Technology

5 Foundations to Building A Solid UX Strategy for your Brand

Sean Richards
October 12th 2021
UX strategies require extensive research, planning, and implementation if you want to create a user experience that promotes brand cohesiveness, customer loyalty, and high conversion rates. An efficient UX strategy will include research, an extensive brand audit, and a deep understanding of the benefits of an exemplary user experience.
Research involves collecting data from AI platforms that track customer experience and user engagement, Qualitative data from first-level stakeholders, second-level stakeholders, and user surveys, polls, and interviews. Audits involve collecting data from AI platforms such as Google Analytics and Sprout Social and analyzing it to discover disparities between current company insights and desired company goals.
Each facet of a brand audit is often illustrated to better represent conclusions. A strong UX strategy should include ideas on optimizing customer journeys that increase these metrics.
Your UX strategy is about more than a single product or platform. Think of a UX strategy as a style guide or detailed template for how you'll go about designing an engaging customer journey. A practical and adaptable UX strategy bridges relationships with your users, increases brand awareness, and boosts conversions. Designing a UX strategy may seem daunting, but it is absolutely crucial.
Here are five essential foundations to building a solid UX strategy.

Conduct User Research

Research is the basis of a solid UX strategy. UX Strategy begins with posing the right questions. These questions should be answered before creating your strategy. Many of the questions are raised to give your brand insight into market trends, target audience, and user behavior.

Understanding Target Audience

Begin with your loyal customers. Understanding your customer is vital to constructing the optimal UX strategy design. Targeting is the main goal here. At the basis of every great UX strategy is a thorough understanding of a brand's target audience. Segment your target audience research using demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral.
Demographic: Demographics refers to a particular sector of the population. Collect data on age, gender, profession, income, education level, marital status, location, race, homeownership, etc. Be as specific and detailed as you can in your research. Though tedious, the more demographic information you obtain, the better you can identify your target audience(s).
Psychographic: Psychological and lifestyle factors are a significant sector of target audience research. Understanding the lifestyle, social status, interests, activities, etc., of your audience allows you to further tailor your UX to anticipate potential customer pathways across your company's platforms.
Geographic: Get as local as you can. Determine country, state, county, city, town, and neighborhood. The more specific you get, the better. For example, marking a target audience in Manhattan is ineffective because Manhattan has several neighborhoods with various demographic and psychographic segments and cultures.
Behavioral: Behavioral data can determine user interactions with your business across various platforms. This information can be gathered via AI technologies like Google Analytics. Behavioral data should also be manipulated to reflect different aspects of the necessary information. A few examples of smart behavioral data are data on abandoned carts, a particular product page's bounce rate, and the number of fillable form errors on a website.

Competitor Research

Evaluate your competitors. What other companies are taking the same approaches to UX design as you, or a similar product to the one you are planning to launch? Here are a few types of competitor research to include:
Content Review: Content is an essential part of crafting an optimal UX strategy. It's important to research competitor content to see how their users respond to different types of content across their brand platforms. Analyze their web content, social media content, print and digital advertisements, blogs, articles, and whitepapers. Note their word count, topics, hashtags, tags, etc. Analyze the length of their sentences, titles, headlines, and general outlines. Again, the more thorough you are, the better.
SEO Analysis: Conducting a competitor SEO analysis is strictly quantitative and will give you the technical data you need to compare your own brand SEO. SEO deals primarily with how websites perform with search engines like Google. SEO analysis includes target keyword ranking, user traffic origin, link analysis, optimization, software optimization analysis, and more.
Website Review: Part of website review is conducting a quantitative SEO analysis. You should also study your competitor's website. Note responsiveness, tone, quality of visuals, images, and videos. Do their websites feature quality photos and bios of top executives? Note all user engagement pathways. How does their website engage with its users?
Compile your data and research. Keep a database, spreadsheet, detailed charts, graphs, and images to create a free-flowing, inclusive starting point for your analysis. You will include this research in your brand audit.

Perform a Brand Audit

Brand audits are very similar to business plans. A brand audit will generally cover internal branding, external branding, and customer experience. Thanks to the user and competitor research you will have conducted by the time you reach this step, you already know what you're measuring. Next, you'll need to review your website, check social media data, and create customer personas.

Website Auditing with Google Analytics

Also, look at how you can utilize AI platforms such as Google Analytics and Sprout social to obtain the quantitative data you need for your brand audit. There are a few things you need to perform a Google Analytics site audit. The first is a digital product, the second is a Google Analytics account, and the third is admin access. Lastly, you'll need traffic or users who generate enough movement on the site that Google is auditing by going through the funnel.
A digital product is a website or a web app. It can be yours or clients', as long as you have the necessary access to modify the key elements of the web app or website, Google Analytics will track and analyze the user data for you. Your Google Analytics account will provide you with a tracking code, also known as an analytics tag or global site tag. This tag is placed on the website so that Google Analytics can communicate with the website the tag is placed on. The tag allows Google to analyze your site's traffic which is your source of information.
Google Analytics allows you to track hundreds of metrics across your entire funnel, from inception to conversion. It will measure your sessions by page, users by demographics, page views, average time on page by channel, bounce rate by channel, entrances, and exit rates.
Analyze your Google Analytics data to answer the following questions: How, if at all, is my website growing? What is the website conversion rate? How do users behave on my website? How long do visitors stay on each page? How long do visitors stay on my page? How long do users spend reading the website articles? Only ask questions that are relevant to improving the user experience.

