Carolyn Lyden gave a great keynote address at SMX Advanced 2021 this week about empathy marketing and it really hit home with me. It was a great way to put much of what I have been preaching into one succinct phrase. Empathy marketing is all about the user and making sure you are giving them everything they need in an easy-to-navigate and understand process. It is about keeping your ears and eyes open to avoid your own biases and let your users tell you what they like and don’t like. In over 15 years in this industry, even as someone who leans into data, I have definitely seen approaches that we were sure were better show us that they weren’t because we were measuring properly for success. Let’s take a step back though.
UX for SEO and PPC Success
For years Google has been telling us that user experience, or UX, is the #1 ranking factor. For those of us that are data-driven and like to categorize and rank all of the individual factors, this is frustrating. UX encompasses so many different things so naturally, it is the top factor because it is so many factors. It is sort of the standard Google answer without giving an answer approach. However, it does hold water and as we evolve in the industry and in marketing in general, we see more clearly how the muddy definition is actually the closest definition because the different individual factors lean on each other in different ways as we get nuanced for different searches.
Different Searches Need Different Experiences
A search for a definition may want a very fast and succinct answer. A research-based searcher may be looking for something much more thorough with pictures and diagrams to support the result. A top-of-the-funnel shopper may be looking for many examples that solve their general problem. Someone down the funnel may be looking for a very specific model or product and just want to buy it easily. An image searcher may want something entirely different and be reliant on higher-quality images that are a little slower to load. Hopefully, you are getting my point.
Respect Your Visitors
The heart of empathy marketing is just really listening to your visitors and getting them what they want and need as easily as possible. For small businesses, this can be a lot tougher than corporations with a lot of money to throw around for testing. Always err on the side of helping to reduce friction for your visitors. Make it easy for them. I would recommend a book called Friction by Roger Dooley. Once you read this, you will recognize friction in every aspect of your life. It helps you get your mindset on processes that are making things more difficult than they need to be. Small business owners may not have a lot of budget to hire firms for A/B testing, but we can have friends or colleagues walk through our process and let us know what friction they run into from an outsider’s perspective. What data we do have, we must use to inform and help us make better decisions for our users going forward. We may expect one approach to be successful, but unless we measure and adjust, we don’t know for sure. Often we are most tied to our own ideas, even if they are sinking ships unless we have our user data to tell us it just doesn’t work.
Always Think of the User
Always be thinking about what your users want in terms of answers to their questions or obstacles to buying from you. It is no longer the era of putting generic overviews out there. You need to have the information your user is looking for or they will go elsewhere. Think of your own customer journeys. What prevents you from buying from someone? Do you have elements of those same hurdles in your sales funnel? You may be doing to your own potential customers the same thing that annoys you about others. Remove those hurdles. Provide that information that they need to make their decision and you will be surprised how effective it is at improving your rankings and sales. Google is measuring this stuff, even if you aren’t. Bake it into your processes. Just walk in your customer’s shoes. You may be surprised what it feels like and how you can make things better for you and them.