UX in Marketing: Focusing on User Experience to Increase ROMI
Product marketing and user experience are usually thought of as two different beasts. Marketing is what you need to do well to attract potential customers. User experience is what you need to do well to ensure people can actually use your product, navigate through your site, etc.
While this is an oversimplification, it paints a picture of two distinct worlds, which seem to not have too much in common, at least not on the surface.
This article will go beyond that surface. We will explain how user experience is an integral part of marketing. You will see that the only right way to develop a fully optimized campaign from start to finish is to intertwine best UX practices into every aspect of your marketing.
But, we will not just talk about theory and abstract concepts – we will give you concrete ideas that will help you implement UX staples into your marketing campaign today, skyrocketing its effectiveness.
UX and marketing – two distinct approaches with one common goal
The early struggle of staying afloat
As we briefly explained in the introduction, UX and marketing aren't enemies but usually aren't looked at as closest allies. Even owners themselves often don't streamline the two departments, especially in the early stages.
Most usually focus on improving cash flow early, as it's what gets the engines rolling. That's why owners concentrate on getting the minimum viable product (MVP) out of the gate and go straight to marketing as fast as possible. They think about getting the ball rolling ASAP and how they will fine-tune the details and worry about UX later.
While it's hard to judge the approach, as every business relies on cash flow early, ignoring UX forever isn't going to cut it.
While many businesses realize this (usually after they notice unhappy customer complaints), they won't drastically change how they market their product. They think about how their marketing approach got their business running and take the ‘’don't fix it if it ain't broken’’ approach, keeping UX and marketing as two separate things.
Marketing goals in a nutshell
Simply put, the core of every marketing campaign is attracting customers. Marketers present brands, products, and services in the best light possible. They also develop campaigns and use various online and offline tactics to attract the target audience. The end goal is to draw the right people's attention, who would eventually become customers, making the whole marketing campaign a worthy investment.
UX goals in a nutshell
User experience (UX) represents the way a user interacts with a product or service. It is often described with terms such as "ease of use," "intuitiveness," but also in the digital age, "responsiveness."
The goal of improving user experience is to make every touchpoint a user has with your brand smooth, easy to understand, and with a clear, self-explanatory next step. A user should feel comfortable every step of the way, knowing what they should do next. They should never feel confused and should enjoy every second they spend interacting with your brand.
UX-driven marketing campaign – the best of both worlds combined
By intertwining UX and marketing right from the get-go, we will be able to create a UX-driven marketing campaign. This approach will make the whole customer journey more streamlined, and it will ensure the customer never gets disappointed.
Marketing campaigns that neglect UX often show only short-term results by implementing pushy tactics. Clickbait headlines on articles that bring no value to the reader, annoying pop-ups and auto-play videos, spammy ads, and even some shady tactics such as fake reviews and black hat SEO are examples of methods that neglect UX.
All of these have one thing in common – they try to trick users. Whether by forcing them to share their email or by positioning the site where it doesn't belong, these tactics are strictly revenue-driven, neglecting the user. While they might show some effects in the short term, they always fail in the long run.
So, how do we combine attention-grabbing marketing with delivery-driven UX? It's simple – we practice what we preach and ensure that our marketing campaign becomes UX-driven and that our products meet customers' needs.
The following section will tell you exactly how to understand customers' needs best and ensure your marketing campaign sends clear signals that your products solve users' pain points every step of the way.
8 UX Staples You Should Implement in Your Marketing Campaign
UX staple #1: We shall research!
User research is one of the UX fundamentals, and it should be no different in any good marketing campaign.
In fact, diving into marketing without pinpointing who the ideal customer is will be one of the best ways to send your whole budget down the drain without achieving any result. Unfortunately, research shows that as much as 39% of small business owners aren’t sure about ROI of their marketing efforts:
Creating ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)
Therefore, before investing a penny, spend time researching the market and create your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile).
Do the research, and figure out who is the ideal buyer of your product. How old are they? What is their gender? What is their social and relationship status? Their income? How about their education and background? Why do they want to buy your product, and what do they want to accomplish with it? What are their pain points?
The more questions you ask, the better will you understand your ideal buyer. The goal is to have a precise portrait of an actual person to target with your marketing efforts.
No matter what the medium is – a blog article, YouTube video, paid ad, a landing page, or the homepage of your site, it doesn't matter. When your ideal buyer stumbles upon any of your content, they should immediately feel like your brand is exactly what they were looking for.
