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Power to the User: Why it’s important for marketing success

It’s never been more important to optimise your marketing around the needs of the user.

Tactical marketing activities can fail to provide reasonable or measurable return on investment if the needs of the user aren’t central to strategy. In this article, we’re going to explain how this works when it comes to websites and give you a series of tips as to how you can get this way of thinking working for you.
When thinking about marketing tactics that can increase online conversions, the following can be invaluable:

  • Search engine optimisation
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Well-designed website
  • Website optimised for mobile
  • Content

However, activity can fall short of expectations if goals aren’t defined and users’ needs are poorly prioritised. Before committing to any tactical activity, ask yourself the following question:

What does our user, or users, want from us online?

This can usually be broken down into three main areas:

1. Relevant information/products/services

Once a user has realised their need/want for the above, it’s essential brands understand the contributing factors behind this catalyst moment. This insight is part of the story here, as the wider context surrounding this realisation is what can shape the form your tactical marketing will take.
We believe in also understanding:

  • Why the user wants/needs your information/products/services
  • What the context is surrounding their want/need
  • How the user will fulfil their want need

Companies can better understand their audiences by doing customer satisfaction research, online surveys, speaking with their own staff and examining their website’s Analytics data.
Let’s apply this to an example to illustrate why this is important.

John is visiting Cambridge for the day and doesn’t know the area well. He’s meeting with friends and the group now need to find somewhere to eat. John takes his mobile, and searches online for ‘5 * Italian Restaurants Cambridge’. He clicks on a result returned by Google, but the website takes a long time to load and isn’t optimised for mobile. As such, he’s presented with a big picture and a long paragraph about the history of the restaurant building. Even if this restaurant served the best food in town, they’ve lost John’s custom as he couldn’t readily get what he wanted. He goes back to Google and clicks on the next result. He is directed to a responsive website with a clear 5 * review at the top of the page. Below this were the opening times, the address, and a click to call button. John simply pressed this button, called the restaurant, booked a table and had a great evening with his friends. 

So, what does this example show us:

The second restaurant understood the context of mobile visitors to their site. They’re typically out and about, and are looking for somewhere to eat that day. As such, they want reassurance that the food is good, to know when the place is open and where it is – and finally, they want an easy way to get in touch.
The first restaurant hadn’t considered their mobile user, and although they appeared higher up in Google, they didn’t win John’s business as his needs weren’t being met.

40% of all mobile search is made with local intent

This statistic is powerful for local businesses as it gives them a channel of engagement that just didn’t exist at this extent even four years ago. The enormous penetration of smart phones, combined with our expectations as consumers, has meant local businesses need to adapt to take advantage of this opportunity.

2. Simplicity

If meeting the needs of the user is integral to growing online conversions, timing is everything. As in the offline world, we can have a very short window to make the right impression when people visit our website. The way in which we browse the internet has meant that generally, users have a fairly short attention span and will leave a site in favour of another if they’re presented with too many obstacles.

Keeping it simple is essential when it comes to championing the needs of the user. This is where great content, design and technical functionality can come together to clearly display relevant information/products/services, or signpost to where to the user can learn more.

3. Speed

Most people using the internet appreciate good housekeeping. A website filled with relevant information/products/services that users need won’t convert without being well built and fast to load. Poor navigation, or a lack of on-site search, can frustrate and result in users leaving your site – because they can’t get what they want, when they want it. User persona research and usability testing is essential for brands looking to improve users’ online experience as it’ll iron out any issues that might slow your process down.

What are the challenges?

Challenges in determining user needs can arise if a company serves multiple user groups with differing objectives, contexts and ways of accessing information. It’s difficult to successfully be all things to all people, but this is where insight into audience profiles really comes into its own. By understanding each group and what their drivers are, companies can organise their online presence to reflect each segment. A well-defined navigation system and user-centred online signposting can provide users from each group with the online experience they’re after. A good example of this is the Natural History Museum website. This site is used by academics, teachers, parents and young children. Thorough user profiling and testing has resulted in a balanced site that meets users’ needs, and the organisation’s objectives.

For more information about learning more about how your customers operate online, get in touch with a member of our team on 01787 388038, or by emailing customerservice@mackmangroup.co.uk.

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