Bolt-on skills: The value of UX design for digital marketing professionals

Colman Walsh, CEO, UX Design Institute, explains why UX design is a crucial component of successful digital marketing.

User experience (UX) design

Good user experience (UX) benefits every function of a business. Simply, when customers enjoy using your product this has a knock-on, positive effect on your brand.

Not only are people more willing to use or buy your product again, they’re more likely to recommend it, and even more likely to work for the company that creates it.

When your customers have a poor experience using your product, however, they leave with a negative image of your brand which can have serious repercussions for every team in the business. This is particularly true of digital marketers who rely on good UX to help them engage, guide and nurture potential customers through each stage of the marketing funnel.

In this piece, I discuss how prioritising UX design can improve your digital marketing strategy:

Clearer marketing messages

Successful marketing educates customers on why they need your product and persuades them to take some kind of action. This could mean signing up for more information, registering for a free trial or in some cases, completing a sale. Whatever the outcome, the starting point is the same: your messaging. How are you talking to your customers? How are you addressing their needs?

To get the messaging right, focus on the problem you are trying to solve. Look at search query reports to determine what people are searching for on Google, what problems they have and what keywords they are using.

Once you’ve homed in on your customers’ issues, you can craft copy that really addresses them. Steer clear of jargon or overused buzzwords. Instead, use language that’s easy to understand and that is aligned with your brand’s tone of voice.

You also need to consider the layout of your website or landing page. The information should follow a logical hierarchy and speak specifically to the stage of the journey your customer is at. To take a mobile network operator as an example, marketers will need to provide customers with enough information on contract length, broadband speeds and pricing before asking them for their payment details.

Consistency between your paid digital channels and your landing pages is another important factor, so be mindful of the referral path. Think about why someone clicked through from an ad and ensure you’re delivering on what you promised them. The journey needs to make sense, or you’ll lose potential leads.

More direct conversion paths

User testing is a critical part of delivering a positive user experience. Digital marketers who embrace regular and rigorous testing are likely to see improved conversion rates and lead numbers.

For one, testing allows you to identify the best performing copy and creative in your campaigns from social to search to email. It also allows you to uncover any issues which may be stopping a potential lead from converting. Are you failing to meet the expectations of your users? Are there technical barriers you missed when creating a campaign or a landing page?

For example, if a user clicks on a button to ‘register interest’, it should be obvious what’s going to happen next. Are they going to download a brochure? Will they be directed to more online content? Will they receive a sales call? The path to conversion needs to be logical; if a user clicks a link to ‘learn more’ and they are taken to a payment page, they may question the legitimacy of the page (and the company associated with it).

Remember, not everyone is your customer. While a really direct call-to-action may mean some people leave your site, it also means that those who click through will have a genuine interest in your product and are more likely to convert.

Reduced costs

Poor user experience can be defined by several factors like a page being slow to load, difficult to navigate or unclear in how to complete basic actions like request a callback.

If you’re failing your customers, they will simply leave your site in favour of one of your competitors. In this way, improving the customer journey is not just about improving customer satisfaction, it has an instant effect on your budget too. Digital marketers spend a lot of time compiling PPC and AdWords options to drive traffic and increase conversion rates. But if you’re bringing people on to your site and they can’t find what they are looking for, this poor experience has cost you money.

And the expense doesn’t stop there, a poor user journey also affects your visibility on search engines. If Google sees lots of clicks back from a page, it will assume your site is not relevant and you’ll stop ranking for certain keywords. Over time this will negatively impact your site’s domain authority and your organic search performance. If this happens, your chance of appearing on the golden first search page is slim to none, which is arguably the most detrimental cost to any digital business.

Embracing a mobile world

It’s estimated that 80% of local searches convert on mobile devices. Despite this, many brands are still failing to fully optimise their sites for mobile. And are losing customers as a result. While in the past, businesses could just put all pertinent information onto their homepage, they now need to strip back their content to cater for those using the smaller screens of mobile devices.

It means that digital marketers (just like UX designers) need a deep understanding of their users’ motivations, so they can lead with the most significant information. People aren’t willing to trawl through a poorly laid out site to find the details they’re looking for, they need to be engaged immediately.

Improved customer satisfaction

UX design isn’t just about easy navigation and optimised copy; it’s also about creating memorable, positive experiences for your customers. These experiences are what drive recurring visits and increase brand loyalty.

Good experience design leads to customer satisfaction which is the cornerstone of a reputable, successful and enduring brand. Digital marketers need to look at the whole customer journey holistically, not just the marketing materials “in their patch”.

UX training can be a great way to build skills in this area and lead to a more cohesive output across marketing, product, design and sales teams.

There are plenty of options for businesses looking to upskill staff and many training courses (both online and in-classroom) offer flexible programmes to fit around an individual’s personal or professional responsibilities.

  • Colman Walsh is the founder and CEO of UX Design Institute, a provider of UX education and certification.

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