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People organizing picture of iphones regarding user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design

If you’ve heard the term UI/UX, the acronyms might be off-putting like ‘SEO’ and ‘SEM.’ Trust us… We know ALL about marketing acronyms here at Digital Storyteller. (There are a lot of them out there!)

Anyway, you’ve likely heard the term UI/UX. Maybe you don’t know exactly what this means, but you know it’s important. Today, we have Amanda Rogers, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of Digital Storyteller on camera to explain UI/UX and why each is important.

What is UX? What is UI?

Although UX and UI are usually placed together in a single term, “UI/UX design,” the two are separate entities often conflated in the design world.

UX is an abbreviation for ‘User Experience’ and UI is an abbreviation for ‘User Interface.’ 

User experience (UX) is how a person feels when interacting with a system—whether it be a website, mobile app, desktop software, etc. Therefore, UX design is the process that design teams use to create products that provide meaningful, relevant experiences to users, according to the Interaction Design Foundation.

User interface (UI), according to UX Planet, is the “graphical layout of an application.” For example, text you read, buttons you click, images, sliders—any object that a user interacts with. All of these visual, interactive elements must be designed.

Why is UX/UI Design Important? How Does It Drive Leads?

UX/UI design is important because it is how you want somebody to feel and what an individual to do when they come to your website or application.

UX/UI design is pretty straightforward. Consider: When you think about the structure of a website, you want…

  • A strong impact message
  • A call to action that invites people into some kind of a closer relationship with your company
  • Or a value-add! (Maybe you’re giving them something)

As you build out your user experience and your user interface, think about navigating a website. Ask yourself some questions like:

  • How easy is it to find our contact information?
  • How easy is it to look someone up who’s on our team?
  • How clear is our messaging?
  • How compelling are our calls to action throughout the site?
  • Does our home page draw them in?
  • What does our menu look like? Is it easy to navigate?

Think about what you want people to do and how you’re going to take them through an intentional journey.

For us at Digital Storyteller, it all starts with a Brand Storytelling Session and the way you talk, and that informs the way you make people feel and what you help them do through your website. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Interested in learning more about one of the world’s biggest social media platforms? (They for sure can’t ignore the effect that UX/UI design has on their app!) Read on to learn more about what is going on with the Instagram algorithm.

Top Seven Categories of Digital Marketing

How They Work Together

The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving. (We know you know this because we remind you of this in nearly every piece of content we push out!) There are, however, a handful of tried and true marketing efforts under the larger umbrella term of ‘digital marketing.’

Because let’s be honest, not all marketing efforts are created equal. Here we will discuss the top seven categories of digital marketing and how they work together. These seven categories of digital marketing are fundamental to the success of your business’s content marketing strategy.

So, let’s get started.

Content Marketing

First, what is content marketing? Content marketing is the bread and butter of what we do at Digital Storyteller.

Content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action,” as put by the Content Marketing Institute.

Today, the traditional sales pitch style of marketing is decreasing in value every day. Instead, content marketing approaches prospective clients by providing useful, relevant content to help solve problems or answer questions. Furthermore, content marketing aims to build trust with your prospective clients rather than simply complete a sale. 

Effective content marketing utilizes the “creating and sharing [of] relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media.”

This type of marketing helps to establish expertise and increase brand awareness. The goal is to make sure your business is at the top of your prospect’s mind when the time to purchase a product or service comes.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is another crucial pillar in terms of your digital marketing strategy. SEO, in simple terms, is what allows your content to be found.

For our friends who love definitions, SEO, according to Moz, is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” SEO is how marketers tailor their content to appeal to search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

For example, you might search ‘affordable chardonnay near me’ on Google. The way that Google then provides results based on your search is determined by SEO. SEO is the tool that tells Google, “Hey! This is what information my website has, this is what I’m talking about, and these are the types of people that would find my website interesting!”

One of our favorite SEO tools to use at Digital Storyteller is Semrush. Semrush is an online tool that collects research on your business’s SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), content, and social media efforts. It can also help you identify keywords you are currently ranking for or targeting.

If you didn’t know, information about ranking keywords is critical to making your way up the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

For more on all things SEO, check out this article for 10 tips to maximize your SEO efforts, this article we wrote on why SEO is important, or one of our more recent articles on how to effectively combine SEO and content marketing!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Parallel to SEO, we have SEM. You guessed it, another crucial piece of digital marketing.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, which is, according to Optimizely, “a digital marketing strategy used to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).”

