User experience and usability! Such “trendy” principles in today's web-design communities. Such powerful trends influencing major decisions-making processes in the digital world. And yet, recent studies have proven that, although every web designer appears to be striving to craft the most engaging user experiences, to create web design “in the name of usability”, too many of them make the same mistakes as 20 years ago (when the approach to web design wasn't as sophisticated as nowadays or the expert advice as accessible as in the present days). Well, it's time for you to “shake off" these “bad habits”, to take advantage of this time of year (a time of resolutions making) for making some strong commitments in this respect. And here they are, the 5 long-lasting web design errors that we'd like to “confront” you with: 1. Failing at Responding to Users' Need for Clarity Whether you're deliberately compromising clarity for the sake of “innovation”, for showing off your creativity, or you're simply overlooking its key role, it's time you helped your design (re)gain its clarity! It's time you (re)considered your relation with your website's visitors: you need to “serve” them first, by making it crystal-clear where they need to click and where exactly all the clicking will take them to and only then to “gain them over” with your talent and “appetite” for innovation. It's not the other way round. It never is! Now here are some “long-living” web design mistakes affecting clarity: A. Unexpected content placement/Ambiguous category names We preferred pairing these two examples of “popular” web design mistakes since they both lead to the same unwanted result: users getting the feeling that the particular content they're searching for is always somewhere else on the website. It's perfectly legitimate and even advisable, as a web designer in Toronto or as a website owner, to want to break up the conventional patterns of design. And yet, be aware that “you're playing with fire”. Interfering with you users' browsing habits, placing certain pieces of content where they would never have expected to find them, might have the opposite effect: discouraging your visitors due to the time they will have wasted looking the information they needed. Also, if you fail to clearly name your categories and your visitors land on web pages of your site having nothing to do with the content they were expecting to find (signaled by the “inappropriate” way in which you named your categories), you risk to make them bounce off your site for good. B. Hidden fees Reducing prices' visibility or hiding away certain fees is the quickest way to “crafting” a negative user experience! So, shake off this bad habit and make a pledge for designing exclusively big and bold pricing information this year! C. Misleading, almost identical links or navigational categories It says it all: you risk (again) to piss off your visitors, who'll land on the “wrong” pages on your website for didn't stick to the principle of clarity when naming your links/navigational categories. And this is how you lose some potential loyal visitors which could have converted into customers! 2. Failing at Efficiently Applying Basic UX Principles How will your website's visitors find the needed information on your website? This is the question! The question that should keep you alert throughout the whole designing process, lest you should wrongly apply or forget all about the fundamental UX “rules”. You should envision your “mission like this: blazing your user's path to the due destination. Which is the information that he/she's searching for on your site! And by “stuffing” your text paragraphs with internal links, placing your buttons in unexpected places or hiding away your navigation bar sure is not the way to do it! Now here are some common UX errors you should commit yourself to avoiding this year: A. Repetitive similar links Resist the “temptation” of turning your visitors' quest for specific information hosted on your website into a “mission impossible”. Forcing them to click on a heavy loads of almost identical links, over and over again, in order to access the information they're actually looking for, is nothing but a “sloppy” web design practice. And you will only “succeed” in discouraging your visitors. B. “Islets” of information Here's a basic UX principle that way too may web designed keep “overlooking” even now, when “usability” is one every web designer in Toronto's lips: connecting together webpages hosting similar type of information. You should avoid stranding your visitors on “final destination” type of web pages on your site. They do find the information they were looking for (hopefully), but are not “lured” with alternative destinations, as well: other pages on your website presenting a similar type of information that they might find useful. In conclusion: make sure you don't “sabotage” yourself. Permanently “tempt” visitors with alternative pages they could visit, pages linked to the ones that they'll access first both through phsycal clickable links and through the similarity of the information that these pages provide! C. Irrelevant search results Remember: UX is all about lightening your users' path to the information they need. Now imagine the following scenario: your visitor types his/her search items into your navigation bar, get the suggested link of a specific page on your website only to land there and to discover that it has nothing to do with the type of content he was expecting to find, based on his specific search terms. How did you let this happen? You've incorrectly or insufficiently tagged your facets and filters! Now that you know how to avoid this mistake, you'll have no excuse for letting the above scenario turn into reality on the websites you'll design in 2017! D. Casting away users on micro-sites This is a web design mistake related to the one causing “islets” of information (that we've already detailed here). Probably the most popular website relying on sub-sites is Yahoo. And this is a good example of web design: users are directed to visit certain subsites while they're provided with the way to go back on the main site, as well. This is a good practice that you, too, should stick to when you handle sub-sites web design: whenever you suggest your users to visit a certain sub-site, remember to always make the home button as visible as possible. Otherwise you'll just cast them away, you'll drive them off the main website and thus “sabotage” yourself. Why would you want that? 3. Failing at Creating An Effective Information Architecture What's the point in creating valuable content when you, afterwards, “sabotage” yourself by making it discouragingly difficult for them to scan through it? A well planned information architecture is what makes the difference between hasty web design and perfectly structured, intuitive navigation flow-ensuring web design. It's the very foundation stone of good design! An effective information structure implies organizing, labeling and structuring the whole content available on your website as clearly as possible. By the time you start to actually design your website, you'll have everything planned: how your future visitors will get from one section of your website to another, your page order, the number of pages your website will have, everything, to the slightest details, will have already been thought through. What's the purpose of all these content structuring efforts? Your users will effortlessly and quickly understand what your site is about, will be able to scam through its content and to easily “detect” the specific information that they're looking for. Now here are 2 major information architecture mistakes you should avoid: A. Content clutter We'll never stop “bugging” you with this advice (presented to you in various forms) on this blog: declutter your website and you'll half won your “battle”! Think “5 second attention span” and then think “fierce competition in the digital marketing arena” (competition which will get even fiercer this year). No visitors will have the time or the will to try and “digest” huge blocks of text and to waste too much energy trying to navigate their way though piles of images, overcrowded products galleries or cluttered apps (weather app, countdown app, audio player etc.). So, never bid on your user's goodwill! Instead, do your best or easing his/her job for “digesting” the content on your website: shorten your paragraphs give white (or so called: "empty space") space its due importance always bid of bullets B. Hidden relevant links And here we get to the risk of “auto-sabotaging” again! Avoid placing relevant links in totally inappropriate, hard to find places on your website, such as amidst ads. It will be like “looking for a needle in a haystack” for your visitors to find these particular links and thus you'll run the risk of blocking their access to key pages on your website. This is how our list of web design “don'ts” for 2017 looks like! Think them through, see which one(s) of them has been part of your work routine for too long now and make a pledge to “brake up with it/them” this year!
