As someone who’s been in the business of website-based marketing since the beginning, it’s been interesting to watch the space change and evolve tremendously over time. As we discussed in one of our first blogs, websites started out as nothing more than fixed brochures, where companies put a description and their contact info in the hope that prospects would ring them up. Once their website was up, they assumed their work was done.
Though there are still companies or businesses who mistakenly think this kind of static website is enough to bring them business; we, of course, know that it is not. After all, your websites meet your prospects before you do, so you have to make sure you’re giving them what they are looking for when they land.
Today, we know that websites have all kinds of capabilities to respond to their visitors and lots more content and offerings. But just as we’ve come a long way in the past ten years, we can expect to do the same looking forward. It’s worth taking a look at what we can expect to see changing in the next generation of marketing on websites.
While websites contain a lot more useful info than they used to, they still currently tend to look the same for everyone who visits them. However, in the next generation of websites, we can expect to see more web pages that change ‘on the fly’ and adapt to the person visiting them (and the visitor won’t know it’s happening!). This can be based on things like the visitor’s geography (i.e. where they are visiting from), their language, their previous interactions with the website or company, and their search history. Dynamic website presentation responds to the needs of the visitor and uses tools like cookie snapping and marketing automation to do it. It might change the web copy the prospect is shown, the pages they’re offered, and calls to action they are served with once they visit your site.
Another major shift we’re already starting to see is to embed a customer service or sales infrastructure into the website itself. While click-to-chat options are already relatively common, the more advanced option has become click-to-video. This is a situation where, if a customer is far enough down the sales funnel that they might be willing to pull the trigger, an option to video conference with a salesperson/consultant can be offered in order to seal the deal - and from the vendor’s perspective - the chance to upsell and cross-sell - adds so much more opportunity to engage and explain with live video links.
Giving the prospect the option when they’re ready—rather than interrupting them on the phone when they’re not—ensures that they feel empowered by the option, not overwhelmed. This works especially well for products or services that require customisation or tailoring. While the conventional wisdom may be that modern consumers don’t want to talk to a real person, the reality is they want to talk when they’re ready to talk, and this kind of responsive design helps create a situation for them to do just that.
Just like the marketing tools of today, the future of marketing automation in website design is all about responding at the point where you know what a prospect needs and wants. Your sales team is a very precious resource that you don’t use freely. You use it with people who display characteristics where you know they’re ready to buy. The future of websites will help facilitate a situation where you know just that.
Tip #43: Modernise your website marketing so it’s relevant for today’s market—keep looking ahead at technology so that you use all your options to engage prospects - but only when they are ready!
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