and digital experiences to help.

1. Unite with Your Partners

Reach out to your community of partners and join forces. The first step would be to collaborate on the charities that mean the most to your business and your partners. Once decided on the foundation, you will be able to narrow down how to give back. For many, your partners might not be local, but with the growing trend to help through digital channels, this should not be an issue.

One way to get started is to give part of every sale to a nonprofit. You can set a time limit on this offering or continue it over the long run. One company that continues to give proceeds of product sales is TOMS, and they have now extended their reach to partner with 100 companies.

They take advantage of sharing the digital experience on social media and redirect visitors back to their site (shown in the image below)

Helping to spread the word expands their impact and encourages others to help, either through partnerships or simply by buying their products.

2. Sponsor an Event

The exposure you get from working with charitable foundations is often tough to measure but worth the expense. One company related to the outdoor fitness industry realized enormous success by sponsoring a large bike race with over 7,000 participants. They used the race, which was attended by their target audience, to offer discounts, engage with the participants, and align their brand with a great experience and cause. Now, this well-known company can be seen sponsoring or taking part in hundreds of events across the country.

Also, the company is smart about using social media, mobile apps, and online videos to help get the word out about sponsored events, which lead back to the brand identity and product they are selling.

3. Offer Your Skills

As an expert in your industry, you have an area of expertise that’s of value to others. Consider teaching classes in your area of expertise that could be of value to those who are have been out of the workforce or looking to advance in their field.

With the right technology, you can stream or record sessions and share through different platform solutions. Or, you could use a webcam and conduct your training live, which gives the added benefit of interacting with others.

4. Encourage Employee Volunteerism

A great way to boost the culture of your enterprise and make a difference is to start with the employees. Many businesses are encouraging employees to volunteer by offering paid time off.

Employees can give back in several ways, and some, they may not even know about. With digital experiences advancing, you can now become a digital volunteer.

The organizations that are thriving as volunteering declines are the ones who are using digital volunteers and who make it simple to find their volunteer openings online.

Here are a few successful service organizations that will make it easy for you to volunteer:

  • The United Nations — Allows you to choose from several volunteer opportunities available through the United Nations based on either your skills, experience, a development topic, health, or even a specific geographic location. Check out the openings here for more information on how to help.

  • American Red Cross — The Red Cross offers training for individuals interested in assisting their social engagement team. Individuals can communicate with people on social media and other online tools during times of disaster. Volunteers help people obtain the information they are looking for, help direct people to where they can get help if it’s needed, and comfort the distressed on behalf of the Red Cross. If you are interested in providing help digitally using social media, this may be a good volunteer opportunity for you

  • All For Good — The All For Good database makes it easy to search by your local area and state for virtual opportunities. What sticks out the most regarding the All For Good database is the variety of positions highlighted by both leading nonprofits and local grassroots organizations, giving all positions equal visibility. Search here for the current virtual volunteer opportunities with All For Good and see if one could be a fit for you.

How do you find digital or virtual volunteer opportunities in your community? And has your enterprise taken advantage of new digital channels and volunteer openings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Webinar Recap] How To Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required

Missed our webinar? Don’t sweat it. View the recording of our presentation and find out how you can build a microsite that will be easy to set up and engage your site visitors.

Marketers recognize the value of focusing on specific campaign goals. A microsite is one way to do this effectively. For many companies, finding the right platform to set up easily, engage, and update without the help of the IT department can present a challenge.

This webinar gives you precise step-by-step instructions on how to create a microsite and where to start. You can watch the full recording below — we also included a link to a non-audio version of the presentation on SlideShare. And, as a result of this popular webinar, we had questions come in, and we have answered them below. Enjoy!

Watch The Full Webinar:

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Video: How to Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required

Check Out On SlideShare Here:

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How to Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required from Craftersoftware.com

Questions that came in after the webinar:

1.  Can a microsite help to boost SEO?

Yes, employing a microsite will boost your brand’s overall SEO ranking and will allow new site visitors to find your business online. Visitors, who are unfamiliar with your enterprise, may discover the microsite through organic search, referral links, and social media. Including a logo and linking back to the parent website invites visitors to learn more.

2.  What types of content are supported (video, .pdf, audio files, XML and binary downloads)

Crafter CMS supports all types of content and can be integrated with any media player.