Adrian Ababei / Jan 10'2017
“Good things come to those who plan ahead!” Or maybe we should have gone for this quote instead: “Those who plan ahead stay ahead of plan!”? What do you think? Have we managed to select the 2 most suggestive sayings for the topic announced in this post's headline or... not quite? We can take a brutally honest answer, you know. What we'll strive to point out in today's post is that digital marketing is a permanently evolving industry! You can never ever afford to rest on your oars (not even if you've successfully managed to anticipate all the major trends which have shaped the digital marketing “realm” in 2016). New powerful trends will emerge and new shifts will shake this industry on a regular basis; your competitors might seize them before you do and you risk to be left behind, at considerable disadvantage. And you definitely don't want that! There's no need to panic either! Even if we all know that the “addressees” are more or less the same (from a numerical point of view) and (yet) that more and more brands are making their debut in the digital marketing landscape, all of them wanting (at least) a “piece of the pie”. For if you keep your cool and you remain vigilant, you can “track” the brand new influencing trends and the already emerged trends which will grow a lot more powerful in 2017. As you run your own researches that will help you predict the digital marketing trends in 2017 with the biggest impact on your business, we'd love to share with you some of our own forecasts, too. Ready? 1. VR and AR Will Be The New Marketing Channels Future-oriented marketers have had a lot to learn from the whole Pokemon Go “hysteria” in 2016. How about you? What insights into the industry's future development and into the online users' preferences and new expectations have you developed from the Pokemon Go “madness”? Here is what we, the team working in this Toronto web design company, have learned: that this year, after all the “Pokemon frenzy” which dominated 2016, users will expect to be engaged in even more augmented reality experiences that, implicitly, AR becomes one of the newest/surest source of revenue for agile marketers in 2017 Whether you implement AR ads or maybe AR games into your digital marketing strategy this year, one thing is certain: augmented reality is here to stay and rule the day! It's up to you how you'll be turning it from (just) a trend into a “cause” for your overall online marketing success in 2017! 2. Brands Will Start Targeting Niche Communities It will continue to get more and more crowded in the digital marketing arena in 2017! You'll need to deal with it and to adapt to the given context: more brands will emerge in the online landscape while the number of available users won't grow exponentially. Get the point? Competition is going to get fiercer! What do you do then? You find your “tribe”, so to say. You appeal to your on niche market instead of wasting valuable resources of time and money trying to reach out to a mass market. This means that you should start (if you haven' already) or to continue to personalize your content, your overall marketing campaigns in order to appeal to your niche audience. Resist temptation of getting recklessly greedy and thus delivering “one-size-fits-all content” to a larger audience and steer your efforts to fine-tune the user experiences that you're crafting for your own loyal, dedicated community of users instead. Food for the thought: niche communities (GoodReads for “voracious” readers, Fantasy Life App for sports addicts etc.) are perfect for you to “recruit” your future dedicated users from. 3. Immersive Content Will Be Almighty King in 2017 Make your users feel that they're doing so much more than just staring at their devices' screens! This is the rather “rudimentary” goal that you should have in mind each time you'll “experiment” in the field of immersive content creation! It will surely be exciting to discover where all these experiments will lead to in 2017! For now, what we know for sure that marketers like you have at their disposal, in terms of technology, for crafting emmersive user experience is: 360-degree video live video AR and VR technologies From webinars, to augmented reality ads, to workshops and 360 videos, your marketing “toolbox” is already more than tempting. Just pick the type of technology that will help you create and deliver emmersive content and get ready to “wow” and to engage your users. Provide them those highly interactive experiences that will instill in them the feeling that they're being challenged to participate to something bigger, that they're “actors” in the story that you're telling and not just some addressees. 4. Native Advertising Will Become an Engaging Factor What is there left to do for a marketer “stuck” in the age of ad blockers, of the decline of banner ads, of less and less social media organic reach? Well, a savvy marketer, like you, should “exploit” the native advertising's potential! Instead of longing for the good old days, when one could get away with “annoying” users with ads, lots of ads, and thus to increase his (short-term) profits, how about embracing the future of online advertising? Native ads, with their higher level of personalization, are more likely to engage users and to get shared. And these already are 2 way too significant goals that you can't ignore in the “age of engagement”, right? 5. Live Video Will Dramatically Impact Digital Marketing And it won't be a “shock” for any savvy marketer! Live video streaming has been a “ticking time bomb” last year and it was expected to “explode” in 2017. Users love live videos! They crave and demand “in-the-moment” type of content, so you can't but comply with your users' expectations and deliver it to them. Think this powerful trend through, gather around your team of web development “gurus” and find out how you could integrate a “live streaming” functionality to your Drupal website/app if you still want to remain competitive in you marketplace. Users have slowly got bored with “just” content. They now enjoy faster internet and own mobile devices of the latest technology, so their expectations, too, are continuously redefining. Not only that they want to be challenged to interact, but they want to “be there”, to actually enjoy the ongoing event, even if psychically they can't participate. Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other big “players” which are using live streaming and then think of last year's live streamed Presidential debate. 6. Longer-Form Content Will Rival “White Noise” Counteract the effects that the “white noise” type of content has on your users (making them skim, skip and filter through the articles/posts they're invaded by online) with denser, high-quality content. If we've already “warned” you, in our 2016 posts, that long-form content would gradually take over short, superficial content, now it's a powerful trend you can't afford to underestimate: you either invest in your research, in crafting your pieces of content and personalizing them, in investing them with added value, or you'll get swept by your competition. 7. The Usage of Data Visualization Tools Will Be a Must That's right, this year it will no longer be a matter of “should” or of “the size of the company” when it comes to using data visualization tools for collecting and efficiently “deciphering” big data. Everything can be measured in digital marketing, remember? Well, it's no excuse any longer no to efficiently interpret your data, especially since 2017 will witness an “explosion” of data visualization tools. Pick the one that better responds to your business's specific needs, the one that you find easier to implement and to handle and start getting the most out of your data! You'll have no excuse, whether you're an entrepreneur or a small business owner, not to be efficiently interpret your data, claiming that the process is way too challenging for the human brain. Now the online delivers you the right tools (and there will be much more emerging along the year) to help you collect and learn what your data “is telling you” (valuable information about your campaign performance, about your target audience etc.). It's this data that will help you craft your personalized, targeted user experiences this year. For yes, this is our last prediction regarding the 2017's digital marketing “arena”: personalization will definitely take off this year! What do you think? Is it likely for these predictions to turn into some truly influencing trends this year? Which one(s) of them will have the greatest impact on your own future marketing campaigns?
