And the award goes to…

Ah, awards season, when we all sit around in our sweatpants (eating popcorn, butter dripping Red Carpetdown our chins) and judge Jennifer Lawrence’s latest red carpet look. I imagine that the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys look very different from the insiders’ perspective.

I recently started thinking about what it would look like if web strategy had an awards ceremony. (One thing’s for sure, we’d see fewer celebrities crying on stage.) What would the categories be? What can small business owners learn from these outstanding websites?

Here’s an insider’s perspective on the best web and digital marketing strategies I’m noticing. And the award goes to…

  1. For Best Use of Ambient Video:

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, video must be worth at least 10,000 (Don’t worry, I’ll be considerably briefer than that).

Cultural Care Au Pair matches host families with a live-in childcare provider. I can’t imagine a better way to set the right mood and convey the idea that the company places qualified and trustworthy au pairs than the background video playing on the homepage. The video features thrilled children greeting their favorite au pair, who later appears to be happy and well-integrated into the family.

Could a video do a better job than a string of words to motivate your users to dig deeper?

  1. For Best Use of Moving Graphics:

Another great way to enhance user experience is with clever use of graphics or animation to demonstrate a process. Alfred Service allows us busy people get their dry cleaning done. The graphics on the website do a great job of painting a picture for users charmingly showing how the service works.

Do you have a regular process that could be straightforwardly displayed using motion or static graphics on your website?

  1. For Best Compelling Call to Action:

It’s simple. It’s compelling. It tells users what is all about in just two words. Your call to action is the lifeblood of your online presence. Since we are constantly bombarded by websites asking us to do million things these days, it takes more to grab users’ attention.

If your every one of your CTA’s say ‘sign-up’ or ‘contact us’, it might be time to think about changing things up.

  1. For Best Small Business Viral Video:

I absolutely love this video. (Seriously, I’ve watched it about 20 times now and I still laugh out loud.) Not only does HelloFlo offer a smart product that makes having “the talk” with your prepubescent daughter a lot easier, they have brilliantly and hilariously captured the psychologies of both mother and daughter during this time in life. From a marketing standpoint, there’s almost nothing that can help your brand like a video going viral.

The good news is you can be funny and clever without spending a ton of money producing a video. Get your team together and start brainstorming.

  1. For Best Social Media Campaign:

There are many successful companies doing cause-oriented social marketing. But whether your company does this or not, what is especially impressive about Sevenly is that their overall web presence is massive. They are active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. They donate $7 from each sale to a different cause of the week, keep a running tally of how much they’ve raised to date, and they post photos of the checks they write to donate to the different causes. In just four years, the company has created a huge social following of very vocal fans.

Could you be more active on social media?

Spring Insight has a website mini-redesign on the calendar set to drop sometime early next month. So, I better start preparing my acceptance speech: “I’d like to thank all of the little people who have made these awards possible…” (I can almost hear the dramatic music now.)

Stay tuned.