3.  Does Crafter CMS offer language translation for a microsite? What languages are supported?

Yes, the Crafter CMS platform supports language translation and workflow. Crafter CMS integrates seamlessly with most translation platforms and supports all languages worldwide.

4.  As a marketer, what are the biggest benefits of implementing a Crafter CMS microsite?

Since microsites can be deployed swiftly and cost-effectively, they represent a way to test multiple campaigns. The marketer can use targeted, personalized content and then use analytics to measure market engagement. Also, microsites can offer marketing teams the freedom to experiment without the restrictions that may exist on the primary website. By giving the marketing team this freedom to quickly run multiple campaigns, the enterprise may uncover new best practices and generate more sales opportunities, allowing your company to compete with other brands for the attention of site visitors.

More questions, comments or concerns? Let us know in the comments section.

Like more information about the webinar or Crafter CMS? Email us at info@craftersoftware.com.

 

34 Reasons Why You Should be Using Video Marketing

The latest trend in digital marketing is favoring video. Perhaps you’ve noticed – it’s nearly impossible to be online these days without experiencing some form of video marketing. The following are just a few statistics that may just be enough to convince your marketing team to start more video projects.

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Volume Statistics for Video Marketing

  • Almost one-third of total internet users are on YouTube (that’s over a billion!).
  • 45% of internet users watch at least an hour of videos a week on YouTube and Facebook.
  • YouTube viewers watch over 500 million hours of videos daily.
  • Approximately 82% of Twitter users watch video content on that platform.
  • More videos have been uploaded in the last 30 days than in the last 30 years on all major U.S. television networks.
  • A whopping 87% of online marketers use video content as their preferred platform.
  • Every 60 seconds approximately 72 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.
  • A third of all online activity is spent viewing videos.
  • Nearly 85% of users in the US watch videos online.
  • Millennials watch the most videos online.
  • Men spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than women.

Mobile Video Marketing Statistics

  • Mobile video is so popular that over half of the video content is viewed on smartphones or tablets.
  • Mobile video viewers love to share with 92% sharing their videos after watching.
  • Twitter users watch 90% of Twitter video views on a mobile device.
  • More than 200 million broadcasts have been created by Periscope users.
  • Each day over 10 million videos are watched on Snapchat.

Video Marketing Engagement Statistics

  • Proof of its extreme popularity, 51% of global marketing professionals say video is their preference and offers the best ROI.
  • Marketers using video grow revenue over 49% faster than those who don’t utilize video.
  • It’s all about speed! If video and text are on the same topic, 59% of executives agree they are more likely to choose video.
  • Forget text and images; social video generates 1200% more shares than those combined!
  • There’s a 157% increase from video in organic traffic from SERPs.
  • To get the most engagement go for videos up to 2 minutes long.
  • Say what? Over 85% of Facebook videos are viewed muted.
  • If you want to increase conversions by 80% or more, throw a video on your landing page.
  • Facebook videos have a higher reach by tenfold compared to YouTube links.
  • On average, the CVR for websites with video is 4.8%, in contrast to 2.9% for those that don’t.
  • A landing page video makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of the SERP.
  • After viewing an ad, 46% of viewers act.
  • An email with a video gets an increase of 96% click-through rate
  • Video attracts as much as three times more monthly visitors.
  • To attract three times more inbound links to blog posts, start incorporating video.
  • To boost engagement by 22%, combine video with full-page ads.

Fun Video Marketing Facts

  • If you want your viewers to retain a message, give it to them in a video! Statistics show 95% more retention versus 10% when read in text.
  • By 2019, traffic from internet video will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
  • Websites with video get 88% more of a viewer’s time.

Want to increase your marketing with video coverage? Thinking about a new strategy for 2018? Let Crafter Software get you the views you want – Shot us an email today!

Death to Legacy CMS platforms: How XMS Solutions are Transforming the Future

Have you ever seen the movie Office Space where the fax machine doesn’t work? Every day, the office workers struggle to use it, especially one certain employee, until he decides that enough is enough and ultimately kills it (with the help of his equally frustrated colleagues).

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I think we can all relate to wanting to drop-kick outdated technology.

