As a marketing professional, you are undoubtedly aware that the landscape has changed rapidly in recent years. Consumer expectations have increased dramatically, especially when it is necessary to leverage technology to deliver the kind of engaging, personalized experience they demand. Choosing the right technology can be daunting, and it may make little difference if the implementation is poor or users fail to adopt it. Although Sitecore can be an effective and powerful marketing technology, it — like every other tool at your disposal — must be implemented properly and used correctly to achieve the desired results.
A Sitecore implementation can be much easier if you consider the following tips:
- Understand what you need from Sitecore. Although every marketer has a different set of priorities, most put three things high on their lists.
- Structured content: Begin by identifying your different types of content, such as downloads, testimonials, blog posts, and so on. Make sure that your content fields are sufficient to handle all types. For example, you might consider making the date mandatory for an alert or news item.
- Marketing web form: One of your primary reasons for your online presence likely is to generate leads. An easy way to accomplish this is to have the user complete an online form to access certain content, such as a white paper or newsletter. Sitecore’s Web Forms for Marketers module makes it easy to create as many different forms as you need and deploy them quickly. If you expect to obtain data from those who visit your site, you should consider adding this module to avoid potential issues.
- Analytics: Targeted marketing requires that you know your customers. Cross-channel analytics can help you create personalized, relevant campaigns. Although there are a number of programs available that can provide analytics, Sitecore offers one of the best.
- Follow the KISS principle – keep it simple and straightforward. Too often, data integration and management becomes over-complicated. Sitecore makes a terrific information hub and features an API that excels at sending and receiving data for its users. You can avoid potential pain points when maintaining, debugging, or upgrading.
- Take it slow and easy. Sitecore offers many great features, but you need not implement all of them at once. Prioritize the features and functionalities. Consider implementing the most critical ones initially and add the others later, such as when you upgrade to a new release or have mastered existing modules.
- When planning, look for ways to make your work easier. For example, if your CRM is not listed as having a connection to Sitecore and you really need it to hand off leads, ask. If an integration could save you an hour of work each day, ask.
- Train early and often. There is no need to wait until after the implementation to start browsing the training courses offered on the Sitecore website. Consider completing some of them during the planning phase so that you have some idea of the different possibilities.
- Have support in place. You might consider working with a vendor that can provide onsite training. At minimum, you need to designate a lead support person who is familiar with using Sitecore, your particular implementation, and the organization's business goals and policies.
Those who have never administered Sitecore sometimes feel overwhelmed when considering the implementation. However, Sitecore has gone to great lengths to make implementation as painless as possible, so there is nothing to fear. Learn all you can, establish a proper plan, and move forward. The rewards will be well worth your effort.