Adrian Ababei / Jan 09'2017
Curious what 2017 has in store for you in terms of new powerful web design trends? It is crucial for you, as an entrepreneur or business owner operating in the online world to “tell the future”, isn't it? Well, allow us to be your “fortune tellers”! To reveal to you 3 web design trends that will dominate the web design industry this month and which we anticipate that we'll “dictate” how designers and business owners will approach web design this year. Ready? Here are the most influencing trends in web design in January 2017: 1. Crafting Visually-Appealing Shopping Experiences Stunning imagery + (unique) story telling products = new shopping experiences based on planting the “seed of desire” in your viewers! That's how we could call these new shopping experiences that (usually) high-end online stores, with fewer items on their inventories, have started to craft. We already “suspect” it to become one of the most influencing of all the 3 web design trends that we've selected for you for this post! Definitely the trend that will influence how we do web design in Toronto! So, you'd better give it a great deal of consideration if you own a Drupal e-commerce website or if you're planning to boost your business with one such website this year. It might just be the surest way of setting yourself apart from all the common shops offering clunky shopping experiences, requiring to much clicking from their visitors, annoying them with too many options to select from and with over-sized navigation menus. Set yourself apart and join the high end shops' exclusive league instead! The league of those brands that focus on the pure beauty of their products and that masterfully showcase it to their users triggering a sense of desire in them. All while while making sure that their online shopping experience is seamless (take Amazon's example for instance). It's no news to anyone: Instagram has influenced and will continue to influence the way digital business owners approach to web design in 2017. So, bid on visually-arresting images, on card-style interfaces and remember to invest your products with a unique story (your brand's unique story) to “tell” your website's visitors! First you visually dazzle them away with your high end design and it's only afterwards, once they've started to scroll down, that you reveal to them all the other “details” such as prices. This is how major brands have been “charming” their customers with great success, so how about adapting their techniques to your own website? Instill that sense of “gotta have this high-end, beautifully designed and unique story-telling product” in your website's visitors! 2. Using Ample Negative Space for Directing Viewer's Eye When used right, the web design technique of "playing with" an ample “empty” space is such a powerful one! Whether we're talking about the “empty” space that you'll decide to surround your images or text with, or about the background color or simply the strategically placed white space on your website, this “airy” space on your website lacking any visual elements can help you direct your visitors' attention to key elements on your web pages. You'll practically guide the viewer's eye to the more “crowded” part of your design. You'll actually “tell” your users where to look and where to click! Note: when considering the use of ample negative space, think beyond (commonly) symmetrical design! Get creative and strive to strike a visually impacting balance between text or images and negative space in a rather asymmetrical format. 3. Breathing Life In Material Designs Using Pastel Colors Get ready to witness a shift in the usage of colors in web design this year! If bold, neon colors have been “the go-for trend” in 2016, we've been collecting some “solid proofs” that pastel hues will steal the spotlight this year! As a Toronto web designer or entrepreneur operating in the digital “realm”, you should definitely keep an eye on how this trend will continue to evolve over the year! Softer colors will climb the colors' hierarchy, going from (just) background colors to hero headers'/main imagery's dominating colors. Expect to witness more and more brands (and you should seriously consider jumping on this trend yourself, too): pairing pastel colors with images featuring the same soft hues pairing photography with imagery featuring the same pastel palettes Note: pastel colors will continue to perfectly complement material and flat designs as they've had over the last years, too. So from this point of view there's nothing new under the sun in 2017's web designs! And yet, softer colors won't be playing just a “secondary” role, somewhere in the background. Designers will start matching and pairing them in various ways for putting together the central images themselves. Therefore, you'd better start considering playing some more with pastel color palettes when designing or redesigning your Drupal website/s this year. What do you think? Will these 3 web design trends, that have influenced designers more than other trends this month, turn into THE most powerful ones this year? Which one(s) of them (if any) is it more likely to “influence” you, too, when you develop the web projects that you've planned for 2017?
Mobile rules the day or better said: mobile has been ruling the whole year of 2016 and is here to stay, to constantly evolve and to dominate the digital landscape in 2017, too! It will continue to redefine the way users perform different actions online and it will definitely continue to reshape the way companies conduct their businesses online. Implicitly, it has started to redefine the way online marketers are crafting their landing pages, too. How are you adapting to “the new way” of designing landing pages? Have you gone beyond the “simply stacking content at mobile size” mentality? Have you started to approach content differently when you build your mobile landing pages? To cut out the lengthy content? To reconsider the placement of your conversion elements, due to the limited amount of space at your disposal? As you ponder upon the above questions and reexamine your previous mobile landing pages, scan through these 5 strategies bellow, strategies that we, ourselves, are using here, at our web development company in Toronto, strategies aimed at helping you convert your users on mobile: 1. Think Through Your Mobile Content Content is (the almighty) king on mobile, too! Just make sure you don't “push it off” its throne by approaching it the wrong way. Which is this “wrong approach” you say? Not adapting your mobile content to your own specific area of activity and, therefore, to your specific target audience's expectations, as well! Instead of “jumping on whatever's the most popular trend right now” when it comes to content's ideal length on mobile devices (some will say you should go for a 500-word, others for a 1000-word piece of content for your landing page), you should run some A/B test yourselves. But that only after you've drawn some pretty logical conclusions from analyzing your area of activity and studying your target audience, too: Let's assume you run a plumbing company; well, then, my friend, you can't expect a user accessing your landing page (going through a pipeline leak “crisis”) to be willing to read a lengthy piece of content detailing various types of pipelines (let's say), before he/she will have scrolled down like a madman for finding your contact details. It's common sense deduction don't you think? Let's assume that you run a luxury goods company; considering your items' high prices, you should expect your potential customers to want to read detailed product descriptions, including all the details they need for making their final decision. You should expect them to want pictures, lots of pictures, which will help them visualize those expensive items from various angles, to read all about the lifetime guarantee that you provide and so on. In one word: you can't just play by “what's most likely to happen” and you definitely can't risk guessing, either. Just keep in mind the type of products/services that you're selling through your landing page! Takeaways: A common sense rule is to place your conversion elements and important content as high as possible on the page, but not to be afraid to continue to deliver quality content and more information about your business bellow the “fold” at the bottom of your users' screens It's perfectly true that more often than not mobile users would stop with their scrolling (and reading) to he bottom of their screen But! There are also surveys revealing that if websites feature a user-friendly interfaces and engaging content (such as video content) they're more likely to keep scrolling down Shorten your paragraphs, more frequent paragraph break will help your mobile (potential) shoppers to easily “digest” your content. Remember that a paragraph of reasonable length on desktop will look awfully “crowded” when compressed for the mobile screens! Therefore: ease your reader's job and break your content into breaf paragraphs! 