Release your value

To create workable and beautiful products we must understand our users… and we are not our users.” – Alan Cooper, author of About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design

We’ve discussed content on this blog as its own element of social media success, but as a strategy it relates to the element of User Experience as well.

You see, the user experience doesn’t start on your website.  User experience begins much earlier – when people first discover or become aware of your presence.  Without clearly stating how your business can meet their needs and finding common ground with their experience prior to finding your site, you will miss the opportunity for shaping their experience once they actually visit your page.

Individuals typically enter your site by a variety of portals – social media, search engines, referrals, etc.  At each port of entry, your content appears before they even visit your website.

Have you considered how this content represents your brand and the power it holds to attract people to it? Do you have a strategy in place to lure prospective clients to your page over your competitors?

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Social Media

Your customer’s web user experience doesn’t start on your website. It often starts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or another social media platform.  Visitors come across your posts, find value in what you offer, and begin to follow your page.

Don’t just collect names and then let them sit there.  Create social media content that reminds them of the value of the products and/or services you provide.  Don’t just post promotions, though.  Provide content that resonates with your audience.  Even if they don’t require your service right away, they will remember the messaging that you’ve provided all along.  Without a strong content and user experience strategy here to inspire your potential customers to investigate you further, you will never convert them to your page to wow them with your web design later.

Search Engines

For many of your potential customers, their website user experience begins on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or some other search engine.  Here, again, your amazing web page design and user experience means nothing if you don’t provide a compelling page summary to bring visitors to your site in the first place.

Most search engines, such as Google, typically have a 160-character limit to get your message across.  Keep it clear and concise.  Don’t waste valuable space, plainly state what you offer, the value of this offer, and what differentiates you from your competition.  Really make it count.

Search engines also rely on “meta keywords” to bring up relevant results for users, so don’t neglect to add these to your web template as well.  WordPress and other publishing sites make it easy to add these in not only for your website in general, but for individual pages as well.  Pull out relevant key words and phrases that accurately reflect the page content.  Don’t make them too narrow – think about what you would realistically search to find your page and go from there.

Referrals

Referrals link your website from another website.  In general, referrals work great for exposure.  Not only do they increase your search engine influence, they provide a “word-of-mouth” testimonial of the value your business provides.  Basically, the referring page implies that if their follower finds value in their page, that they will find value in yours as well.

Now here’s where this can get troublesome.  Do these referrals truly share the same values as your business?  Do these introductions accurately represent your brand and what you have to offer?  While you may have little or no control over the content that leads visitors to your site via this method, you do have a choice over whose content best represents the quality of your product or service.  Don’t taint your users’ experiences by aligning yourself with a page with poor content and user design.  Seek out strong referrers who will increase your value, not diminish it.

Email Newsletters and Campaigns

For many businesses, email newsletters or marketing campaigns bring a significant number of visitors to their website.  Ensure that the content for any articles or promotional material contained within these electronic messages aligns well with the content on your website.  Again, don’t wait for your potential customers to arrive on your page to wow them and win them over.  Just like on social media, you want to provide your readers with content that resonates with them.  By demonstrating that you care enough about them to deliver quality content in your outreach, you will increase the likelihood that they will visit your page to find out more.

Remember, to keep your messaging consistent throughout all of these different forms of connection with your fan base.  Be true to yourself and what you have to offer throughout your messaging.  Like strong content strategy, user experience strategy relies on consistency throughout all of your external customer interfaces.  Keep your customer’s needs and perspective in the forefront and soon you’ll be living a life unbound!