Marketing has traditionally focused on different channels to reach customers. The present digital landscape prompts marketers to adopt an approach that focuses more on the customers’ own needs - an approach that places customers at the center of attention.
User experience (UX) has always been developed around this fundamental concept and can provide useful insights to marketing professionals. UX is more than interface design, it’s about understanding people (the users). It’s about designing the relationship between users and technology to suit their needs and desires, before shaping technology around it.
This relationship creates an experience, whether we design for it or not. And this happens not only when users interact with a website or mobile app, but also when they read (or avoid reading...) emails or when they see ads displayed around the web. UX principles can benefit marketing campaigns in many areas - let’s have a look in more detail.
Content marketing is about long term strategy. It’s about providing valuable content that is not directly calling for a purchase. The goal is to build a relationship with the first time visitors, as opposed to immediately converting them. The content should be focused on solutions rather than products, and should be thought of as a conversation – as a series of answers to the user’s questions.
To improve the user experience, write the content in a manner that is easy to understand:
Break the text into short sections with clear headings and start each section with the key message. Users scan text online rather than reading it. A ‘bite-snack-meal’ strategy suits this behavior, where ‘bite’ is the heading, ‘snack’ is the key message and ‘meal’ is the entire body copy.
Write short sentences and short paragraphs. Avoid long text lines and small font size.
Illustrate the content.
Use the words your users use and avoid jargon.
Omit the needless.
Keywords, tags, and links will always play an important part in search engine optimization. However, this has now become an assumed baseline. User experience is increasingly important in SEO and there are different ways to signal to Google that a website offers quality UX.
Content. Good content is key to delivering a successful user experience on websites and mobile apps, making it one of the most important contributors to SEO. Content should be useful, usable and engaging; simply put, it should provide value to the user.
Information Architecture. An effective navigation allows users to find content effortlessly. This is an essential aspect of good UX and should be considered a top priority.
Responsive Design. Each device type requires a distinct approach to ensure a positive user experience due to the different nature of the interaction. This is due to several factors, such as: moment and environment of interaction, screen size, tapping vs clicking, and connection speed.
Performance. Slow loading sites badly affect the user experience. Design and development for mobile devices needs particular consideration, as the negative effects of data-heavy pages and unsuitable layouts are more evident.
Accessibility. Websites and mobile apps should be accessible by users with impairments. If this fundamental condition is not satisfied, any other factors are meaningless in providing this audience with a positive user experience. Impairments such as low-vision, hearing loss, and cognitive problems are also common among the elderly, who are a growing population of users interacting with technology.
The design of call-to-action buttons have a huge influence on their effectiveness. A well designed CTA provides an effortless user experience and positive results for the marketing initiative. It’s important to consider not only the design of the button itself, but also the layout of the surrounding elements.
Your goal is to avoid doubts in the user’s mind and reduce friction:
Make it look like a clickable button and give it a color and size that emphasizes it. Create white space around it.
CTA buttons are for action. The text should be short and start with a verb. Use the words your users use.
Clearly state what users will get if they click on it.
Place the button on the user’s path, but not too soon. The placement needs to be part of a logical user flow.
If there are several actions you want to direct your users to, then assign priorities. Make it clear which one is the most important in accordance with your business goals.
When designing for mobile devices, don’t simply resize the page. Make the CTA button big enough so that it can be easily tapped (not clicked) and create more white space around it (proportionally).
Changes of text, color and positioning of a CTA button can all affect click-through rates. Therefore, it’s very important to run testing on different options and gather enough data to make informed decisions.
Experiences also happen when users interact with marketing “products”. Below is a list of factors that help improve the effectiveness of emails and the user experience.
Conversation. In a similar manner to content marketing, think about emails as conversations - as answers to users’ questions. Avoid do-not-reply addresses and prepare for the conversation that might follow.
Consistency. The key word is frictionless. The look and feel of emails should match the look and feel of the subsequent landing page, website and other brand elements. That said, try to keep the email simple and light.
Mobile. Around 50% of emails are read on mobile devices, hence optimizing for mobile phones is a necessity. Make sure that: there is a simple and immediately clear hierarchy of information, the font size is not too small and line spacing is adequate, plus CTAs and links are easy to tap.
Testing. Not every email client renders HTML emails in the same way. That means it is crucial to test, cross-test and test some more. An email which looks like a mess cripples its effectiveness.
Landing Page. Optimize the landing page that follows the email. The content should be highly relevant and provide more information than what is available in the email. It should create additional value without losing focus and introducing distractions to the users – therefore, don’t show the website navigation and avoid pop-ups.
This guest post is by Mauro Pellegrini, Founder of Leendii.
Mauro is an Entrepreneur, User Experience Consultant, Structural Engineer and Traveler. He graduated in 2004 and worked for 10 years as a Structural Engineer in Ireland, Dubai and Singapore. In 2014 He studied User Experience Engineering at the Harvard Extension School.
Leendii is a UX consultancy that follows lean principles and delivers its services online. We aim to eliminate anything that is redundant and interposes between the client’s need and the solution. The focus is on UX techniques and processes that need less human effort, less space, less time, less costs and that work remotely.