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Customer Experience and Design

Which Comes First? User Experience or Search Engine Marketing?

Two questions. Do you invite friends over to your place when it is a mess, or do you clean it up first? Are people encouraged to walk on a sidewalk before the cement is dry? Search engine marketing (SEM) before user experience (UX) might not be the best decision for your bottom line.

SEM is critical, but so is UX

A great user experience does absolutely no good if no one sees it, so most everyone is aware of the critical role of SEM. However, UX seems to be an add-on if there’s time/budget. The icing on the cake, if you will. Why would you load up your car with your family when you have no idea if your brakes work? Have you tested your navigation with users and are you confident that it’s not frustrating for them? If you haven’t, how much potential downside do you intentionally want to inflict on your users and ultimately your brand?
SEM before UX is an unforced error. A commitment to a balanced, well-implemented UX effort sets up your SEM team with a quality deliverable. A deliverable that you know will work when it is needed.
Your UX team can help to make sure that when users land on your page, they are provided with enough value to move them through to the next page and ultimately to conversion. If they come, it is in your best interest to have already built a brand-enduring experience. UX is about having confidence that you are making a good first and second impression. It’s about maximizing the return on your SEM dollars.

Identify the critical components

Support your UX researcher when they conduct testing that will help you to understand what aspects are critical to your users. The more you see the business goals and the users goals as something to be blended, the easier it might be to use your UX data as a guide to decision making.
We put oil in our cars before we drive, so our engines run more efficiently and last longer. And we study before we take tests. SEM before UX is like taking the test first, and then studying. Work with your UX researcher to shine some light on what is happening for your users. You just might find that sending in your UX team first will maximize all your SEM efforts afterward. UX, it’s a good thing.

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