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The ultimate guide to optimizing your marketing website with UX research

Optimize Your Marketing Website by UX Research | Edgar Allan

We can’t overstate the importance of a well-crafted website. It’s the most important, persistent piece of owned marketing a company can have. It’s an accessible place for potential customers to learn about a company, start a conversation, and, depending on what you’re selling, even buy from you. Because it’s so essential as a UX researcher at Edgar Allan, it's crucial to my work to convey to clients the undeniable value of integrating user experience (UX) research into the design and redesign process on which they are embarking. 

In this article, we'll explore why, at Edgar Allan, UX research is not just a box to check but a strategic investment that we know significantly impacts the success of a website.

Here’s the basics: Your website is the online face of your brand. It's not just a bunch of pages; it's the go-to destination for people to understand who you are, what you do, and why you're worth their attention and, ultimately, their money. It’s also where you get credit for what your brand brings into the world, whether that’s a product, an idea, services, or a cult of personality your audiences clamber to be a part of.

On marketing sites, the goal of UX is pretty straightforward. Generally, it’s about ensuring visitors have a smooth and enjoyable time exploring your story, understanding your offerings, and, ideally, becoming customers. These goals shape the user journey for a positive online experience and UX research is the tool that lets us peek into your audience's preferences, guiding every decision to make a website that works well for them.

Now, you might be thinking, "But my site isn't a complex platform with tons of interactions. Is UX research really necessary?" Absolutely. Understanding your users is vital to creating a resonant experience, even for seemingly straightforward sites. It's not just about function; it's about connecting with your audience.

Let's delve into how we at EA use UX research to help us discover things that can elevate your marketing website and make it a standout in the competitive digital arena.

1. UX research helps us avoid making decisions from our own point of view. 

Before diving into design decisions, UX research helps us comprehend your target audience's needs, preferences, and behaviors. It also allows us to think further, creating active user personas, which provide a foundation for design decisions that resonate with the intended users. All of this pushes us to think outside our own heads and embody the mindsets and motivations of users. Remember that you are, in all likelihood, not the audience for the site you’re building. UX research reminds us to think through the lens of who is.

2. UX research identifies pain points and opportunities in user journeys, ensuring a smooth and intuitive path that maximizes engagement.

Effective marketing websites guide users seamlessly through their journey, from landing on the right page and rapidly capturing who your company is to completing a desired action, such as hiring your services. However, genuinely great sites also remove friction from the experience by anticipating what an audience expects. All of this requires insight — and insight comes from asking the right questions of the right people. UX research lets us do that systematically. 

3. UX research uncovers the barriers that might stop people from clicking contact, “buy now,” “get a demo,” or whatever your goal is. 

The ultimate goal of a marketing website is to convert visitors into customers. UX research gives us the information we need to make those buttons more clickable, the words on them more inviting, and the whole website more friendly so visitors feel encouraged to take the actions we want them to. Some of that is about content design and language (Is the baseline “click here” really the best prompt? What might be even more helpful?), and some of it is about design. UX research can inform both.

4. UX research brings real data to the table, showing us what users actually do.

Guessing isn’t a good strategy when creating a website. We conduct research so our design decisions aren't just based on hunches; they're grounded in how people really behave. Data-driven decision-making also gives us hard proof that our choices were successful… or need more thought. 

5. UX research ensures that your site is not only user-appropriate but also meets your audiences in a way that only your brand can.

In a saturated digital landscape, standing out is crucial. UX research provides insights into your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to develop a unique value proposition that sets your marketing website apart. All of this starts with brand strategy, of course, but UX research is a natural connection point between web and brand development. Outstanding UX research picks up where brand audience research leaves off, moving from telling us what audiences want to feel to what audiences want to experience or accomplish. 

6. UX research acts as a compass, pointing the way toward relevancy.

Digital trends and user expectations are ever-evolving. UX research guides design decisions in response to changing trends and ensures that the website remains relevant and appealing to the target audience. There is nothing more obvious than a site that hasn’t been refreshed in five or ten years. It’s not so much a matter of what’s “out” or “in” this year; it’s more about what users come to expect from digital experiences and interactions. If you’re way behind the curve, your brand equity suffers, and users see you as dated or a hassle to interact with. 

UX research isn't just a step in the web design and development process to check off, it's a key factor in successful marketing websites. Our advice: fight for it. Invest in understanding user needs, fine-tune user journeys, and embrace a data-driven approach, and you can unlock the full potential of your digital presence. 

Smart design and thorough research lead to websites that not only look good but also work smoothly, encouraging user interaction and, ultimately, conversions. 

Meet Kate’s Club: A real-world UX research example

Our work with Kate's Club is a prime example of how UX research makes a real impact. By understanding their audience deeply, we created a website that effectively communicates their mission and connects with users. Check out the full story of this successful collaboration here. It's proof that when user experience is a priority, the results speak for themselves.

At Edgar Allan we're all about ensuring UX research plays a central part in the project process, giving you the tools to make savvy decisions that launch your marketing websites to new levels in the digital world.

Interested in partnering with Edgar Allan to create a branded large language model on how to use AI in your agency or on a web design, brand, or content design project? Contact us today.

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