When Marketing and Usability Should Collide

Both Marketing and Usability cater to the emotional intelligence of the target consumers. Leaving traditional marketing aside for this article, let me discuss the Internet Marketing and how Usability needs to play an inseparable role for successful connect.

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The cartoon marketer way is surely not the best way to connect with the audience. Assuming that you’ve nailed down your target audience well, your digital marketing efforts need to be under usability supervision – to reap the desired rewards and avoid pitfalls. The smartest and most expensive campaigns are not going to work unless they’re usable and consistent from the recipient perspective. Forrester Research predicts Interactive Digital Marketing to be $55 Billion by 2014; it’s really important to incorporate usability as an integral part of your marketing spend, because of the interactive trend.

Let’s discuss few aspects of usability testing in marketing activities. I apologize if few points find themselves in multiple categories and hence sound repetitive. The testing has to be done with a pool of disconnected users representing some section of your intended target audience. Also, the most effective way is to see what users do, not listen to what they say. If you as a brand or marketer engage with a usability specialist, better stay away from just a survey-based usability analysis.

WEBSITE CAMPAIGN

  • Make your landing page as clear as possible. Do not allow your visitors to assume what you sell; just tell them.
  • Make your navigation seamless and leading. Guide the visitor to your primary call-to-action page/section of your website. Use services like WalkMe if required.
  • Maintain design/branding consistency across your campaign pages and other parts of the website.
  • Proof-read for language correctness.
  • Optimize the loading performance.
  • Test and repair broken links, images and flows.
  • In case of paid registration, test your payment gateway process in all scenarios.

Good Example:

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Bad Example:

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EMAIL CAMPAIGN

  • Keep the size small (text+graphic). Do not choke your recipient’s mailbox. Best is under 500 KB. No attachments please!
  • Keep away from external code that may seem malicious to the user. Do not reach out for spam.
  • Check grammar and spellings.
  • Test and modify the appearance of your mail by sending it to self and receiving it through various popular mail clients (Outlook, GMail, MSN, Yahoo, Thunderbird).
  • Set the content font-size as at least 10 pt and at most 12 pt.
  • Do not make it look too busy and noisy – avoid clutter and a rainbow of colors and fonts.
  • Finally, do not make your subject line talk like an advertisement; it’s a turn off.

Good Example: 

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Bad Example:

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AD CAMPAIGN

  • Include proper call to action in your advertisement too; let the visitors engage with the ad, functionally.
  • Check spellings.
  • Use minimal text and interesting graphics.
  • Test your ads on multiple platforms in terms of form and function both – on PCs, mobile devices, and tablets.

Good Example:

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Bad Example:

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SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

  • Exercise a non-political profile on only few and relevant social media platforms that can cover your spectrum of audience.
  • Make all platforms consistent in your brand voice, although there must be some discrete and conscious differences that matches the chosen platforms and their audiences’ psyche.
  • Integrate disparate media platforms so that they’re inter-operable.
  • Build and maintain a frequency of posts, news, opinions, contests, events, polls and offers on all platforms in a way to harness the individual strengths of each platform to a tangible benefit.
  • Browse, research and learn from so many brands and organizations – and draw inspiration for your own marketing on these channels.
  • Periodically check and update the accuracy of your profile (jobs, contact info, interests, groups, etc.)

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BLOG/ASSET CAMPAIGN

  • Test your content, layout and graphics with multiple visitor profiles.
  • Check the spellings and grammar of your post.
  • Review accuracy and authenticity of reference material.
  • Generate white papers, case studies and brochures, and run it by close associates representing your audience.
  • Gather data/suggestions from actual readers periodically on your posts.
  • Enable easy/anonymous commenting mechanism to allow users to contribute their remarks without hassles.
  • Refine your content, titles, categories and tags to make them more comprehensible to your users.
  • Share freely your opinions, experiences, everything you have to say about the subject. This will build most and long-lasting trust.
  • Your Blog URL and template should be seamless with your website.
  • Keep building assets (your own analysis documents and presentations) and test it with your target audience.

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Whatever marketing campaign you drive, it’s critical to build and maintain trust with your users. The damage caused by performing marketing activities without usability analysis – may be severe. Remember, in order to become search engine friendly and marketing friendly, you need to become user friendly. That is, for yielding good results on digital marketing initiatives, you need to drive with usability.

Do I hear…”I do!?”

 This post was written by Vishal Mehta. Vishal Mehta is a usability professional who loves to play chess and has a strong eye for details. He’s also the CEO of IDYeah Creations, a UX practice in Pune, India. Vishal is also a guest blogger on UXBooth, Technorati, BlogCritics, and SAP Community Network.