The growth of the Internet over the last decade alone has changed the world as we know it — and it shows no signs of stopping. In fact, one could argue that the Internet is really just now beginning to come into its prime.
With the enhanced capabilities of websites, the introduction of mobile and the apps that come along with it, the Web is no longer just a repository for content. Today’s businesses have the ability to create a brand experience via Web — and as more and more consumers engage with brands primarily online, the brands that offer a great Web experience are those they will purchase from, remain loyal to and follow closely.
Growing consumer expectations place a pressure on brands that has not been seen before. It’s no longer enough to sell a quality product or post an interesting blog on your website or app. Users expect their time with your brand to consist of more than just nice content — they are looking for an engaging experience from start to finish.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to put on your cap and gown and graduate from offering Web content to creating Web experiences. Here are four quick tips for how to best execute this change and excel in post-graduate life:
1. Move From Text to Rich Media
A picture is worth a thousand words. So why use a thousand words when you can use a high-quality image to convey the same message, instead? And, on that note, how many words is a video worth? (A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Forrester Research's Dr. James McQuivey.)
Consumers are typically more drawn to visual appeal than textual description — which explains the rising popularity of social media channels that highlight images, videos and gifs like Instagram and Snapchat for brands (Snapchat is now being used by retail brands and video ads are taking over Instagram).
These types of rich media speak to almost any consumer and are also easily understood, regardless of factors like users’ backgrounds, locations and languages. Given that three-quarters of consumers are more likely to follow through on a purchase if it is presented in their first language, eliminating this barrier is critical for successful engagement.
Rich media, unlike text, is instantly all-inclusive, reaching every consumer effectively and boosting brand following and loyalty.
2. Look Up From Your Desktop
Laptop and desktop computers have been a way of life for what certainly feels like a long time, both in business and for consumers, but there’s been a significant shift in focus recently to mobile devices. Mobile now represents almost a third of US commerce and can no longer be ignored.
Brands can benefit from creating a mobile-friendly website and will thrive from investing in a mobile app. Given that as much as 90 percent of consumers' mobile time is spent on apps, a brand’s web experience should not be limited to browsers — ignoring apps could be a crucial misstep.
3. Ditch the Isolation
Everything today is connected (except your landline and internet browser, thank goodness). Why wouldn’t your website be, too? This third tip ties in closely with the first two. Simply put, whatever platforms your customers, followers and consumers use to connect with you should be not only accessible, but also highly engaging.
If users visit your website on their phone, it should look like it was designed to be there; the same goes for everything from a desktop computer to a tablet. Customers like consistency, and a stable, appealing and useful experience across all platforms will go along way towards building a great brand image.
4. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
When buying a house, everything is about location, location, location.
For building a brand, it’s about personalization, personalization, personalization.
Remember how three-quarters of consumers are more likely to follow through with a purchase when a product is sold in their own language? That’s an example of personalization (or perhaps the first of many steps to achieving it). Consumers today don’t want to waste time scanning through content that doesn’t directly relate to them.
Details matter — nobody will deny that. It doesn’t matter how nice your product is if your price is way off point. However, the details of your price and even your product are far less important than the quality of your content, as your customer’s experience will be shaped far more by the latter than the former. Simply listing information about a product is not enough to draw a consumer into your website, let alone lead him or her to the point of purchase.
Creating engaging media in an appropriate medium will take your customers, and thus your brand, much farther. Engagement is shaped by the experience your brand provides, which is far more important than your web content alone.