Conduct a Comprehensive Social Media Audit

The next step in conducting a brand audit that will help lay the foundation for a strong UX strategy is running a social media audit. Social media is one of the best ways to foster customer engagement, generate new leads, and drive conversions. A social media audit helps you determine what is working and what isn't, whether your profiles are outdated or optimized, how your audience is growing and engaging with your content, and how your profiles measure up to competitors.
Cortex, Sprout Social, Fintenza, and Affable.AI are a few social media tools that help your brand optimize social media channels, create optimized content, and streamline data collection and analysis.
Social media platforms like Sprout Social can help you gain a competitive advantage, enhance your social strategy, and show business results. Easily compare your performance with that of competitors to see how your social media strategy stacks up. Utilize Sprout Social's integrated publishing and engagement tools to monitor and analyze organic and paid campaigns. Sprout Social also features business tools that monitor impressions, engagements, and clicks by hashtag, month, campaign, campaign budget, etc. Gather your social report data conveniently illustrated through graphs and charts to add to your social media audit.
Sometimes, audits need a human touch. You may be able to make specific observations that AI technologies cannot compute. When auditing your social media manually, evaluate profile and bio text, handles, links, pinned posts, and verification.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself: How is my customer interaction on social media? How have my customers responded to my content? What type of content works the best? Is my content converting?
Once your social media audit is complete, create graphics, charts, and spreadsheets to illustrate the data.

Create Customer/User Personas

Customer personas are based on both qualitative and quantitative data. Customer personas are archetypes that represent vital behaviors and traits of large segments of your target audience. They are based on the data you collected from website analytics and user research. If done well, they can provide insight into what current and prospective customers are thinking, how they behave, and anticipate potential problems, questions, and concerns that they may have. Customer personas are actionable and reveal specific criteria that may result in that particular customer choosing either you or your competitor.
Use the research you've already gathered to create these personas. Incorporate background, demographics, and key identifiers to signify who the persona is. Qualitative data include user surveys, polls, and interviews. Quantitative data to draw from includes web analytics, targeted demographics, and internal data. When creating a customer persona, include relevant situational content that will reflect the lives of real potential customers. For example, include "a day in the life" sections that outline why that persona would need your business. Get creative, keeping in mind that the result will be a few personas that will help you determine potential customer pathways, needs, and which initiatives and features to highlight.

Create Customer/User Personas

The very premise of a solid UX strategy is the anticipation of user pathways. You must analyze your brand audit and research to help you anticipate customer pathways. It relies on consumer behavior and is an often overlooked foundational facet of creating a UX strategy. Anticipation of user stimulus behavior response and goal-directed behavior can help you map out potential customer pathways for your UX strategy.
Anticipating Stimulus Behavior Response:
The user's demographic and psychographic characteristics influence how they perceive your brand's stimuli across platforms. Stimuli include every minute facet of your brand's point of engagement. It all comes down to marketing psychology. As part of creating a UX strategy, you'll want to work backward. Assuming your brand's user experience is fully optimized across verticals, you can anticipate behavior based on the premise that each point of engagement produces positive stimulus behavior responses that propel current and prospective customers toward the end of your funnel to result in a conversion. To achieve a customer journey that is fueled by positive stimulus behavior responses, ask yourself the following:
What points of engagement are currently in place? Based on the data, do these points of engagement encourage positive or negative stimulus behavior responses? How can these points of engagement be optimized? Based on competitor and industry research, what types of points of engagement produce aversive or noxious stimulus behavior responses? How do we avoid this?
Ask questions like these to give your production team a starting point for creating a UX strategy that will optimize all brand products for highly engaging and positively stimulating responses that drive conversion.
Goal-directed behavior hinges on anticipation for both business/product and customer/user.

Test UX Strategy

Once you've created a solid UX strategy and have optimized your business's product or digital presence, test your product. Beta-launch new websites and user pathways on apps. Select a portion of each stakeholder segment and end-user group to test your strategy. After the testing phase is complete, collect more data. Once you've finished revising your strategy, launch.

Research, Revisit, Revamp UX Strategy

Because we live in a world where technology, society, and algorithms are constantly evolving, we know that UX strategies will also need to evolve. You should revisit your UX strategy periodically, conducting new research and revamping techniques to ensure your customers are getting the best your business has to offer and that your business is getting the conversions and ROI it deserves.

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