One such technology is a traditional content management system, invented in the late ’90s to manage pages and components on a website. However, that existing technology is no longer relevant to the digital experiences that exist today. Because digital experiences are more than just websites—now we have mobile apps, e-commerce front-ends, virtual and augmented reality, customer portals, kiosks, and hotel room touch screens to name a few. The list of use cases is extensive, and we’ve only touched on a few examples here.

If legacy content management systems are no longer working, should we get rid of them? In short, Yes!

The Solution

The best replacement for a legacy CMS platform is an experience management system: A solution built around an entirely new architecture, enabling the agile development of digital experiences that are not only driven by content, but also optimized with data, maintained by DevOps, and uniquely tailored to business users’ needs. There are many reasons why we recommend an experience management system (XMS) platform.

Let’s break down why enterprises need an XMS solution.

Easy to use for everyone – Business users, content creators, software developers, and system operations can all work easily to create, manage, optimize, and deliver experiences. Great experiences are designed, built, and delivered by a multidisciplinary team that needs to be able to work together seamlessly while leveraging specialized skills and tools.

Experiences not just pages and components – New data and channels are a welcome addition to XMS platforms at any time. An XMS platform doesn’t bake in assumptions about how and where experiences will be delivered or what data will be required or produced.

Journeys vs. interactions – An experience is a journey rather than an interaction. Customers and users expect each interaction to leverage previous communications. An example of this is you visit your favorite shoe retailer’s website looking for a pair of shoes. Next time you visit them from your mobile, you notice that the site shows you the shoes you were looking at and also what other products other people who previously bought the product were interested in, with the goal of matching your style and attracting your interest.

Personal over generic information – Legacy CMS platforms create lackluster experiences that will be increasingly ignored by users. Great experiences are relevant, and relevance drives value, which translates into increasing brand loyalty and revenue for enterprises.

Simplicity in architecture NOT complexity – Let’s face it: we want simple technology, but not too simple, where the solution doesn’t meet the functionality that we need. Simplicity comes from the separation of concerns and great architecture rather than from the presence of specific technologies and vendors.

Distribution out performs centralization – Experiences today exist anywhere and everywhere. Long gone are the days of the clean, segregated worlds of the physical and digital. Experiences are delivered anywhere, at any time, and across the digital-physical divide. Experiences need to build off each other through different channels and platforms. The benefit of distribution is having a very stable solution, and once the necessary infrastructure is in place, evolution is tremendous.

Loose coupling over tight coupling – Technical architecture matters and ultimately defines the limits of what is possible. Loose coupling is achieved by a design that promotes single responsibility and the separation of concerns, unlike tight coupling, which can have too many responsibilities. Today’s challenges demand architectural solutions capable of addressing concerns including performance at scale, complex security, heavy data warehousing, processing and transfer, audibility, and ease of creation.

Ability to easily integrate is important – The technology that you use needs to be able to integrate with existing technology. An advantage of software integration is processes across your company become streamlined, allowing for tasks to be automated which increases your ROI. Plus, user-driven innovation flourishes with integration because process changes can be implemented quickly and different users need to be able to apply their expertise to tailor processes and applications in a way that improves performance.

Lightweight software as opposed to heavy – One size fits all is a fallacy, and each organization has its own unique needs, existing skill sets, and back ends. A software solution with a focus on ease of integration and maintainable customization trumps all-in-one solutions.

Open source software is the most modern solution – Openness is key to innovation on any scale. While proprietary solutions may be able to deliver in the short-term, it is openness, open standards, and interoperability that do more in the long run. Open source fosters innovation by allowing the source code to be transparent to developers who can improve and make fixes to the software while building an active community of people who are powering the most up-to-date and greatest software.

Think of open source as a way of life:

“It also means committing to playing an active role in improving the world, which is possible only when everyone has access to the way that world is designed.

The world is full of “source code”—blueprints, recipes, rules—that guide and shape the way we think and act in it. We believe this underlying code (whatever its form) should be open, accessible, and shared—so many people can have a hand in altering it for the better.”

source: opensource.com

Content management systems built decades ago can no longer keep up with the explosion of technology and the way we communicate. Companies need to be able to connect on every channel and digital device with targeted information.

