Why Startup Marketers Should Care About User Experience

In a few days I'll be heading to The Fluxible, a user experience (UX) conference in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. I've been to a few UX events in the past year and it's always struck me that I'm usually the only marketer in the room.

User experience is typically something that startups think about in the context of their product. For example, how easy is it for users to achieve their goals, how do they perceive their interaction with the product, etc...

As a discipline, UX has been traditionally considered an extension of design, but in my opinion, a user's experience is the sum of all her touchpoints with a product, much of which occurs even before she have become a user or customer. It's a combination of copy, layout, design and interaction, in everything from signup pages to email campaigns to their free trial experience. Here are a few example of good UX in marketing:

Newsletter signup

The folks at Method know their brand well, and they make sure it's expressed even in something as seemingly functional as a newsletter signup. Doesn't this image make you look forward to getting their emails?



Signup page

When you go to signup for an account with Nimble, a SaaS CRM product, the dialogue box next to the field where you enter your name changes from red to green when you complete the information. Once you have successfully entered a first and last name, the text changes to say "Nice to Meet You". This small interaction sets the tone for what it will be like to do business with this company, and leaves a memorable impression.


Content download

Nathan Barry is a freelance designer who has written a number of books on design that he offers for sale on his website. He offers a free chapter of this book for download and entices the user to signup by showing a great visual sample of the interior of his book. The user doesn't have to guess at what's inside and they are given an option to also receive a 30-day email course for free (see signup box). Below this free chapter offer he lists 3 difference packages for purchase, starting with the lowest. It would be interesting to test his conversion rates if the user could view all 3 packages side by side versus one below the other.


Website copy

Websites are a blank canvas for startup marketers; each page is an opportunity to win over a visitor or send them clicking away to someone else's website. Sugru is a company that makes a sort of silly-putty-on-steroids. The product was invented by accident while their founder was in university, and over the years they've developed a cult following. They use something as straightforward as their About Us page to deliver bite-sized scrollable cards that tell the story of how they came to be.

Can't Get Enough?

If these examples have whet your appetite, here are a few suggestions on how you can become more familiar with UX and find ways to think about the user experience when designing your marketing campaigns and communications:

  • Attend a UX conference or local UX meetup
  • Join a UX online community or discussion forum
  • Read some books on UX - a couple of favourites of mine are The Design of Everyday Things and Microinteractions
  • Regularly follow UX blogs and experts on Twitter