In the marketing world, we tend to think of UX as something that only applies to product development. After all, the majority of UX designers are part of a product team, and digital products can be incredibly complex. Optimizing your product’s experience for end users is definitely a full-time job.
If you’re new to the user experience world, it may be unclear exactly how it applies to the marketing role and how a UX designer would fit into your marketing efforts. Let’s explore the answers to these questions together.
Defining User Experience (UX) and UX Design
The term user experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of a prospect or customer’s interaction with your company and its products and services. A UX designer’s job is to improve the quality of a user’s experience with your brand’s offerings.
Traditionally, UX best practices are applied to digital products, but the same approach can be applied to other digital properties as well. A corporate website, company blog, landing page, or marketing microsite can each be optimized to improve a user’s interactions with your brand.
Likewise, your online content—videos, articles, eBooks, whitepapers, social posts, case studies, infographics, and more—can be refined in a similar fashion to provide a higher quality experience for your audience.
Principles of Good User Experience in Marketing
The next logical question to ask would be: What makes for good user experience in a marketing context? The majority of UX designers agree that it comes down to creating content that is:
- Useful: It should be original and fulfill a real market need.
- Usable: It’s got to be easy to use.
- Desirable: It has to be sexy enough to keep your audience’s attention.
- Findable: It needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite.
- Accessible: It should be accessible to people with disabilities.
- Credible: It has to be trustworthy, factually correct, and reliable.
Discovering What Works
All 6 attributes above are important, but not always easy to quantify and act upon. UX designers have to get creative in order to find out which experiences work well for their audience and which ones don’t.
A few of the methods UX experts use to assess their products, services, and content are:
1. User Surveys & Interviews
There are a variety of different ways to gather data from an existing user base. A few include:
- Informal one-question surveys that pop up on a blog, website, or product page.
- Short quizzes on highly targeted questions about challenges, needs, or specific features.
- Formal surveys, often fielded in partnership with a research firm with access to a large database of people using competing products.
- In-person or phone interviews with individual customers or prospects.
In order to assess how a page, feature, or workflow is performing, UX designers will dig into analytics to get a better picture of how visitors behave when they interact with specific content. Basic web analytics platforms like Google Analytics provide a lot of insight, but you can also use tools like heatmapping, click tracking, and eye-tracking software to learn more about the microinteractions that happen within a given page.
3. A/B Testing
In order to test the effectiveness of specific elements of information architecture, interface setup, or design, a UX designer will often run an A/B test to figure out which option is most effective. A/B testing collects more data than a user test control group with just a few people in it.
Tools to Organize the UX Process
Everyone has a different set of tools they use to organize their work. For marketers and UX designers, there’s actually a lot of overlap. Here are a few of the most common tools used by user experience experts.
Developing a clear set of personas that span both prospects and current users can help clarify who your audience is and what they care about from a user experience perspective. The most effective personas include:
- Background: What type of person are they? What is their role?
- Goals: What does the person want to achieve?
- Pain points: Where do they struggle in their day-to-day life?
- Value proposition: How does your brand address those pain points?
- Objections: What things do they dislike or object to when it comes to your brand?
- Triggers: What are the things that endear them to your brand?
2. User Flow Charts
A user flow chart maps out two key things:
- Information architecture, which outlines how information will be organized, structured, and presented to your end users.
- Information flow, which shows how users will interact with your information and what messaging they’ll get at every step of their journey.
Wireframes are created before a visual design comp to show the basic framework of a web page, the components on the page, and how each component will function.
UX is a broad discipline that focuses on providing a better experience for visitors, prospects, and customers. This discipline has a variety of applications in the business world. While UX design has traditionally been focused on the product world, there’s a growing need for UX on the marketing side as digital initiatives become more sophisticated and personalized.
Psychological Principles for Effective Lead Generation UX
When thinking about lead generation, it’s impossible to ignore the science of psychology. From copy to colors to placement to the incentive, your audience’s preferences and ingrained human tendencies impact the way they engage with your marketing tactics.
Psychology is a fascinating topic for any marketer—but particularly those tasked with driving conversions. Here are 5 key psychological principles you can tap to ensure that your user experience is designed for lead generation success.
Principle 1: Attention Is the Key to Effective UX
Dr. Susan Weinschenk, psychologist and cognitive scientist, says in The Psychologist’s View of UX Design, “I am beginning to think that the whole idea of attention is a key to designing an engaging UI.” When it comes to designing a user experience where lead generation is involved, attention is usually one of the biggest challenges for marketers.
