How Digital Marketing Can Help—Or Hurt—the User Experience
There is a natural tension between digital marketing and an optimal user experience. The business has a script playing out its business goals in which the user has the leading role. The user is happy to play the leading role, but they have a different—sometimes radically different—idea of how the story should play out. Resolving these differences is the key to the business achieving its long-term goals.
I use the word “long-term” for a reason. Digital marketing may, in the short-term, increase conversions. But, when this comes at the expense of the user experience, the business’s long-term success will be adversely affected. For example, annoying and disruptive advertising or clickbait titles that lead to terrible content once people get to the website. Sure, you may drive people to the site, but they won’t stay long and the perception of your brand is tarnished.
Digital marketing may, in the short-term, increase conversions. But, when this comes at the expense of the user experience, the business’s long-term success will be adversely affected.
Digital marketing coupled with an optimized user experience can lead to increased sales and conversions. But, for this process to work, your product/service and digital presence must:
1. Provide value. Above all else, your company’s product or service should be fulfilling a need or solving a problem for your target audience and should be providing more value than your competitors. A great user experience and the best digital marketing plan will not save an undifferentiated product that no one wants. Ongoing customer research coupled with competitive audits are critical in gaining the insights your business needs to stay competitive.
2. Establish trust. Trust in the digital realm, just like human-to-human trust, is a nuanced two-way communication. People have the same expectations for trust online that they do in interpersonal communication. Violating expectations or social norms, asking for too much information too soon, or misleading interactions will rapidly erode trust. Think carefully before adding anything to your digital marketing efforts that is annoying, desperate, manipulative, or misleading. Respect your users’ privacy and don’t ask for unnecessary personal information. Transparency and good will may not result in the instant gratification of conversions, but they have the ability to create a trusted brand cherished by customers.
3. Be helpful. Anticipate user needs that you’ve uncovered through user research and provide a thoughtful solution. Remove potential roadblocks that would otherwise prevent a user who wants your product or service from getting it. Provide content that educates users and helps them arrive at a decision.
How Digital Marketing Can Help the User Experience
One of the biggest challenges I see in doing user experience research for clients is to convince them to continually measure and optimize the user experience. While organizations may engage in user research at the start of a project or conduct usability studies when they receive customer complaints, they are, nonetheless, quick to fall back into old habits. They set user experience goals, but never measure them. Because nothing gets measured, it’s not clear if the new changes worked.
One of the biggest challenges I see in doing user experience research for clients is to convince them to continually measure and optimize the user experience.
That’s where digital marketing can help. Because digital marketing inherently values the process of measuring and optimizing, it gets organizations comfortable with iteration. In fact, by setting digital marketing and user experience goals and metrics together, the business:
- Is more likely to identify and rectify conflicting user goals and business goals.
- Can measure how the user experience, paired with digital marketing, affects their bottom line.
- Can quickly uncover potential user experience issues and conduct timely research to pinpoint problems and explore solutions.
- Can uncover ways the business can provide additional value to users.
- Will continually optimize its digital properties—which is the ideal process for improving the user experience, as well as getting the most out of your digital marketing efforts.
Are you ready to meld your digital marketing efforts with an optimal user experience to increase sales and conversions? Digital marketing firms, are you interested in learning how measuring the user experience will maximize your digital marketing efforts for your clients? Send us a note.