Why Marketing is UX
A marketer is the snake that whispers seducing words into the customer’s ears. Marketers want the sale to happen, and they couldn’t give a damn or two about building a better product or experience.
That’s what many people think. That’s what I thought. I won’t be optimizing anything, I will be exploiting human behaviours, writing articles for keywords, using power words and tricky color combinations.
In the end, it didn’t work out for me. Realizing that marketing is UX, and that it is a crucial part of my (and everybody’s) marketing efforts changed it for the better.
Conflict of interests
‘Do you think a marketer should act like a UX designer?’ my boss asked me on the first day of my job.
‘I mostly write, so I don’t know – I’m not a designer’ I responded. I knew the company had user testing tools, but I couldn’t figure out how that applies to me.
‘When you are writing, you probably think a lot on the headline or on the structure, right?’ he continued, leaning back on his chair.
‘Well, that’s true…’
‘So you can say you are designing an article. You are making it easy to read and informative, and you want to satisfy your readers. See, you are a user experience designer.’
Realizing that UX is actually good marketing required some work.
My first serious attempt at using UX in my job was actually writing an article about it: 7 UXperts share most annoying usability mistakes. The content itself was good, and the article got some good traction, with over 2000 shares on various social media total.
However, it got bad comments, because I forgot about the importance of UX during reading the article. The text was justified, the opinions of experts were put into pictures instead of text, and the lines were too long and difficult to read, as the font was smaller than it is now. A horror.
I was too happy with what I got that I didn’t bother with designing the right reading experience.
It’s funny now that the words I wrote, “Usability is learning from mistakes”, would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Have you ever asked yourself what is UX all about? I have one answer to that – it is about learning from mistakes.
I quickly eliminated errors I could, and I never wanted to feel that shame again. More than that, I wanted to improve the blog and the writing even further. I told my boss about it, seeking advice.
The route to improvement
My boss told me to start thinking like an UX designer.
“Prepare a study, analyse the results, improve” – these are the words that were given to me, over brewing a pot of coffee.
I didn’t have much idea how to begin, so I reached out for the nearest tool I had at my disposal – our Conversion Suite, mainly Click Tracking and Visitor Recording. I knew I could see how people behave on the articles. The guys at the product team gave me a thorough tour on how the tool works.
The tour left me intrigued. My articles were used as the example during the tour on Click Tracking. I learned what kind of pictures people clicked to see in full – having that knowledge I knew what captions worked best, what fonts and what kind of messages contained within made people click.
Read also: UX Best Practices – Better Close Your Eyes
I also noticed that readers also have the habit of clicking on the parts of a text. I asked why.
‘Some people during reading do stuff like highlighting text, drawing squares, or clicking. So, these clicks show that someone was focused on this part of the text. Could be useful for you’ The product manager, Luke, told me.
It was. I saw that the parts that were the easiest to read and had most information had the most clicks. A lesson for the future – make it easier. It sounds obvious, as I knew a text must be pretty quick to digest. But I didn’t know which party of my text are difficult. This knowledge put into the context of my own writing allowed me to improve.
That wasn’t all, though. ‘Clicks are one thing, but you can check the horizontal attention map’ I learned from Luke. I had to learn more.
‘Well, see, we can’t track eyes, that’s too expensive and invades privacy. But we track mouse movements. We found out that some people have the habit to use the mouse like their eyes. They move the cursor on the parts they are reading. So we began creating a map out of this movement that shows which parts are being read. With clicks it’s basically your writing compass.’ Luke explained it to me like it was no big deal, just another feature.
That was the most useful source of knowledge I saw so far. I could analyze the text and get feedback without even asking for it. Luke just smiled at my enthusiasm and continued:
‘I get you. One of our clients actually used these maps to reorganize their support pages. They cleared it up and doubled the user engagement. I’ll forward you the emails.’
I began to use the tool and horizontal maps to study my articles. I learned that short, 2 to 3 sentences long concise paragraphs with hard data are the best.
The whole experience gave me enough data that I could improve the blog layout – the lines of text were made shorter (optimal column width based on research), the font easier to read, I had all nonsense distracting navigation removed, and I limited the amount of promotional banners.
Knowledge put into use
After introducing the changes and having learned many useful things about my articles I had to test them. There was this topic I wanted to follow for a while – the theory of colors and contrasts. I knew from certain studies that it was contrast that actually attracted attention, and that colors only enhance what contrast does, but do not replace it.
Figuring out a study of own with other tools, UX Suite ran Click Testing with a sample survey, where have shown participants 2 examples of our front page (one with big contrasts and the other with almost none), asked them to click on the most interesting part and asked them which version they preferred.
Felt like a UX researcher, even though my study was that simple.
But the important part is that hooked up the script to the Click Testing and consulted the horizontal attention map to see whether what I learned actually helped me. I was happy, because it did.
Most of the article was covered in red, which means it received a lot of attention overall. Ilearned that parts with theory (academic articles and sources, theory of color, etc.) actually were skipped over – a lesson not to bore people with theoretical stuff. The parts which featured simple information were warmly received, so that is something I should to stick to.
What else is there?
For that eBook we have a landing page, so people interested in the product can also provide info to contact them and we can give them a free demo. I attached a script for Click Tracking to see how people behave on the page.
With the data I reached a conclusion that the copy with stats and benefits, not features works best. Also, the fields’ engagement tends to drop at the phone (this conclusion is also aligned with other sources that claim that asking for the telephone number lowers conversion).
This is a perfect material for an A/B test, and provides great insight for future landing pages, as surely we’ll surely have some more eBooks.