2. Consider and Prevent User Experience Barriers As we've already relentlessly pointed out here, on our blog: user experience is and will be the main “generator” of online initiatives, strategies and plans impacting your business. You simply can't afford underestimating it! How does the user experience factor shape your mobile landing page designing efforts? Easily! It will challenge you to foresee that whole journeys that your users will take once they visit your landing page. It will also challenge you to to review it, beforehand, on multiple mobile devices and by asking the opinion of several users. Now speaking of the user experience barriers that you should avoid, here are a examples: 1. Illegible Text on Mobile Devices Don't just transition your text from desktop to mobile and consider your job done! Make sure your text, once shrunk to mobile size, still looks legible. Is the font too small? How about the background color? Does it impair legibility or not? Tip: your goal shouldn't be to keep your user “captive” on your mobile landing page, but to direct him/her on your primary Drupal website instead. Therefore, remember to make your logo visible and to provide footer links back to your site. 2. The Temptation of Using Interstitial Forms No matter how tempting it might look to you to use such conversion tactics, resist it! The result is sure to be a high number of users who'll instantly bounce off your landing page instead of that luring no. of converted users that you might have in mind! Note: if on the desktop variant of your website it might be easier for your users to click the “X” for closing your newsletter sign up form, just imagine how frustrating this action gets on mobile. Your users might just assume that you will have specifically made it impossible for them to close your form and you can just guess how this will affect your conversion rate, right? 3. Faulty Responsive Design Take your time (it will be well invested time) to think through how you'll stack all the elements of your landing page at a mobile size! By doing so you'll avoid risks such as: users having to scroll down excessively in order to reach your “Contact” button or your form. This will also allow you to apply the right layout adjustments for placing your contact form higher on the mobile-size page or for opting for a “Contact” button that remains visible on the page as the user scrolls down. 3. Don't Lose Sight of Your Goal: Conversions It's not (just) for presenting your products/services, for “wowing” users or for “showing off” your design skills that you're building your mobile landing page! But for converting your users! That's your main goal and you should steer all your efforts towards reaching it! How do you do that “constrained” by the limited pace you have on a mobile devices' screen? Here are a few tips: you keep in mind to place and to make visible a click-to-call button; remember that it's from their mobile devices that your users access your landing page and, therefore, they're far more likely to place a call for service than desktop users you keep in mind to place both a “Contact” button and a prominent contact form on your mobile landing page you keep in mind that your form's fields might get awfully shrunk and thus impossible to be tapped on when transitioned from desktop to mobile. Make sure to fix this issue! 4. Make Sure That It Loads “Instantly” Remember that it's mobile users that you're reaching out to! They don't expect your landing page to load (just) quickly, but instantly! Gather your team of web development experts and run some speed tests and then figure out how you could optimize your mobile landing page for a better performance! You simply can't afford to underestimate this aspect! 5. Properly Test It Before Launching It Without proper testing all your (mobile) landing page building efforts risk to be nothing but a waste of resources! How do you run “proper” tests on your landing page? Here are some good practices for testing your landing page performance before launching it: You “recruit” your testers from both the Android and iOS users' communities; make sure to pick users owing different types of mobile devices for getting them to test your landing page You run A/B tests (you could use tools such as Google Analytics, Optimizely, Content Experiments) to find out which is the most efficient way of placing elements on your landing page You install a heatmapping tool (we recommend either Hotjar or Crazy Egg) to discover how far into the content your users would scroll down and what elements on your landing page they're more likely to engage with And here is how you do it! Here is how you put together not just visually-pleasing, but also efficient mobile landing pages. What other strategies have you been successfully implementing for converting your mobile users?
You'd better write this down: it's the milennial generation that will determine all your future initiatives, as a “player” in the online “arena”, and it's them, again, who'll continue to (re)shape it in 2017, as well! There's no halfway to adapting your Drupal e-commerce website to their own different lifestyle, different experiences, different set of behaviors and overall different mindset. If (maybe) you've “shyly” started to consider them as an emerging buying force and, subsequently, soon to become your target audience in 2017, now it's certain: you'll either model the user experiences that you provide on your site after millennials' different expectations or, well, you'll be left behind, stuck in baby boomers' age. Since this time of year is perfect for evaluating and examining how you've been running your business online (so that you can outline your first business initiatives in 2017), let us assist you with 7 questions which will help you estimate just where you stand. Whether your e-commerce website is luring millennials in, or, on the contrary, it drives them away. 1. Do You Deliver The Best Mobile User Experiences? Millennials crave convenience! They want to get things done, to access the information they need or to shop the products they want while on the run: quick and easy! They're pretty much “glued to” their mobile devices! Therefore, you either go for a mobile-first mentality (that Drupal 8 is already famous for) or you run the risk of losing an entire generation of potential customers! Direct most of your web development and web design efforts for making your website perform and look great on mobile. And once you've achieved that, mind you don't rest on your oars: remain “vigilant” and always on the look for new and new ways of perfecting the UX you'll delivering to your highly-demanding millennial shoppers on mobile. If you don't do all it takes so that they can easily flow through your website, during their visits, you can as well kiss millennials goodbye! 2. Do You Incorporate Philanthropy Into Your Business? That's right, the millennial generation is far more likely to genuinely devote itself to philanthropic causes as compared to their parents' generation! There's also a certain level of coolness associated with philanthropy. How does this core value dear to the younger generation affect you, as a company? Well, if you want to reach out to these potential customers and to turn them into long-term loyal customers, you need to incorporate philanthropy into your business strategy. Choose a philanthropic organization for directing your donations or stand for the eradication of a global disease, it's totally up to you how you choose to get involved. Just make sure that you broadcast your philanthropic initiatives on your website. Remember: as compared to baby boomers, charity/environmental awareness is no longer a matter of personal choice to showcase on certain occasions. It's a way of life for the millennial generation (both personal and professional)! 3. Is Your Content Vivid, Funny or Rather Corporate-Like? Forget all about corporate language if you want to efficiently reach out to millennial shoppers on your Drupal e-commerce website! Take a “brutally” honest look at the current content on your website and if it sounds impersonal and rigid to you, consider giving it an overall content facelift for 2017. Millennials appreciate vivid, funny and personal content. Therefore, jump of the video content trend that's so popular right now and rewrite the existing written content so that it should tell (in a slightly informal language) a story, your story. Make it fun, engaging and unique! If there's something that millennials hate, that's “boring” corporate language and content lacking a personal touch. Keep that in mind! 4. Is Your Site's Design Simple, Yet Visually-Intriguing? Keep your website's design simple, yet not simplistic! In other words, strike a balance between a minimalist web design and visually-appealing elements. Simplify your young users' journey from your homepage to your shopping cart page, but make sure you don't bore them, either. In a nutshell: millennials need to access the information they're looking for immediately and effortlessly. But they want to be entertained, surprised and engaged, as well! Therefore, you'd better learn how to juggle with various web design techniques, that any web designer in Toronto, familiarized with the latest trends, would apply, in order to reach these goals: ample white (or negative) space eye-pleasing directional cues, vivid colors, intriguing graphics, non-conventional fonts etc. minimalist web design techniques Note: deliver your message in a straightforward way, make sure to go for an inviting (friendly) theme on your site and stay away from “common” when you're striving to simplify millennials' journeys on your site. 5. Does Your Website Load Instantly? Remember: you're striving to reach out to the very first generation of digital natives! Your millennial shoppers are highly technology savvy, so you simply can't afford not to keep up with them. Make sure your website loads not just quickly, but “instantly”. And here your minimalist web design will make your best “ally”. Keep in mind that your younger audience does not appreciate brands that compromise speed for added value. They want both: quality, engaging content and instantly loading web pages. Therefore now, at the beginning of the year, it's the best time for you to run a speed test on your site and to figure out how you could optimize it for mobile so that its pages should reach better load times! 