Chances are you’ve heard that marketers need to create meaningful “experiences” for their customers.
Sounds good, right? But what does that actually mean?
Hey, fair question.
Marketers today are laser-focused on metrics (particularly conversions) and growth. And rightfully so.
However, meticulous metric monitoring doesn’t always take into consideration some of the most impact customer interactions.
First impressions. Feelings. Frustrations.
If you want to make stronger connections with your customers, you have to step into their shoes. That’s exactly why there’s an emerging emphasis on UX for marketers.
In this guide, we’ll break down the basics of UX (user experience) and how it relates to your brand and marketing campaigns.
What is the goal of UX, anyway?
Defining UX (user experience) is tricky because there’s so much that goes into it, but let’s give it a shot:
UX (user experience) represents how people engage and interact with your product, including emotions related to your brand.
When we think about UX, we typically think about the design. Physical products, websites, you name it.
The catch? Much of what makes a “good” user experience isn’t always obvious.
Ever had a gadget (think: your smartphone) that you were able to start using it immediately out of the box? Do you notice when online stores make it so easy to find what you’re looking for and checkout? That’s UX in action.
And although we might not always be conscious of our “experience” as users ourselves, these interactions result in positive feelings and brand loyalty.
In short, the goals of UX for marketers are threefold:
- Emphasize ease of use when it comes to finding products or information (by reducing needless choices and friction points)
- Increase customer satisfaction by anticipating needs and problems
- Ensure that your customers’ experience is pleasant and positive
All of the above should be priorities for just about any business when it comes to your website, content and social media presence.
Why UX for marketers matters so much
At a glance, all of this might sound a bit abstract or even pie-in-the-sky.
But the recent emphasis on UX marketing is telling. Below are some of the key reasons why experiences matter.
Companies that invest in UX score a huge ROI
You might have heard this one before: for every $1 a company spends on UX, they see a return of $100.
Although UX is far from a guaranteed goldmine, there is a financial incentive to address problems related to usability.
For example, a UX audit could help you uncover customer bottlenecks or drop-off points. While the purpose of UX isn’t necessarily to increase your conversion rate, it can be a byproduct of creating a better experience
Reality check: Most customers won’t tell you what you’re doing wrong
There’s an oft-cited statistic that says over 90% of unsatisfied customers who don’t complain to a business will leave without saying anything.
And for every vocal complaint, there are handful of customers that remain silent about nuisances in their experience with your product, service or site.
The takeaway here is that most companies are blissfully ignorant of their UX problems.
Even if your traffic and conversions are stable, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re providing the best experience possible. More meaningful metrics of successful UX in marketing would be repeat customers, number of brand advocates and positive social mentions.
Customers will pay a premium for better experiences
Fact: a staggering 81% of consumers note that they’ll pay more if it means receiving a better experience as a customer.
Again, companies that prioritize personalization and ease-of-use have so much to gain.
Simply put, people want a quick and painless experience when engaging with brands.
The less they have to think or “do” in exchange for what they need, the better.
8 ways brands and marketers can level up their UX
Now, onto the good stuff!
Below we’ve highlighted eight examples of marketing UX and strategies for creating better experiences across your digital presence.
1. Make sure your site design is up to snuff
UX design and site ability go hand in hand. Not only should your site be aesthetically pleasing, but it should be seamless for first-time visitors to move from Point A to Point B without asking questions.
The common threads between some of the best UX websites? They’re scroll-friendly, a cinch to navigate and clearly spell out where visitors should click. Below is Notion’s site, for reference:
But of course, your website should likewise be a seamless experience on mobile devices as well.
Diagnosing experience issues subjectively on your own can be a challenge. Beyond a full-blown UX test from a neutral third-party, tools like Heurio can help highlight whether or not your site makes sense from a UX perspective.
2. Dig into how your visitors engage with your website
Piggybacking on the point above, you can see exactly what your average visitors’ experience on-site is with the help of mapping software.