So, the next time you’re frustrated with your legacy CMS platform and are ready to kick it to the curb. Consider upgrading your solution to an XMS. This will save your company valuable resources and maybe, just maybe, even your sanity when out-dated technology stops working.

In need of an experience management system platform? Contact Crafter Software at info@craftersoftware.com for more details.

Create Your Company’s Best Digital Future with a CMS

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In most cases, when companies set up their websites, they really don’t think beyond simply having an online presence. However, there is so much more to consider such as the mobile capacity of their site. Can a customer easily access the site from their phone or is it only meant for desktops? What about the hundreds of Google algorithms that power their search engine? These factors absolutely must be considered along with the best CMS (content management system) for the business. When setting up your business, asking yourself the following questions is a good place to start:

Will my company’s site give a premium customer experience on desktop as well as mobile?
We live in a mobile-first world. So much so, in fact, that according to Gartner, ecommerce-driven mobile revenue will increase by 50% next year alone. For that reason, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and mobile first indexing is becoming the main strategy for Google. In order for your business to keep up and offer a seamless experience from desktop to mobile, a quality CMS is key. Remember you only need one URL for all versions in order to keep in line with Google’s recommended best practice, URL architecture, and of course, keeping the site customer-friendly.

How do I get users to click my link first?
The better the meta description and title, the more likely a user will click on the link for your company instead of a competitors.  Unfortunately, it’s duplicated or missing titles and meta descriptions showing up in Google’s search for your company that often stand in the way of whether or not users choose your link. Luckily, this is easily resolved with a good content management system that allows you to change them quickly as well as check for missing ones.

Is my content reusable?
This is where it gets tricky. Many websites have content in multiple places simply because it is necessary. From blog posts to product descriptions, it’s not unusual for content to arise in more than one place on any given website. Yet when it comes to Google, these pages of duplicated content make it difficult for the search engines to know which option to show users. The good news is this will not affect your Google ranking, it simply just makes it harder for Google to crawl your website for highest value content. Again, a good CMS can easily take care of this for your company and make it much easier to manage and tag your content.

Is it possible to optimize my URLs for multiple languages?
In general, a website is done in one language. However, if you’re looking for multiple language options for your site, consider the use of subdirectories with generic top-level domains (gTLDs). A good content management system can easily set this up without requiring much maintenance.

Can I style my page for both Google and the human user?
Yes, this is possible with a good CMS. A good CMS will give you multiple options while allowing you to style your text with tags, even without knowledge of HTML or CSS. Remember, use your most important keyword in your URL, H1 tag, first line of text and, if you can, the alt tag.

Can my content be optimized for social media?
Again, this is tricky. Often, companies find that social media platforms won’t recognize a website’s headline or image, and then posts something completely different. It’s not what you want, and it’s certainly not enticing enough for users to click on. To avoid this, you’ll have to mark p your content using Open Graph for Facebook and Twitter cards. If this sounds daunting, it is, well, if you’re doing it manually. Yet, a good content management system can easily take the stress off your hands and do it automatically. The content is marked up so it looks great and can be easily shared.

As you can see, choosing a content management system is practically a no-brainer. Having a user-friendly and search engine friendly website is one of the best ways to ensure that your content will get noticed. A good CMS gives you the ability to produce superior content while also being readily available to the millions of people searching on the World Wide Web.

How Your Web CMS Should Enable a Digital Experience

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Web content management is no longer about managing pages on a website; instead, it’s now at the center of where marketing activities and customer engagement is carried out. Once holding a focus on publishing and management of web content, marketers can now expect CMSs to improve the development and management of entire digital customer experiences. Digital experiences that are driven by content, optimized with data, and delivered across all online channels. Additionally, a modern web CMS will utilize and manage data from CRM, ERP and other applications to deliver unique, personalized experiences.

Consumers expect a seamless digital experience. The following are just a few of the ways your web CMS should be helping to make this a possibility:

Personalized Digital Experiences

Modern CMSs are making it easier than ever for small businesses to go beyond personalized emails to engage customers. They are able to design and content elements across websites, portals, mobile apps and more, create various user personas or user segments, display targeted and contextual content to these different user segments, and personalize the design on the basis of various criteria that has proven to work via analytics. Although it delivers profoundly better results, it is still by no means “easy.” Marketing managers still have their work cut out for them as they test and iterate working with CTOs to outline the depth of personalization while creating a map content to specific user groups and scenarios.

