User experience--known simply as UX--is generating a lot of buzz these days, both as a field and as a guiding principle for web-based media. That's because if your digital content fails to follow UX best practices, it may be considered undesirable or difficult to navigate by your users, leading them to dismiss it and your brand.
According to research by Google, 52 percent of consumers claim they're less likely to engage with a company after a poor mobile experience. This may cause them to turn to your competitors, bringing the rest of your marketing efforts to a screeching halt.
But understanding the importance of UX is just step one. To work more seamlessly with your UX team and enhance the quality of all your marketing assets, you'll want to apply these three user-centric principles.
1. Construct Buyer Personas That Reflect Your Target Users
Creating a buyer persona, a theoretical profile of a person that's likely to use your product or service, is both a bonafide staple of the content marketing process and one of the UX best practices brands should be using.
A persona is incredibly useful for clarifying a sense of purpose and direction for an organization's product and for the marketing content supporting it. Reach a full agreement with product designers as you conceptualize your persona. Then, share it with everyone involved in the creation and promotion process.
Referring to the same persona maximizes the likelihood that the marketing, sales, and product teams stay aligned in their efforts. If a product or service is tailor-made to meet the needs of a particular buyer persona, marketing can find the most qualified leads by matching potential customers to this persona, enabling sales teams to demonstrate the value of the product to the right people.
2. Make Your Website SEO-Friendly by Making it User-Friendly
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the backbone of an organic content strategy. While relevant keywords remain important, Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) are increasingly prioritizing websites with quality user experiences. And with the latest algorithm update BERT, short for bidirectional encoder representations from transformers, Google has gotten even better at interpreting what content consumers actually want to see when they take to search. It understands language more like humans do, meaning user- and value-focused content will be rewarded.
But how is UX measured? When users leave your site without interacting with it--increasing the dreaded bounce rate--you don't just miss out on potential leads, Google may also begin to consider your website low quality and lower your SERP rankings. Avoid this distressing situation by monitoring your website analytics.
If you have a blog post that's beginning to see high traffic but increasing in bounce rate, one or more UX best practices may need to be unleashed on your website. This can include tweaking a difficult-to-navigate web design or navigation menu, or boosting the loading speed on a crucial page. According to research by Google, 53 percent of visitors will leave a website that takes more than three seconds to load--so don't let that happen!
Poor mobile optimization may also be hurting your user experience. Check how your website stacks up with Google's mobile-friendly test. Just by sharing your URL, you'll get in return a list of UX issues and tips on how to resolve them.
3. Keep Each Piece of Content True to a Single Purpose
UX professionals concentrate on how the user feels, while marketers tend to focus on growing ROI for a business--and these angles may clash at times. For example, if a SaaS company creates an online form for people to subscribe to an email newsletter, the UX-minded individual may push to keep the number of input fields as small as possible to not overwhelm the user. This could, however, stray from the instincts of marketing and sales teams, who may argue that they should take the opportunity to capture as much information as possible, such as a phone number, company size, or industry.
While this information is certainly helpful for determining sales-qualified leads, a form should stay true to the nature of its intent. If the original goal is to generate leads, the form shouldn't ask questions that users won't expect. After all, a user may leave the page before even submitting the form if they suspect this information will be used for another purpose, causing them to potentially distrust your brand.
A compromise can be found by inviting these users to submit more information--in a friendly and helpful manner--for a free consultation at a later date, once they've built more trust in your brand.
The long and short of it is that product, marketing, and sales teams need to work in tandem--because ultimately, they're all working toward developing the same brand. ROI is always important from a business perspective, but forward-thinking marketers don't overlook the importance of UX by trying to convert with every single piece of published content. They understand that potential customers are more likely to invest in a brand that has established itself as a reputable thought leader.
By incorporating these UX best practices, you can reinvigorate your content marketing approach. Your audience expects that your digital content, much like your products or services, will address their pain points. And high-quality, user-centric content will always delight potential and current customers, fostering positive impressions of your brand and nurturing existing relationships.
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