6. How Socially Active is Your Brand? Millennials are more likely to get familiarized with your brand and to get to know your products/services, on social media, rather then by visiting your website. So, how are you going to greet them there? How will you introduce your brand to them on social media? You should direct a great deal of your efforts towards putting together an active social media presence for your brand. Keep your channels constantly updated with both promotional and engaging types of content. Aim at winning their trust there, at building a community of social media active millennials loyal to your brand! Also, remember that the millennial generation has different expectations. They're expecting their favorite brand (hopefully you) to attend to them individually. To answer their questions and to take criticism well. Be active, be positive, be always ready to engage with your millennial customers on social media and: be creative when you craft your social media presence! 7. Do You Provide “Complete” Online Shopping Experiences? Online shoppers Millennials expect it all! You just have to deal with it! How? By offering them not just “an” online shopping experience, but a “complete” online shopping experience. They want to access product information fast and effortlessly, to have product reviews and price comparisons displayed instantly. They want a customer-oriented call center to answer their questions fast and all the shipping estimates-related info to be delivered to them the instant they've added an item into their cart. There's not halfway here! If they're don't have this information and facilities at their fingertips, millennials will just go to another brand, no matter how amazing your products might be. Convenience plays a major role in millennials' busy lives! Now take your time to answer to all our suggested questions and to put together your millennials-centered business strategy for 2017!
Adrian Ababei / Jan 05'2017
Deep in budget plans and marketing strategy drafts these days? We so know the feeling and we're in the right position (since we're pretty much in the same situation ourselves, as well, here, at our Toronto web design company) to empathize with you! But we'd like to go beyond (just) empathy! We'd like to help you in your online marketing efforts specific to this time of year! In this respect, we've put together a list of 8 SEO resolutions that you should make and keep this year. Take them as some truly efficient little "adjustments", for they won't “shake” the foundation of your business plan, nor will they ruin your budget. You should see our suggested SEO commitments, that you should make and stick to in 2017, rather as some mindsets that you should start adopting, as a marketer, or as different angles that you should start approaching SEO this year. 1. Create Mobile-First Experiences “Mobile-first” and “experience” will be some truly influencing words/trends in 2017! The online marketing arena has given us enough clues in 2016 that we're about to enter a new mobile-focused era, clues ranging from Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages to Facebook's Instant Articles, to Apple's News. Now if we are to relate the first one of these 3 major clues, the AMP, to your SEO success in 2017 we should say that: The little green lightning signaling AMP pages to searchers will attract visitors to your website AMP is assumed, in the online marketers' community, to be a raking factor (a “supposition” that you should keep a close eye on till it turns itself into a fact) As for the second powerful word of 2017's digital landscape, “experience”, expect it to influence marketers' approaches to SEO this year. How come? Well, it won't be a matter of “pleasing” search engines anymore. SEO will become a matter of “pleasing” your visitors landing on your site from their mobile devices first. The higher ranking on search engines will come too, if you play your “crafting the best mobile experiences” card right! How do you ensure a good experience to your mobile users? You improve your web page's load time on mobile devices You make your users' journeys on your website intuitive, accessible and convenient, designed for them, consumers of mobile experiences, rather than just adapted, subsequently, for mobile. 2. Optimize Your Site For Your Visitors First … and you'll be automatically optimizing it for search engines, too! If in 2016 you've started to “shyly” adopt the “customer-first” type of thinking, as an online marketer, and to slowly leave the search engines-oriented type of thinking behind, in 2017 you should turn it into a must-adopt mindset. Don't think exclusively about the algorithms and about winning search engine' favors when you optimize your website for mobile: do it with the “image” of your visitors in mind! How intuitive are their journeys on your website? Are they enjoying the best mobile experience during their visit on your site? Remember that Google turned user experience into a ranking factor for mobile, so don't be too surprised if it will do the same for desktop sites, too, in 2017. Meanwhile, be prepared! Get to know your audience and to constantly improve their experience on your website. Here are just a few strong reasons why better user experiences will grant your a better search engine ranking: the more engaged with your brand your visitors are, the more chances you have for them to convert your inbound traffic the more pages they'll visit on your site and the more they'll linger on your site, the more chances you have to get a better ranking happy customers (happy with your site's load time, with how logical and intuitive their whole journey on your website is) translate into a lower bouncing rate and implicitly into a higher conversion rate and also in higher chances to win Google's attention (in a good way) the better experiences you'll craft for your visitors, the more likely they are to “spread the news” about your brand SEO= Optimized User Experiences in 2017! 3. Write Longer-Form Content In 2017 you either go with the flow, which is the rise of the long-form content, or, well, the flow leaves you behind! Deal with the fact that readers have gradually got sick of the same short-form and rather superficially written content. They've started to look for content which should provide them more added value . This calls for more time invested in research and for more resources of time (again) in crafting and in elaborating longer-form, richer (more detailed) pieces of content. Here are some benefits that high quality, long-form content will bring you: you'll get to make a winning difference, to set yourself apart from competition you'll build trust (which is gold in your relation with your potential customers) the two above benefits will automatically grant you more conversions 4. Audit, Audit, Then Audit Some More “Laziness” is one of the main reasons why SEO campaigns fail or grow less and less efficient in time. Therefore, a “must” resolution to add to your list of resolutions for 2017 is to regularly audit your marketing campaigns. Make a pledge! Proactively auditing will help you fix issues even before they get to turn into problems. 5. Perfect Your Video Editing Skills In 2017 it's no longer a matter of “should I go for video content?”, it's a matter of “how can I create better video content?” Adding video content is no longer an innovative trend, it's turned into a common practice for the “actors” of the digital world. Just start counting all the major platforms (Facebook here included) which have started to use live videos for complying with their users' demand for such type of content. Now the question that arises is: how do you perfect your video content? Let us give you a few tips and tricks: go for more creative, even surprising ideas insert helpful information, practical advice for your users always keep in mind the entertainment factor consider collaborating with charismatic hosts invest in better production resources 6. Embrace the Voice Search Trend Users have quickly embraced the trend of looking something up online just by uttering the right search terms and it's certain that in 2017 they'll grow to like voice search even more. So, how will you adapt your optimization efforts for complying with this ever growing demand from the part of your customers? Just take some time to think about that, to actually visualize your customers performing their voice searches and you'll find the answers to how you can perfect their experiences on your site from this perspective, too. Consider the fact that voice searches rely on longer search words! 7. Start Using Rich Snippets Rich Snippets and rich answers will grow more and more frequent this year. So, you'd better learn to deal with it, to get on top of this SEO trend. It's all about easing Google's work (and thus ensuring your higher ranking): micro-formatting makes it easy for the search engine to go through the whole content structure on your website. 8. Make a Habit of Constantly Analyzing Your SEO Efforts Are you already measuring and analyzing your SEO efforts, on a regular basis? Then you should consider doing it even more frequently in 2017! Still, that's not enough: you should aim for “efficiently” tracking and analyzing your data. You don't just need to gather more and more data, but to actually handle it better. How? Ask the right questions, examine the key sections of your campaign so that you gain truly accurate and helpful insights, rather than speculations. Don't guess your future SEO initiatives, but determine them based on the efficiently analyzed data that you dispose of. Everything can be measured! Remember? So, commit to measuring your efforts more frequently and more efficiently this year! And this was the last (but definitely not the least) resolution that we advise you to make and to keep in 2017 if one of your main goals this year is to be an (even) better online marketer. Now your turn! How does your own list of SEO resolutions look like? Which are the key commitments that you've inserted there?
