4 Steps to Simplify Digital Experience

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With all the talk about customer experience today, it’s easy to lose sight of what it really means. What it means is this: when you fail to provide a good experience for your customers, you will lose them and money due to disloyalty.

In this guide, we present advice from our own experts as they explain four ways to provide a better customer experience. We also share a few examples of how you can easily improve customer experiences with Episerver Digital Experience Cloud.

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Attract: The new rules of inbound marketing

Quality content matters

When people find your page through an organic search rather than an ad, it’s so much more powerful and credible. Search engines, however, have become so much smarter. Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm and Rankbrain system, launched in 2013 and 2015, were designed to focus less on keywords on individual pages and more on how the overall site content fits together.

This provides more relevant search results for the user, but it also means that creating quality content is more important than ever. Previously if you had created a page about the casino Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, to achieve a good search ranking it was sufficient to include the phrase “Caesars Palace” several times. Search engines now, however, look for related topics throughout your site, such as pages on how to get to Las Vegas or the best restaurants there.

The rise of long-tail searches

As companies have been creating more and more content online, it has become increasingly harder to lead in search results with popular keywords. On the plus side, long-tail searches, which have at least three words, are now the norm. So you may not be able to compete for the keyword “sneakers”, but you may be able to compete for a search query like “red sneakers indoor use”

Creating a landing page for every kind of long-tail search, however, would be incredibly time consuming. The right kind of content management system, though, can make you extremely effective in how your website is presented in search results. Episerver’s automatic landing pages, shown on the next page, are a good example of this.

Quick tip: Content with a point

Before you start creating a piece of content, first decide what you want it to achieve. Make a brief that includes objectives, target audience, calls to action, distribution plans and KPIs. If you don’t know what the content should do, don’t create it.

Experience in the field

Despite centuries-old forms of corporate content marketing, it's no secret that during the past 10 years, the volume of content has exploded. Despite dramatic increases in audiences consuming content online, brands find themselves feeding what is already an oversupply of content. This means that content must be of remarkable quality and relevance to rise to the top, and that supporting quality content — with paid media tactics — yields the greatest likelihood of consumption across channels.

Source: Content Marketing Comes of Age, Gartner.

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Automatic landing pages for long-tail searches

Episerver’s platform has a feature that uses tags to create targeted landing pages. This means that you do not need to go through and create landing pages for every possible variation of what people might be searching for on your site. You simply tag your pages with different themes as you create them, then the Episerver search engine presents these pages as one landing page for any given topic. The result? Higher search rankings and relevance.

For example, let’s say that you have a website that includes a recipe database. If someone is looking for chicken curry recipes online, Episerver’s solution will automatically group together every page that you have tagged as a chicken curry recipe on your site, then present that to the user as a unique landing page. Without even trying very hard, your website has become a chicken curry recipe leader.

The need for speed

Research shows that the speed of a website is crucial and directly affects engagement and conversions. Data from Kissmetrics show that consumers are hyper-focused on speed: 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of people abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. A one second delay in page response can reduce conversions by 7%.

With Episerver’s Digital Experience Cloud service, we provide an optimized platform and content delivery network (CDN). Our CDN caches content on servers around the world. This means that your users never have to wait for content to load, regardless of their location.

Engage: Personalization made easy

The problem of staying relevant

Let’s take the example of an ad on Facebook. With Facebook, you can create hyper-targeted ads for a very specific audience. When people click on the ad and come to your site, however, it can be a struggle to keep the same message throughout the site. The ad seemed relevant for them, but your site less so. This is not uncommon when a business has several products or customer segments that it works with.

The same problem can arise when someone comes to your site through a search engine. They land on a page corresponding to their query, but how can you know if the visitor is a potential customer, a distributor, or from some other kind of organization? Personalization can help solve this and make your conversion process incredibly more effective.

Getting started with personalization

One easy way to personalize your website is by using contextual data. When a person enters your site, there are several pieces of information that you can instantly use: whether they came to the site by clicking a particular ad, their IP address, and by extension their country, city and employer. With this information alone, Episerver’s platform can deliver a more relevant experience for the user

You can also use behavioral data, gathered throughout and between the user’s visits. What has the visitor already viewed? How many times have they viewed a particular item? Which categories are most relevant to them based on their browsing history? Episerver’s platform is equipped to answer these questions for you automatically, so visitors will see content that is most relevant to them. You can read more about this on the next page.

Quick tip: Combine a few pages into one long page

Websites have gone from having a deep hierarchy to being more shallow, so visitors do not need to spend a lot of time trying to understand the site. By using content blocks, Episerver makes it easy to create one longer page from several other pages.

Convert: Analytics that drive action

How badly do they want it?

As a business, you would love to know as much as possible about your visitors. However, you should match how much you ask of them with their level of motivation. Let’s take the example of a car manufacturer’s site. If someone is new to the site, and they are more curious than they are highly motivated to buy a car, then perhaps their first conversion should be to subscribe to a blog or receive updates about new models – simply by entering their email address.

At the other end of the journey, an interested buyer may have configured their dream car online and now they would like to test drive it. Their motivation is higher, so it’s all right to require them to enter more information. Remember, too, that motivation can be influenced by creating a sense of urgency, such as with time-limited offers or discounts.

Analyzing and optimizing the smart way

Analytics should really be about asking questions that help you get insights, segment your data and drive action. Obviously, there are a million segments that one can look at (mobile vs. non-mobile, returning vs. not returning, etc.). The possibilities are endless, and people often get lost. Good analytics is about finding a few good metrics that can act as proxy for how well you are doing and then obsessing about those.

One tip is to study the behavior of people who have converted to see if there are clues you can use to improve the process. Perhaps people who spend more time on your site are statistically more likely to convert. You can then look for ways to increase the time people spend on your site to see whether it increases conversions. Read on the next page how Episerver makes some of this testing and optimizing automatic.

Quick tip: Remove friction from forms

The less time it takes a visitor to fill in a form, the more likely they are to complete it. So, if it’s not imperative for you to know something, don’t include it. Simply adding a social sign-on option, like with Facebook, can increase conversions by up to 15 percent.

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Care: Removing friction from service

When customer service fails

Many of us have also been in the situation when you prepare to call a customer service agent, bracing yourself for the discussion where you have to convince them that there is a problem. Most people would rather not have that discussion if the could solve the issue on their own. From a business point of view, providing digital customer service not only increases satisfaction but significantly lowers service costs.

A key problem with digital customer service today, however, is visibility and accessibility. Even if a website has the correct information to solve a customer service issue, it’s hidden behind too many forms or steps. This makes it hard both for customers and Google to quickly find the right information. Customers are then left to rely on third-party information that they find elsewhere, which may or not be correct.

Help customers serve themselves

Studies show that customers are increasingly wanting to fulfill all of their needs online. This is both an opportunity and a risk, since a customer service failure is one most common reasons for customer disloyalty. The good news is that research from McKinsey indicates that customers who can handle their customer-service issue entirely online are more satisfied than customers who must solve in it in another channel or a mix of channels.

Providing a good customer experience online involves analyzing where your customers are having problems, and finding easy, accessible solutions to those problems. Using a content management system with a built-in search engine, like Episerver, can help customers find what they are looking for faster. Episerver also makes it easy to build a customer service portal. You can find examples of both of these functions on the next page.

Quick tip: Use surveys to measure results

One simple way to find out whether visitors have been able to accomplish what they wanted on your site is to ask them. By using a tool like Qualaroo you can quickly create a pop-up survey that asks visitors before they leave about the purpose of their visit, whether they completed it, and why not. This can be the most actionable data you ever get.

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