UX (user experience) design is a field of marketing that is often left to particular experts, with many digital marketers having little input into the process. However, there are plenty of UX marketing considerations that marketers on any level can learn. UX is wildly important for digital marketers and forms a core pillar of a good SEO strategy. Remember, a poor UX will lead to drop offs and higher bounce rates, something no digital marketer wants. This article will provide a list of simple, actionable UX marketing tips any digital marketer can make use of.
What is UX in digital marketing?
UX design sounds like a scary topic for digital marketers, but it needn’t be. UX is just the process that goes into making a product (in this case a website) more pleasing to use. It’s worth explaining User Experience vs User Interface and why these things are distinct, as they can cause a lot of confusion. User interface (UI) looks at the design elements of the assets the user is interacting with, such as the best colours or typography to use, whereas UX is all about the interactions themselves and the journey the customer takes. The terms can be confusing and are always accidentally interchanged!
1. Understand your customers
Firstly, when making any decisions for your company’s website, it’s always useful to look back at your user personas. If your company doesn’t yet have a set of user personas, it’s definitely worth creating them. Personas help you empathise with the users and their needs. A good user persona will include their motivations and goals and as a digital marketer you can take these and make the website changes needed to satisfy them.
2. Ask for feedback
This leads on from the previous point, user research is incredibly valuable to any digital marketer, but especially so when it comes to UX. Try setting up a website feedback form to better understand customer sticking points and generate ideas. There are numerous types of feedback form to try, depending on what you want to know. Align the feedback form type to your website’s goals; if there’s a page with a higher drop off than you’d expect, maybe it would be worth adding an exit intent survey to find out why, the responses may help remedy a poor section of the user journey! Maybe there’s some information your users are struggling to find, in this case a timed feedback pop-up asking if the user is having trouble may provide useful results. Always use pop-ups and surveys sparingly as too many can come across as spammy and damage your user experience.
3. Set up a user experience visualisation tool
This is probably the easiest way for any digital marketer with no experience in UX to get started. Tools like Microsoft Clarity and HotJar can visualise the user experience for you, allowing you to understand how users are actually interacting with your website. These tools provide you with visual heatmaps, showing exactly how far users scroll, where they’re clicking and where they’re spending time on each page. They also provide session playbacks, showing you videos of actual users going through their customer journey! Click maps for example will give an insight into whether users are interacting with your site in the way you intended, for example, are they mistaking something for a button? Scroll maps show whether important content isn’t being seen and session playbacks can show you how intuitive your website is overall.
4. Evoke emotion at the right stages
This is something digital marketers already utilise across other disciplines that fall under their role and it’s no different here. In the same way that digital marketers will want to invoke an emotional response at particular customer touchpoints, a UX designer will want to invoke emotion at particular stages of the website’s customer journey. In eCommerce for example, you may want the customer to feel satisfied after they’ve completed a purchase. Perhaps you could use a nice animation, happy icon or image. Or maybe you could think about splashing some happy or comforting colours like yellows or greens. Think about your tone of voice at particular sections too, what emotions do you want to evoke at each stage and what words can you use to get there. Of course, this should all be in line with the company brand guidelines.
5. Create a user flow chart
This will help with visualising the steps your customers are taking toward a conversion. Tools like FlowMapp can help with this, with easy intuitive sitemap creation and the ability to collaborate with your team. As a general rule, try to keep the number of stages in the customer journey down. There’s no set rule here but more than 5 is excessive. At that point, users may get frustrated or lost. See if there are any less important steps that can be removed as this will streamline their experience. Ensure that the navigation is well organised and intuitive with clear pathways. Make sure the content of each page gets progressively more specific the further down the site structure the user goes. Lastly, add a breadcrumb if you haven’t got one already. Breadcrumbs massively ease navigation for the user and always let them know where they are!
6. Create wireframes for suggested improvements
A wireframe is a rough sketch of a web page, made up of simple shapes and diagrams representing an interface. These can be incredibly easy to produce, any digital marketer can take a look at a website and create wireframes for their suggestions.
Wireframing can be done with pen and paper, however tools like Freehand by InVision make the process easier and allow easy sharing and collaboration with your team. Wireframes could even be made in Microsoft Paint, as long as they can get your idea across. You won’t need any graphic design experience to produce wireframes and honestly, they’re pretty fun to make.
7. Design, layout and readability
This provides plenty of opportunities for quick wins. Make sure there is enough white space on your page, this is space between each element on the page. You might feel like cramming things together to “not waste space” but this will severely negate your user experience. This means checking there is a good amount of padding between elements, making sure section breaks are obvious and having well placed and uncrowded calls-to-action. For readability, don’t have your text span the entire length of the screen, this is jarring to the user and they lose interest. Best practice is to keep to 50-60 characters per line length. Left aligned text is easier to follow with longer amounts of copy too, so don’t centre align large passages!
8. Check your page performance
There’s nothing more irritating to a user than slow page loading or poorly optimised mobile web design. In fact, 1 in 4 users abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load, and a 1 second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%! You can run each webpage through Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which provides a score, highlights issues and suggests improvements. Take up technical issues with your web developers. If it’s just an image size problem, ensure large images are converted to JPEGs and compressed. You should also run pages through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, which highlights any issues the page may have on mobile devices.
9. Commit to regular A/B testing
When it comes to UX in marketing, any changes are almost pointless if you can’t measure the impact you’ve made. You won’t know if you’ve created a better UX unless you test against the original. While counterintuitive, there are plenty of cases of companies creating more beautiful website designs and yet getting worse user experience. A/B testing works because it gives you the truth as to whether new changes have actually contributed to your goals. Remember to always keep staging copies of websites so you never lose anything! A great resource for coming up with new ideas to A/B test with is GoodUI, which lists hundreds of real tests run on widely-used page types. It tells you exactly which data-backed design choice to go with, however counterintuitive it may be.