Tue, Apr 19 2016
Producing more engaging content is the number one challenge for B2B marketers. Yet for some reason most people are still playing a numbers game and ramping up production – global spending is expected to reach $313 billion in 2019, which would mean investment has virtually doubled within five years.
With all the blog posts, videos, e-books and e-mails your audience is bombarded with every day, actually capturing their attention is harder than ever. The answer to this problem isn’t to keep churning out more content, but you don’t want to stop creating altogether. You need to look for formats that actively engage your audience and allow them to connect with your brand on a personal level.
The power of interactive content
Marketing has always been about delivering a message to customers, whether you’re broadcasting it on TV, splashing it across a billboard or squeezing it into a banner ad. But with the rise of self-service digital experiences and interactive technology, consumers are demanding more. In fact, if the messages they’re receiving from brands aren’t relevant or engaging, they’re likely to block them completely.
To get past this, many brands are starting to recognise the benefits of interactive content, using online assessments, calculators, quizzes, PDFs, slideshows, videos or infographics. These formats make content consumption an active experience, rather than a passive one. Putting your customers in the driver’s seat allows them to engage in a more meaningful way, and helps your brand to deliver relevant, useful and entertaining content.
Here are three ways interactive content will help engage your audience:
1. Customer education
Interactive content is a great way to educate your customers about your services, the wider industry and even their own business. A quiz or assessment can get your customers thinking about their business concerns, what solutions they’re in the market for and what issues they need to consider before purchasing. For example, this Dell Mobility Assessment helps IT managers walk through relevant issues related to mobility, whether it’s data security or managing bring your own device (BYOD) policies. When the quiz is complete, Dell provides results along with links to relevant content related to each response. Rather than just providing a sales pitch, you can use interactive formats to deliver relevant, useful content for highly qualified prospects in the market for your services.
The Dell Mobility Assessment is an interactive quiz aimed at understanding customer IT policies
2. Increase engagement and reach
Interacting with content allows your audience to become more deeply engaged with your brand. This kind of content can deliver up to 70 per cent more conversions than passive content, because customers are actively involved and interested enough to commit time to the experience. Interactive tools can also be used to increase engagement with the content you’ve already produced. For example, marketing automation business CoSchedule provides a headline analyser tool. After using the tool, the brand shares links to content about emotional headlines, headline best practices and ideal keywords. Within this context, customers are highly likely to click through, because the content is useful and relevant.
A great interactive experience encourages people to distribute it to their networks – a quick search on Twitter shows that thousands of people have shared the CoSchedule headline tool – and content that helps to boost a customer’s personal brand will also be highly shareable. Think quizzes that establish your customer as an industry expert, or a results from business assessment that customers can share on their own website, such as this Hubspot Website Grader.
Co-Schedule's tool provides useful tips and relevant content about improving headlines
3. Actionable insight
Interactive content also provides a valuable data capture opportunity for your business. While you may have visibility into what website pages and e-mails your customers are looking at, it can be difficult to turn this data into actionable insights for your sales team. The information that’s most useful for sales is often hard to capture, such as a customer's potential budget, specific pain points or barriers to purchase. Interactive content will give you real insights that you can use to produce more effective marketing material or personalise sales calls. For example, this calculator from Cradlepoint helps a customer determine how much revenue they lose in downtime. Armed with this kind data about a customer, you can customise your approach with only the most relevant content, distinguishing your brand from competitors.
Cradlepoint's calculator provides valuable information to both the customer and the business
Rather than simply producing more content, start considering the importance of crafting great digital experiences for customers. Interactive content will allow your customers to seek information, research your brand, learn more about their own needs and contact you on their own terms. At the same time, you’ll gain useful data about prospects in the market for your solutions and generate highly qualified leads. Getting your audience actively involved in these experiences will strengthen engagement with your brand and allow you to stand out from the crowd.
Author: Annie Peachman, Content Writer, Magnetic Content.