The version 9 release of Kentico CMS has been out for about six months now. In that time, a lot of attention has been spent on the new features that provide enhanced capabilities for web developers. While these are certainly great additions and worthy of the attention, there are also many new features for marketers that are just as valuable. In this post, we will cover 5 of the top new features and how they will help make your marketing simpler and more effective.
#1 - UTM Parameters in Email Marketing
are URL parameters most commonly used with Google Analytics tracking. With these parameters, you can segment and analyze your traffic by campaign source, campaign name, and campaign medium. Before the release of Kentico version 9 you had to add these parameters manually to your email links if you wanted to take advantage of this type of tracking. Kentico identified this as a common need for marketers and implemented a solution to make it simpler and more efficient in version 9.
However, now when you are creating and configuring your individual email issues you can assign the UTM source, UTM medium and UTM name parameters specific to that issue. These then get automatically appended to all links in the email. This feature addition saves valuable time and reduces the chance of error over adding these parameters to each link manually. For the campaign name, you have the option to enter the name or select it from an existing campaign previously defined in Kentico. I should point out another enhancement in version 9 which is the automatic recognition of the UTM campaign name parameters. With this feature, any inbound link with a utm_campaign value becomes automatically tracked in Kentico against the same campaign.
#2 - New Integrated Campaign Management Module
The biggest enhancement for marketers in version 9 is the new integrated campaign management
module. Prior to this release, building out a campaign meant creating all of the assets and configuring the conversions in separate modules while being disciplined with the configuration to ensure everything was connected and tracked correctly. With the new and improved campaign module, this has all been streamlined. Now when you create a campaign, you can create and manage the assets such as landing pages and emails right in the campaign module as well as the conversions and tracking parameters.
In the campaign configuration, you can set the UTM campaign name we discussed above that will then be automatically appended to all link URLs for the campaign. Also, when adding the emails to the campaign the interface allows you to set the UTM source parameter for each email easily. To track conversions, you simply select or create the pages you want to track and assign the conversion value. All of this is done through a single easy-to-use interface instead of the old method of jumping back and forth between different modules.
Another valuable feature is the link builder for the conversion pages. Kentico realizes that you can and should promote your campaign through other channels such as Facebook and Twitter and that you still want to be able to track that traffic against the campaign with the UTM parameters. With each conversion page you add, there is a button you click that asks you for the UTM source and medium and provides you with the complete URL that you can then use in your other channels.
Once you have everything ready to go for your campaign, you just click the Launch button, and the campaign becomes live. This action will send any unscheduled emails and start tracking the data for the campaign. You can then view the campaign results to see how each conversion asset is performing for each UTM source parameter. Also, you can now get much more robust analytics on your email performance with new statistics for deliverability, engagement, unsubscribes and link tracking.
#3 - Macros for Form Field Values
The capability to determine whether or not a contact has filled out an online form has existed in previous versions but what was lacking until now was the ability to check against specific data in their form submission. In version 9 you can now use macros to evaluate the data that was submitted for a given field within a given form and then take action on it. Meaning you can apply lead scoring, assign contacts to personas, or segment them into contact groups with this new feature.
An example of how this is useful is when you are asking a multiple choice question in a form and, depending on the answer you get; you want to treat the contact differently. Maybe one of the options indicates they are further along in the buying cycle, so you want to give them a higher lead score, or maybe the options are distinct enough that the selected answers help define the contact into a specific persona or segment. There are many different ways you can use this new feature to improve your marketing.
#4 - Abandoned Shopping Cart Automation Processes
This new feature is unique to e-commerce sites and provides marketers the ability to automatically follow-up with customers who have for one reason or another abandoned their shopping cart after adding items to it. Through your store configuration, you define how many hours of inactivity is required before marking a cart as “abandoned.” Then with the power of marketing automation, you can design processes that will trigger when a cart becomes abandoned. A common use case is to send a follow-up email as a reminder to the customer and maybe offer them a promo code to help entice them to complete the purchase. Another use case may be to ask the customer why they abandoned their cart so you can use that data to improve your conversion rate in the future. Whatever the process may be in your case, you now have the tools to take action on abandoned carts.
#5 - How-to Videos
Kentico realized that marketers were underutilizing a couple of features of their platform. Upon talking with customers, they found out this was mostly due to a lack of knowledge on how to use these features. So in version 9 they added links to how-to videos for A/B testing and Contact Import. Both of these areas offer valuable tools for marketers and these new videos now help you get the knowledge you need to use them effectively. The videos are located at the top of each respective module.
Kentico 9 offers many other new features and improvements over the previous versions. These five are just some of the most valuable in regards to digital marketing. And more good stuff is coming
! Kentico has planned improvements for marketers in version 10 that include adding online form conversions to the campaign management module, a new 360-degree view of a customer/contact, a new email builder and more. If there are features that you would like to see in a future version, let me know if the comments below and I will gladly take it to the Kentico team for you.