Brutal marketing strategies that insult your potential customers intelligence are becoming increasingly less effective on websites. To thrive in this day and age you must understand your audience and adjust your approach based on their behaviors and reactions to your entire web presence.
With each passing day, the once bizarre and illusive landscape of the “World Wide Web” becomes more infused into our DNA. Children are being immersed in technology often before they even learn to walk or mumble their first words. As older generations fade into the sunset, newer generations will become engulfed by technology. Generation ___ will cast clouds above all business and applications that use technology to sell their goods. Those cloud formations could quickly turn into raging masses of thunder and strike fiercely if user expectations are not met within these generations. Thanks in part to the array of social networking platforms, feedback can often be brutal and spread like wildfire in a matter of hours.
What I mentioned above is not a “near-future” problem, it is a “present” problem that will only progress further as our technologically-equipped society evolves.
Fear not, for your potential users can be your strongest allies!
Embrace your audience’s digital consumption habits and expectations. With the website creation process in mind, we know audiences are at the core of defining what marketing and design tactics to use.
Shove too many cartoon red arrows and yellow gradient buttons in a younger user’s face and well…they will probably close the tab on your website. Even worse, they may put your company on blast through social media, as I described above.
Regardless, you have to know your audience and how they interact with your website. When you get the chance to get tangible feedback from your users, don’t just sit on it! Measure feedback, validate it and put it into action. Simple ways of getting ahead of feedback from users can come in the shape of surveys, social media posts or website chat widgets.
Defining the experience
It is important to understand a user’s experience is how they feel and respond to a product. What we’re dealing with is the mental processing and behavior of users.
With what I am referring to, we’re dealing with the user experience (UX) of a website, whether on a desktop computer or a mobile device. UX is still UX whether it is a good experience or a bad one.
Website user experience comes in many forms. As a matter of fact, the entire website is the overall experience!
A few low-hanging fruit items that can improve UX are the structure of information, navigation ease-of-use, and properly labeling forms/buttons to direct users of the actions you would like them to take.
The more you understand your audience, the more you will know how to apply changes to the UX of your website. Of course, we’re all taught being proactive is better than reactive. With UX, it is best off to start with a baseline and adjust from there. At Stevens, when we’re working on website projects that do not have a budget for extensive user research we always refer to best practices.
What are these best practices, you might ask yourself?
To be frank, our best practices mix what has worked best for us in the past with clients and blogged trends by other UX professionals. There are many articles out there on what works best and what doesn’t.
‘What might work well for fictitious Acme Co., may yield very poor results for your own company’s website. Stay on top of your analytics to track how people are using your website. Gathering reactions from users is far more important than what trendy features Acme Co. are using on their website.’
Once you are aware who your users are you will have a better idea of how they will respond to different marketing tactics. At the end of the day, you need to convert users. Whether that is a conversion into a sale or getting email sign-ups for your newsletter.
Older generations may prefer to be guided along the way to get placed into a marketing funnel. Give them as much information as needed and let them know what is happening at every step. Lots of movement and animations may turn them off of being a potential lead.
Whereas younger generations are testing the quality of your brand and how genuine your ask is for them to be placed in a funnel. These younger generations have been known to be more advertising-averse. Gone are the days of placing pop-ups in front of users when they arrive on your website. Sometimes less is more.
In order to justify the investment in your website, you must assess your users’ engagement. Yes, in the end, your website is one big experiment. People change, susceptibility to marketing changes, and so should your website.
Understand the user.
The Internet has only been a thing for less than thirty years. It is safe to assume it will change drastically within the next thirty. What worked ten years ago may just yield you rolled eyes, today.
So the next time your users give you feedback, thank them for taking the time share their thoughts. If you qualify others to agree with them, let them all know you listened, and deploy their feedback on your website. If users know you care you may just be able to win them over as ambassadors for your brand.