In marketing, it’s easy to chase a trend without consideration for consumer behavior, often resulting in expensive mistakes. In 2015, we’ll see the emergence of a digital world where strategic communication is key. As the world settles into its open-share, mobile-first environment, the consumer expectation is that information will be available in interactive and creative ways. It’s time to rise above the chase and pick the technology that
best supports your strategy.
Lay the Foundation for a Successful Year with These Web Strategies
Responsive-Only Websites: Putting Mobile First
Many businesses still consider the “true” face of their website to be on the desktop, but now that mobile has exceeded PC internet usage, it’s time to make the smartphone and tablet audience a priority.
While abandoning the strategy of a separate mobile website may sound counter-intuitive, the emphasis of a shift to a responsive website design is to develop with a “mobile-first” strategy. Mobile-first is all about ensuring your mission-critical content and functionality is optimized for smartphones, then working your way up through a series of progressive enhancements for other devices. Consumer expectations have grown along with the size of the mobile audience, and it’s important that your website delivers speedy, valuable content.
Include these strategic considerations when you think mobile-first:
- Deliver the same content on all devices with the same URL, but adapt the layout to make the most sense on the screen it’s being viewed on.
- Test on real devices. Emulation won’t reveal all quirks, nor will it provide you with the proper “feel” of navigating a website with your fingers instead of a mouse.
- Constantly measure and improve performance. Speed is priority #1!
Media-Rich Storytelling: Strategy Over Fads
Faster processors, more storage, better screens, bigger bandwidth — internet devices have finally caught up with the marketer’s desire for interactive, rich media. While there’s a wealth of techniques and technologies to adapt, it’s paramount to always put strategy first:
- Put storytelling first. Your brand voice is important; technology should support your messaging, not the other way around. From infographics to parallax animations, all of your media should drive your visitors to take action.
- Periodically evaluate your digital assets. For example, does your image library still look good on today’s large desktop screens or super high-resolution smartphone displays?
- Let your audience explore. Did you know that over 65% of web page engagement now occurs below the fold? Embrace long pages and embellish your content with opportunities to “deep dive” into your story via charts, videos and other interactive pieces.
Micro-Interactions: The Power of the Subconscious
“The devil is in the details” and boy, are there a lot of details in digital design. Every time you unlock your phone, click on navigation, change a setting, set an alarm, pick a password, log in, see a status message, or “like” something, you are engaging with a micro-interaction. Very few businesses feel it’s important to “sweat the small stuff.” Logins, settings, on/off buttons — you name it, they’re neglected. Often because those are the last things designed.
But why are micro-interactions important?
- They evoke emotion. Emotion is 50% of the user experience.
- It can take up to 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience — if you’re even given the chance!
- Micro-interactions can increase adoption and customer loyalty. Sure, some micro-interactions are going to be forgettable, but others can be heightened so that they become part of the brand. Think of Facebook’s “Like” button and how integral it is not only to the user experience, but the brand as a whole.
Context-Rich Systems: Automated Targeting & Re-Targeting
The more your digital presence is context-specific the more likely your audience is going to feel engaged. Geographic targeting, be it via PPC ad buys or location-aware functionality, has been around for some time now. Are you targeting your audience based on their preferences and past history? Are you doing your best to predict their future preferences? Make the most of your sales funnel to achieve targeting success:
- Measure engagement. If your analytics are only measuring clicks and hits, you’re missing the big picture.
- Segment your audience based on activity. Go beyond simple geographic and demographic data when delivering follow-up campaigns.
- Diversify opportunities for re-targeting. Web ads can follow users to their favorite sites. Setup email campaigns to progressively customize content. Track abandoned actions, such as shopping carts and re-engage the consumer in a different context.
Brands as Publishers: Content Marketing
Your customer changes over time as they progress through a journey of awareness, consideration, comparison, purchase, and loyalty. Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain these customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content.
Be pro-active an always refer back to the “customer journey” when you want to influence customer behavior:
- Pitch less, inform more. People don’t like being sold to. The essence of content marketing is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to our audience, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
- Pair content to a stage within the customer journey. Tasked with creating a video? It’ll have the most impact as a brand awareness vehicle. Writing a case study? Assume your reader already is familiar with your brand and are on the cusp of making a purchasing decision.
- Content marketing is impossible without great content. Content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate or hands-off. Look for hidden resources within your company, create content schedules to stay on track and identify opportunities to educate and entertain your customers. Seize the opportunity to become a trusted thought leader in your industry.
Intrigued by what’s on the horizon for 2015?
We’d love to be your guide. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to provide marketing strategies through print, web, social media and video production – all in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your marketing goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.