Did you know that your web design can be the catalyst for a viral marketing campaign? While many marketers really don’t think much about design beyond aesthetics and conversions, design can generate a firestorm of traffic, referrals and press. Parallax design is one example where design is being used to increase referrals, brand awareness, new leads and even customers. It is engaging, interactive, interesting and entertaining. This may not sound like it would lead to cold hard numbers for the marketing executive but the results are astonishing.

Integrated media has come a long way and more companies are starting to embrace different ways to approach design and combine it with marketing. One of the best examples of is the social media site called Pinterest. It’s simply a social media site built around sharing pictures. The concept is simple but businesses are using it with great results. They’re able to share pictures of their products to consumers and even pass off visual content to their followers.

And speaking of content, more businesses are embracing different forms of content from infographics, parallax storytelling, to video. Simple articles or editorials are still being used but alternative types of content are proving to be more effective in creating engagement. The shift has largely been towards visual content. Businesses are finding that creating content around a visual format is really capturing the attention (which is the first all-important step) of their target audience.

These forms of content are also effective because they’re more likely to be shared than regular articles. With hundreds of millions of people making social networking their first destination, shareworthy content is something that every business should focus on. The nature of the web is now all about connecting and sharing, so you want to give your audience something to really talk about.

This all ties in back to web design. Just like content, the visual presentation of a website makes a big difference in how people react. An outstandingly designed website with good content is more likely to attract more traffic and press than an average website with the same content. It’s important to note that while design matters, it’s not about being flashy and attention-seeking.

Many brands are integrating their brand’s personality into their websites. They’re also using visual elements combined with storytelling to engage their audience. The reason that they’re making these changes is simple. This design approach yields better results than traditional corporate websites. It creates a conversation, connects with users, and builds a unique identity for the brand.

It’s not all about the visual elements either. It’s becoming more important for companies to make sure that their websites are compatible with mobile devices. UI and UX design are also important as it improves the user’s experience which consequently yields a large increase in the metrics that companies are looking for.

The big point to understand is that design matters for both your website and content. It also plays a large role in integrated media. If you haven’t changed your design for a while or haven’t thought it to be very important, then it might be time to reevaluate your marketing campaigns, website and the visual elements of your brand.