How to Future-Proof Your Digital Experiences
Future-proofing your digital experiences is the key to staying on top in a fast moving world.
From optimizing your website to maximizing your marketing strategy, what you do today can have a huge effect on your success tomorrow.
And it doesn’t have to be difficult.
In this guide, we take you through the best ways to supercharge your customers’ digital experiences – now and in the future.
Make your website the hub for your digital experiences
Your website is the virtual equivalent of your office. And just like you might want to impress clients with pot plants, coffee machines and high tech boardrooms, your site needs to work hard to offer customers value.
More than just a host for your content, a website should be at the heart of the customer journey, providing content, services and ongoing support every step of the way.
And all of this doesn’t have to cost the earth. Be savvy about your website, and you’ll find that this relatively low cost channel can repay you in so many ways. Why not reuse content and services from your website for other solutions, like a mobile app? Or if you want to start small, simply let your web presence grow with you.
Agile, efficient and exciting, your website has the potential to become the go-to hub for your digital experiences.
Go Beyond Responsive Web Design for Mobile
We’ve already established that websites are great. But what turns a great website into a brilliant one?
Progressive Web Apps
You might have been told that a mobile-friendly design is the key to a supercharged site. After all, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries. But for a truly future-proofed site, you need more. Enter Progressive Web Apps.
What is PWA?
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that offer “an app-like experience”. This means they combine features found on most modern browsers with all the great benefits of native mobile apps. So you can expect things like super speedy loading, silky smooth animations and immersive user experience.
Why Is It Better?
A PWA has it all. Not only is it smoother, slicker and more streamlined, but it’s easy to develop and release into the world. All of these benefits translate into impressive stats. In fact, when using PWA, Twitter experience a 75% increase in tweets sent, while e-commerce giant Alibaba reported 76% higher conversions across browsers.
For users and developers, PWAs offer an all-round hassle-free experience. For a start, it cuts out one of the biggest hurdles for users – actually finding, downloading and installing an app. Instead, your customers can enjoy a seamless experience from the comfort of your website.
With today’s web browsers offering support for the latest HTML5 features, you’re all set to get the most out of a PWA. That means you have the potential to reach billions of internet users – far more than the 700 million people who currently have the capability of installing an iOS app.
Enjoy the Benefits of Push Notifications
PWAs might not have all the features offered by a native app, but they do have one of the most important ones: push notifications. This increasingly common form of mobile communication is a really useful tool for marketing directly to your audience, helping to keep them engaged, updated and informed.
Avoid App Store Bureaucracy
Native apps aren’t just harder to build – they’re more difficult to distribute too. Technical requirements, community guidelines, complicated forms and tiresome review processes all mean that it can be a slog to get your app into the world. In comparison, for a PWA all you need to do is tweak the code, test it, and push it out live. It’s just as easy as updating your company’s website.
Stand Out in a Noisy Online Space
Now that you’ve got a functional website, how do you plan on standing out? Getting recognised online might seem like an art form in itself, but all it really takes is some hard work and savvy marketing. Here are some ideas for you to get started.
Boost Organic Traffic Through SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, has gained a reputation for being cryptic, with some old-school marketers attempting to crack the code with keyword stuffing, link baiting and a whole host of other SEO tricks.
But in actual fact, SEO can be pretty simple. And hugely effective. It starts with offering value-driven content on an attractive, user-friendly site. When people start returning time and time again to your site, Google will begin to take note.
Share Content and Engage on Social Media
While most of us excel at using social media in our personal lives, far fewer embrace it in their professional ones. But sharing content and connecting through social networks like Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook can add real value to your business. Acting as both a point of contact and a vital part of your brand development, social media actively improves the digital experiences of your customers.
When it comes to getting your business noticed online, inbound marketing is a must. As well as costing an average 62% less than outbound marketing, Hubspot studies show that it’s far more effective at attracting an engaged audience thanks to its anti-spamming approach and focus on producing meaningful content.
Get the Inside Track with Analytics Tools
Analytic tools help you to measure your success, and plan for the future. Dig deep for data-driven insights that allow for technological decision-making and drive real-time experiences tailored to each and every customer.
Future proof digital experiences aren’t all about slick UX and savvy analytics. It also involves going above and beyond to build trust by keeping your users’ data safe.
What Is It?
You might have heard the term ‘GDPR’ thrown around a lot in recent months. That’s because the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short, is set to transform the way companies manage data. Due to come into force in the UK on 25 May 2018, GDPR will allow people to have easier access to the data businesses hold about them, as well ensuring organisations always obtain the consent of the people they collect information from.
When Does GDPR Apply for Your Digital Experiences?
If your business is a “controller” or “processor” of personal data, you’ll be subject to the new GDPR regulations. Personal data includes all sorts of information, like names, addresses, IP addresses – anything that might be considered sensitive. So if your digital experiences rely on user’s data, be prepared to explain the what, why and how of the data you’ve collected. It’s also important that your company gives individuals the opportunity to control their own datas.
Looking Towards the Future: Innovations in Digital Experiences
From Alexa to AI, these are the innovations set to revolutionise digital experiences in the future.
Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri are already a huge part of our homes, and they’re soon set to become a big part of business too. With 19% of people using Siri at least daily, this tech offers huge potential when it comes to innovating your digital experience.
More and more businesses are embracing chatbots as a way of optimising their customer service. As computer programmes that mimic human-to-human interaction, chatbots are increasingly becoming able to pull from a company’s collective expertise. That’s a big improvement on old chatbots that could only work from preprogrammed rules and scripts.
So how can a chatbot improve your digital experiences? According to 95% of consumers, the answer lies in customer service. Studies suggest that customers are increasingly looking towards chatbots as their go-to mode of communicating with companies thanks to their promise of instant answers and 24/7 support.
Machine learning may be complex from an engineering point of view, but its impact is simple to understand. Using AI, machine learning gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. This means that it has the potential to simplify, streamline and increase efficiency in digital experiences.
Personalization optimizes your digital experiences, helping to streamline the user journey and add that personal touch that keeps customers coming back for more. AI-enabled solutions work by analysing the way different functions work, in turn learning about past behavior and offering recommendations that offer genuine value to users.
What Makes the Really Great Digital Experiences Stand Out from the Crowd?
Every digital experience is different, but the best ones have one thing in common: a future proof CMS. As a central backbone for your digital presence, a good CMS will offer scalability, flexibility, and better productivity.
When looking for a CMS that’s guaranteed to last long into the future, remember to look for:
Your CMS needs to be up to the job of handling hacking attempts and other security issues
Get the most out of your CMS by ensuring it can grow with your business.
You don’t know what the future holds, but you can ensure that your CMS is able to handle the future requirements of your users. Such as support for rolling out new code changes and features continuously and a high degree of flexibility for web editors.
Integrate your favorite marketing tools and legacy systems for a supercharged CMS.
Productivity for Web Editors
Do your digital team a favour and look for a CMS that supports responsive authoring (big screens to mobile), and keyboard shortcuts for faster management and less mouse usage. A modern UI and simplified image handling will help boost productivity too.
Headless support doesn’t necessarily sound like a positive thing, but this can actually help you get more out of your content. The headless metaphor refers to the lack of a presentation layer, or a head, meaning you can access your content using APIs and feed it into other systems like mobile apps, chatbots and ecommerce sites.
Make sure your web content can be accessed by everyone with a CMS that enforces accessibility for navigation and markup. This is especially important in light of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – guidelines that ensure businesses make their website accessible to disabled users. Just remember that the CMS can’t do all the hard work. You’ll also have to ensure all web content is accessible with transcripts and subtitles for example.