Multi-Channel

Instead of multiple marketing teams taking on efforts to globally promote an array of products and services on a single website, this should be done across various digital properties – microsites, mobile apps, social media, augmented and virtual reality, and more. A modern CMS natively supports an API-first approach to content management that enables multi-channel content authoring, publishing and delivery. Additionally, complete separation of presentation from content and data, and support for any type of UI development framework, combined simplify the task of delivering a wide variety of digital experiences across multiple platforms.

Data-driven

Everything a customer does on your web properties yields insights. This data can then be used to optimize the customer experience.  Because of this, you’ll want to look for CMSs equipped with full support for A/B testing, customer journey tracking, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data. It’s in your best interest to go above and beyond and use CMS that offers intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights along with the administrative capability to take swift actions on these insights by just a few clicks.

Ease of Integration

Your customers view your digital experiences as one entity. Because of this, if you do not integrate with siloed platforms like CRM, Portals, BI, analytics and other key systems and applications, then you’re just spinning your wheels. Your goal of reaching a 360-degree customer view will be in vain.

Modern CMSs enable easy integration by offering out-of-the-box connectors for major CRMs, search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, databases, publishing platforms, analytics, etc. Additionally, you need to be able to easily integrate with existing systems and web applications through APIs.

Next Steps

It is necessary for every company or organization to identify their own unique challenges, marketing objectives as well as their desired business outcomes, goals and expectations. This should be done prior to beginning the journey of selecting and implementing a web CMS. The key is knowing how to use your choice of tools. If you have any questions about how a modern web CMS can support your enterprise’s digital experience, drop us a line at Crafter. One of our professionals will be happy to discuss a solution with you.

Why It’s Time to Select a Headless and Content-as-a-Service CMS

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Believe it or not, your enterprise will soon need to move beyond the web. In fact, some companies have already made the move. So, what is stopping your enterprise from moving forward? Richard Jones, perhaps most known for his work as the technical director of Inviga, a London-based tech company specializing in content management systems, e-commerce and digital innovation recently spoke at a tech conference and offered his thoughts on the emergence of Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) and just how much it affects the creation of content. At the conference, Jones detailed how CaaS can be positioned as the digital hub of any given enterprise. Yes, even yours. But to add perspective to how to adopt CaaS and Headless CMS, it’s important to have a clearer understanding of what they are exactly. The following explanations should do just that.

Understanding CaaS and Headless CMS
CaaS refers to a use case in which the content on the web is created and written separately from the place it will be used. Its objective is that it will be consumed by a wide range of digital channels such as mobile apps, websites, social networks, virtual reality experiences, among others.

CaaS is only supported by certain, modern content management systems that provides robust APIs on the back-end. It is a component of a headless CMS. Unlike the original concept of a CMS, there is less concern about how the content will be delivered through a website’s pages, it has the single goal of providing content creators the tools to enhance their workflow to a point where content is ready to be consumed in any of a number of CaaS use cases.

Focused Content Creation
Irrespective of the technology they use, enterprises of all industries need to properly address and have a good understanding of their audience.  Not knowing the consumer is one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge for content creators. Additionally, the problem will only worsen as the Internet of Things (IoT) only gets even more embedded into the enterprise.

CaaS can enable the process of content creation for countless applications and devices. This means the content can be shaped accordingly to those likely to consume it. However, customer behavior is constantly changing – much faster than the ability of content developers have to keep up. Because of this, content creators are struggling to meet the needs of customers. There is a huge need to be innovative with the ways content is being brought to the consumer. But the questions remain, how do we present this data out to any given device? What are the possibilities and how might they change?

The Need for a Modern CMS
Organizations need CMS platforms that help them go beyond traditional static page thinking, the truth is, content creators need to think beyond pages, too.

Fueled by Mobile Apps, IoT, Virtual Reality, and other future digital channels, enterprises no longer have a choice — they must move forward despite their struggles with managing effective web presences and their natural reluctance to go beyond the web.  The sooner they make a change to a modern CMS, the better. The change is too dynamic to stop, and enterprises must jump on the bandwagon now to stay relevant and competitive.

