Fuel Digital Marketing Activity with User Research

Posted on 12. Apr, 2011 by in Digital Marketing, Thoughts

You measure us on our successes and those successes are measured, in part, by how well the traffic that we attract and drive to our client’s websites then converts into leads, sales or subscriptions. We know that it’s not enough to increase volume; we must also increase value if we are to help our clients reach their business targets.

Fuel digital marketing activity with user research

Digital marketing reports and web analytics will inform us of what is happening, but an informed digital marketer will also work to understand why.

Unify brand messages with user personas

User personas are a useful tool for informing web design and content creation as part of a user-centred design (UCD) process. But why stop there? Web user personas can also inform digital marketing messages to create a unified brand message across multiple media.

These thumbnail descriptions of core user groups contain the characteristics, needs and motivations of your typical web users and include common customer journeys – information vital to your digital marketers.

By understanding what users want to see on a website and establishing common paths to the content they seek, you can:

  • Ensure SEO keyword research and key phrase targets match core user groups to generate relevant site traffic (this is known within bigmouth as ‘searcher profiling’).
  • Tailor PPC ad copy, display ads, search engine snippets and on-site calls to action to attract and engage potential customers.
  • Design and create site content to address user content needs whilst naturally reflecting user search terms and messages seen elsewhere.
  • Identify core user social arenas as part of an effective blogger or influencer outreach program.

This relationship between your digital and user experience teams is a two way street. Investigative keyword research can be used to determine user intent and decision making criteria which can aid user segmentation – a key step creating useful web user personas.

Improve usability AND search optimization with heuristic evaluation

Using established guidelines and principles (the ‘heuristics’) usability specialists evaluate a website’s strengths and weaknesses in order to pinpoint problem areas and research design solutions.

Typically used in the design of user interfaces, this informal inspection method is agile (can be carried out on a page, process or whole website), quick and relatively inexpensive. But again, its use needn’t be limited to usability best practice.

With a natural overlap between web usability guidelines and content optimization techniques, you can expand the evaluation criteria to include elements that aid search optimization. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Landing page optimization techniques
  • Google’s quality score guidelines
  • Accessibility guidelines

A cross-discipline review carried out by a combined team of user experience professionals and digital marketing experts can mean that efforts are not duplicated and resource can be directed to implement recommendations that are beneficial to both users and search engines – rather than working at cross purposes.

Let users define what works and what doesn’t

Search optimization in an ever-changing online environment is a cycle of trialling and testing various optimization strategies. User personas and adherence to guiding principles can inform this process but users will ultimately decide what works for them.

Testing digital marketing creative and site content can help you ensure your website is performing optimally and that you are receiving the best return on your investment possible – essential for organisations with challenging performance targets.

We undertake a variety of user testing research session and A/B or Multivariate experiments to test design and strategy hypothesis.

A/B split tests and Multivariate tests (MVT) are used by our user experience and digital marketing teams alike to test page structure, design and content with live visitors. This allows us to assess landing page effectiveness, trial keyword targeting and identify top performing / converting content variations.

Most user testing is carried out on a functioning website whether in a live or in a test environment. Users from the target audience are recruited to undertake common tasks on a site. The success rates of these tasks are monitored and user feedback is gathered to inform web design and content development.

User testing can also be conducted to observe upstream visitor behaviour. This is used to evaluate the effectiveness of search snippets, ad copy, and banners/adverts.

Incremental changes and iterative testing with real users help us to demonstrate progress and adjust our strategies or hypothesis as needed to continuously optimize site content for users and search engines.

Collaboration aids conversion optimization

We work in a world where user insight is imperative to a successful digital campaign. The better informed we are, the more able we are to exceed the expectations set for us by you.

Our user experience and digital teams collaborate to make best use of user research and media expertise to change what is seen as the norm into something that better serves your business.

Tags: , , , , , ,