Part 2: Familiar Apparatus or Fascinating Story?
Okay, so if you read Part 1 in this small series, you’ll have discovered that best practices surround us, and that good ideas might come from other industries or types of companies. Learning from the Shake Weight phenomenon, here are 9 web marketing trends you should consider in your next web evolution.
If you just watched the video , you will have noticed these key trends shaping the online presence of future forward companies:
Trend 1: Simplicity: Information overload is a major understatement. Simplicity has become a desperate necessity. This means, websites need to be streamlined and easy to use, with short bursts of ad-like copy throughout. They require a user-centered design that ensures we speak in the prospect’s language, helping them navigate to what they need, quickly and easily.
Trend 2: Likeonomics: We live in a world of micro influence and individual taste, where people can publish virtually anything, anywhere. All of this content is social currency—and it’s having a big impact on behavior. Likeonomics describes how opinions and storytelling are helping brands and their products become more believable. Believable brands inspire word of mouth—so, give them an opportunity to Like it, Rate it, Share it, Digg it, and more.
Trend 3: Crowd Sourcing: Did you know that search engines now place social content higher in search ranking results? For example, in December 2009, Google moved real-time results to the top of the search page. These changes mean that 2011 will be the year where crowd sourcing becomes a core part of many organization’s social and customer engagement strategies. More and more websites are launching a branded crowd sourcing platform that extends from the web, to forums and communities, to integrated social channels.
Trend 4: Rise of Curation: The way to deal with the vast amount of information out there is to just write more. Going corporate is one way of doing this. A corporate blog, unlike a personal blog, is managed by marketing, driven by an editorial calendar, and has multiple contributors from around the globe.
Trend 5: Approachable Celebrities: Individuals with an interest in a topic or community naturally gravitate toward the highest quality information, or content from their peers. While plenty of brands use celebrities to promote their products successfully, a more believable option is to seek out customers and treat them like celebrities. Beyond working with them on the usual testimonials and customer case studies, help them build outsized followings on Twitter and promote their industry celebrity status with their own stories and successes (i.e., using your products) syndicated through their communities and networks.
Trend 6: Transparency: Transparency is one of those overused words in marketing—however in 2011 you’ll start to see examples of extreme transparency. We all know that almost every website wants to know who you are—and they require you to complete a registration form before you can view any collateral. But with new processes and technologies, you can offer direct access to all your content, without having to complete a single web form again. That’s right—sign-up once, access everything!
Trend 7: Employees as Heroes: A trend that’s been on the rise for the last two years is the idea of featuring employees as employee heroes. By creating engaging employee stories, which others can identify and empathize with, it helps humanize your brand. Find your heroes for every area of the business, and get them on your website.
Trend 8: Essential Integration: The biggest web marketing success stories have been due not only to good creative and strategy, but also to a level of integration that is difficult and rare to achieve. Internet marketing needs to leverage a fully-integrated platform that combines the best capabilities of the technology available to us today: content management systems, marketing automation tools, and Customer relationship management (CRM).
Every marketer needs a great framework to build their online presence. By integrating social seeding into their communications plans, they can begin to establish themselves as trusted and valuable members of the community. This creates a virtuous circle of mutual benefit in which the community becomes more invested in your company over time, as you become more invested in the community.