From scrollmapping to heatmapping and beyond, tools like FullStory can help highlight where customers are engaging (and also where they’re struggling).
3. Create more comprehensive product pages
Product pages are obviously valuable real estate.
From a UX perspective, they should emphasize “showing” versus simply “telling.”
In other words, your product pages should answer any and every question your customers could possibly have without having to bounce elsewhere. This includes:
- Interactive elements which allow people to engage with your products digitally (think: sliders, buttons)
- Visual elements such as video or animation to hold your visitors’ attention
- Descriptive copy (and microcopy, which we’ll cover shortly) that anticipates and answers your customers’ questions
Below is a product page from Bellroy which manages to tick all of these boxes:
4. Rethink your landing pages and intake forms
Although pop-ups and landing pages are typically designed to “capture” customer information, doing so can come off as spammy.
By making your intake forms more inviting and intuitive, you empower your customers to leave their information without being too in-your-face about it.
Below is an awesome example from Lemonade, providing a tap-friendly intake form that’s easy on the eyes and brimming with personality. The conversational Q&A format doesn’t feel like a traditional form and that’s a good thing.
5. Don’t ignore your microcopy
Some of the most important pieces of UX for marketers are subtle.
Take microcopy, for example.
Microcopy represents words and phrases of copy sprinkled throughout your website (particularly on forms) which basically give your customers directions on what to do next. Some might consider call-to-action phrases as microcopy as well.
These minor touches ultimately encourage your visitors to make decisions. Remember what we said earlier about reducing friction, eliminating choices and making life easier for people? Microcopy does exactly that.
For example, Airbnb’s microcopy clearly states what to input for each form field on-site.
Meanwhile, Fiverr uses suggested statements (“I will…”) on their open-ended form fields to help sellers get started when offering serves.
6. Prioritize accessibility throughout your marketing campaigns
The importance of accessibility is well-documented and part of UX is making sure everyone who engages with your brand has a great experience. From your social presence to your on-site content and beyond, small touches such as alt-text make a big difference.
Adding descriptions to images is a great way to include everyone in your conversation. These descriptions, aka alt-text, enable folks who use screen readers to interpret images in Tweets. Starting today, you no longer need a setting to add alt text and it’s available on ? & ?. pic.twitter.com/wRDJZwSihL
— Twitter Accessibility (@TwitterA11y) May 27, 2020
7. Speed up your site
Conventional wisdom tells us that the average visitor won’t wait for more than a couple of seconds for any given website to load.
Imagine someone’s first impression with your brand is a five-second loading screen. Not good, right?
The good news is that laggy load times are easy to diagnose and likewise fix. Tools such as Google’s own Pagespeed Insights can help clue you in on anything that might be bogging down your site.
8. Tap into customer sentiment
Finally, remember that much of UX for marketers revolves around sentiment.
Feelings, attitudes and emotions.
As noted earlier, most customers won’t express their feelings with you by default. Although asking for feedback directly is a good idea, the results might not be authentic.
This is where social media can come in handy. What better place to uncover and source unfiltered feedback from people?
Whether your customers are popping off or shouting you out, sentiment analysis can help you better understand how the social public at large feels about you.
Here’s a snapshot of sentiment analysis using Sprout Social’s suite of social listening tools:
Whether that sentiment is positive, negative or something in-between, you need to have a pulse on it.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Does UX for marketing make sense to you?
If mastering UX as a marketer seems daunting, we totally get it.
The reality, though? The concept is pretty simple. Perhaps Kelsey Gregorc, our own Manager of Design and UX puts it best:
“UX is all about building empathy and meeting people where they’re at–using this to drive marketing strategy creates authenticity and relevance while building a stronger connection.”
Either way, expect the emphasis on UX for marketers to grow in the coming months and years. Understanding it now can help keep your business ahead of the curve.
For more insight on up-and-coming trends on how social media is continuing to change, make sure to check out the Sprout Social Index™, Edition XVII, Accelerate.