If you streamline your marketing efforts towards accurate buyer personas, your campaigns will be much better optimized, and you will see greater ROI from all of your marketing efforts.
Creating UX personas
The next step is creating UX personas that will align with your buyer personas. UX personas (also known as user personas) represent common groups of users that get in touch with your products. You want each of your target buyers to feel right at home when they encounter your brand through any technical medium.
Besides preferred devices, UX personas should cover interests, goals, motivations, frustrations, and social traits, but also the level of patience, decision-making speed, and technical inclination.
As you can see, the information you will use for buyer personas will also overlap with user personas. Buyer personas will cover the reasons and emotions behind making a purchase decision. UX personas will cover a more technical side and will tell you more about how each person will interact when they encounter each of your products.
Here are some UX persona examples:
- Jully, 37, a computer engineer, is likely to be tech-savvy, very analytical, and more careful when making decisions, but also more likely to notice details and errors and less likely to tolerate them. Because she spends most of her time in front of a computer, she will be more likely to browse your site from a desktop.
- On the other hand, a high school student, Paul, 16, is far more likely to use his phone to browse your store. He will make decisions faster, with less thinking, but his attention span is also far shorter than Jully's. He won't notice minor imperfections but will undoubtedly notice a slow-working app with an outdated design.
- Mitch, 63, a doctor, prefers to use an iPad as it has a larger screen. He doesn't mind how things look, and as long as everything is simple to understand, with large enough buttons to click. He is not the most technically gifted, but he can find his way around, as long as there aren't too many pop-ups to confuse him.
As you can imagine, it's hard to cater to everyone's needs, which is why it is important not to spread too thin.
For example, Mitch would get confused with pop-ups, but they might be all it takes to capture Paul's attention. Jully will love seeing a well-polished app with an abundance of features, but those might overwhelm Mitch and bore Paul. While Mitch would love an old-school static design, both Jully and Paul would find it outdated.
If you find yourself in a situation where it would be next to impossible to make one size fits all products, get back to the drawing board and look at your ICP.
If your ideal buyer is someone who is similar to the UX persona Jully, focus your efforts on her. Add a lot of settings, make it fast, responsive, and above everything, polished and error-free. While not many Mitches in the world will love that, some of the Pauls won't mind if you make the mobile app feature-rich, especially if they plan to apply for a computer science degree after finishing high school! :)
UX staple #2: We shall test!
Guesswork is not welcome in UX. In fact, as the graph above shows, as little as 5 test users can uncover the majority of UX problems. Instead of thinking we know what's best for users and trusting solely on intuition or experience, UX teams rely on usability testing to determine what works best in any given situation.
Marketing teams should implement testing in all touchpoints across the marketing funnel. Whether it's comparing landing pages, pricing structures, color schemes, fonts, or comparing the efficacy of specific post types on each social media channel, test everything.
The data collected uncovers the best thing to do in that particular situation. That means you will always be able to take the optimal approach, ensuring each of your marketing dollar work to its fullests.
UX staple #3: We shall ask!
While UX teams compare different options via user testing, they often collect information directly from users by asking them for feedback. Methods go from quick pop-ups with a single question to detailed surveys and, in some cases, interviews and focus groups.
While marketing budgets are limited, and users aren't usually ready to fill in a 30-question survey only five minutes after stumbling upon one of your articles on Google, asking sporadic questions at the right time can provide indispensable insights.
For example, leads who subscribed to your newsletter have shown a much stronger desire to interact with your brand. Asking them for an easy-to-do favor, such as clicking on a "how satisfied are you with the XYZ process" star in the email body, is likely to show results. After the vote, display a "thank you for giving us feedback" page, where they can also fill in additional comments if they want.
The feedback you collect this way is extremely valuable, as you know exactly where it comes from. People on your email list aren't just random website visitors, no. They are prospects with a much higher buyer intent, closer to your ideal buyers, which is why their opinion matters for your marketing campaign.
UX staple #4: We shall simplify!
Marketers often feel as if it is all about giving options to potential customers. More pricing tears, another lead magnet, opening a new social media channel, always doing more, hoping to reach new users.
While options on their own aren't a bad thing, giving too many options often backfires. To ensure this doesn't happen, marketers should keep things simple, at least when facing users with choices.
Sure, you should have various pricing structures and several lead magnets, but that doesn't mean each potential customer should see the same thing. If you followed the advice from Staple #1 and have created buyer personas, you will be able to segment your marketing accordingly.
For example, let’s imagine a CEO of a major company that stumbled upon one of your LinkedIn posts describing advanced features of dedicated server hosting. They areprobably looking for a solution for the company they represent, not their personal website.
