Marketing in the digital realm is about knowing what your potential customers are looking for and anticipating what will appeal to them. That’s why all digital marketing strategies begin with Buyer Personas, those fictional representatives of your ideal customers we all do tons of research to create. And we do all that research because we know the more insight we have into our potential customers the more effective our marketing strategies will be.
You can find tons of information online about people in various demographic categories. You can also learn a lot from your existing customers, assuming they’re willing to sit down for an interview or fill out a survey. But no matter how much research you do before redesigning your website, or before creating a content strategy, or before launching a campaign, you’re still making a lot of assumptions.
You’re still creating fictional personas.
More Data-Driven Personas
You can already get plenty of data bearing indirectly on your potential buyers from your CMS or your marketing automation system. Traffic metrics and conversion rates give you an indication of what types of content are getting traction, for instance—but who are they getting traction with?
You can follow up with sales and set up closed-loop reporting through your CRM, and that’s extremely helpful. But the cycle from research and planning to launch and on to assessment tends to last on the order of at least 6 months to a year. In light of how quickly the ground shifts beneath the online world, that’s a really long time to have your personas stuck in stasis.
The ideal approach would rely on real-time data about how visitors are interacting with various elements of your website or your blog. And there are some tools on the market already—Hotjar, for instance—that give you a remarkable amount of information about how visitors are behaving on your site. But you still probably won’t know who those visitors are.
The Sitefinity Digital Experience Cloud provides a different type of information about visitor behavior. It starts with your personas. Instead of simply uploading static buyer personas into your marketing automation system and forgetting about them until the next sales cycle, the DEC lets you use personas to set up rules that categorize visitors based on their behavior.
Personalization and Dynamic Content
The way the DEC works is by giving points to visitors based on the rules you set up. You may, for instance, have a rule that says anyone coming to your page from the Sitefinity website gets 10 points. If the first thing that visitor does on your site is click on a navigation bar option for web development, then that person gets ten more points.
When they reach a threshold number of points, the DEC categorizes them as potential web customers, as opposed to, say, custom software customers. This means you won’t just be tracking traffic numbers and conversion rates; you’ll be able to track what different types of visitors are doing on various parts of your site.
This type of data also makes it possible for the DEC to identify what stage in the buyer’s journey a given visitor is currently on. Your Sitefinity CMS can then use this information to offer content that’s personalized not just for the individual visitor, but for the stage that visitor is on in the buyer’s journey. So you’re offering a web experience that’s much more like a back-and-forth conversation than a prolonged and impersonal lecture.
Your Persona Action Plan for the DEC
If you want to see how DEC personas work in more detail, check out our new e-book. It briefly explains some of the underlying dynamics of buyer personas: what they’re for, how they work, and how they’re created. It then describes the basic processes involved in creating both traditional Buyer Personas and DEC Personas, with templates you can use to start creating your own.
Just click on the banner below, fill out the form, and download your e-book. And don’t worry: our lead nurturing is very unassuming, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
I'm Aptera's Content Strategist. I've been writing about tech and marketing for 5 years and have certifications from HubSpot and The Content Marketing Institute. A big science and literature geek, I taught college rhetoric and composition while I was still busy going to school for way too long, earning bachelor's degrees in anthropology and psychology, along with a master's in British and American literature. Look me up on LinkedIn.