User experience (UX) is a top consideration for today’s digital marketing strategies. This article explores the relationship between UX and marketing and why our search engine optimization (SEO) and traffic-boosting techniques need to be supported by good customer experiences facilitated at every step of the buyer’s journey.
Table of contents
- What is user experience?
- Why is UX important for marketing?
- Where should you include UX in your marketing efforts?
- Free Core Web Vitals check
What is user experience (UX)?
Generally speaking, UX focuses on understanding consumers – their values and needs, abilities, and limitations – to guide how we create our products and services and the off- and online experiences we provide them. We do this to help build positive brand perception, grow customer loyalty, and increase conversions.
The five fundamental principles of UX are:
- Utility (does the product or service solve the customer’s problem?);
- Efficiency (how easy is it to use?);
- Aesthetics (does it look good?);
- Findability (can the customer find what they need?);
- And memorability (did they enjoy the experience?).
From a design perspective, UX integrates the branding, design, usability, and function of a product with a larger user story. It doesn’t just consider how a product or service is used, but the process a user takes to find it, test it, and own it.
In short, UX is not just about a user’s engagement with your client’s websites; it’s about each step that a potential customer takes on their journey to reach the site and every interaction they have with your client’s brand after that.
That said, we can easily apply the above five UX design principles to our client’s websites to judge if they provide a good or bad customer experience. Ask yourself:
- Does the website solve the users’ problem?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Is it visually appealing?
- Is the content and messaging well organized so that visitors can find what they need?
- Does the site load quickly enough?
- Does the website offer a positive and memorable online experience?
Combining the answers to these questions with the insights we can gain from analyzing our marketing data can help us improve our clients’ digital properties to offer a much better online UX.
Why is UX important for marketing?
A few key factors drive UX’s role in the success (or failure) of our clients’ marketing campaigns and strategies.
Foremost is Google’s June 2021 algorithm update, adding its Core Web Vitals (CWV) scores to its calculations of how and where to rank websites in searches.
With this update, Google now uses a website’s loading time, visual stability, and interactivity to determine if it offers users a positive UX. These elements make up each site’s CWV score. If your clients’ websites don’t perform well as far as Google CWVs are concerned, they might rank lower in search results than their competitors.
The YouTube video below provides a useful overview of Google’s page experience update.
It’s not only Google looking for great online experiences
Advances in modern technology have also molded consumer behavior and users’ expectations around their digital experiences.
The chances of today’s consumers staying on a slow-loading site long enough to convert are slim; the probability of them returning for another poor experience is zero.
After clicking on a link in a marketing email, search result, or paid ad, online users expect the sites they visit to be effortless to navigate and quick to load. Once there, they want the information they are looking for to be helpful, accurate, and easy to find.
Mobile internet access has also changed how users search and find the online information, products, and services for which they are looking.
In the past 12 months alone, mobile users worldwide have grown by 97 million to reach an outstanding 5.29 billion, with 58% of global internet traffic now generated from mobile devices.
Users on mobile devices have their preferences for their online experiences. How your clients’ sites respond on mobile and other devices significantly impacts customer satisfaction and the likelihood of return visits and continued business engagement.
Where should you include UX into your marketing efforts?
Where shouldn’t you consider UX? Let’s look at where and how UX principles and marketing tactics intersect.
1. UX and the customer journey
As mentioned earlier, good UX needs to run like a golden thread through the entire customer journey. Each touchpoint with your client’s brand needs to be a positive one. Marketers can significantly benefit from understanding a business’s entire customer lifecycle to develop strategies that consider the customer experience for each stage of the sales funnel.
Questions to facilitate the process include:
- Where does your client’s ideal customer start their engagement with the brand? Where can they first be reached?
- What are the pain points or concerns driving their online searches?
- What are their preferred devices for online activities?
- What types of content do they find helpful for learning and decision-making?
- What do they need to know about your client’s products or services that will help them convert?
Answers to these questions (and more) can help determine many things, including the marketing channels you use to reach specific audiences and the content types delivered to engage them.
2. UX, content, and conversion rate optimization
When it comes to a client’s website, how you structure the content on their web pages can either add to or detract from a positive UX. Examples of good UX include:
- Utilizing content tables so visitors can quickly navigate to relevant information on a page.
- Breaking up long paragraphs with subheadings or informative images to help users digest lengthy sections of web content.
UX principles can also significantly support our conversion rate optimization (CRO) tactics.
Conversion Rate Optimization looks at the success of a client’s site in actually converting visitors into leads and ways to improve those ratios. CRO focuses on what elements (buttons, menus, graphics, calls to action banners, etc.) can be adjusted on a web page to help increase clicks and conversions.
CRO and Hotjar
Online user behavior data can be collected using web visualization or behavior tracking tools like Hotjar. Hotjar provides digital designers and marketers with data-driven insights on how visitors engage with a website – where they click, scroll or move – to map user journeys and understand which elements on a web page are popular and which need to be improved to increase engagement.
Hotjar’s heatmaps help compare user behavior on a client’s website across different devices. It also helps visualize the elements of a web page that draw the most attention or simply get ignored.
In the below example, using Hotjar’s sliding scale of blue (unpopular) to red (popular), we can observe that the ‘Request More Info’ button was more frequently engaged with than the ‘Download Brochure’ button during the heatmap session.
Armed with these insights, UX designers and marketing practitioners can better focus their optimization efforts to adjust and edit elements on each web page to discover what encourages (or discourages) more of the desired behavior from their online leads.
These features could be the:
- Placement of call-to-action buttons or banners
- Ratio of written content to graphic elements on a page
- Navigation menu design and flow, etc.
Optimized web pages can then be A/B tested to confirm which edits support increased engagements or have no impact at all.
3. UX and Search Engine Optimization
The purpose of most digital marketing efforts, search engine optimization (SEO) included, is to get more visits to a site to grow awareness about a client’s services, products, and brand. UX design’s focus on creating seamless user journeys and web experiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey supports these end goals.
Effective SEO strategies focus on decreasing bounce rates, increasing time on site, improving rankings, and more. In this respect, SEO and UX go hand-in-hand: a positive user experience can contribute to higher visibility in searches and increased traffic to a client’s websites.
Improving UX within SEO includes improving navigational structures to make clients’ websites easy and intuitive to navigate. Optimizing title tags can help increase click-through rates from search results pages.
Client websites that help solve online users’ problems while at the same time being visually appealing, fast, organized, and enjoyable to use help build brand equity and maintain search rankings.
Click here for a free Core Web Vitals audit to confirm if your clients’ websites offer a positive user journey. You will be invited to enter your client’s website URL into a form field to receive an instantly-downloadable report.
Feel free to contact SiteCare after reviewing the report to discuss next steps.