When it comes to digital marketing, user experience is everything. Today’s consumers are quick to judge your digital presence, and if your online experience is outdated or clumsy, they won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
I recently experienced this firsthand. While booking a flight, I visited the website of one of the world’s largest airlines, but the page wouldn’t load. Frustrated, I purchased tickets from another company.
A few weeks later, a visiting relative was flying on the same airline. But pulling up her flight status was a nightmare. It took five attempts to load the information on my desktop, and I couldn’t access the information on my phone at all. Needless to say, I won’t be using that airline again.
In direct contrast, look at Virgin America. Unlike the company that designed my disappointing experience, this brand caters to its customers. It not only maintains its customer experience throughout its touchpoints, but it also builds upon its messaging each time.
The company understands that the experience must be cohesive and authentic, from the website to the reminder emails to the in-flight personnel (in both personality and uniform). The seamless experience extends all the way to its airplane bathrooms, where soap and piped-in music paint a consistent brand image.
Luckily, you don’t have to invest in branded bar soap and bathroom speakers to create a seamless experience that connects with users on an emotional level. All you have to do is focus on smooth and consistent brand messaging.
Consistent Messaging Is More Important Than Ever
User experience is crucial to digital marketing because visitors who use your website or mobile app are interacting with your brand. It’s to your advantage to deliver the same experience you would if you were hosting face-to-face meetings with these customers.
After all, nearly two-thirds of social media users log in to their social networks every day from their computers, and 47 percent sign in from their smartphones. With numbers like these, a seamless transition between devices is paramount. Even Google announced that it will officially consider mobile friendliness in its ranking algorithm for search results starting in April.
Still, creating a cohesive brand that conveys your company’s value is no easy task. The necessary time and funds may seem difficult to justify, but the ROI will speak for itself. Here are five ways you can establish a seamless digital marketing experience:
1. Define your brand and your audience
First and foremost, you need to clearly define your brand to create messaging that consistently conveys your value. You then need to understand your buyer. Develop and use personas to gain clarity on the different types of users you need to reach through digital marketing.
2. Perform a customer experience audit
Walk through each of your online channels from a user’s perspective. In doing so, you’ll identify inconsistencies and holes in your messaging. Monitoring website analytics will also help you evaluate your audience, their browsers, and their changing goals.
3. Use your website as a tool
Gone are the days of static websites stuffed with content. Today’s websites must be responsive, efficient, and powerful. They must provide appropriate content distribution tools to visitors to help them find, consume, categorize, and share content immediately. However, make sure your website also matches your company’s brand identity.
4. Embrace mobile
Given the ubiquity of mobile, this may seem obvious, but I can’t stress enough how imperative it really is. Sixty-three percent of consumers use their phones to go online, so if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, your bounce rate will spike. Recognizing this trend, marketers’ mobile advertising spend more than doubled from 2011 to 2012 alone.
5. Prioritize SEO
Searching for content is a major source of frustration for visitors — especially as attention spans continue to shorten. With Google now examining mobile friendlessness, you’ve got to step up your game. To see where your website stands, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
For your brand to remain relevant in this fast-paced world, the overall user experience — from website creation to platform integration — must be seamless. Make sure you maintain and enhance your technologies to support a seamless digital marketing experience. Remember: At every touchpoint in the user experience, there’s an opportunity to delight, maintain, or disappoint.