Retail Week recently reported that more than half of UK retailers are investing in proximity marketing campaigns.
Just what is it that has got them excited?
What Is Proximity Marketing?
Proximity marketing involves attracting customers via WiFi technology and then offering timely and relevant marketing messages when they come into range of a beacon, typically situated by a prominent product or offer.
The simple yet sophisticated technology uses advances in mobile technology to send a targeted marketing message to potential customers as they pass by, enter, or browse within a store.
All that’s needed for these new targeted 1:1 relationships to form is for the customer to carry a mobile phone with Bluetooth enabled, and for the retailer to have the required technology set up in store .
What Do The Stats Say?
According to research by Ninth Decimal it is clear that proximity marketing offers a clear benefit both to the advertiser and the consumer.
Surveys indicated that 53% of consumers were willing to let companies know their location so that they could receive advertising that was more relevant to their interests.
In addition, 57% said they were more likely to engage with proximity marketing than other forms of marketing.
Other industry reports have found that products advertised to customers in the area using proximity marketing saw an incredible 19 times more interactions than before they were advertised using the method.
How Are Brands Using Proximity Marketing?
Point of purchase marketing has come a long way since shelf barkers and plastic wobblers.
The technology behind proximity marketing is allowing retailers and brands to deliver relevant messages and offers at the time when they will have the most impact – in store.
In the US, Safeways use beacon technology to drive sales and increase brand loyalty, targeting shoppers as they enter the shop with special discounts and vouchers that encourage them to make purchases they might not otherwise had chosen.
Global brands are excited too. Kelloggs says “This [proximity marketing] is a new frontier, and it will drive much better quality interactions between the targeted consumer and an offer, which is right in front of their eyes.”
Other businesses have sent messages to customers when they enter a specific department, stand near a particular item or even as they walk by on the street. Retailers report higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.
3 Things Retailers Need To Get Started Now
There are three simple things that every business needs to get started using proximity marketing:
Technology: To deliver information directly to your customer’s phones you need the right technology.
Customers with smart phones: You need your customers to opt-in to receive your messages, typically by signing up to a free wifi network you offer. To kick-start customer usage you need to clearly communicate the benefits of opting in with a range of marketing methods. As a first step your staff must be trained to encourage customers to start using your wifi. Campaigns in-store and on-line can also help.
A Marketing plan: Creating the right messages and delivering them when they will be most effective, not intrusive or unwelcome, is important. With the right technology partner proximity marketing is easier to manage than you might expect, and not just for large businesses.
As a web designer, you have to know that web design trends change rapidly. They come and go like fashion trends. It’s helpful to know what the current and upcoming trends are. Web design trends help you to stay ahead of the competition, develop your site traffic and meet the needs of your various client’s. Don’t ever think that “trend” always means “new.”
Many new design trends are affected by two key factors. First, they come from the users needs, wants and necessities along with the designers practical creativity. Second, technologies which allow the application of those changes possible. Technology is a major driving force and allows news design to move forward at pace. We need to be “With It” ladies and gents.
To understand where we’re going, let’s refresh our memory on where we’re been. Websites today follow very different trends than they did just a year ago. Web design for 2015 looked at a lot of improvements of trends from 2014.
Recent years looked trends such as:
Many of these trends will continue to be refined. Some will be replaced with better alternatives. Others, such as background video, will be used with moderation.
Web design trends in 2016 could probably be summed up in two letters: UX (that’s very clear) and mobile. Trends will follow best practices for both UX and mobile platforms. UX and mobile have been in view over the past few years, but now they’re front and center and the main driving focus of website design with an uncluttered UI.
This year, we will see even more improvements and standardisation of current trends. The concept go from just an ideal to the standard: From “new” to the “normal.”
Material design is an alternative to flat design that brings back some nice graphical elements. It’s a set of Google design standards that separates elements using the layers concept found in image editing software. It can stack and remove elements as needed. It even has built-in animations that would normally need to be created manually.
It’s a design language with a specific set of guidelines which takes out the guesswork. The results look the same from one platform to another. Since these standards are established by Google they’re sure to have widespread support.
It is possible, however, that adhering to strict guidelines will hamper creativity. I see this as a challenge to improve creativity within the guidelines.
“Material Design Compared to Flat Design.”
Material design is different from flat design. Flat design a design basis for presenting UI and graphical elements. It simply strips the visuals down to the basics and does away with visuals that try to mimic the real world with designs such as rounded corners, textures, shadows, etc. It minimises all of the showy stuff that distracts from the story and reduces the amount of information that readers have to deal with. It has solid colours, sharp edges, and thin lines.
