Ever been on a website that was impossible to navigate? Like no matter where you went on it you couldn’t find your answers. (I’m thinking any government website I’ve ever been on.) Or how about walking into a business and not feeling like you were taken care of. You were a second thought to whatever else they were doing while you were in their shop. All these things and more make up the user experience and it’s something your brand needs to think about from start to finish.
One of my favorite things to do is a brand review. It’s a simple process where I step into the shoes of a brand’s customer and walk through every digital aspect of a brand to see what’s working and what’s falling flat. I go through their social media, I sign up for their newsletter, I browse through every in or their blog, and then I create a report that breaks down everything I noticed. The good, the bad and the ugly. And trust me, we’ve all got ugly!
Business is complicated because we’re so close to it. We’re in our brands everyday working on trying to make it better. We come up with new ideas, we rush through projects, we push publish and we don’t look back. But we also never get the outside opinion of what its like to step into our brand. Does our copy make sense? Do the images resonate? Do you even know what we do? This all comes back to our user experience and informs us of why we might not be connecting with our audience.
What is User Mapping?
The best way to dive into your user experience is to create a map of how you want a customer to move through your business. This usually starts with social media or word of mouth. The very first step they take to even discover your brand. From there where do they go? Maybe they sign up for a freebie and get an email from you or they go striaght to your website to read a blog post. Then they slowly learn about who you are, what you do, and how you’ll solve their problems. Finally, they browse around to find out more and after weeks of courting them, they hit purchase.
Whew, that was a journey.
But it doesn’t end there. We’re not in the business of serving a customer once, we’re in the business of creating customers for life. We want a devoted tribe, not just one-and-done shoppers. So you continue to court them with blog posts and newsletters that add value. You create giveaways and reels on Instagram to keep them engaged and put your brand in the front of their mind. You offer excellent customer service so they feel seen and heard and then you ask them to convert again. Maybe this time it’s an upgraded offering like a higher tier subscription or a more expensive fair trade sweater that you know they’ll love. You started them with a small purchase and as you get to know them and they gain trust in you, their lifetime customer value grows.
This is the idea behind the user experience mapl. Where do they start with your brand? What steps do they take to convert? Once they convert how do you get them to convert again, or increase their spending? But most importantly how do you do all of this without losing their trust and ALWAYS providing value for them? All of this is written down in a liner format (or drawn out as a map) so you can see just how your customer moves through your brand and how you can match your marketing to this process.
How to Make a UX Map
The best way to create a powerful user experience is by understanding who your customer is and what their needs are. You can create so much value for your customers when you know what their pain points are and speak directly to them. What problems do they face? What questions do you get over and over again? Who are they hoping to be after working with you? All of these questions will help you cater to your customers and build and experience that is meaningful to them.
But it doesn’t stop at being clear in whom you serve. It’s also about being clear on who you are and what you do. Your social media and website should have this laid out front and center so that there is no guessing on what you do and who you product/service is for. If you don’t know if you’re doing this yet, you can check out my post on creating a one-liner for your business.
It’s the brands that really know who they are and what they’re doing that we trust the most. Just think of your favorite shops to walk into or the brands you purchase from online. You know and love them because they know who they are and who they are for. The serve and clear purpose and there is no confusion on that.
We want your brand to feel just like that.
Creating A Cohesive User Experience
Part of having a powerful user experience is having cohesion throughout your brand experience. This means that colors, fonts, styles of photography, and language all need to to be the same across every platform you’re on. Phrases you use or common topics should be everywhere you are. Your dedicated brand fonts and colors should follow you wherever you go and you need to create a photography esthetic that feels like you.
The idea behind this is that no matter where your customers sees your brand–Newsletter, website, social, etc.– they know that it’s you without looking for your name. It should be automatic for them to think of your brand as soon as they see those colors, fonts, photos or hear that voice.
The Key is Creating an Experience
The brands that we think of often or recommend to our friends are the ones that have created an experience. They have thought about the tiniest of details, they go above and beyond and they always provide vale. This is what a user experience is all about.
As you relook at your brand think about the follow:
- Does your brand feel cohesive across all accounts?
- Can you name your brand fonts, colors, and voice?
- Are you clear about who you are?
- What about who you serve?
- What’s your customer’s funnel from discovering to converting?
- Every step of that journey are you stating how you can serve them, providing value and not just asking for a sale?
By taking a look at these questions you’ll start to see where your customer experience might be falling flat. But the great news is, if you can find the weak spots, you can fix them to make them stronger. Change things around and become the brand you’ve always dreamt of. And if you ever want a pair of fresh eyes who knows a thing or two about marketing and branding, you can always get a brand review for yourself.