How Digital Marketing Experts Utilize User Experience Principles

By Megan Shaw

As marketing continues to evolve into a near-exclusively digital landscape, many marketers may ask themselves: how can we ensure that our ads, landing pages and calls to action are relevant and lead to conversion?

Marketers are often tasked with being experts in many disciplines – psychology, design, business, and strategy. Our field relies heavily upon understanding how to strategize based on quantitative outcomes while still remaining creative so our messaging is consistently relevant to our target audience. But regardless of expertise, learning a few items from the pros in User Experience (aka UX) can ensure that none of our efforts are left behind as technology supersedes traditional marketing principles.

As a former software marketer, I can tell you that User Experience has become pivotal in creating products people not only love, but continually utilize. UX as a discipline is centered around the user and creating products that fit their needs. In marketing we don’t deal much with product creation, but when it comes to landing pages, advertisements, email campaigns, PPC campaigns, blog posts, social media posts, and a myriad of other digital marketing efforts, we create quite a few things. But how can we use tried and true principles of UX while creating campaigns that convert?

The following five design principles are keystones in User Experience:

  1. Ease of Use
  2. Simplicity
  3. Be Human
  4. Know Your User
  5. Be Desirable


… Now how can we use them?

Ease of Use
A critical element that many marketers forget about when designing a campaign is ease of use. Especially in digital, it’s important to consider how a user navigates through the chaos to come upon your marketing piece and ultimately fill out their information. In order to prevent drop-offs due to slow page load or forms that don’t work, make sure to test. Testing prevents unwanted technical errors once your campaign has launched. If needed, involve IT, and if you really want to prevent errors, make sure to diligently follow the next step and keep it simple!

In software and technology design, massive amounts of product requests make it easy to get lost in the clutter. In marketing, our efforts become heavily diluted by requests regarding new products, new markets, sales requests, client requests… and the list goes on. If your marketing efforts are split up between print and digital marketing, it can be difficult to ensure that all areas of your strategy are in line.

However, keeping it simple during the design phase can assist in easily negating additions that aren’t helping us achieve our ultimate goal: conversion. Long-form messaging, overwhelming visuals, and other distracting elements may prove so problematic that the user forgets about your call to action altogether. By removing unnecessary elements within campaigns (including unnecessary form fields) you can make sure that the primary goal of the marketing campaign is at the forefront and the clutter gets left behind.

Be Human
One thing marketers pride themselves on is their ability to be clever. We come up with clever campaign details, clever workarounds, and clever new ways to make sure that our marketing remains relevant to our target audience. But being clever can never, and should never, supersede being human. As we analyze how our messaging is being portrayed and ultimately how we are delivering prospects to our sales funnel, we need to remember that these email addresses and form leads are still, in fact, humans on the other end of a screen. Personalization can be a huge help in truly making sure your leads feel as if the email or landing page they’re interacting with is coming from a trusted source who understands them – rather than an automated marketing platform.

Know Your User
In User Experience the most important aspect of design is the user. The product that is eventually designed, created and tested will solve a problem or fulfill an unmet need specific to this “user.” In marketing, we know this concept as a “target audience.” Before crafting a campaign or determining a strategy it is imperative that the marketing and product teams understand the target audience – their wants, fears, unmet needs, and much more. We as digital marketers can hone in on this tactic by creating customer “personas” before we draft a campaign. Personas typically detail needs, wants, and personality traits of the target audience we’re going after. Knowing the user and making sure the center of your campaigns are crafted around a need truly had by this audience can ensure that the right people will be attracted to your service, product or cause.

Be Desirable
Building desirable products results in a successful business. People who covet your product or who brag about how much it has changed their lives make your marketing efforts much easier than if they were doing the opposite. User Experience designers use specific brand elements throughout the product so that both the product and the brand itself are desirable.

It is difficult for marketers to make our messaging or campaigns desirable without having two things first: a desirable product mix and a desirable brand. If you are currently struggling with combating bad reviews or unflattering brand beliefs, it may be time to think about a rebrand. Once your marketing team is able to completely flip the brand attributes so they fit uniquely into your target audience’s set of wants or needs it will be much easier to for your marketing efforts to be seen as “desirable,” even if your product hasn’t changed a bit.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you find that one of your campaigns may not be performing optimally. UX and marketing may be different in nature, but understanding and utilizing key UX principles can strategically benefit your digital marketing efforts!


About the Author
Megan Shaw is a Digital Marketing Specialist for ChoiceLocal. She has worked in outside sales, account management, and marketing for software and biotechnology companies. When she’s not working, Megan enjoys going to concerts and festivals or spending time with her friends.

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