In today’s fast-paced world, the digital market may seem like a convoluted game of chess: there’s a lot of moving pieces, and you’re always trying to stay 3 or 4 steps ahead of the competition. To be fair, it’s a difficult thing to accurately evaluate a business’ current position in the online market, just like it’s a difficult thing to accurately evaluate a complex chess position, (although some of the top-level grandmasters have astounding foresight, and can see anywhere from 15 to 20 moves ahead).
But it’s important to do more than simply take the financial and strategic pulse of your company at the present time; you need to carefully investigate which design and marketing tools will effectively help you grow your business in the weeks, months, and years to come. Each company has its own mission, values, and strategic strengths and weaknesses; there is no “one size fits all” marketing solution. Nevertheless, here are 7 trends and tools in the design and marketing industry at which you may want to take a closer look.
1. Voice Search Optimization
Voice searches have become a significant factor in SEO design; and this trend will only increase in the years to come. In 2018, there were 1 billion voice searches, on average, carried out every month! In 2020 it is projected that at least 50% of online searches will be voice searches. With such statistics in mind, how can you optimize your website’s content for voice search?
There are a number of different ways to do so, but two basic principles of voice search optimization stand out:
- Use “long-tail” keywords instead of traditional ones. In other words, instead of using a SEO keyword list that includes short, caveman-like phrases such as “taco restaurant” or “Mexican food,” many companies have adjusted their keyword lists to include phrases that would more likely occur in natural speech, such as “where is the nearest Mexican restaurant?” or “where can I get tacos?”
- Craft your content to answer questions. Many websites include FAQ-style content that functions as de facto “answers” to typical voice search questions. This means that when the voice search pulls up your website in response to a user’s question, your content can, in essence, organically continue the “conversation” that was initiated.
2. Use of Video
Judicious use of video on your website’s home page can be an excellent way to attract attention, and boost your reputation. While pop-ups are annoying, and can be counterproductive when it comes to building a rapport with potential customers, an embedded video testimonial, a short how-to video, or even a video incorporated as a background design element can be subtle but powerful enhancements to your website’s design.
While the trend in some quarters of the online world may be to go bigger, louder, and more complicated, there is a subset of web developers that are determined to go in the opposite direction. Striking minimalist designs are making an appearance as both artistic statements, and an innovative way to simplify the user experience. Many well-designed minimalist templates allow for seamless scaling between PC screen sizes and smaller tablet and smartphone spaces.
4. Design with “Organic Shapes”
The Internet has come a long way since the days of block text and window frames. Nowadays, many web designers are even abandoning the traditional shapes of squares, rectangles, and circles as elements in their templates. “Organic” shapes and contours populate the screen of many home pages, offering a more relaxed alternative to the boxy professionalism of the old-fashioned design model. Depending on the vibe that you want to come from your company, this may be a welcome infusion of fun and hipness into your site.
5. Employing Chatbots
Chatbots offer a number of advantages, especially to customer-facing businesses. They are always available; they can easily perform routine processes; they are not necessarily limited by language barriers; and they can potentially reduce payroll costs. Instead of customers waiting 7 minutes to talk to the next available service representative, chatbots can often resolve their issues in a matter of minutes. While the chatbot solution may not be for every business (especially small-scale operations), it cannot be denied that chatbots live on the bleeding edge of customer service.
6. Pay-per-click Marketing
While this marketing tool has been around for a few years, it remains an effective way to attract customers to your website. Instead of poring over tons of research to determine which websites would be the best magnets for your target consumer base, and then paying for advertisements there, PPC allows a company to effectively “buy” visits to their site from search engine giants like Google. Coupled with a savvy SEO strategy, PPC remains a marketing tool that yields huge results.
7. Social Media Marketing
This is a very inexpensive (or even cost-free) marketing strategy that can yield a big ROI for your company. Narrative-driven marketing that incorporates your brand message, such as employee stories shared on Facebook, can be a huge driver for customer engagement and brand loyalty. This is more of a “grass-roots” approach to digital marketing, but besides its positive impact on brand exposure, it often has an immediate effect on the company’s bottom line. For instance, according to WordStream: “93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases.”
Thinking Even Further Ahead
We’ve discussed just a few of the innovative design trends and marketing tools that can be powerful drivers for business growth. There are many, many more tools out there.
If you are interested in exploring the options for a fresh approach to design and marketing in your company, BWS Technologies may be the perfect match for you. We have been providing technical and creative support for small to mid-sized businesses since 1996. With over two decades of experience, and a dedicated staff of qualified professionals, we offer our clients a powerful business advantage in online design and marketing services.
If you are already seeing 3 or 4 moves ahead, let us help you see even further. Let us help you checkmate the competition. Reach out to us at BWS Technologies for more information.