Top Ten Things About to Change On the Web
By: Thomas Young, MBA
Working with a variety of clients over the past few months and watching Internet trends has resulted in a few observations about what is changing on the Web and what is coming in the near future.
1. Results are More Important
Business leaders at high levels are paying more attention to results on a Website. These results are usually measured in leads and/or sales. If the Website is producing, then money and resources will be put into it, if it is not producing than it just sits out on the Web with outdated content as an online brochure. The site is not removed from the Web, but it might as well be, because it becomes dormant. The key questions arise when determining if these key business leaders have been reviewing the right Web data and if the site was launched properly
2. Integration with Marketing
The Web’s novelty is long gone and companies are now focused on integration with current marketing and sales efforts more than ever. The best companies are making the Web part of their sales process and a sales milestone. It is a seamless and consistent part of their brand message. Web marketing managers are now a regular part of the marketing team.
3. Complimentary Channels
The Web has added additional channels for consumers to buy and additional headaches for channel mangers. The key is to leverage the strength of each channel to meet user’s needs and provide the most benefit to the company. The Web lowers fulfillment costs so it should be an excellent channel for low maintenance customers that want a low price.
4. Pay for Clicks Explosion
Very few companies are taking advantage of paid advertising programs on Google and Yahoo, only about 5%. When the other 95% of businesses realize what they can do with this ad tool there will be tremendous growth in this space. This growth will drive up ad costs and competition for clicks.
5. Search Engines are too Competitive
Search engines are watering down the ability to get found due to the sheer number of Websites and the ability of Web marketers to optimize and get listed. These will lead to more traditional methods of advertising to draw people to a Website. Google, the top search in engine in the world, should be careful because they are focusing attention on offerings away from their core search service. This could lead to poor search results for the user in Google. If that happens, then MSN and/or Yahoo are ready to jump into the lead. It is more difficult than ever to get a site listed on Google unless you pay for an ad. This will hurt Google in the future because search relevancy will go down.
6. User Expectations Keep Going Up
The user will continue to have many options and higher expectations. You must be on top of your competition with additional content and features on your Website. Poll your customers often and find out how you can stay on the cutting edge and continue to meet or exceed their expectations.
7. Price or Knowledge
In many cases users are looking for two major things on the Web, a great price on a product or excellent information about the service they are researching. If you are selling on the Web then you must be competitive on price, or have a brand that draws a price premium. If you are a service provider; fill your site with valuable content for the user.
8. Niches and Segmentation are Critical
You’ll need more of a niche than ever online and when you find it you will really stand out. Use a key word selector tool like the one found at Overture.com or Woerdtracker.com to find online market niches.
9. Spam is Useless
Spam emails will continue to dwindle and it will become less of a hassle rather than more. Basically, users are winning the battle over spam. It won’t go away, but it will slow down as it loses its effectiveness and fewer spammer choose to take the risk of legal action against them. A higher percentage of spam will come from overseas.
Video on the Web has been around for a while, but most Websites have considered it a novelty. That is about to change as retailers and service providers figure out the power of a video presentation to describe their product or service offering. This will drive many more people to the Web to see videos. Not all Web users read, many are visual and auditory and will love to see video presentations online.
Stay on top of Internet trends and be one step ahead of your competitors and reach higher levels of success online.
Thomas Young is CEO and President of Intuitive Websites, a Colorado Springs based Internet marketing, Website design and usability firm. To learn more about Intuitive Websites contact Tom at 719-481-4040 or tom@IntuitiveWebsites.com.