Brands have never spent so much to attract customers!

UK advertising expenditure grew 4.6 percent to £22.2bn in 2017, the eighth consecutive year of market growth. But with so much emphasis on enticing customers, brands are failing to consider how to retain them moving forwards. When brands don’t consider what happens next, the user journey becomes fragmented – meaning a dissatisfied customer is unlikely to convert and therefore wasted budget.

How many times has a brand attracted your attention with impressive marketing, only to let you down with a disappointing experience when you try to convert? Brands need to consider the multitude of customer journeys that now take place, thanks to increasing ways to reach and interact both online and offline. Digitisation is steadily becoming the main pathway for consumer journeys, but your users may be using mobiles, tables, desktops, newsletters, websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – the possibilities are endless. Indeed, the number of digital touchpoints is increasing by 20 percent annually as more offline consumers shift to digital tools.

A brand’s website remains one of the most important channels in a user’s overall brand experience: one third of consumers cite individual brand websites as their main source of online inspiration when shopping, according to PWC.

Mobile internet usage now outweighs that on desktop. Mobile commerce has more than doubled since 2014, so brands must put mobile front and centre when it comes to the user journey. However, despite it being 2018, many brands are still failing to consider the importance of a fully functioning, mobile-optimised website.

You should review web stats for desktop, mobile, and tablet users, as well as a device level, and make sure that your site and content is responsive and optimised accordingly. If 50 percent of your traffic is coming from Apple devices for example, make sure your user journey works on an iPhone. We recently worked with British Red Cross for example to build a mobile optimised, responsive site to support the 50 percent of volunteer applications that were coming from mobile.

Consider all aspects of the journey – from the landing page and how copy and images appear, to the checkout process, and if something’s not right, fix it. Consider the journey through your content: do users get the information they need in the right place and in the right order? Often content can be mismatched in terms of the volume, length, information offered, and next steps. Avoid sending users to external sites if you can, as this will fragment their journey with you. 

All content – from blog posts to contact forms and product guides – needs to be user friendly, transparent, and mobile appropriate. Consider the page fold on mobiles – you don’t have a huge amount of room, so put your key information at the top, and remember image sizes have a bearing on page loading times.

To join up the user experience across online and offline channels, you should also consider ways to retain user information (in a GDPR compliant way, of course) should they be interested in your brand, but not get to the ultimate finish line on their first or subsequent visit.

Less is often more

Simplicity and clarity is crucial for any brand website when it comes to delivering a good brand experience. In the course of our work with British Red Cross, we rationalised 4,000 pages down to 350 and consolidated 74 services, keeping page weight low, with all images used for a key reason. We developed an experience that has helped bring clarity to the organisation’s purpose, communicating the true purpose of the British Red Cross and the full range of support services it provides. Critically, the experience is inclusive and accessible across devices.

The general rule of thumb is keep it simple when it comes to making your user experience as good as possible:

  • Avoid multiple sites and windows opening in the journey
  • Keep the sign-up process short and simple – only ask for the information you really need
  • Stick to one primary call to action on a page – too many can lead to confusion and abandonment
  • Use the same visual language and tone of voice throughout the journey so your user knows they are on the same path
  • Take your user to the correct page to start their journey – don’t drop them back to the homepage if they are interested in a specific product or service
  • Tell users what they need to know, without overcomplicating the message
  • Make it easy to get in contact – you might consider using a chatbot for example
  • Ensure you include social sharing options if appropriate to make it easy to tell someone else

Put the user first and keep the journey as frictionless and simple as possible. Ensuring your back-end is optimised before embarking on outbound marketing will mean greater ROI all round; not only will you see conversion increase, but you’ll also see greater loyalty and social sharing as a result of a great Customer Experience.

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