With so many different types of marketing out there, taking the time to learn just one more just might push you over the edge. However with interactive marketing, it’s just expansion on the tools you already have. In today’s FAQ Friday, let’s review a few key questions and tips to help you engage with your audience especially if you’re a beginner to interactive marketing.
What is interactive marketing?
Interactive marketing takes content marketing one step further. Content marketing is delivering relevant content to your audience on a consistent basis. With interactive marketing, it helps to narrow down your content marketing efforts by identifying customer behaviors and preferences and using that data to create personalized messages to your audience.
Interactive marketing is sometimes also called event-driven marketing, because the content that customers are receiving is based on a particular past event the customer attended or showed interest in. Netflix is a great example of this, because your Netflix recommendations on your homepage is created differently from your family member’s or friend’s homepage. The reason why is because your homepage is created based on genres and other specific subject matter, e.g. TV series featuring strong female lead, that you’ve watched in the past. This type of personalized messaging is perfect for the user so that they can continue to watch films and tv shows that best suit their interests.
Key tip: Take notes from Netflix. Personalize your content creation workflow with each of your specific buyer personas in mind. Create a workflow that creates content around your audience’s specific pain points and needs.
Why is interactive marketing relevant now?
Interactive marketing is relevant now, because it eliminates the guesswork when trying to reach and interact with your audience. Even though the internet is a great ally for any brand, it is still so vast that wide net marketing is not beneficial when trying to solve your business needs and goals.
What is interactive content and where can it be applied?
Surveys, interactive white papers, interactive infographics, and even games all qualify as interactive content. Interactivity allows customers to receive useful information while having more freedom to become more engaged with your content.
Interactive content is also typically broken down into two categories: educational and entertainment. Yet for example, an interactive game that teaches customers something about your industry clearly blurs the line between the two. Nonetheless, interactive white papers would be an example of more educational interactive content whereas an interactive branded game might be a purer example of entertainment interactive content.
Key tip: Create something simple first like a poll or survey in order to get a feel for how interactivity works for your audience. Then expand on the types of interactive content you create using your audience’s behaviors. If they liked a video you’ve shared in the past, maybe it’s time to start creating your own web series. However, regardless of your audience’s interests, just be sure that their needs align with your marketing budget and that you’re able and willing to make the investment. For example, if your audience is interested in video and you’re on a tight budget, start by creating webinars or video clips for Facebook or Instagram using your cellphone. Or if you have the means, invest in a company camera and pick a location in your office to shoot your web series.
Why should businesses really care about interactive content?
Interactive content has been shown to have longer session times for one—indicating that customers are finding content more relevant, fun and informational. Another reason that business should embrace interactive marketing is because it promotes greater customer engagement, more sharing of your content, and, therefore, higher levels of visibility and brand awareness.
Accordingly, interactive content marketing can bolster a business' current blogging, social media outreach and lead nurturing efforts. In fact, providing accurate and relevant content to customers saves time and energy. Plus, it allows customers to cut through the noise as you raise the standard of thought leadership in your industry through your relevant and timely content.
What is the difference between interactive content and traditional content marketing?
Traditional content marketing includes things like blogs, videos, infographics and how-to guides aimed at providing timely information that customers will find valuable. By providing beneficial tools, tips, and tricks in the form of digital content a brand can help establish and cultivate a relationship with its current, past, and potential customers.
The same holds true for interactive web content. The main difference between the two is that interactive content marketing is more persistent in providing a more personal customer experience while also being able to interact with content in a way that was not possible before.
How does interactive web content relate to other forms of marketing?
Interactive content marketing isn't so much reinventing the content marketing wheel. It is just increasing the chances for conversation between you and your audience that wasn’t available in the past.
It's common knowledge that over the last ten years inbound marketing has proven itself as the most effective way of turning strangers into loyal customers.
The fact that inbound marketing has risen in popularity over the last decade with social media outreach and lead nurturing campaigns has really paved the way for the deployment of more interactive content.
With of all of these factors in play, i.e. inbound marketing, social media, lead nurturing and interactive content, it also means that interactive content can be applied to B2C as well as B2B environments.
From managing prospects before a sale to ensuring that companies stay relevant in customers' minds after a sale, interactive content is simply the most powerful and cost-efficient way to stay relevant with customers.
How can incorporating interactive content kickstart my website?
Facebook has over one billion active users, and it gained a lot of that traction over the last decade by incorporating polls, surveys and games to drive user interaction. Participating in a poll or survey generates instant excitement and customer engagement while allowing customers and businesses the chance to interact more closely.
Polls and Surveys
Including interactive content like polls and surveys onto your website can have a similar effect and get audiences talking about your brand.
Interactive content has also been shown to increase the time that customers spend on a professional website—improving engagement and result in more content being shared and talked about on social media.
Key tip: The important thing to realize is that interactive content could start on your website before being shared on social media, or that same interactive content could be started and shared on your social media feed and then later placed on your website.
Infographics and Videos
Animated, interactive infographics are a great way to educate your audience while leaving space for more visual appeal. Most infographics are bogged down with data. But with interactive infographics, you can leave more room for visual designs allowing your users to remain longer on your website. Explore the below infographic from Coca-Cola using ThingLink and see for yourself how design nor data is comprised using interactivity :
You can also include interactive videos to let customers know a little more about your industry—creating a fruitful dialogue with your brand and your customers. You can create a web series, livestream, or even host webinars establishing a personal one-to-one conversation with your audience.
Lastly, you can even blend both mediums together creating both an educational and entertaining experience for your audience. See the blend for yourself in the following video example:
User generated content
And finally, using user generated content is a great community engagement strategy as well as a great tool to interactive marketing. For example by establishing a company hashtag, you can curate a library on your website highlighting your users’ interests and viewpoints. Or you can pick a specific one that you and your team enjoy and highlight that user both on your website or on social media. That way, not only are you cultivating community engagement within your audience but you are also building and spreading interest in your brand. You are bringing both traffic to your website and to your social channels—allowing your brand awareness to increase. For more information on how to use user generated content, learn here from this infographic:
Does interactive content marketing actually drive leads and sales?
Interactive content marketing allows you increase customer engagement while moving prospects from the initial awareness stage of the buying cycle to the purchase and repurchase stages much more efficiently.
The fact that loyal customers are more prone to sharing your content on social media and enjoy having their friends contribute to interactive polls and surveys inevitably and cost-efficiently expands your marketing reach.
Key tip: Remember that interactive content marketing works with your sales funnel to drive leads and conversions. Try posting quizzes or interactive calculators on your website to drive interest and awareness among your top-of-the-funnel followers, then increasingly more niche interactive content for sales-ready leads and return customers.
Other than social media, where else can I be interactive with my audience?
In terms of interactivity, the past examples have been heavily focused on your website and your social media platforms. However, that does not mean these tactics don’t apply to other areas. Try including video and polls into your email marketing. Especially with the outages that recently occurred with Twitter, you want to make sure that you can still find ways to engage with your audience.
Interactive content is only going to get more popular as more customers use social media and mobile technologies to explore their purchasing options. Interactive polls, interactive white papers, interactive infographics and interactive videos are only the start. Explore the art and science of content marketing with this insightful infographic and establish a balance within your current marketing strategy:
If you have questions you would like to see featured in our weekly FAQ Friday, please submit them in the comments below or mention us @DirectImages on Twitter. Until next FAQ Friday, keep your communication lines open. Don’t know the answer—just ASK.
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