Saturday, July 23, 2011

Google +1, Connected Devices and HTML5 - Is it part of your strategy?

The online world is converging and evolving every day. Just when everybody is waking up to the importance of integrating social media with their online brand strategy, comes along Google+ promising an exclusive commercial version to be launched soon along with Google +1, creating fears that this could be the next most important algorithm that will make you pull your hair out like page rank. And we are not even going to talk about the rumours of the launch of yet another social platform by Microsoft.

So, what does this mean for a small business? Great News, if the website accommodates this converging environment, that is. The first question that comes to anybody's mind before assigning a web design project is whether to have a flash based website. At Brand Impakt we ask many counter question instead of answering that: What is your site objective? Who is your target audience? Are they social or corporate? Could it be that they are mostly mobile? and so on. The answer lies there. If you are a small business and targeting end customers as well as having a b2b objective, it's time to start using the powers of HTML. Using inclusive elements like JavaScript, JSON feeds, CSS, AJAX and so on you can create an experience akin to what you are expecting out of a flash website (I hear you ask what about animation? Well, amazing animations looks cool and can also get the site an award or two.. but not necessarily a good model for a business website trying to engage and retain an online audience, especially in this converging world of gadgets and platforms. But that is food for thought for another article).

A good website needs to address first the content. Make it exciting and most of all... engaging! The audience should not be left to search for a needle in a haystack. Bring them out using an innovative home page layout and further more create inside pages to drive traffic to the other pages of your website, again by bringing out the hidden essence of your website using innovative layouts.

The next step is integrating social media. This does not end in just putting a link to your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or YouTube pages. Give the ability for the user to share content from your website with their friends. Give this ability with the utmost ease of use and the most innovative way possible. People are driven by curiosity and so if you integrate these sharing plugins with a little bit of creativity, the chances of your site going viral is higher.

Most of our clients wonder why should we use Facebook. They seem more confident in having an email blast, though they have no permission based database in hand. The answer is simple. Almost everybody we target has either a Facebook, Twitter or a LinkedIn profile. Google Plus has only made sure that it starts involving those few who were not yet using the social connections actively. Most importantly these people visit their social spaces with an open mind. It's their quality time. A time-space when they are open to ideas and conversations. What better environment do you need to start an engaging conversation? An email marketing campaign on the other hand is usually targeting a user who is prone to register for such newsletters and permission based marketing database. By the time your third issue reaches the user, you might be simply targeting someone who is already overwhelmed by the amount of email blasts that is reaching his/ her inbox which in turn makes it convenient to skip or sort out the most important emails to read. More importantly, you can never gauge what time of the day he/ she has an open and clear mind to absorb the essence of your mail. So, if your email reaches in the middle of a project documentation deadline or before a sales forecast meeting, chances are that issue goes unread for ever.

And now, coming back to our main theme - using the powers of HTML. We are at a transitional phase in the internet world. We are being exposed to innovative modes of communication with the advent of the Apple iPad, Blackberry Playbook, Viewsonic Viewpad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and many more devices. On the other end of convergence we have the Sony Internet TV and Google TV taking the internet experience right where every marketer want it to be - the couch. The focus of your web architecture has to be compatibility. Your website should work across all these gadgets and those which will be in the market sooner than you think. Mobile sites were easy to ignore. Tablets cannot be and they are already eating into the shares of the desktop computers.

The Sony Internet TV Ad

Being an Advertising Agency that also has a reputation of being an active Web Design Company in Dubai, we are exploring how to make websites engaging, not necessarily only through flash animations. If you need to learn more just give us a call!

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