Adrian Ababei / Jan 04'2017
See? We're a team of our word! We're back, as promised in our yesterday's post, with the other 6 reasons (from our list of 11) why you should inaugurate 2017 by starting your business blog. One that will give a major boost to all the digital marketing efforts concentrated on your company's website and on your social media channels! As above mentioned, your primary goal, when you start a company blog, is not to make your sales “explode”, but: to build trust. If your customers come to trust your business blog, then they'll get to trust your company, too, and it's only as that point of the lifecycle that they'll buy your products or become willing to try your services. It's a “healthy” mindset that you should have when your start your company blog: build trust first (through quality content that adds value to your users' lives), then you'll gain credibility, then you'll earn your authoritative voice in your niche and it's only then that: your conversion rates will improve! Now let's cut it short and let us reveal to you the other 6 more reasons (in addition to the 5 ones presented to you in our previous post) why you should start a company blog. Reasons that we, as a web development company in Toronto, are always presenting and detailing to our customers before we start working on their web projects. 6. It Helps You Develop An Authoritative Voice Authority goes hand in hand with trustworthiness! It's quite logical, if you come to think of it: you strive to post only high-quality content on your company blog, to bring value to your readers' lives just through that specific content (we don't bring in your products/services in the equation, not just yet) thus you'll become trustworthy in your readers' minds and they'll turn from readers who will have already benefited from the value added to your blog content to customers eager to enjoy the benefits of your products/services, as well. Don't you think it's one of the best strategies for any future-driven entrepreneur? Invest now (in your blog) and you'll thank yourself later! “Later” you will have already become an authority in your niche, a go-to authority for your customers, you'll become trustworthy (trustworthiness: your ultimate source of leads) and you will have won them over. And yet: turning this possible scenario into reality does require considerable resources of time, expertise and creativity for crafting your high quality pieces of content posted on your business blog. We won't hide it from you: it will take you plenty of time and work for making your blog work for you! 7. It Connects You With Influencers In Your Niche Quality content doesn't attract “just” potential future customers, but experts in your niche, as well! You never know who might land on your blog and what influencer in your field your posts might leave a great impression on! And you never know what fruitful collaborations and great business opportunities might derive from those “decisive visits” on your company blog! 8. It Boosts Your Conversion Rates A rule of thumb: once you've started a company blog, you need to keep it constantly updated! You either stick to a content publishing plan or you'd better not start your blog in the first place. How come? Since it's not just valuable content that will help you build trust and then brand loyalty, as well, but consistency, too. And trust is what will bring you those conversion rates that you've been dreaming about! 9. It Turns Your Brand Into a Go-To Source of Value What's in it for your reader? What will he/she get out of your posted article? These are the key questions you should ask yourself each time you've completed a piece of content! If you can't actually come up with an answer quickly enough, then you should go back and rewrite your piece of content or write a brand new one instead. One that should: inform educate entertain … your readers (ideally it should reach all these 3 goals). You don't just pass on (any) information. You first decide whether it will be helpful for your readers, whether the way you'll write about it will bring added value to their lives. It's that added value that you'll provide that will help you build your online presence, your influence in your niche and, eventually, the “aura” of a trustworthy brand, which will translate into better conversion rates. 10. It Generates More Leads Now here's another “more than obvious” type of reasoning: the more pages you have on your Drupal website, the more chances you have to collect leads! Logical, right? Now consider your future company blog: more blog posts means more pages, which inevitably means more chances for you to insert email opt-ins, quote requests, form submissions and so on. Why should you leave money on the table when you can actually earn them through your business blog? 11. It Makes a Great Frame for Showcasing Your Discounts Let's delve deeper into the future of your (future) company blog, after it has been fully fledged with high-quality content, after it has helped you build a wide community of loyal readers/customers around your brand. Now it's the perfect time to turn your blog into a frame for showcasing your promotional material. Having a loyal audience who not only that constantly reads your blog posts, but buys your products/services, as well, offers you the chance to post your promotions and discounts on your blog. It's the right channel where you connect with your loyal customers, so why not get the most out of it? Still, make sure you don't push it, that you don't overload your blog with promotional material, eitherwise you'll witness the boomerang effect: the more you'll “annoy” your readers/customers with your promotions, the less loyal they'll become to your brand! In other words: why should you rely exclusively on your social media channels for “shouting” your discounts, when you can use your (future) popular blog? This way you'll automatically attract readers on your Drupal website, where the discounted products/services are, thus streamlining the whole online purchase process. These are our 11 answers to your legitimate question: “Why should I even bother to start a company blog?”. If you're still hesitant, we're looking forward to read all about your objections in the comments here bellow. If, on the contrary, you have some more reasons to add to our list, feel free to share!
