Peanut Butter and Jelly. Bread and Butter. Steak and Potatoes.
What thoughts do these pairings stir in you other than how hungry you are? The answer: they are all tried and true combinations, whose sum is greater than their parts.
While you’re making this list of great combinations, take a moment and add: Inbound Marketing and User Experience Design. To be effective in web design strategy, every Inbound Marketer needs access to a UX Designer.
Inbound marketing and user experience have a lot in common and more than meets the eye. Both disciplines engage in a form of Discovery, both are focused on the needs and wants of your users, and both play a crucial role in laying the groundwork for your website. However, they historically work independently of each other. User Experience designers launch a project and inbound marketers take it over after deployment.
Inbound marketers need UX designers so they can observe, and influence, stages in a website project and prepare your website and content strategy for success from the beginning.
1) Inbound Marketers Need to Engage in Discovery
Inbound marketers and user experience designers alike are used to hearing this: We’ve already done discovery or we don’t need to do discovery. Clients come to the project table with assumptions and think they know what they want from their site.
They come with a predetermined marketing and content strategy and only need help when it comes to the execution. In reality, they are often building a website thinking of their internal stakeholders rather than their users and spending a little too much time doing me-search and not enough time doing research.
For a successful website project, inbound marketers and user experience designers need to engage in Discovery, together. They need to be able to ask specific questions in specific ways to get the answers that will inform their decisions.
A benefit of bringing in an outside inbound marketing consultant and user experience team is they aren’t weighed down by internal politics or corporate culture that has colored internal team member’s views.
During discovery, inbound marketers and UX designers work together to ask objective questions to build a website and an inbound marketing strategy that will deliver the results you are looking for.
2) Inbound Marketers Need Access to Decision Makers
One of the biggest advantages of hiring an inbound marketing consultant is they come to your team with a fresh perspective. They aren’t privy to internal issues and can use their objective viewpoint to write about your content exclusively for your users.
But in order for them to do so, they, like UX Designers, need access to key decision makers on your team. Talking about the project and determining goals with a representative of your team won’t give them the information they need. The most disruptive thing that can happen to a project budget is discovering two months down the line that the approved strategy was not approved by the right people.
This churn means that any strategic changes are not only going to cost you time and money, but that the new solution has to be baked into the existing framework. Inevitably the revised strategy is never the holistic solution that would have come from knowing these constraints from the beginning.
UX designers are trained experts at asking strategic questions in order to understand what the purposes of a website are. Inbound marketers need to shadow UX designers as they meet with decision makers to unearth information that can help them build a content strategy.
3) Inbound Marketers Need to Influence a Site Build
More often than not inbound marketing comes into play after the website is built. An organization will work with the website project team through deployment and then enlist an inbound marketer to promote the site once it’s live. Waiting this long to develop your marketing strategy means a longer wait until you see results and issues with using your website for your inbound marketing needs.
Instead of waiting until launch, inbound marketers should meet with UX designers during the wireframing stage of the project to take inventory of the different site sections and where marketing collateral will live. If the two collaborate, they can discuss key placement for Calls to Action and subscription boxes, and decide where different content types live on the site.
Working in tandem ensures that your marketing team will be able to use your website as a powerful tool, instead of having to ask developers to rework site structure to accommodate their messaging.
Inbound Marketers need access to the UX team to influence website builds from the beginning of a site project. Combining the two disciplines will help you strategically prepare your website for success post-launch.
Originally published Jul 11, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016