Marketing Best Practices

Marketing Mashup: How UX Can Enhance Your Digital Content

By Ashley Taylor Anderson December 17, 2015

One of the most mind-blowing musical mashups I’ve heard in recent years is this Notorious B.I.G. and Miley Cyrus gem.

Somehow, the combination of the two songs, “Party and Bulls**t” and “Party in the USA”, is so much more than the sum of its parts. You think the original Biggie song is perfect as is, but then you layer in some Miley, and you’re like… damn. I didn’t think this would work, but it totally does. And it’s an even more riveting experience for the listener.

The same kind of magic happens when you bring user experience design into your marketing content creation process. Whether you’re designing a landing page, a lead capture flow on a website, or an interactive eBook, user experience best practices can enhance your digital content. You may think your approach is working fine, but with a UX design mindset, you’ll find that your end results are even better than before.

These 4 UX best practices can be applied to any digital marketing campaign to drive better results. Let’s dive in!

Design Around User Outcomes

Whether you’re redesigning your blog, setting up a new landing page, or thinking through an eCommerce flow, the question you should always start with is this:

What do I want my users to accomplish and why?

The what is important, because the way you approach your content creation and information architecture will change depending on your desired outcome. For example, if you determine that your #1 outcome for blog readers is to sign up for your newsletter, you’ll set up your blog differently than if your #1 outcome is for blog readers to click through to your main website.

The why is equally important. If you don’t understand why you want people to achieve a certain outcome, chances are, they’ll never achieve it.

In addition to the what and why, you should also consider where you’re delivering your content. Depending on the device, you’ll want to adjust your design approach to capitalize on user behaviors for that channel.

A great example of designing around outcomes is this landing page from InVision. In the hero section, they make the desired user outcome very clear: to sign up for a free account. Their call to action can’t be missed with the hot pink button in the middle, and the headline states what you’ll be able to do after you sign up.

User Outcomes

Build an Intuitive, Flexible Information Architecture

Depending on the outcomes you define for a given project, your information architecture—that is, the way you organize and present content to your end users—will require a different approach.

For example, if you have a lot of content that can be broken down into discrete sections or steps, you may want to opt for a multi-page or multi-screen setup. If you have content that flows logically from one point another, you may opt for a long-scroll page with optional places where the user can drill in a layer deeper for more information.

In addition to the overall framework for your information, you’ll also want to consider navigation and on-screen cues. A microsite probably needs a sticky navigation menu to give viewers the freedom to jump around between topics, whereas a landing page may only need on-screen cues to help users flow through the content.

A great example of flexible information architecture is this microsite from Coca-Cola. At the bottom of the screen, they provide an interactive menu that helps the user select which content they want to explore next. You can even add specific items into a “Playlist” to consume later on.

Flexible Navigation

Provide Guidance Throughout the User’s Journey

As you design your content or information flow, you’ll also want to develop a separate layer of guidance to help your users along their journey. In addition to traditional navigation elements such as link menus, shopping cart shortcuts, and breadcrumb paths, a few onscreen effects you can use to guide viewers through your marketing experiences include:

  • Animation effects that draw attention to clickable elements.
  • Arrows pointing to objects that can be clicked or rolled over.
  • Written instructions telling the user where to click or hover.
  • Icons that represent actions you want the user to take.

For example, this Salesforce infographic has clear callouts that show the viewer how to interact with the piece and drill down for more info.

Guided User Journey

Give Real-Time Feedback When Possible

Whether you’re designing a quiz for top-of-funnel audience engagement, a form for lead generation purposes, a ROI calculator for later in the sales cycle, or a self-service checkout flow, it’s important to think about what kinds of real-time feedback you need to provide at every step. Nothing will drive your audience away more quickly than hindering their progress without telling them why.

This type of feedback will differ depending on the nature of the content or task at hand. For quizzes and assessments, carefully considered wrong and right answer feedback is key. For forms and checkout processes, highlighting incomplete or invalid field entries is crucial. For a calculator or interactive animation, flagging inputs that are missing or inconsistent with the desired result can be very helpful.

Real-time feedback must be useful, but it doesn’t need to be complex or elaborate. In this signup flow for Instapage, for example, they provide real-time feedback on their signup form to let the user know when they’re overlooked something important.

Real Time Feedback

The Bottom Line

Even if you’re not following the UX best practices outlined above, you can develop pretty decent marketing content and workflows. But adding these user experience ideas into your process can help you take your content and workflows from good to fantastic. It’s like adding a little pinch of Miley pop goodness to your classic Biggie rhymes.


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