User experience rules, meaning that continuing to broadcast only what your business does will likely lead to diminishing returns over time. One of the best examples of the cost of emphasizing utility over experience was made by HomeAway when it became apparent that Airbnb was going to become a significant competitor in the private rental space.
HomeAway developed a marketing campaign that stressed its high-end accommodations versus Airbnb’s lower cost offerings (which included sofas to sleep on). HomeAway pounded away at the differences between the two companies, emphasizing the superiority of its rentals in a way that didn’t engage its audience. Airbnb, on the other hand, marketed the advantages of finding privately owned rentals by highlighting unique vacation experiences that were convenient, affordable and accessible. In addition to neglecting the vacation experience, HomeAway’s comparison-based marketing also included the flaw of introducing Airbnb to its own customer base. This took place in 2008, when HomeAway had the lion’s share of the private rental market. Seven years after the misguided marketing campaign, Airbnb’s market cap is about $20 billion versus HomeAway’s $3 billion cap.
While this example is based on a large-scale marketing campaign, the user experience also takes place during every touch point with a business. Here are 3 ways to enhance the experience of your potential and existing customers as well as the results of your digital marketing initiatives.
- Present a mobile-friendly website – The chances are that your site is being seen by more mobile than desktop users, a trend that will increasingly lean toward smaller device access as we roll along. Make sure that your website recognizes the size of the viewport that is being used for access so that the page can be organized for easy viewing and navigation.
- Engage readers – Pages that don’t capture attention within a few seconds are usually left in a cloud of dust as visitors bounce away looking for information that speaks to them. Aligning your content with the information that drives visitors to each page can ensure that visitors get what they expect when they arrive.
- Make conversions easy – Arrange your mobile pages so that your “call to action” buttons are easy to find. The optimal location will depend on several variables and should be tested in real time to determine the place that drives the most conversions. For example, call to action boxes are usually placed near the top of the page when the objective is to build an opt-in list with a free product offer. Buy buttons, on the other hand, are usually placed lower on the page, especially if readers are presented with more text to consume before making a purchasing decision.
The competition for internet sales steadily intensifies. To win your share of sales, your digital marketing strategy has to prioritize the customer experience at every touch point.