How To Pick The Right Web Content Management Platform

What features should you look for when selecting a Web Content Management (WCM) system?

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Adobe. EpiServer. Sitecore. With so many Web Content Management (WCM) platforms offering countless capabilities on the market, it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you. Although Acquia, Adobe, Episerver, Hippo, Sitecore and SDL all boast robust WCM features, even with an unlimited budget, there is no single WCM that has everything. Furthermore, no company no matter how large really needs every feature under the sun. What a company needs is a WCM that helps them achieve their specific business goals. Features that do not fit into the company’s workflow will only serve to create a more complicated environment for content authors and digital marketers. And, more features = higher cost!

Selecting the right WCM is a crucial step to creating a powerful digital experience – your website is typically the first interaction you have with every customer. In a 2015 Forrester report, Forrester VP & Principal Analyst Ted Schadler states that WCM systems are “your digital face.” Armed with WCM expertise from being an Adobe Experience Manager Specialized Partner, as well as a SAP Hybris Regional Gold Partner and an Episerver Solution Partner, we have compiled a list of features that we have seen be the most useful to commerce companies in the long run.

Must-Have Web Content Management Features

1. Personalization Capabilities

In a survey by E-consultancy and Adobe, 50% of marketers singled out the content personalization as a cornerstone of their digital strategy. The ability to personalize content is a must-have WCM feature, as it is the best and only way to deliver the right content to the right users when they want it.

The right WCM system should be able to not just collect user characteristics such as geographic location, demographics, and web behavior, it should also be able to utilize simple profile/persona tools to deliver specific content.  WCM platforms like the Sitecore Experience Platform are specifically built to deliver content based on current and past customer interactions with your brand in real-time. To put it bluntly, a WCM must come with robust personalization capabilities to create effective paths to conversion.

2. Form Customization & Reporting

Marketers in every industry are constantly looking for ways to increase conversions. One of the key ways to accomplish this is by optimizing forms. Utilizing a WCM to design forms that successfully encourage visitors to complete them not only allow you to collect critical leads for your sales team, but also gives potential customers a taste of what it is like interacting with your company. A tool like Experience Manager Forms allows you to not only create forms, but also manage data collection and pull analytics all in one place.

Filling out a form demonstrates that a person is truly interested in what your company has to offer and you must take full advantage of their interest to turn them into a conversion. A WCM should allow you to customize every element on a form and produce usability reports that show how well a specific form is performing in order to ensure that your digital interactions with potential customers are at their best.

3. Globalization & Localization

As businesses go global, marketers and content authors can face a number of challenges, such as preserving a localized look and feel on subsidiary or country-specific websites. Your WCM should empower your marketers to curate locally relevant content and easily enable website localization and translations, while retaining control over critical messaging. For example, Adobe’s Experience Manager Sites allows you to create and manage multiple websites, mobile sites, and channels all from a single interface. If you are at a global company, make sure that your WCM has globalization and localization options that enable your marketing team to optimize their translation dollars for local audiences and tailor pages to specific regions.

4. Marketing Automation Tool Integration

As companies look to streamline processes for greater efficiency, integrating your WCM with marketing automation software to manage multichannel marketing campaigns can be a powerful solution. This integration not only enables you to manage various campaigns, landing pages, etc. all in one place, but the data collected from these initiatives would automatically be tracked in the marketing automation platform. This data could provide valuable insights into where your customers are within the buying cycle and shape future campaigns.

Also, having a WCM that can plug in with external marketing tools would allow marketers and content authors to propagate consistent messaging across multiple channels. Your marketing team would be empowered to manage all aspects of their campaign from design to launch to better drive demand and increase brand engagement. Lastly, a WCM must allow content authors and web managers to reuse content and assets across newsletters, microsites, landing pages, mobile sites and websites. 

5. Social Media Tracking

A study conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies shows that consumers who are Facebook fans and/or Twitter followers of brands are more likely to recommend and buy from those brands. Furthermore, user-generated content is the most effective driver of conversions and the best way to increase credibility. With that in mind, digital marketers need to be able to measure and tie their social marketing outreach efforts to actual transactions.

Platforms like Episerver Social, which specifically integrates user-generated content onto a website, are powerful tools for marketers to not only gain insight into their community, but also see what is happening on their website and tie it back to their customers’ social activities. And of course, your WCM must be able of push content from the website onto social media platforms.

While this list of WCM features is by no means comprehensive, we hope that it will serve as a handy reference to ensure whichever WCM you ultimately choose has the key features you need to create compelling digital experiences.

For more tailored advice, reach out and we will put you in touch with a digital expert who can provide more insight into specific WCM systems that may work for you.

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