Believe it or not, the year is almost over — and that means the clock’s ticking for the upcoming year’s website strategies. Marketing and reputation building are strategies that take a long time to develop, so if you want to have a successful growth period in the coming year, you’ll need to hit the ground running come January.
In 2018, we saw some surprising choices from major brands and some new common designs, themes and tactics throughout the web — but nothing too revolutionary. Now, with significant changes in user adoption of new tech and slow pivots from your competitors, you have the perfect opportunity to incorporate new website strategies, and set your brand apart.
7 innovative website strategies to adopt in the new year
These are just some of the new marketing, advertising and customer support website strategies you should be using in the new year.
The social CEO.
Intelligent audience analysis.
Read on to learn what you need to do to implement these website strategies.
1. VR content
Virtual reality (VR) has had a tenuous couple of years. When Oculus Rift started to emerge on the scene, brands went crazy thinking about the marketing possibilities. But due to a combination of high prices and association with video gaming, sales were lower than expected, and VR creators held off on getting too deep.
Now, global headset sales are taking off, and more people are warming up to the idea of VR (and by, extension augmented reality — AR).
Consider creating at least some VR-based content for your site, whether it’s a virtual tour of your store, an immersive 360-degree experience of an event you’re attending, or some AR game that keeps your customers engaged. You’ll stand apart from the competition and earn your share of loyal readers.
2. Voice-optimized interfaces
Smart speakers, including Google Home and Amazon Echo, are also seeing a surge of sales. Toward the end of 2017 and throughout 2018, consumers began to grow comfortable with these audio-based digital assistants and today smart speakers are considered part of the “normal” home experience.
All those smart speakers mean ordinary users are going to grow more used to interacting with online material through their voices.
If you want your brand to stay relevant, you’ll need to adapt to that approach. In some cases, that means optimizing your content to better address simple user questions (so you can be featured in the rich answers at the top of Google’s rankings). In others, that means simplifying your content so it can be easier to engage with through smart speakers or mobile devices.
3. Live video
Video has been on a steady path of growth for many years, and by 2021, it’s estimated that video will make up 82 percent of all traffic on the internet. If you want to avoid getting crushed by the competition, your website strategies needs to start including video — now.
But with so many other businesses competing for attention in the space, you’ll need some way to be more relevant and more urgent.
The easiest way to do that is to offer more live videos. Record yourself during a speaking engagement, or host a live Q&A with your audience. You’ll draw in far more viewers than you would with a stagnant video. People will be more inclined to check back regularly for more live videos.
4. Authentic content
Content is everywhere. For the past decade or so, marketers everywhere have been chanting that “content is king,” and as a result, we’ve flooded every channel with content meant to inform — but also to promote whatever products or services we’re pushing.
The solution to more effective website strategies isn’t creating more content. It’s creating more authentic content. Go out of your way to show your sincerity and character to form stronger personal bonds with your readers. Express your real thoughts and feelings, an avoid salesy language, or content for the sake of content.
Editor’s note: Social media is a great place to produce authentic content, but it can be incredibly time consuming. Let the experts at GoDaddy Social get your social content strategy up and running.
5. The social CEO
Along similar lines, you can build more trust and rapport with your audience by making your CEO more social and more visible. That means getting involved in local events, jumping into more conversations on social media, and being transparent about their daily lives within the company.
That might open them up to more criticism or increase their workload, but the benefits are worth it. Your audience will feel more in tune with your brand and more willing to buy what you’re selling.
Pro tip: Make sure your business’s social channels are linked to your website. It’s a snap with a solution like GoDaddy’s GoCentral website builder. Here’s how you can connect your GoCentral home page to a new or existing Facebook business page— and have it include your site’s business name, street address, and web address.
6. Intelligent audience analysis
How well do you know your audience, really? You might have a suspicion about who your main demographics are, based on the types of people who reach out to you. And you might know about your main sources of traffic and how those sources have changed.
But with today’s unprecedented levels of data availability, there’s no excuse not to know your audience as if they were your family.
Invest in data analytics platforms and partners that can help you achieve that understanding, because it’s only through that understanding that you’ll be able to generate more relevant content.
Chatbots are getting more sophisticated all the time, and already, they’re capable of having full conversations regarding most customer concerns. It’s estimated that 15 percent of Americans have already used a chatbot to solve some problem, and that number is only going to grow in the near future.
In upcoming years, chatbots are going to be cheaper, more capable, and most importantly more accepted by the general population. If you want to avoid getting left behind here, the time for including them in your website strategies is now.
Closing thoughts on website strategies
Unfortunately, I can’t give a one-size-fits-all recommendation for how and when to use these website strategies, or how to balance them. Different brands and different audiences will require different combinations — and it’s on you to figure out what those combinations are.
Even if they fail, you’ll learn something, and you’ll get bonus points for beating your competition to the punch. Set aside some of your budget for pure experimentation in the new year and challenge yourself to do something new.