Hands down, your company’s website is its most important marketing tool. Yet, it tends to take a backseat when it comes to innovation and iteration. After launch, it’s easy to shift focus and resources to external marketing channels — social media, blogs, news sites — rather than improving the performance of your site. However, companies can no longer afford to launch a site and move on to the next win. There are endless opportunities available to you to test and learn, providing your customers with the best possible product.
By maximizing your digital property, you’re able to yield insights into your audience and better target them with messaging that resonates. Most organizations struggle to be nimble enough to respond to customers, but their feedback ultimately leads to a better, more useful product.
Ask yourself, are you making the most of your website? Here are three major principles that enterprises can use to develop a cycle of iteration and improvement within your website.
1. Consider Search Engines as Users, Too
UX professionals and marketers may struggle to admit that SEO and UX are vital sides of the same coin, but the two disciplines overlap quite a bit. Search engines – especially Google – have evolved beyond old tactics like keyword stuffing and obsessive link-building to focus on user-centric ranking signals: page speed, bounce rate, time-on-page and more. In other words, Google now values user experience over links, keywords and other easy-to-spoof tactics.
When thinking of modern SEO, consider the user experience that Google wants to deliver to its own users. Google wants to serve up websites that deliver rich, valuable content that solve an immediate need – sounds like it should align with your website goals, right? SEO also provides valuable opportunities to test and improve website content. Google will make it clear if your website delivers on its SEO promises, which can help identify areas of your website that aren’t providing value to users.
2. Cater to Specific User Groups
Your audience isn’t “everyone.” Many companies make this mistake. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a product that everyone wants (and let’s remember that not even Apple has that), you’re not going to sell to them in the same way. Content and new functionality should be guided by your user and buyer personas – if you want to build something that doesn’t match the needs of a persona, it’s not worth building.
Of course, it’s vital to continually iterate upon your personas as you launch new features and test their impact. Your users’ needs evolve just as quickly as your business, and businesses can only stay ahead of the curve by adapting to real feedback from users. As you launch and test new features, it’s critical to gain real-time insight through user testing, on-site surveys and more.
3. Don’t Put UX Design in a Silo
The primary goal of UX design is to ensure the needs of your business goals remain aligned with the needs of your users. No matter your best intentions, that doesn’t happen unless UX is a dedicated part of your development process. To ensure a dependable user feedback cycle and iterative development, UX and marketing strategists must be at the table with designers and developers to help choose new feature development, build targeted content and conduct ongoing user research. Cross-functional Web teams give you all the tools for fast-paced, iterative success – but they need to continually work towards a shared vision and a common goal.
Your brand needs this type of interconnected team to build relevant products and services that build meaningful connections with your customers. It’s not always easy to bring marketing, UX and product design teams together to create true impact, but the reward is immense. If this seems overwhelming, don’t fret. Your website should be an iterative platform, and that philosophy goes double for your team. Put the pieces in place, then test and adjust your process until you find a team dynamic that delivers great results for your company.