Adrian Ababei / Jan 03'2017
Have you made some business-related wishes, too, on New Year's Eve? We wish you all the luck achieving all your business goals for 2017 and, moreover, we're here to help you steer your efforts in the right direction, by offering you valuable information throughout the year. Still, before we go on to the “valuable information sharing part”, let us dare you to answer to a slightly “tricky” question: What makes you stand apart from the crowd of entrepreneurs and small-business owners in your niche striving to "wow" their customers (and their possible collaborators and competitors, too) with their business websites? Does your Drupal website feature a stunning design? OK, so a great web designer from Toronto has designed your site so that it should visually delight your visitors, but is that enough to make them come back? They'll see the same “visually arresting” design over and over again after all (for no reasonable website owner would go for a complete redesign of his/her company website on a weekly or on a monthly basis, right?) Isn't this rather just a short-time “wow” effect instead? Does your website “lure” your visitors with “hard to resist to” products or services? Then you seem to have all the chances to distract your visitors' attention from all your “rivals'” similar products/services.Your website might just steal all the spotlights in your niche, but how do you actually light their path to your great products/services showcasing website? Also, which will be the signals that will let Google know that your website's worthy of its attention? Are you relying exclusively on the content that you boosted your business website with when you launched it (product descriptions, services description, a few words about the team behind and a few lines about your company's values) for getting inbound links and for ranking for long-tail keywords? Just be honest with yourself when you answer these questions! If you want to set yourself apart in today's digital landscape you need much more than “just” amazing graphics and great products/services. You need to offer added value to your customers. You need to engage. You need to “humanize” your business (even if just a bit). You need to share some of your expertise with your audience and not just to sell them stuff. You need a company blog! Now, without any further ado, let's break down the 11 reasons why “creating a company blog” should be on top of your priorities list for 2017: 1. It Makes a Great “Channel” For Engaging With Your Customers No major or minor brand can afford to “just” present/talk to something to their audiences, since their customers expect to be engaged, they look for interaction and “dialogue” instead of “corporatestalk” (or better said “monologue”). This being said, a company blog, through its comments section, will help you create the perfect context for “chatting” with your audience. Challenge them to share their own suggestions with you, their feedback and critics, too. They'll, then, realize that you care for their opinions and that will make them stick around, while you'll get to collect some “gold” information about them. Information that will help you craft your future engaging blog posts. 2. It Invests Your Brand With a (Unique) Personality “Blogging”, even if it's technical information that you share with your audience, tends to be a lot about how you write and not just about what you write. Blog posts are not simply information-stuffed articles, you know. No reader, no matter how technical savvy or expert in a certain field might be, will land on your blog to read posts written in a purely impersonal, lacking personality type of style. Trust us, they don't! Any Toronto developer will confirm you this. Instead, dare breathing some life into your blog posts (instead of making them sound as if written by a machinery), make them tell chapters of your company's story, too, while informing or entertaining your audience. A little joke here and there, a highly suggestive quote, an unexpected comparison or, even better, a true personal story would instantly draw them in, keep them engaged, keep them reading (for let's face it: 99% of blogs in a niche cover pretty much the same topics, so it's how they do it that makes all the difference). 3. It Helps You Put a “Face” On Your Audience Remember that we've mentioned, in our last post In 2016 about learning "to “exploit” analytics and adopt a “data-driven” business mentality in the year to come"? Well, 2017 is here and you need to learn to get the most out of the priceless data that your blog offers you "on a silver plate". Take a look "behind the curtains" and discover which posts are more popular among your visitors. It's this data that will determine the choice of your future topics. Take a look at the comments that your users are "spoiling" you with. They, too, tell you plenty of valuable information about your audience, if you just know how to decypher them. Find out what they liked and disliked about your blog posts, what suggestions they wrote there, what words and expressions they used more frequently, whether they're beginners or experts in the field etc. 4. It's No Longer a “Should”, but a “Must” for SEO People love high-quality content which adds value to their lives (whether it keeps them informed, it educates them or entertains them) and which they can relate to, which “oozes” personality, so to say. And search engines love the content that people love. That's probably the simplest way to resume how the whole “getting yourself a constantly updated blog for SEO reasons” scenario works. If we are to detail it a bit, here are some of the favorable contexts for business growth that your blog will create for you: 1. More content (more blog posts) means: more pages under your domain name indexed in Google more chances to rank for a wider array of keywords increased traffic on your site the chance to rank not just for certain business-specific keywords, but for higher-converting, long-tail queries, too 2. Valuable content means: building trust and credibility, 2 foundation stones of your relationship with your audience more backlinks (or inbound links, if you prefer to call them this way), including those “priceless” ones coming from high-authority blogs, from experts in your field etc. Imagine your blog (one fully fledged with high-quality content) as a constant “leads converter” in the years to come, a great business initiative for any future-oriented entrepreneur. And you do fall into this category, right? 5. It Boosts Your Social Media Efforts You can't even start drafting a social media strategy without considering the need to post great (and regular) content right? But where will you be getting this valuable content on a regular basis from? From your future company blog, obviously! Why should you share exclusively content created by other “gurus” in your field, when you could share links to your own blog posts? It will help you direct your users to your Drupal website (and this is a highly valuable strategy especially if it's an e-commere website that you own). Moreover, your future blog will make an amazing source of unique, high-quality content for your email newsletters, too. How does an email “reminder” highlighting 5 of the most popular posts within a month sound to you? And these are but 5 of the 11 benefits that we've selected for you, benefits that you can “exploit” for growing your business with the help of a valuable and engaging content-loaded blog. We'll reveal to you and detail the other 6 benefits from our list in tomorrow's post. Stay tuned!
