Organizations are faced with a choice: evolve or dissolve. Those who have evolved are defining new markets and disrupting business models. Those who do not, are simply left behind. Some of the most innovative companies in the world are adopting the latest technology for advancing their content management systems (CMS) to continuously evolve and remain ahead of the digital disruption wave. In this blog post, we’ll provide best practices around search, social, the user experience and tips for moving online marketing strategies offline, when launching a CMS site in 2015 and beyond.
Then & Now
Organizations are reinventing business models and now putting digital at the center of their business. They are seeking new technology that supports this transformative vision and our organizations (Acquia and Precision Dialogue, together) believe strongly that Drupal is the platform to support constantly-evolving digital transformation both today and in the future.
We are now in what Forrester calls the “Age of the Customer,” a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systemically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. Surpassing manufacturing strength, distribution power and information mastery, the “age of the customer” preaches the new competitive advantages to be customer knowledge and engagement. The most successful companies are now customer-obsessed.
They are prioritizing a digital strategy they will help them deliver higher financial returns, secure brand loyalty and build deeper trust. Research has shown that having a consistent experience across all touch points is a key driver of brand trust – web, mobile, social. Furthermore, customers expect brands to be present.
Here’s a good example of digital disruption and “change” impact. Whole Foods, an Acquia customer, built unique digital experiences on a common Drupal platform, but empower store managers to localize each store’s website.
Best Practices in Launching a CMS Site in 2015 and Beyond
Customers expect brands to be where they are. Similarly, they expect a web experience that is both natural and intuitive. You can achieve this by implementing the following strategies into your website:
Prior to Launch
When designing or redesigning a CMS or website, it is important to lead with a user-centered design approach. Getting user input/feedback in the planning process can go a long way in preparing for success.
We suggest developing wireframes that function as the blueprint of the site, to help define the navigation, layout and interactive experience, before applying the visual design layer. Wireframes should not only follow usability best practices but also SEO best practices, ensuring that the right content fields are accommodated on each page type. SEO during a site redesign or original site creation is critical.
Wireframes can actually serve as a template for multiple pages if they are of similar type, or similar content, for example product pages or category pages. See the example below, where we have taken a blueprint and then skinned with visual imagery.
During & After the Website Build
Every site should have on-site search capabilities however, most sites lack a predictive search feature.
Typically, about 30% of visitors will use the search function on your website. Most browsers know what they want, help them find what they are looking for faster by avoiding misspellings and search mistakes.
Being There for Your Customers with Social Media
Social media is no longer just another broadcasting channel, but it is also an instrument to befriend customers, and post and share both content and experiences.
Being where your customers are also means providing superior customer service interactions on social channels, which extends beyond content sharing.
Communities and forums that help solve customers’ questions or give them a hub to collaborate is an engaging way for users to build rapport and ignite discussion.
Shoppers from Piperlime.com vibrantly post reviews; naturally-formed communities have evolved from the multitude of inputs on product reviews.
Blending Offline with Online with SMART Direct Mail
In the past few years, technology has introduced the capability to match past browsing, purchase behavior or preferences set by the user – and apply that as dynamic content on the website and within email campaigns.
Now we can take that effort offline and market was is called “SMART” direct mail. We can feed website visitors and customers directly to their physical mailbox with printed direct mail pieces personalized by what we know of them online.
Based on what we know about them, we were also able to modify the offer and messaging per customer.
The sky is the limit for building compelling CMS websites in 2015 and beyond. Through candid insights from the user’s perspective, we can inform the design, content and prepare for an improved experience on the site, including optimized search capabilities, social communities and approaching the customer even when they are NOT online.
At the core of digital disruption is a solid CMS platform. Be sure you’re ready for 2015 – contact me to strategize about how you can take your site to the next level.