It would make no sense to bombard that type of lead with offers for $1.99/mo shared hosting plans. It's clear they will be interested only in your enterprise-level services, so it would make sense to create a landing page only for those plans.
UX staple #5: We shall keep it clean!
Although the word "intuitive" is overused in the UX world, it does describe one of the fundamentals of good user experience. Generally speaking, every user should be able to navigate the site, app, or use the product without difficulties, no matter their skill, education, or technical knowledge level.
“Maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 percent but also to lift revenue by up to 15 percent while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent”. — McKinsey
While there are exceptions for niche products or those intended for experts, the minimum every website/app should provide is an intuitive, easy-to-navigate design any user can understand without looking for help and needing any instructions.
The same thing should be a staple of marketing. Each lead should always know what they are supposed to do next at every sales funnel step.
To achieve that, you should create customer journey maps. These represent a full path a person takes from a random site visitor all the way to a repeating customer. Each stage of the customer journey should have defined goals, one leading to another, and all of them ultimately leading to the purchase itself and beyond.
- You write an SEO-optimized blog post that attracts a potential customer from your target group.
- There, you offer them a freebie they can download in exchange for their email address, where they also opt to receive your marketing emails.
- After a few weeks, you send them an invitation to a free webinar, where you demonstrate one of your latest features.
- A few weeks after that, you send them a discount code with a limited-time offer where they can get the latest version of your SaaS product.
- After they buy, you send them bi-weekly emails about the latest updates, notifying them about complementary products or higher-tier upgrade plans that will help their business.
The most important thing is that prospects should never feel confused. Each point of the customer journey should have one explicit request. Therefore, don't hide your call-to-action buttons and links. They need to be clearly visible to draw enough attention to make it easy for the person to take the next step.
And don't be tempted to include multiple CTAs of different kinds on a single page.
If the goal of that page is to collect an email, adding BUY NOW buttons isn't optimal. Even though those can lead directly to sales, the page should be optimized for much "colder" leads who aren't ready to make a purchasing decision yet. If hot leads stumble on that page too often, you probably didn't segment the campaign right. Plus, they can always navigate to the store or pricing pages from the menu.
UX staple #6: We shall make it fast!
If you have the most intuitive and beautifully designed, clean website that is slow, you are out of luck. The chart above shows how things get even worse with more pages a user has to open, as they lose patience faster and faster. This can be detrimental for eCommerce websites, as potential customers usually open several products to compare. Nobody is willing to wait 5 seconds per page for your products to load. Even Google takes speed as a website ranking factor, which means poor performance will hurt your SERP positioning.
The same goes for your marketing. You don't want slow speeds, errors, and poor technical performance to get in the way of your sales. A user shouldn't even notice a site's performance, let alone be annoyed by it. All they should think about when encountering your content should be the offer you are presenting and the next step they need to take, pushing them further down the sales funnel.
UX staple #7: We shall make it responsive!
UX teams are aware that more people browse the web from mobile devices than computers. As the graph above shows, 63% of users were browsing the internet from their mobile phones in Q4 of 2021.
For that reason, ensuring that everything works on mobile phones, tablets, and computers of all screen sizes and all operating systems is an absolute priority.
The same goes for marketing. Test each part of your marketing funnel from several devices. Ensure everything not only works, but is positioned optimally, keeping the essential elements of every page above the fold and ensuring everything is optimized for mobile access and scroll-friendly.
UX staple #8: We shall provide value!
While users appreciate fast, responsive, and well-designed websites, they spend their time there expecting something in return: value. Whether that's a piece of information, a product they want to buy, or a way to solve their problem, it's your job to identify their needs and provide value accordingly.
Depending on the user's location in the customer journey, that can be anything from an article offering tips to solve a problem on their own, a free PDF or webinar invitation, a discount code, or a concrete offer that will finalize the transaction and convert them into a customer.
If you manage to understand users and provide the right type of value that matches their current needs, you will provide the ultimate user experience, which will directly correlate with the success of your marketing campaign.
As you can see, user experience and marketing are actually hand and glove, even though it doesn't seem like that at first glance. Therefore, providing the ultimate user experience every step of the way should be the goal of every marketer.
Following the 8 UX staples from our article will help you do just that. You will create high-converting campaigns by taking a user-first marketing approach. This will lead to better results, fewer wasted resources, and happier customers who will love the streamlined customer-centric and value-driven processes you established, all thanks to integrating UX into the foundation of your marketing.