In the past, SEM typically encompassed both organic and paid search. Today, however, it almost exclusively refers to paid search advertising.

SEM is “the act of using paid strategies to increase search visibility.” Every day, businesses pay big money for their ads to rank first on search engine results pages. Hint: You can tell when businesses are using SEM by the bold “Ad” text that accompanies a search result.

SEO, SEM, why so many acronyms?! While these two may seem like the same thing, they are actually quite different. Learn more about the difference between the two in this article.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is not dead. It has, however, become increasingly difficult to grab the attention of clients and prospects through their inboxes.

Email marketing, as defined by MailChimp, is “a form of direct marketing as well as digital marketing, that uses email to promote your business’s products or services.”

Email marketing can be used to promote your latest items and offers, or it can assist with lead generation, brand awareness, relationship building, and customer engagement. 

The biggest challenge with email marketing is breaking through the noise. The best email marketing experts:

  • Craft compelling campaigns
  • Understand optimal audience outreach
  • And analyze customer interactions and data

Email marketing software companies, including HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, and more, help perfect your email marketing campaigns by providing automated email workflow options as well as in-depth email marketing data (i.e. open rates and click-through rates).

Data Analytics

Marketing without data is merely speculation—a guessing game of what you hope will land with your prospects and clients.

At Digital Storyteller, we recognize that data is a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. When it comes to our analyses, we use Google Analytics (primarily for website data), Semrush (for keyword analytics), and additionally Metricool (to look at social media performance).

Design and Website

As far as design goes, making sure your brand is consistent across all digital and print platforms helps clients and prospects recognize your brand immediately. 

Contrary to popular belief, design—whether for marketing collateral, social media, or a website—is more than just pictures and drawings. Venture and Grow state, “Graphic design is the art of communication that requires creativity and a systematic plan to solve a problem or achieve specific objectives.”

So, what makes effective design in digital marketing?

Effective graphic design “highlight plans to discover what makes [content] genuinely stand out and get shared.”

Additionally, top-notch design helps:

  • Build trust
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Influence the customer decision-making process

Don’t underestimate this component’s power in your digital marketing strategy. After all, you could have amazing content that gets swept under the rug because of poor presentation.

Speaking of design, let’s take a moment to chat about your website. Your business’s site isn’t just an opportunity to showcase your branding and design. Whether or not your site is easy to navigate and structured properly has a huge influence on how (and IF) clients and prospects will interact with your brand.

So, take a minute to ask yourself these questions: Is my website easy to navigate? Is it nice to look at? Does it lead people on a journey to find out more about my business?

Social Media Marketing

Of course, social media is a huge pillar in your digital marketing strategy. The platforms that you use (and that are essential to your digital marketing strategy) depend heavily on your target audience. Ask yourself where your prospects spend the most time, and where they are most likely to be influenced to trust a brand.

To learn which social platforms your business should be on, read our article “Financial Services Companies: Which Social Media Platforms Should You Be On?

Social media marketing includes any content that is released via a business’s social media channels. When it comes to a business, however, it’s not all fun and games. Crafting the perfect social media marketing strategy to fit into your larger digital marketing strategy is more complicated than posting on your own Instagram or LinkedIn.

Social media marketing is integrated and strategic. It takes hard work. Everything that pushes to social media must mirror the messages that are used throughout your business.

Social Media Analytics

Analytics are also crucial to your social media marketing.

This data can help you discover what types of posts do or don’t do well and why. With this data, social media marketers can better tailor their strategies for their business’s benefit.

Digital Storyteller is Here to Help

We know, there is a lot that goes into a successful digital marketing strategy. At Digital Storyteller, we like to think of your digital marketing strategy as a giant system of gears working together. Content is at the heart of this system and drives all of the marketing components like SEO, SEM, social media marketing, and so on.

The system would fail without each gear in place. So, how does your digital marketing strategy measure up? Read on to learn how to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy. You might be surprised by how your business is really doing.

Website Redesign

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering revamping your business’s website. To paint a picture, you might be asking yourself if your current website still fits your needs. Or, if you’re like many others, you might be cringing, asking yourself, ‘Why did I ever think that looked good?!” (We’ve all been there…)

Truth be told, there are many reasons why you might be considering a redesign. (Note: a ‘rebrand’ is something completely different altogether. Don’t worry you can learn everything you need to know about rebranding your business on our blog).

