Merging Inbound Marketing & User Experience Design: An Introduction

Aleksandra Gabrić
Mar 12, 2017 · 5 min read

The UX Design movement is in direct response to outdated website design practices. And by that I mean the practice of designers and developers focusing on how cool and trendy the website was, with little regard to content and usability.

Remember parallax scrolling, everyone?

In that respect, you could argue that UX design forces businesses (and designers) to put their egos aside, and develop a customer-centric attitude instead. Coincidentally, inbound marketing does the same, in response to outbound marketing.

I have breaking news for you.

Traditional, seller-centric marketing is dead. Customer behavior patterns have changed — and with that, new, better and smarter methodologies have emerged.

Customers no longer want to be sold to — they want to be educated. They want things to happen on their own time; when they are ready to make the purchase.

Let’s try and create some empathy here.

You are someone’s prospect, aren’t you? When was the last time you were thrilled after getting a phone call from a sales rep giving you a static sales pitch about a product you don’t even care about? For that matter, when did you last pick up a call from an unknown number? If I wanted to take this even further, I’d admit that I often don’t pick up the phone when my mom calls, just because I don’t feel like it at the time. But I won’t. Love you, Mom.

Back to you.

Did you ever intentionally click on a disruptive banner ad? No? Didn’t think so.

While we are at this — raise your hand if you use some form of ad-blocking software. Good for you. For the rest of you, you can grab it here. You’re welcome.

Back to my original point. Customers, even if they’re not very tech savvy, are utilizing the power of the internet. They are doing their research, and making educated decisions when purchasing a product or a service. A few years ago it was easy to rely on techniques like cold emails, cold calls and paid ads. It was also relatively easy to create an outbound message that grabs the attention of your target audience. However, customers have become numb to it.

When I was visiting my uncle in London — it was 2010 or so — his landline would be ringing at least twice a day. Every day he would ignore those calls. I, young and clueless, asked what was going on. The next time the phone rang, he picked up. The sales rep started with their pitch — and they obviously didn’t need any feedback. My uncle (also Aleks) set the phone aside. A home phone. Remember? The big ones?

We could hear the sales rep talk for at least 15 minutes; uninterrupted and unbothered. Finally Aleks decided to pick up; said he wasn’t interested and hung up. I sat there shocked by the fact that a real, live, human person had an elaborate monologue whilst the phone was sitting on the shoe rack.

“Typical noon”, my uncle said.

Granted, what he did may have been a dick move, as the aforementioned real, live, human person was making a living doing what they do. However, I think it speaks loud and clear about what marketing had boiled down to.

It’s 2017 and this experience seems almost surreal. And yet, some companies still rely on the same approach. They could not be more misguided.

Aside from the obvious, here’s why:

Did you know that 68% of online buyers will spend considerable time reading content published by a brand they’re interested in? They also go through about 57% of the buying cycle on their own without talking to sales.

What does that mean for you as a business owner, and your marketing strategy?

Assuming you have well defined buyer personas (if you don’t, allow us to help you figure it out) and know who you want to attract and engage, start by thinking about what their potential problems are. What is it that you can do to help them? Think about how you can bring them value without asking for anything in return.

Every interaction that the user has with your brand needs to be tailored to where they are in the buyer’s journey.

If your prospect is in the awareness stage, why not write an educational blog post that identifies their problems specifically and offers advice and insights?

It’s all about providing the right content, to the right audience, at the right time. Similarly, with UX design, every aspect of the web design needs to ensure ease of use for the user persona.

Both inbound marketing and user experience design revolve around the same goal; which is to help customers solve their problems. Forget about pushy sales tactics, manipulation and similar trickery to get them to use your service or product.

Prospects are far more likely to become customers when you’ve already gained their trust and helped them in some way.

Poor website usability, hard-sell tactics and static sales pitches will only make prospects lose trust in your brand (or you will never have gained it in the first place), and damage your reputation. You will also most likely have lost that prospect for good.

With a properly conceived and executed inbound marketing strategy, followed by a well thought out UX design, you’ll be able to become a thought leader in the eyes of your prospects, and if you nurture them into leads, when they are ready to buy — they will turn to you.

If you are a designer who likes to chat about marketing, or a marketer who appreciates designers, let’s connect on Twitter.

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