Rules-based personalisation: How to use Sitecore Personalisation for better conversions

By John King on November 30, 2021

Marketers in most organisations are storytellers that cultivate an audience through engaging content, telling their brand story through a series of layered communications. Once an audience is engaged it's your role to serve them relevant, personalised related content that matches their interest and stage of their customer buying journey.

Ideally, this content provides education, validation, reassurance and removes any psychological barriers, whilst adding value, credibility and building upon your positive brand perception, which turns into a transaction. What marketers struggle to do is to start their personalisation journey.

Knowing where to start is often half the battle. Before Customer Data Platforms like Sitecore CDP existed Marketers often get overwhelmed when they start thinking of the content that is needed to support personalised experiences. My Sitecore rules-based personalisation recommendations are:

  • Define your goals
  • Define who your customers are
  • Understand your sales cycle and length of a deal
  • Segment your customers based on interest and customer lifecycle stage
  • Understand where they have engaged previously
  • Understand who are your high and low revenue audience segments
  • Learn what your audience's intentions are at each stage of their journey
  • Only personalise 1 to 3 components per page
  • Don't boil the ocean
  • Take a test and learn approach
  • Be realistic based on your content generation capabilities
  • Determine what audiences to personalise and what will have the maximum impact

Forward-thinking enterprises don’t see personalization as a series of disconnected moments for the end-user, but as a continuous lifetime journey. The ability to personalise and test new experiences with an optimisation solution like Sitecore Personalize can help your brand to avoid what can be months of development through normal processes with the creative and design teams. For example, one major media provider optimised a new self-service customer journey with Sitecore in their mobile app for sports package deferment in a matter of hours that saved millions in call centre costs.

Where to start it is a common struggle for marketers to personalise an experience when data isn't centralised, or they inherited a disconnected business ecosystem. Data is the key to knowing your customers intimately enough to then begin trying to meet their needs, and even predict what they might want at a particular touchpoint going forward.

Sitecore best practice dictates that you segment the customer journey into the following four key stages:

Need: Every customer starts their journey with a need. For example, they
want to purchase a new car.

Research: The customer looks broadly at different brands, models, price
ranges, and online reviews along the way. Over a period of days, weeks, or
even months, depending on your sales cycle then narrow down their options.

Decision: They select from a shortlist of possible brands, factoring
in past experiences, reviews, and other online information.

Customer: They end their buyer journey by purchasing a car. Then the after-sales service
chapter of the journey begins, with personalised onboarding and customer service experience.

Personalisation rules that are fired based on audience segmentation help marketers deliver more tailored messages that are based on real-time context and interest.

A strong personalisation strategy will have personalised content tailored for each stage of the customer journey, with further customisation of that content in line with the individual customer’s persona and past behaviour.

A legacy disconnected solution often makes it harder to track, personalise and nurture a customer effectively when not all of your data is disparate and not flowing back into Sitecore. However, our Triggerfish integration services combined with the Sitecore Personalisation Rule Engine, make it easy to serve the next best conversation personalised key messages in real-time by leveraging Sitecore behavioural data and Sitecore rules-based personalization.

Rules-based personalization has been proven with many of our customers to convert more prospects by serving the right message at the right time to the right customer.


Rules-based personalization

Rules-based personalisation means if condition A is met, then perform an action to show them version B. The example I often use is, “Once a visitor views 3 web pages related to manual coffee brewing (condition A), display a Chemex Coffee Maker on the home page, the next time they visit the home page” (version B). Sitecore has an array of personalisation rules that you can use to display a number of personalised scenarios. Examples are personalising:

  • Calls to actions
  • Headings (H1, H2, H3 etc)
  • Related content
  • Content components like promo banners, images and videos
  • Page structure: With Sitecore you can fire a personalisation rule to reconfigure how a page is laid out.
    It’s up to you what personalisation rules you leverage to increase users to take actions on your website. You can set rules also based on the following elements to decide on the content that is displayed:
  • Campaign interactions
  • Marketing automation interaction
  • Email marketing interaction
  • Goals triggered
  • Downloads (White papers, eBooks, guides, etc)
  • Videos played
  • Marketing list enrolment
  • Geo IP address or location of your visitors
  • The keywords they use to reach your site
  • Their device
  • Their behaviour on your website (pages viewed, number of times they visited, etc.)

Sitecore’s digital experience platform is built to follow rules that are as granular and complex as you like. Our team have many examples of where we've configured custom personalisation rules for our Sitecore clients.

In a competitive landscape having a correctly configured Sitecore solution is critical for success. Need help? Speak to our team to get SBOS ready.

Martech that leverage behavioural data is how businesses will retain their ideal customers and drive more qualified leads. According to 2021 Forrester Research, Marketers are facing pressure from 79% of their customers that expect personalised experiences. Once rules-based personalization is implemented, a lot of our clients explore Sitecore adaptive personalization.