Increased use of interactive content is one of the most significant marketing trends affecting B2B in 2017. Why? Because multiple studies and surveys consistently reveal that, relative to passive content, interactive elements drive a much greater response.
Interactive content captures the readers attention right from the start and ensures they don’t simply breeze past your content. It is a great means of engaging with your prospects and learning more about how to serve them.
It is also extremely effective at educating the buyer about your products and services along with differentiating you from your competitors.
The following is a look at the importance of using interactive content, along with several ideas and tips for creating effective interactive content.
Data on Interactive Content
B2B buyers go online in search of information to resolve a problem. Historically, most of the content companies offered was passive. While this approach is somewhat effective at educating prospects, it isn’t nearly as effective as content that engages the reader actively.
A 2014 Demand Metric study provides some valuable insight into interactive content’s effectiveness.
In the study, 45 percent of respondents said that interactive content was “very effective” at educating them and 48 percent said it was “somewhat effective.”
In contrast, only 6 percent indicated that passive content was “very effective” and 64 percent suggested it was “somewhat effective.”
Other data from the Content Marketing Institute showed that interactive content, such as infographics and quizzes, drives higher click-through and share rates.
Interactive Content Strategies and Tips
With the data illustrating compelling benefits with interactive content, the next step is to create some. The following is a look at some of the best strategies, techniques, and tips for integrating powerful interactive elements into your content marketing:
There are few better ways to make your content more interactive than by letting users create it themselves. User-generated content includes social messages, testimonials, on-site comments and product reviews.
This type of content not only gives a voice to your marketplace, but B2B buyers often rely on the input of industry peers as much or more than branded messages from sales reps.
Quizzes and Questions
A quiz related to your industry or products allows you to collect critical data about prospects while also enabling the prospect to assess his current knowledge. After you capture the information and get attention, the stage is set for a follow-up conversation.
The Digital Marketing Institute use this method to capture details of interested parties in signing up for the courses. You can test yourself on a series of questions and they provide you with your overall score. You then have the option of learning more about their course content or spending more time testing your knowledge on a lengthier quiz.
Another major trend in interactivity is the inclusion of questions through content documents that are historically passive. For instance, you could include questions throughout a whitepaper to gather information on a prospect’s knowledge or situation.
Over the course of the whitepaper, the insights gleaned provide you with a deeper understanding of the prospect’s problem as he progresses through the buyer journey.
Infographics have been and remain one of the most viable interactive content elements. These visual features align with a B2B buyer’s natural interest in data and facts that support his thought process during a buying journey.
Infographics also show a high rate of sharing because of the concise presentation of critical information. In fact, 80 percent of marketers reported that they regularly share infographics with other people.
I particularly love this interactive infographic from Google that depicts the explosion of internet growth by internet traffic or by individual browser.
Remember that the first step in a typical B2B buyer journey is awareness of a problem or situation. Thus, access to helpful tools early in the journey is a plus.
By realising that all buying decisions in a for-profit company come down to increased revenue or lower costs, some form of profit or loss calculator is a useful tool. Identify the key metrics that influence the desired outcome or scenario for a buyer, incorporate them into a formulated calculator, and make it easy for the prospect to punch in numbers and acquire results.
Based on the result of the calculation, you can encourage the prospect to take the next step in the journey.
Last, but not least, one of the most important interactive features of content is the simple call-to-action. This is the element used to prompt a prospect to take the desired action.
There have been hundreds of articles written about this particular aspect, covering power words, the length of words to use (short ones work best), placement, button colour, so I won’t re-hash old content.
Your buyers not only want more interactive types of content, but they respond more regularly in the ways that you want. Taking passive approaches and making them more engaging requires effective content planning and execution.
The key is to identify the right mix of interactive components that align with the interests and path that your typical B2B buyers follow. Build a plan, create your content and execute your delivery!