Adrian Ababei / Jan 02'2017
“Fortune favors those who dare” it's a saying which, adapted to the digital context of 2017, will easily turn into: “Fortune favors agile brands!” How agile is your brand? Nowadays it sure isn't enough to just “jump back on your feet after each blow you've taken from am unexpected, unforeseen quake in the digital marketplace. You need to to go beyond that if you want to remain relevant in your market: you need to be able to predict and, if possible (and this is what truly influential brands do), to be the one “causing” these major shifts. How quickly do you embrace innovation? How adaptable and capable are you, as a web development company in Toronto, to “decipher” the given data of the actual digital marketplace for predicting and even “writing” its future trajectory? It's no “shocking” news for any brand operating in the digital ecosystem that SOCIAL and MOBILE have been the trends that acted just like some “dictators” of the digital world in 2016. You had to shift quickly from “mobile friendly” to “mobile first”, from “going social” to almost “moving your entire business on social media”, to collecting all the valuable data issuing from your the social media accounts for drafting all your future business decisions. What other new influencing “actors” will step forward on the digital market stage, in 2017, for stealing all the spotlights and for impacting your business to a great extent? Let's find out: 1. Immersive Content Experiences 2017 will be less about “consuming” content, but about “experiencing content”! Therefore, be prepared to respond to this ever-growing challenge: telling your story to your audience in a way that should “provoke” them to interact, to participate though their imagination. Accept the fact that your online customers want to be challenged to stop playing the role of passive “content consuming” users, that brands have given them in the past, and to accept far more active roles instead, to get involved. So, to resume: 2017 will be all about experiences and, if we tackle the issue immersive content experience, we can't but point out a type of content that will dominate the digital market in 2017: VR-content: you can no longer ignore the tremendous popularity that virtual reality content has gained in 2016. You either embrace it and incorporate it into your brand's whole online content strategy or your business gets overtaken! Where do you add that some of the influential brands are putting a great deal of efforts for making the usage of a headset culturally acceptable (given the immersive software's growing popularity). 2. Conversational Experiences See? If “engage” has been “the star word” of 2016's digital landscape, it looks like “experience” will be the one rocking in 2017. Conversational experiences are, in fact, messaging apps “with a human touch”, we might say. Since we've already pointed out that virtual reality will rule in the year to come and since we've talked about the idea of “experiencing content” as opposed to “consuming content”, here we can easily “detect” a growing tendency towards dialoguing as opposed to instant messaging. Conversational interfaces will definitely “seduce” users with their personal touch: they'll get to ask questions or to perform certain tasks during a pleasant conversation, rather than going through a bunch of drop-down menus or to keep typing text messages. It's convenient, it's far more “natural” and “humanized”. And speaking of the latter, predictions for 2017 point out the key role that “intelligent assistants” (your “dialogue partners” so to say) will play in boosting conversational interfaces' popularity, but about this aspect we'll be talking about in detail in one if our 2017 posts (it's a promise!). 3. Chatbots Even though chatbot experiences are strongly linked to the conversational interfaces trend that we've just point out, we still see it as a trend on its own instead of just a “segment” of the previous one. After Apple's now more than famous Siri, other major brands (Sephora, Mastercard) have started to adopt the “man-machine type of communication” trend. Chatbos are here to stay and you should not just consider, but actually prepare your plan for starting to integrate your own brand's future chatbot into your business strategy for the year to come. It provides that human touch (that users have been craving for and that now they are “demanding” for) that “humanizes” digital interactions, so reflect on that during this short period of time left till we all welcome 2017! 4. Application Program Interfaces: API Now this is the digital trend of 2017 that will test not just your agility, but your ability to seize opportunities of growth in tying together (and therefore sharing, too) with other technology/software companies for mutual benefits. By far the best example of such successful partnership between Ebay and Paypal, who've understood an opportunity of growth by tying together through API (in the name of an enriched “user experience”). How about you? Are you willing to cooperate with another “player” in your market and to embrace digital transformation with the help of an application program interface? 5. Big Data and Analytics Everything can be measured now in the digital world! Now, how are you going to turn this fact into the driving force behind your business's success in 2017? You should start by getting the most out of your data. Examine really closely your analytics, dig up all the valuable information about your customers, those that will help you put together their accurate profiles. In other words: take no decisions, either minor or major, and start putting together no strategy, no business plan for 2017, before you've closely analyzed all your data! Learn to “exploit” analytics and adopt a “data-driven” business mentality in the year to come! 6. Glocalization What do you get when you combine two powerful trends of the digital marketplace, globalization and localization? You get a superpower-concept: glocalization! A concept that Toronto developers have started to incorporate in their web projects. Resulting from the whole “user-centered philosophy, this trend is predicted to become even more “demanding” in 2017. How does it impact you, your business? Well, you need to start “speaking your customers languages” and to adapt your whole online presence to their own cultural environment. Gone are the days when users were thrilled by the mere fact that they were able to access their favorite websites from wherever they were and to buy their desired items with just a few clicks: so simple and convenient. In 2017, even more than in 2016, users will start to expect more, to get even more demanding: they'll expect the websites/apps they'll access to offer them “online experiences” and not just products and services. And you do agree that no user will enjoy a whole experience to the fullest if it's not in his mother language and fully adapted to the cultural context that he's a product of, right? 7. Platforms Will Rock in 2017 It's the perfect time for you to start embracing a “platform thinking”! Big brands like Apple, Android, Uber and Airbnb are already enjoying the benefits of such type of business mentality. It's about “cutting out the middle man” after all! And it's definitely not just about your own obvious advantages, as a company (for we'll continue to delve even deeper into the “User's era” in 2017): it's about streamlining all the processes/transactions taking place on your cloud-based platform and therefore about making your customer's whole experience more agreeable. Give it a try! If big brands are doing it already, why shouldn't you see it as a digital trend with a huge impact on your business' growth, too? 8. User Experience “There is nothing new under the sun”, you might say. Enhancing the user's experience has been the ultimate goal of companies operating in the digital markeplace. It's true, yet you should expect an exacerbation of this reality (for it's no longer “just” a trend). As already stated, customers will become more and more demanding and therefore more and more hesitant to engage to brands that don't pay attention to their preferences in detail. What can you do for coping with this reality that 2017 will enhance? Use all the valuable data at hand and adapt all your strategies to the key information you have in your analytics: what do your customers want, what do they need, how do they land on your website, what pages to they prefer, what can you tell about their preferences from the comments they post on your social media accounts etc.? Collect all the valuable data, analyze it and use it for perfecting your customers' experiential journey on your website/app! 9. Video Content Will Be King That's right! The “Content is King” expression will turn into “Video Content Is King” in 2017. Putting together video content is no longer the issue now (since it's got easier than ever to make a video), but “crafting” videos is. Those who manage to impress and to engage their audiences with truly stunning, visually-appealing and powerful (through the loads of emotions they're upgraded with) will be the ones benefiting from this digital trend. Will you be one of these agile business owners? 10. Age of Community 2017 will be all about co-writing brand identities! What does this mean? It means that you'll need to start (if you haven't already) co-opt your employees and your online customers in the “writing” of your brand's identity. It means you'll need to “loosen the reins” and to be more receptive to the input that your own “community” of users will offer you. And you should encourage them to offer it to you. Here are 2 examples of big brands doing just that, co-opting their customers to “help” them shape and reshape their own brands: M&M with their “Vote for Your Favorite Peanut” contest Ziploc with the “Inspiration” section on their site where customers get to come up with new, innovative ideas for using their famous plastic bags Take some time to reflect on all these predictions for the year to come and to consider to what extent each of them will impact your brand. Then, decide which should be the first measures to take for being one step ahead of these 10 predictions before they even get to turn into some highly influencing trends!
Adrian Ababei / Dec 23'2016