Overall, Affino is a pretty unique tool-box of structural elements and automated processes - which not everyone yet is using to their full advantage. Understandably, this is often to do with different operational priorities and resource limitations, but by and large you don’t need to do much to improve your impact, just learn from your more successful Affino colleagues. Here follows a list of relatively straightforward tasks that all can take advantage of to advance their digital presence further. Affino has been honed and refined to make the most of certain business processes and strategies, so it behoves everyone to take some of those inherent benefits onboard.
We’re not saying you need necessarily do all of the following, but each element listed should propel your digital business forward to a significant degree. If you take on all these points it should put you at a considerable advantage.
For me the purpose of Content Metering has always been two-fold - to get more prospects to register their details with you, but also for sites with high-value secured content to allow prospects to view a quick sample in order to win them over. I feel that the bare minimum here is 2 free passes per month - before registration or membership requirements kick in. A single glance is not really sufficient - as the prospects don’t get to see any depth or variety, and the only brands that can afford to have 0 free passes really are the ubiquitous universally known ones - like for instance the Financial Times. Everyone else should really provide some sort of practical shop window where potential customers can get sufficiently familiar with what you are offering before they are forced to fully commit. The benefits of Metering are that you will acquire contact details and bona-fide usage data that you might not otherwise have come across.
The Customer Ladder / Conversion Events part of Affino is the most significant area of Sales & Marketing Automation, and allows you to set up all manner of semi=automated trackers and processes which identify and follow customers around your site - and further prompt and incentivise them toward reaching their own, as well as your own specific operational or transactional goals. These can be as simple or complicated as you wish - but are essential for identifying high-value targets and ensuring that they get serviced, supported and processed suitably effectively.
These are a mix of interconnected Conversion Events, Sign-posts, Content Groupings and Navigation - and will likely involve Topics and Personalisation too. The principal here is marking out specific customer pathways through your site - versus more randomized and organic Customer Journeys. With the latter it’s simple a case of the customer landing on any page of your site and then gravitating in a set direction based on their own preferences and more incidental choices. While the former is a more enforced route, starting with Landing Pages and other similar clusters or Hubs of pertinent content - where the related navigation and content leads the customer through a very specific route, and with a very specific resultant ’call-to-action’ in mind.
We often call these ’Hubs’ too - these are essential concentrations of content and other related assets grouped around very specific Topics or events. Some of these may evolve strategically and some more organically where there is an accelerated growth in interest for a certain article or articles you may have published. Newspapers and News media do this all the time - grouping together all the essential assets on long-term lead stories. This will help you build up much stronger SEO, and will likely ensure the target customers stay onsite longer as everything they might need / want is within obvious and easy reach. Sometimes these pages are based around specific customer acquisition targets, and sometimes around more topical content or events. The impact though is an obvious concentration of influence, and more likely a quicker path to conversion or call-to-action.
There are only two ways we can fully and properly identify a user coming onto the site - either they login, or come via a message - where we can track the incoming URL and associate that with a specifically identified user. With GDPR forthcoming in May 2018 it’s important to establish mailing lists well in advance, although you can also make use of Affino Content Subscriptions - where you put the onus onto the customer to sign up to specific content notification updates for their specific areas of interest. In most cases it will be a a mix of manual / organized / structured newsletter type mailings and content subscriptions. The latter is obviously much easier to set up - and then it takes care of itself - while it does not always carry the most pertinent details you might wish to communicate. So Message Campaigns are essential to achieving regular tracked content - where you can accurately gauge your customers’ interests and interest levels without their need to login.
This is part and parcel of Topic / Taxonomy Hierarchy - q.v. - whereby you not only setup and assign the Topic Hierarchy to your content, but allow customers to select their interest streams upon registration - which really simply means their selecting areas which are of interest to them. You can further use Conversion Events to assign and finesse Topic associations - which then means that message can be filtered and personalised based on those topic changes made. Which ensures absolute parity with relevant content and accurate and pertinent sponsorship and advertising activities.
This is one of the reasons Affino is called Affino - the ability to relate and bring together pertinent assets from any part of the system - to make individual pages into almost mini hubs in their own right - pulling in related expert contacts, media, downloads and other pertinent references to reinforce and enrich your message / content delivery.
Segmentation here is identifying relevant clusters of customers with absolute shared interests and shared and honed action and activity triggers. The idea is you can significantly finesse and reinforce your conversion events when dealing with a very specifically identified target audience which will all likely respond more strongly to select triggers. Every time you send out a mailing you can identify those who showed interest, refine the process and target them further / better - thus accelerating the conversion dynamic. We do this a lot on Affino.com - identifying who showed interest, got involved, and is therefore more likely to want more of the same. Successful targeting and conversion is also about how closely and accurately you can segment your broader target audience.
We’ve mentioned this a lot - in relation to how both Affino and Drewry in particular set out their stall so to speak. This involves exactly how you structure and group content on your site and add persuasiveness and reinforcement through binding your core business enterprise to your key personnel / consultants / experts / front-of-house / customer-facing and the products and services you provide. This triangulation of reinforcement adds gravitas to your business and what it does, while also grounding your expert’s activities to the core business - so that if those members of staff were ever to move on, then the salience and inherent value of what they accomplished is tied as much to the core business as to the individual. Their are other aspects involved here like brand styling and editorial tone of voice - in much the same way that uniforms work for schools and organisations - they bind the individual’s accomplishments and achievements with the establishment that they are so intimately connected with.
No site can succeed without a clean and clear Topic Hierarchy - which totally influences site content structure and personalisation and how customers interact with you - through relevant navigation, landing / hub pages and other structured activities all connected back to the core Topic Taxonomy. This can also be essential to editorial tone of voice and naming convention - how you title content and reinforce those key terms throughout your site. It is also obviously at the root of all your SEO efforts. So it is of vital importance that your Topic Taxonomy is fully and properly thought out and fully and properly applied to your content and activities. Note also that you can quite easily hit overkill here if you end up with too many topics. This will dilute the site and lessen its resonance with your overall audience - even with personalistion in place. There should be an easy and obvious marriage between target customer groups and products and services, and the content and assets that are used to bring those together. For some sites there is further association with advertisers and sponsors - but this works the same way with targeted segmented groups and their very specific areas of interest.