Flat design won’t be going away. It’s actually compatible with Material Design as well as being responsive and minimal. There will be a focus on turning off what’s not needed so they can focus on what is. The trend will be finding that perfect balance between the two. Flat doesn’t have to mean boring.
Material design is based in 3D. It’s a better choice for those who do want some stylish visual design. Material design gives you some of the design elements back. You’re not stuck with only having solid colours or not having animation.
Increased resolutions and responsive designs make it possible to improve typography, which is why that is one of the web design trends we simply must include here. Typography can be more colourful and stand out. It can make a statement. Two trends that I’ve seen with typography are the use of serifs and hand-writing. Each have specific uses.
Serifs help improve legibility. They were removed previously due to lower resolution screens and screen size. Screen resolutions and sizes are getting larger. Also, layout designs are cleaner and leave room for more elegant fonts. Expect to see serifs more often within the content itself.
Handwriting is more personal. If it’s done correctly, it’s pretty and adds a special touch to a website. Just like serifs, the challenge is to keep the style legible and readable on small screens. Hand-writing will mostly be used in logos, headers, post titles, menus, business cards, and so forth.
One thing to consider is more users are consuming content on mobile devices. Unfortunately lower end devices, such as the Fire HD 10, display lower resolutions. This is more noticeable on larger screens because they have a lower pixel density due to having the same resolution as their smaller counterparts. One solution is to display typography based on the screen resolution. This means serifs and handwriting would display on mobile devices for high-res screens while screens with lower resolutions could receive a font that’s more suitable to its resolution. Of course server speeds and load time have to be taken into consideration.
Not only will typography become more suitable to mobile screens and resolutions, but navigation, forms, images, and mobile-specific features (such as GPS) will have the focus of design. The use of images will change somewhat. Where images have been used for effects and text, CSS and fancy fonts will be used for effects and text will be used for text. This reduces page-loading times and server load.
Touch events are becoming more prominent. More sites are using plugins to handle events such as tap and swipe. This takes websites beyond just being responsive to the screen size, but also to the screen type, finger size, amount of pressure used, etc. Buttons and fields have to be large enough and have enough distance between them so they’re not hit accidentally. Which brings us to mobile layouts.
Minimalism rules for mobile devices. Some desktop elements can be hidden when the site is viewed on a mobile device. Other elements will be adjusted or modified depending on the screen size and type. This allows the message to fit the screen. Strip out the elements that are less important and fit it to the screen without losing the message.
Slideshows, images, buttons, elements, menus, and so forth should be developed with mobile in mind. Fortunately, material design brings back visual elements so sites don’t have to look plain on mobile. Also, you can render an image at a different size or resolution depending on the size of the screen. This will speed up the page-loading and the images will still look great on mobile devices.
Tiles Replaced with Cards:
We saw lots of tile-based designs in 2015. Pinterest made (or helped make) the design popular. Cards take the design to a deeper level by adding functionality and interactivity. They can provide more information using hover effects, by flipping the cards over, expanding them, and more. They are a great design element that places the focus on imagery and offer a usable way and help make the content easy to see at a glance. They essentially create grid layouts while minimising content.
“More Imagery, Less Text.”
Consumers tend to look more at pictures and video and less at the text. This creates a balancing act between SEO and UX. Search engines prefer text they can index. This will move text-rich content to sub-pages and the image-rich content to the homepage. If text is required for the homepage, try to place it under the imagery. Target the users first and the search engines second.
Browsers are becoming faster at rendering images. This means images can be larger with higher resolutions than before. Expect a greater emphasis on higher quality images and artwork.
Dynamic storytelling works by telling a story through graphics with textual support. This is one of the web design trends that has held popularity for a few years now. It guides the visitors through a thought process or a timeline. It can show benefits of a product or service, history of an organisation, or anything you want your visitors to know about you or your company. This can be a video or presentation that’s automated or one they can step through themselves by clicking or scrolling.
This requires a high level of graphic skill and has to be done carefully and skillfully in order to look right. It requires storyboarding, knowing your website’s message, and how to convey that message. It should highlight benefits and features in the most succinct way possible with the right balance between graphics and text. Too much of either can result in a UX that’s unfocused, overwhelming, or both.
Greater Focus on Content and Article Layouts, Less Focus on Ads:
Over the past few years, readers have become blind to ads within sidebars. Home-pages have moved from being a banner for the content and ads, to being an eye-catching landing page with great visuals. They contain more visuals than text and the ads have moved to the content itself. This requires a great layout to make room for them.
