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How Prospect Experience Design Can Help You Create a Better Marketing Website

If you are currently designing or redesigning your website, the last thing you probably want is an article extolling the virtues of an unknown design methodology. But if you’re willing to give me just five minutes of your time, I’d like to convince you that your lead generation website needs a different approach to design.

No matter how educated you are in traditional User Experience Design, nor how carefully you execute its traditional best practices, your website will not deliver the leads you need without an approach that takes the prospect’s experience into consideration.

UX vs. PX

A core principle of User Experience Design (UX) is to enhance user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure of interacting with a product or interface. But, good user experience doesn’t guarantee the success of a lead generation website. The purpose of your website is to serve you by attracting and graduating prospects through the buy-cycle. It should elevate only the best-fit opportunities for you to pursue. That means we need to adjust our approach to UX — not in a way that runs counter to good design, but by focusing in on the goals that are unique to marketing.

Prospect Experience Design (PX) does this by (1) addressing specific users, (2) encouraging specific interactions, and (3) expecting specific outcomes.

Prospect Experience Design isn’t about making it easy for users to do whatever they want to do. It’s about making it easy for prospects to do what you want them to do. It’s a big difference that should yield very different results if you understand it and apply it properly.

Let me explain how.

First, PX focuses in on specific users.

When you design for everyone, you can expect them to go everywhere and anywhere. But you can’t expect to have much control over what they experience. When you design for someone specific, it’s easier to ensure that they take specific actions and have specific experiences. So, PX begins by identifying your prospects.

(In the next article in this series, I’ll review how to write positioning-focused marketing copy for the right personas. All lead generation websites depend upon clear and targeted messaging.)

Next, PX helps you encourage specific actions.

PX is built upon the concept of primary actions. Primary actions are the things you want your prospects to do. It’s more likely that prospects will do those things if you make their importance clear and offer fewer alternatives.

Every page of your lead generation website should be designed to clearly present a single primary action to prospects. This is probably the most controversial aspect of PX, but it’s also the core difference between it and most other design methods.

It means that visitors will have fewer options, but the options they do have will result in better outcomes for you. It means you’ll shed visitors faster, but the ones who remain will be right-fit prospects. They are the only visitors you should care to retain.

Every page of your website can also present between one and three secondary actions. Secondary actions are the things you would prefer your prospects do if they are not ready to take the primary action you have identified on your web page. For example, the primary action on an article detail page may be the completion of a newsletter subscription form. However, prospects that are not yet ready to subscribe would be more likely to see the value of a subscription once they’ve seen the depth of your knowledge of a given subject. A list of related articles provides a good secondary action for prospects still evaluating a subscription decision.

Finally, PX identifies specific outcomes.

Sometimes, an outcome and a primary action are the same, like a newsletter subscription form in a sidebar — this is exactly the sort of conversion we expect of a lead generation website. But, an outcome can also be a series of choices that prospects make on multiple pages. By identifying the right primary actions on every page, you can ensure that prospects flow through your website in a more purposeful and predictable way.

Now that you understand what makes PX different, I’d like to offer some specific practical recommendations.

This article is the first in an multi-part series that will guide you through applying the principles of Prospect Experience Design for yourself, so that your lead generation website can not only meet your marketing expectations, but exceed them.

The Prospect Experience Design series includes:

  1. Intro to Prospect Experience Design (PX) – you are here
  2. Copywriting for Positioning
  3. Information Architecture for Marketing Websites
  4. Marketing Website Home Page Design
  5. The Capabilities Landing Page
  6. Service Landing Pages
  7. Writing and Designing Case Studies
  8. Designing an Effective Content Hub
  9. Article Details Pages
  10. Designing Effective Prospect Engagement Points
  11. Using Stock Imagery Well

Next in the series is a guide to writing the words that communicate your expertise.

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