Anyway, whether your site isn’t performing well or it simply doesn’t mesh with your business’s look and feel anymore, we’re here to help answer the question: How often should you redesign your website?

Let’s dive in.

The Hard and Fast Answer

For those of you who don’t want to sift through the reasons why your business might consider a website redesign, here’s a general rule of thumb for how often you should refresh your website.

A business should consider a redesign every three years, according to Amanda Rogers, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Digital Storyteller. You may find that your business needs a redesign sooner, but likely not much longer after the three-year mark.

“Every three years you should look at your website and really evaluate how much your business has changed.” 

If you look at the last three years alone in the business world, so much has changed with:

  • COVID
  • The changing world of work
  • The way we talk about our teams
  • The way we talk about building culture
  • The way that we share our relationships with our clients

For example, many of our clients went from working exclusively in California to working around the country. This considered, they needed to adjust the language on their site to be not state-specific but industry-specific.

Make Sure Your Website Has These Elements

The three-year timeframe is about the time that a website is still considered ‘new.’ Remember, you always want your website to be:

  • Convenient
  • Functional
  • Aesthetically pleasing (the fun part!)
  • On-brand
  • And always, user and mobile-friendly

So, there are shifts in your business that require looking at your website every three years at a minimum.

Then, of course, we have to recognize that there are shifts in style as well.

How Often Should I Really Redesign My Website?

Now, for those who don’t need a quick answer, here’s the truth behind how often you should redesign your website, but in more depth.

(We know. We’re going to get a lot of hate for this one.)

The true answer to the question at hand is, it depends.

Yes, we know. That’s an annoying answer that no one wants to hear but it’s true. Whether or not you need to redesign your website varies on a case-by-case basis.

Below, we’ve listed some reasons as to why you might consider a website redesign.

To Address a Problem

Redesigns aren’t always about aesthetics and branding. Is your business’s website experiencing a drop in organic traffic? You’re no longer ranking on Google’s search engine results page? Or, is your website subject to a cyber hack?

To provide another reason for a redesign, maybe your site isn’t effective. Quality content that is hard to find, slow loading times, and links that lead to nowhere (or error or 404 pages), are all huge turn-offs for site visitors.

If any of these problems sound familiar, it’s time to freshen up your site.

To Address Being Outdated and to Align Branding

Sometimes things just look, well, blah! As our favorite Disney antagonist, Sharpay Evans says, “It’s out with the old and in with the new.”

Ask yourself these questions to see if it’s time for a redesign: Is your branding consistent across all platforms? Does your site look or feel outdated? If the answer is ‘yes’ to either of these questions, it might be time.

Because It’s Just Time

Sometimes you don’t need a big problem or reason to redesign your site. It might just be time.

As we well know at Digital Storyteller, the world wide web is constantly changing. Those who don’t keep up in terms of website design will be left in the dust. If your site isn’t offering the best experience to your users, that can be reason enough for a redesign.

Remember, your website will always be changing. It’s a living, breathing piece of content, which leads us to our next point.

Website Maintenance is Key

Let’s imagine. You just finished a website revamp for your business. Hooray! “Glad we’ve got that off our plate,” you might be thinking.

“We don’t have to worry about touching the site for another two to three years, thank goodness…” NOT!

Just because you’ve gone through a redesign as of late, does not mean your site is good to go until the next redesign.

As our Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Digital Storyteller, says, “Web design is never over.” (We also like to call her the web design genius!)

As Amanda well knows, there is always a bug to fix, a team member profile to add, coding to tweak, the list goes on. You will always be completing website maintenance, including site audits, and making small improvements.

This might include changes when:

  • Your products and/or services change
  • Your mission evolves
  • Branding is reconsidered
  • Your team grows
  • Prices change
  • The Google algorithm changes (and yes, it will change…)
  • Updates to mobile sites occur
  • And more

Is it Time for Your Redesign?

At Digital Storyteller, we recognize that these changes might be beyond your team’s expertise. We know, it’s a lot of work—which is why we’re here to help.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at your website:

  • Is it reflecting who you are as a business right now?
  • Is it looking forward to where you are headed as a company?
  • Does it have any sort of telltale stylistic elements that have fallen from favor?

These three questions alone are a great way to tell whether it’s time to redo your website.

Contact our team at Digital Storyteller today to learn more about how we can support your upcoming website design project or website build.

Want to get to know us before you hop on the phone to discuss? We totally get it. Check out our most recent culture video where our team shares our 2022 New Year’s Resolutions!