We’ve seen drag and drop builder plugins that let us create home-pages, but there is also a need for layout design within the posts themselves. Systems that allow for post layout design will be popular as users can create layouts with widget areas and place modules, giving their sites a much more elegant look and feel.
To create the great article layout, aspect of social comment will be considered as well. WordPress has a great commenting system, but more readers tend to leave comments within social networks than on websites themselves. To capture social comments, the trend continues to move toward more websites using social commenting systems rather than the built-in WordPress commenting system. This ensures visitors can comment using their social accounts and/or any social media mentions are picked up and displayed right on your site.
These are just a few of the web design trends that will become more prominent throughout 2016. However, the popular trend is not always the best choice. They are good tools to have waiting in the wings should you need them. Plus, this process – of finding ways to stand out from the crowd – can help push a trend forward.
My mantra in relation to lead pages and specifically landing pages is Engage, Stimulate Offer & Convert. Good Lead Pages + Good Landing Pages = Higher Conversions. The objective of the landing page is to get a compelling value proposition in front of prospective buyers in a way that is engaging, credible and clear. I believe every page on a website should act as a landing page with some type of viral or connectable engagement opportunity for visitors.
If a company’s website is large or deep with many areas then it is best the site is reviewed in sections using grouped pages as iterative steps in a process to achieve a specific engagement and conversion goal. This route offers better rates of lead capture, viral share or online sale or whatever the ultimate agreed goal of the digital marketing team is. I call this web or page-chunking, by grouping a few pages together the visitor is led through some steps or pages to an end goal. This provides the opportunity for the marketing team to develop a slightly longer and more emotional value proposition. Having said this, it is more typical to work with and decide on single page, single purpose landing pages.
I believe there are 3 main areas or objectives, which need to be kept in mind when creating good landing pages that will lead to conversions.
Presentation & Clarity
Emotional Value Proposition
The biggest conversion rate gains will come from the landing pages you test and re-test.
With this in mind it is important to remember the following:
Presentation & Clarity
Keep it clear, concise and simple: My personal obsession is with clarity. Being concise and clear is at the top of the list – being everything else is below that.
Make sure your headline matches what your advertisement is saying: Always test for consistency. Time and again I see websites and landing pages with inconsistent messaging in relation to what the product or service being advertised is and I’m left scratching my head, as I’m sure the site visitors are. This is a major landing page FAIL and completely avoidable.
Emotional Value Proposition:
Promise to solve a problem: Your visitor will have some problem or other they are facing, so offer them a solution. Whether it’s with more comprehensive study results on something or the opportunity to learn better ways of marketing their products or a free trial of your amazing web scanning tool, users will respond positively to you helping with an issue they have… and remember, leave the reader wanting more.
Appeal to their sense of creativity: Use the wording “How To” or “Create Your Own” or “This Way”. When we appeal to our audience’s creative energy we draw them into an action to validate their sense of accomplishment in this area.
Avoid passive language: Try to rephrase “Passive Language” using “Active Voice” instead. Readers may have difficulty following instructional text and decisions are faster made when “Active Voice” is used in copy.
Try and see the funny side: I believe I am a funny guy and I believe you believe you are funny too. So, if we all believe this then we should all engage better with humorous titles and copy. Try out some humorous titles and sayings. People like and respond well to humour.
Always use adjectives and “sell” words: Using any of the following powerful sell words on your landing pages will have a dramatic effect on your conversion rates as they are powerful and emotionally appealing like Guaranteed, More Conversions, Discover, Better Results, Quick, Free, Now and Great.
Sometimes its best to begin with a question For example: Want Faster Conversions For Less Money? Are you missing out on new customers? How often do you check you web stats? Asking questions either open or closed ended questions requires a subliminal answer from the visitor and this tactic usually results in higher conversions than direct statements can achieve.
Emotional Marketing Value (EMV)
This free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute [note: these links both go to a EMV FAQ] will analyse your headline to determine the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score. Reaching your customers in an deep and emotional way is a key to successful copywriting, and your headline is unquestionably the most important piece of copy you use to reach prospects. The tool available on the AMI site tests different variations of your headline, and then gives you a percentage score telling you whether your headline is more intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual and what emotional marketing value it has. Headline words have a predominantly empathetic appeal.
While not as common as words with intellectual impact, words which resonate with empathetic impact often bring out profound and strong positive emotional reactions in the reader. I believe having a landing page policy is important and will maximise the impact of your web campaigns. This policy could include things like frequency, design quality, re-purposing and split testing parameters.
When talking about Landing pages and content in general I always pose the question ‘Why care about optimising content?’ The answer is simple, clear and concise. Error free web content means increased customer satisfaction, more brand credibility and better online conversion rates.