You can’t escape advertising; most of us are subject to hundreds of ads on social media and websites each day.
Interactive content is a highly effective way to break through the noise and offer real value, advice and education while allowing the user to directly engage with that content.
SnapApp, an interactive content platform, defines interactive content as “...content that requires the participants’ active engagement -- more than simply reading or watching. In return for that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results they care about.” In other words, it’s the kind of content that rebels against being created and never accessed or utilized. Its purpose is to be played with. And it’s popular for good reason. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2015 Content Preferences survey, 91% of buyers prefer content that is visual and has an element of interactivity.
You’ve probably seen interactive content in some form. Buzzfeed quizzes are one of the most popular examples of this type of content. Many marketers, however, continue to struggle with using interactive content to increase leads and meet their marketing goals.
Here are five ways interactive content can help you to achieve your objectives across the marketing funnel:
Awareness-level or (top-of-the-funnel) content has many benefits. Awareness content can create buzz around your company, get your company’s name out there and even make it memorable when it’s time for the user to make a purchase. Interactive content does this very well because it differentiates you from your competition.
During the awareness stage, making users aware that they have a problem is key. Infographics, quizzes, etc. can visually show users how they rank among their peers. For interactive content, awareness content is also found in trivia,polls/surveys, and sports-style brackets. These types of content are not typically considered high-performing lead-gen tools, but they will allow users to recognize your brand should they come across it again. See History.com’s “Ultimate History Quiz” as an example.
One of the best uses of interactive content is educational content, which falls in the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey. Analyst firm Demand Metric produced a research report titled Enhancing the Buyer’s Journey which investigated the impact of using interactive versus passive content.
25% of participants reported that they used interactive content in some way, and the top reason for doing so was to educate their audiences. 93% of the interactive group reported their content was somewhat effective or very effective in educating buyers, versus 70% for the passive group. To give this statement more power, 45% of the marketers in the interactive group reported that their content was “very effective” at educating buyers — against a mere 6% in the passive group. They also reported increases in shares, with 38% of the interactive group stating their content was shared frequently or very frequently, versus 17% for the passive group. See EmailMarketingROI.com for an example of a successful educational calculator.
Whether it’s an assessment, a calculator, a survey or some other format, you must determine which types of interactive content are the best fit for your business to achieve your lead generation goals and keep your C-suite happy. This may involve some trial and error, but here are some of the benefits and drawbacks you’ll find with each type.
We talked about some of the ways you can obtain leads and educate buyers with interactive content, but each piece doesn’t have to be a stand-alone experience. Interactive content can fit into every part of your marketing landscape. Here are some examples:
Every company needs to attract customers, and they need a great lead generation strategy to do it. However, many companies make the mistake of only going after new customers when their biggest growth potential is actually with their current consumers. A solid base of repeat and referral business from these individuals is the key to great marketing success.
So how do you keep your existing customers happy? There are a variety of content types that work for energizing your current users, including customer newsletters, events and forums. But there are also ways that you can integrate what might usually be thought of as ‘prospect’ content into the customer cycle.
For example, you could create an interactive poll to ask your current customers how they’re doing and show how their answers stack up with other respondents. Or you could send them a virtual surprise on their birthday or provide interactive offers or upgrades that are sure to catch their eye. In every case, interactive content is the perfect way to connect, build trust and loyalty and get them engaged with your brand.
Interactive content can be a great tool for marketers. Successful interactive content allows the user to dive in, interact, have fun and gain insight without feeling like he/she is being sold to.
However, interactive content does require investment in resources and development. The Content Marketing Institute polled companies that didn’t use interactive content and asked them why. The top reasons were lack of staff/bandwidth (50%) and lack of budget (39%). Both factors are something to keep in mind when planning this type of content, see here and here for a list of a list of recommended tools.
If you're looking for more ways to engage buyers, have a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Defining Buyer Personas to learn how they can help you increase the personalization of your content. And if you're a busy content marketer looking to increase production on limited time, we recommend these four hacks for speedy content creation.
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