To learn how Crafter CMS supports Content-as-a-Service and can prepare your organization for the digital future, contact us today.

Three Customer Experience Stats You Should Know

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As an enterprise, you’re very familiar with the calls to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time to best optimize the customer experience. You can credit the focus and investment in digital customer experience to crowd-sourced company and product reviews, numerous forms of social media, and savvy customers connected to companies and their competitors through a variety of digital platforms.

Read on for three important statistics that highlight the opportunities for successful customer experience, along with best practices and tips on how to address them.

1) Loyal customers are seven times as likely to test an offering, five times as likely to buy again, and four times as likely to refer. (Source)

Knowing your audience’s personal preferences and needs goes beyond understanding what products or services they are interested in and the money they’re willing to spend. This understanding of individual preferences is about analyzing behaviors and tendencies—even as they shift over time—to present the most relevant and compelling messages, content, and offerings. Also, leading enterprises are listening to consumers, and they understand what they will get in return for satisfying consumers’ demands.

A modern CMS platform, which serves as the centerpiece of any digital customer experience strategy, can help by converting that insight into action and by offering the right digital experiences in a way that resonates with site visitors each and every time, and collects relevant feedback that reinforces customer loyalty.

2) 94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience (Source)

Consumers have shown their willingness to invest more in the enterprises who deliver a customer experience that matches their expectations. Why do site visitors reward these companies so generously? It’s because they recognize the value of doing business with an enterprise that has taken the time to learn who they are and what they want and created a digital experience that delivers without fail across all devices and channels.

3) By 2017, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. (Source)

Marketers are on the front lines when it comes to engaging customers, and they see how important it is to create appealing digital experiences. Everywhere you look, enterprises are vying for your attention; and once they have it, they strive to keep you coming back for more. As different digital platforms emerge, it will get even tougher to stand out from the pack and keep brand loyalty steady. That is why some of the most successful enterprises use personalization to engage site visitors.

So how do they provide this level of attention? Only with a modern CMS platform, built from the ground up to deliver high-performance personalized experiences, that enables marketers to target specific audiences and deliver compelling experiences that authentically connects with customers and ensures brand satisfaction.

Clearly, enterprises that can answer the call to not only meet but exceed the customer experience stand to win big. Simply put, both short- and long-term profits and brand loyalty are at stake. But providing great customer experience requires work. In fact, to get customer experience right, you must have the right technology in place. Explore our white paper: Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web-Experiences to learn about the most modern technology available to you to better engage your customers. Download it today and discover how to deliver modern digital experiences that today’s site visitors expect.

The Reality of Website Personalization

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While by no means a new concept, website personalization is as popular as ever as companies seek to give site visitors a unique experience tailored to their needs and requests. However, tailoring a website to fully engage different types of visitors comes with a few difficulties. The following are three main factors that often make personalization a challenge.

Personalization Takes a Significant Amount of Resources and Time
Although website personalization will ultimately make your company money in the long run, in the short term it takes a lot of time and resources to do it correctly. Think of it this way, if you are personalizing a section on your homepage by audience, you will need to decide how to target each demographic. Then, you will need to create specific content for each audience. Finally, even after those tasks are completed, you are stuck with the additional task of deciding what the overall goal is so you can track the success of the personalized experiences.

After you’ve spent the time doing the above, you need to implement them in a personalization tool. Again, this requires resources and might even be a few days’ worth of work before your site is completely personalized. Once it’s up you and running will need to let it run awhile to let it gain momentum to give you meaningful statistical data. After enough time, you’ll need to go back and evaluate and possibly tweak the content. All of this requires a substantial about of budgeted time and capabilities to be possible. Of course, using a CMS such as Crafter, where the personalization engine is built directly into the platform, makes this effort so much easier than legacy systems.

Reporting Helps Determine Goals
So how do you know whether personalization has really improved your website? That’s when reporting comes to play. Because reporting can vary, knowing what should take priority will help you determine proper goals for your personalization campaign.  In a nutshell, it comes down to conversions — more clicks, downloads, click ratio per audience, and navigation to other sections should all be part of the testing. For e-commerce sites, add shopping cart stats and revenue per customer. Again, nobody said website personalization is easy.

