There are millions of brand voices out there trying to grab our attention and connect every day. As a marketer, I’m continually scrutinizing how other brands market to me. Each generation brings us new challenges on how to communicate with them effectively. To maintain relevance, however, marketers need to rise to these challenges by incorporating new and innovative ways to attract engaged users that convert more.
Today’s marketing landscape is exceptionally dynamic and requires the ability to adapt to new strategies quickly. Things like brand awareness, conversion, and customer retention are all at the top of our minds. User experience (UX) research and design can play a pivotal role in how marketing teams approach these strategies while helping brands learn more about our customers and their needs.
Here are five common marketing challenges that companies face and how working with UX can help solve them.
1. Increasing Conversion Rate
While ad targeting and placements can be a valuable resource for growing brands, they need to be supported by effective landing pages and branding consistency. We can’t rely solely on getting conversions through paid, as acquisition costs keep rising, it creates a recipe for disaster. Building up brand awareness and creating a delightful digital experience that brings customers back is critical.
User experience plays a vital role in increasing conversions as it walks the users through all stages of the buying cycle. When you’re able to create a seamless customer journey, it becomes much easier to close new leads and develop long-standing customer relationships. Smart brands are using curated owned marketing content to provide more engaging and unique interactions with customers.
Development can work alongside UX designers to identify potential support issues that exist on your website, including checkout errors, web form inefficiencies, and confusing site navigation. When customers are not able to make purchases efficiently or find the answers to their questions on demand, it’s difficult to gain new business. By focusing on the user experience, our marketing teams can create a positive first impression with the brand that builds trust and increases customer retention.
2. Developing a Content Strategy
Content generation requires a lot of resources from marketing teams of all sizes. Maintaining a consistent tone and relevancy for brands isn’t always easy, especially as businesses begin to scale. However, when User Experience is incorporated as part of the overall marketing strategy, developing a content strategy comes much more natural. Clean interfaces are a fundamental aspect of UX, and this leads to better clarity and readability of all content associated with it. It also helps us understand how users are interacting with our content through heat map tools like Hotjar.
User experience design bridges the gap between the overall vision of the company and the growing needs of the customer base. By focusing on the user, branded content naturally becomes more useful and creates smooth and enjoyable user experiences. It can be easy for executives to prioritize content generation and frequency over quality. User experience helps us marketers keep leadership, and our teams focused on presenting better calls to action, as well as engaging content. By using UX as the driver for content and design decisions, it assists companies in maintaining a consistent tone in all branded content, as well as adding credibility.
3. Humanizing the Brand
It’s imperative for companies to humanize our branding. There is no end to the number of brands wishing to interact with customers. It’s noisy out there. By applying UX principles to marketing initiatives, we as brands can better understand our users and take steps in caring for their needs. This personal touch in user interaction is key in humanizing the brand, allowing it to stand out from the competition.
Brand touch points begin before a user even reaches your website, so we need to be ready to make a great first impression once they land on our website. First impressions are everything when it comes to marketing initiatives, and a poor performing branded service or application can leave a feeble impression of the company. Improvements in user experience, driven by website surveys, heat maps, data, and other feedback tools, leave customers feeling like their time matters to the business, and gives marketers valuable insight into how they can improve their user interface (UI). An example of where a brand didn’t listen to users well would be Snapchat’s user experience redesign fail. Don’t be Snapchat, listen to your users.
4. Building Customer Loyalty
Customer retention is an essential aspect of business sustainability. While we spend most of our time trying to gain new business, keeping current customers can be just as challenging for marketing. Frustrating user experiences can devastate customer loyalty, and there is no way to get back bad first impressions. UX can help marketers by ensuring customers are always made the first consideration when applying new strategies, design overhauls, and keeping the engagement at its highest.
Big brands are now using UX to create tailor-made experiences for their user base when purchasing products and customizing their profiles. Reward and loyalty programs are another way marketing can incentivize long-standing relationships with our customers. This unique approach to branded engagement keeps customers feeling connected to brands and gives them a reason to visit again. Nordstrom recently relaunched their loyalty program. They’re still working through standard new launch bugs, but I’ll be interested to see how it impacts customer retention and revenue.
5. Improving SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is still key to building brand awareness. It’s no secret companies who optimize their searchability in Google have a significant advantage over their competitors with organic site traffic. However, the SEO world has transformed significantly over the years. And I’m not just referring to Rand Fishkin leaving Moz to create SparkToro, an exciting new tool to bring integrity to influencer marketing and audience insights. Rather than depending on keyword-heavy landing pages, search engines now rely on human cognition when ranking websites based on search criteria. Google also utilizes machine learning and consumer behaviors to rank websites in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). We as marketers always need to be asking ourselves how we can provide the best answers for our users’ questions.
UX strategies help marketers continuously provide positive UX onsite, significantly improving our SEO efforts. The very foundation of UX is built on ease of use and navigation efficiency, both of which have been considered significant ranking factors by Google for many years now. By allowing marketing teams to focus more on direct and relevant information along with responsive site designs, UX can be a valuable integration for modern SEO practices.
There are many challenges faced by marketing teams today, especially when it comes to standing out in a sea of competitors. However, by applying UX fundamentals to all SEO principles, growth hacking processes, and content generation strategies, companies can improve our brand awareness and customer loyalty while scaling our business effectively.