All marketers need to create effective digital experiences for their web properties, so we held a webinar recently to explore the concept.

People come to a website for many reasons. If they have a good experience, they may return — and rate that website more trustworthy than competitors. From there, visitors can be helped along their customer journey by increasing context and relevancy using techniques like personas and content targeting.

Inbound Traffic, Content Marketing

On average, people have one digital interaction every five minutes, Bob Canaway, vice president of marketing at Ektron, explained during the Wake up Your Website by Creating Effective Digital Experiences webinar recently.

"We think about the funnel and how people progress in their understanding of a company," he said.

They go from seeing an ad or reading an email to gain awareness of a company, then they consider a purchase and then, with the help of a sales team, they convert to loyal customers. But there is a catch.

"We all know this doesn't happen in reality," he said.

On the web, people may come to a site from social media and move down the funnel. But then they may be interrupted before buying and move back toward the top of the funnel. 

"It's not just this nice, neat, forward progression. We have to understand what they are trying to accomplish at each stage, and digital experiences really have to support that view," Canaway said.

With content marketing, companies are focusing on customer needs more and more. This is the opposite of old school marketing, which is all about the business needs. Putting customers first is at the core of content marketing, and 82 percent of companies are now increasing their content production, according to a Spiceworks B2B Content Marketing Trends 2013 report.

Personalization is Key

Ektron, a content management and digital marketing vendor, has taken this idea back to its own website. The home page is personalized for partners and existing customers, for example. One segment that was targeted in particular were people coming to the Ektron homepage from education websites (.edu). This segment saw a personalized view of the homepage, and clicks increased by 240 percent, Megan Menesale, Ektron's product marketing manager, said during the webinar.

"We focus on inbound traffic and content marketing to attract, convert, close and delight customers," she said.

For example, it turns out B2B companies with blogs generate 67 percent more leads per month than those who don't, Menesale said. Once those leads convert, more can be learned about them from the forms they fill out. This visitor knowledge can be put together with their behavioral intent, which gives persona management, she said. Now customers can be targeted in a way that helps move then down the funnel and become loyal customers.

These same principles apply to mobile devices. There are, however, some mobile specific tactics that really help boost personalization and targeting. One is having a responsive or adaptive design site. That way, whatever size screen customers use, they can experience the full website. Such designs are also Google preferred, easy to update, designer friendly and future proof, Canaway said.

To get started with effective digital experiences, start with a strategy and prioritize, he said. Next, know your visitors, build out visitor journeys and identify success factors and what/how to measure. Finally, start small, analyze, iterate and optimize.

The entire hour long webinar is available for viewing below. Enjoy the font of useful information and then feel free to leave us a comment about your take on effective digital experiences.

Title image by ra2studio (Shutterstock)