Without realizing how much time it takes to set up and report, many employers simply add the huge task of personalizing the company website onto an employee’s already-busy full-time schedule. This is a really bad idea. Adding personalization to someone’s current job responsibilities without giving it the attention it needs will not yield a successful campaign. Again, having personalization built-in to your CMS platform makes reporting and optimization much more time efficient.

Manage Team Expectations
Website personalization gives visitors to your site a very individual experience, but keep in mind it doesn’t always feel magical on the backend. You may hear people from your team say, “Why can’t we just set up a campaign for this?” (meaning, for every little thing) or “Just run a test!” But from the time it takes to create the content to execute it to testing it to optimizing it, personalizing “everything” just isn’t possible. Laying out how you will be targeting your audience should be established from the beginning, and then you can recycle those groups into new campaigns down the road to help you move faster.

Another expectation you will need to nip in the bud is the fact that personalization won’t necessarily drive traffic to your site. It will, however, keep quality visitors on your site longer, keep them engaged, and ultimately convert visitors into loyal customers. Your leadership team might not be comfortable, yet with the metrics involved with personalization, so you will need to help familiarize them with this type of thinking.

All in all, personalization can be rewarding and the key to success for your company site. But, as you just discovered, it is not easy or quick. To make personalization for your site as quick, efficient, and effective as possible, contact us to learn how a modern platform such as Crafter CMS can help you meet your goals.

 

The Power of Great Content APIs

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From Amazon and Twitter to Expedia and YouTube, large companies recognize the value of providing Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) to their systems and continue to invest big bucks in them.  These well-established APIs grant third parties controlled access to their functionality and content, which is essentially like allowing you into a candy shop filled with lollipops and candy bars (content and functionality) and giving you the key (API) to enjoy them anytime you want.

API Facts

Before explaining the value of API, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of these popular systems. The following are a few facts and figures to illustrate just how important APIs are and why so many companies are choosing to use them.

1. APIs allow businesses to build new platforms on scalable and accessible content much faster.

2. Once a maturing API becomes a core capability within a business, numerous opportunities begin to present themselves. Essentially, when it comes to API, it’s okay to start small, while thinking about the bigger picture.

3. Within the first 13 months, Netflix’s API usage grew 37x and currently boasts 33% of the US evening internet traffic.

4. Surprisingly, when building APIs, large teams are not required. Rather, small, flexible and dexterous development teams can equally create large returns on investment.  Simply put, APIs require vision, clear leadership and a story that resonates with stakeholders.

The Value of APIs

As you can easily see, APIs have a distinct value for large and small companies alike. The value of APIs begins with internal consumption use case, rather than the more commonly known public open APIs to attract others from outside. Beefing up the content accessible within your own organization will show benefits very quickly. Consider how easy your projects would be if you could access a system that gave you various kinds of content while using any possible dimension (language, profile, context, user, location, you name it!). The ability to have one simple yet standard and reliable option that gave you access to information would be pretty spectacular, wouldn’t it? The question then becomes, what value are you willing to place on that? The answer is priceless.

The capability to communicate and grant access to the controlled consumption of content both internally and externally within an enterprise is significant to the point that businesses are discovering they almost can’t function without APIs. With APIs as the programmatic stage for content, everything “backstage” is the outcome of the efforts invested in the “service providers” to make that content accessible. Meanwhile, the front stage or “service consumers” are able to focus their efforts on putting the content to the most effective use.

Linking it All Together

A robust content API delivers a definite separation of concerns between those backstage diligently working to structure and develop content, than from those at the front stage chomping at the bit to gain access to the content so they can creatively do amazing things with it.  Needless to say, APIs benefit both service providers and consumers with endless prospects for advancement on either side of the API.

The ultimate goal is to move beyond simply separating the content to effectively moving it so it can be utilized everywhere it needs to be. The benefits are endless and big brands are already seeing the profits. Your business can enjoy the same.

It’s important to keep in mind that APIs are going to get a lot more popular, but APIs require a solid infrastructure.  It’s a programmatic interface to your content.  So if you’re creating a content API, be sure to design a content model from the start that conveys the required level of structure and meaning.

Questions about where to start? Email info@craftersoftware.com and our experts will happily assist.