Traditional lead generation tactics like pop-up forms, takeover ads, and landing pages work well in terms of capturing a user’s attention—but they’re often interruptive and annoying. Instead of fitting seamlessly into the user’s original activity, lead generation tactics are designed to pull the user away from their task—whether it’s reading, watching a video, or clicking through to another piece of content.
On the other hand, lead generation tactics that are less obtrusive often perform poorly. If the design or placement of a subscriber form, for example, is too subtle, users will never even notice it. Even if your visual design is attention-grabbing, weak copy or a confusing form can also negatively impact conversions.
So what can you do to ensure users see—and also engage with—your lead generation tactics? Here are a few quick tips:
- If you’re going to use a “pushy” tactic like a pop-up or takeover, you better have a good offer (or clever verbiage) to keep users engaged. Incentivize the user with a valuable giveaway or other benefits.
- Put your value prop front and center when asking for someone’s information. Tell them why it’s worth the hassle of filling out your form, and they’ll be more likely to do it.
- Balance forceful tactics with softer calls-to-action that are integrated within your experience to leverage different ways of gaining attention.
Principle 2: Novelty Can Drive Action
An alternative to using forceful or flashy lead generation tactics is to rely on novelty to get your users’ attention.
In Brian Massey’s webinar Writing Killer Conversion Copy, he talks about two “bastards” in the brain that filter out content perceived to be “typical”: Broca’s Area and Wernicke’s Area. Both of these areas are highly engaged when a person is consuming content.
Source: Stroke Center
Broca’s Area is the part of the brain that’s responsible for taking words, casting visual representations of them, and then triggering action inside the motor cortex. It serves as the first line of defense for the motor cortex, preventing unnecessary actions from being triggered when we see or hear something. So if something is ordinary or predictable, Broca will usually just ignore it.
The second is Wernicke’s Area, which takes a noun and attaches it to memories we have associated with that noun. This is the source of all of the info we need to associate words with past memories. Then it gets passed back to the motor cortex to trigger action.
In order to prevent your calls-to-action from being “bounced” by Broca, you need to present something atypical, something it doesn’t have cataloged in its list of usual suspects. By using unexpected, unbelievable, or even incorrect elements in your lead generation flow, you can surprise this area of the brain enough to pass information through to Wernicke, which will then trigger actions from your users.
Principle 3: Users Need Feedback
Ideally, the lead generation process should be as simple and streamlined as possible for the user to increase the likelihood of conversion. However, in many cases, your business needs a decent amount of information from the user in order to evaluate whether they’re a good fit for your products or services.
When considering your data capture user experience, feedback is a crucial element. If you don’t provide enough feedback, or if you provide feedback in a confusing way, the user will quickly become frustrated. And frustrated people are much more likely to say “screw it” to your form than happy people.
A few types of feedback you can provide during the data capture process include:
- Missing data feedback: Point out exactly which required fields a user has skipped.
- Invalid information feedback: Identify which fields have invalid information and tell the user how to correct their mistakes.
- Formatting feedback: If your form fields require information input in a specific format, provide an example showing the right way to do it or instructions on the form itself.
- Confirmation feedback: Once a user has successfully submitted their information, tell them! Nothing is worse than submitting a form and not knowing if your entry actually went through.
Principle 4: Clutter Negatively Impacts Conversions
Lead generation optimization specialists have found time and time again that removing unnecessary elements from the conversion flow increases engagement. For example, in this case study from Conversion Fanatics, they were able to increase the conversion rate on a signup form by 37% by removing a secondary call to action on this form page.
What’s the psychology behind this? The truth is, humans aren’t very good at multitasking. If your pages are cluttered, it makes it harder for the user to glean the key information and stay engaged with your messaging.
That said, even with some serious de-cluttering, you can still end up with a lot of information or form fields on any given page. In these cases, there are two things you can do to provide a better user experience:
- Group related pieces of information together using proximity and design elements.
- Break chunks of related information up into multiple pages or steps, where the user can focus on one piece of the flow at a time without getting overwhelmed.
Principle 5: Reciprocity Has a Positive Impact
The majority of B2B marketers already know that, if you want to get information from your users, you have to give them something in return. In psychology, this principle is called reciprocity, and it explains why content offers and giveaways are so effective. Asking someone for their information without offering them anything in return isn’t very compelling for the person providing their information. Giving someone something for free and then asking for their information motivates them to pay back the favor—like giving your email in exchange for a t-shirt.
When thinking about your user experience, you should find ways to present valuable freebies to your users so that, when they do reach a point of conversion, they’re primed to participate.
When considering how to tweak your existing lead generation user experience, psychology is your friend. If you truly understand how your users think, you will better be able to design conversion flows that resonate.