Today, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that many B2B companies use. But if so many are doing it, how can you differentiate yourself? By using interactive content.
Here are three reasons why:
- The average attention span has shrunk to 8 seconds.
- Your competitors are already building quality content of their own.
- It’s a great conversation platform for gathering insights.
Ok, there are more than three reasons. But I hope these three reasons are enough to convince you.
Your customers are consumers too, and they expect the same engagement (and responsiveness) in their professional lives.
They want to explain their problems to you and find out how you can help them.
And the best way to make this conversation happen is with interactive content.
Interactive content enables an exchange of information that bridges the gap between content delivery and engagement.
Some fun facts
- A 2016 survey by Forrester of IT and LOB professionals showed that two out of the six content sources they preferred are interactive content tools.
- The 2015 Content Preferences Survey (reported by Demand Gen Report) showed that as much as 91% of buyers prefer more engaging interactive content over conventional content.
- According to the Content Marketing Institute, interactive content can increase your leads by 47%!
By now you might be thinking: “Isn’t interactive content expensive? How can I justify spending on it?”
Based on our experience in building interactive content for our clients, we know that it doesn’t cost that much more, and the returns can be attractive.
Here are the three main advantages of using interactive content:
- It helps engage your clients, and start a conversation. This can help you gain valuable insight into your customers’ challenges, and objectives, and how you can help them with your products or solutions.
- It enables the prioritisation of marketing efforts based on data. With the information they provide, you can easily measure and identify leads that require more nurturing or are ready for conversion.
- It removes or eases the friction associated with lead forms. By first providing value and personalised experiences, your clients will be more willing to give you lead information in return for insights.
5 types of Interactive Content
So now you’re ready to dive right into using interactive content. You conduct a simple web search, and you found a number of interactive content types.
However, a lot of interactive content is geared toward B2C marketing.
Luckily for you, we experimented with some interactive content types.
Here are some tried-and-tested tools that we think are suitable for B2B marketing campaigns.
1. Benchmark Survey
Out of all the interactive survey’s I’ve used, the benchmark survey is a personal favourite.
It’s not only fun to create, but it also provides tremendous value for both audiences and our clients.
On the surface, the benchmark survey is like a regular quiz. It’s what lies beneath the hood that makes it engaging.
The benchmark surveys we launched, were built from the ground up.
They were designed to segment our audiences while providing value in the form of a personalised report.
The more value your customers get, the more likely they are to allow access to their information.
With the benchmark survey, your customers get valuable information like:
- Information from the asset you want them to download.
- An understanding of how they are performing in their industry.
- Recommendations on what they can do to improve their performance.
In the meantime, you get insights into:
- Their current buying stage, and what they are looking for.
- Their specific problem, and how your solution can help them.
- Their readiness to convert, and how you can nurture them.
Looks like a win-win situation to me.
2. Social media chatbot
Social media can be a challenge for B2B marketers.
However, there are resources on how to get it right all over the web. Here, Neil Patel has 5 comprehensive tips for you.
Tip number six, you’re going to get from us—chatbots.
The hype over chatbots reached its height in 2017. Since then, it’s mostly been abandoned by B2C marketers.
So why are we talking about it then? Because there is still plenty of value for your customers—who still want to contact your business.
They want to do it regularly, and they expect an immediate response. They need assistance from you to complete their purchase.
But getting a social media team to handle the same 5-10 questions over and over again can get expensive fast.
That makes creating a bot to automate social media customer service a more attractive and cost-effective proposition.
Today, you can programme a standard chatbot to help answer frequently asked questions on social media platforms (instead of a static and boring FAQ page).
A programmable chatbot will guide the user with a series of fixed questions and answers towards their goal.
Or, you can go one level up, and get a chatbot powered by AI. These ones cost (much) more, and come with advanced capabilities like natural language understanding which makes it more interesting for your customers.
It really depends on the queries you get from your customers. If you are dealing with the same set of questions on a daily basis, your run-of-the-mill programmable chatbot will do fine.
If you want more complex interaction with your prospects, you might want to invest in an AI-based chatbot instead.
3. Interactive eBook
In B2B marketing, it’s near impossible to avoid eBooks. We use them to communicate complex information, in a way our audiences can digest quickly.
And if we can do it, so can your competitors.
Assuming content quality is the same, you can enrich your assets with interactivity—resulting in an interactive ebook.
An interactive ebook takes the passive act of reading an ebook and turns it into an engaging experience.
Interactive ebooks typically rely on a blend of visuals and text to educate. This format is much easier to digest and is easier to reach the end.
Another important element is “control.” Interactive ebooks put the learning process firmly in the hands of your audience.
An example of an interactive element in ebooks is tabs. These tabs are linked to segments that readers can skip to with a click.
Another powerful feature is tracking. Like the benchmark survey, this function turns the ebook into a two-way conversation.
With tracking, you get information (elements engaged, preferred chapter, etc…) that gives you insight into what your audiences want.
If you are feeling ambitious, you can even tie the interactive ebook with a benchmark survey campaign to increase the accuracy of customer data.
4. Interactive infographic
When you have an information-dense asset (e.g. whitepapers), you can repurpose it into an interactive infographic.
Infographics are easier to consume and are a great way to lead the user towards your main asset (report, whitepaper or ebook).
Add interactivity, however, and it becomes a powerful engagement tool.
With an interactive infographic, your clients can learn visually, and quickly, but also have the flexibility of exploring the data in greater detail.
Its rich visuals and concise data can tell a story in a much more engaging way than a static infographic.
Like the interactive eBook, it gives your readers complete control over the information they want to consume.
Since interactive infographics are web-based, your readers can also be tracked to gain insight into what they are interested in, or what pain points they are facing.
This information is invaluable if you want to nurture your prospects with personalised content for better results.
5. Calculators and Configurators
We’re approaching the end of this article. By now you may have noticed that a recurring theme. Interactivity is key to making your campaigns a two-way conversation.
Last on our list is the powerful calculator or configurator (let’s just call it C&C).
C&Cs can be an indispensable tool for B2B technology companies with complex solutions or product bundles.
With these tools, your clients are able to browse through what you offer.
They can assemble or disassemble what you’re offering according to their needs and budgets.
It is this transparency which provides the value that engages and nudges your customers towards conversion.
The data collected from C&Cs can also help you understand what your customers need from you.
It is a valuable insight that can be used to cross-sell, upsell, or later marketing campaigns.
Interaction means higher engagement and more leads
Today, content marketing may have a higher ROI than events. However, interactive content can help with differentiation.
It’s a compelling, yet practical way to start a conversation with your customers.
It can also help you break away from the “boring-to-boring” perception that plagues B2B marketing.
It may be more complicated to develop, but the rewards are worth it (here’s a shortcut just in case).
The 5 examples you see here are tried, tested, and an ideal starting point.
But I’m sure with a bit of imagination, a high-value piece of content and a slightly bigger budget, you’ll be able to create an engaging interactive content tool that drives results.