Pop quiz, B2B marketers: When it comes to creating content that effectively reaches, informs, engages, and inspires buyers and buying committees, you should…
- Embrace the “boring-to-boring” status quo. (Buyers and committees want the facts, not a spectacle!)
- Push tradition aside and dip your marketing toes into interactive content waters. (Who says B2B content has to be boring?)
(Psst. Here’s a hint from TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden: “The sheer volume of information and media that confronts people in the business world is overwhelming and often pretty boring. Creating compelling experiences with interactive content is one way to stand out, differentiate, and optimize for effectiveness.”)
Ahh. We knew you’d choose Option B. For far too long, B2B marketing has been reputed as bland and boring. And in a time where the experiences brands provide across the buyer’s journey are a leading differentiator, breaking the traditional B2B mold is an imperative.
But should you just throw caution to the wind and dive head-first into interactive? What are some of the key considerations for creating something that’s not only fun, but relevant and resonant too? Here are a few things you need to be thinking about.
#1 – Your Audience
You know that having a deep understanding of who your audience is and what they’re in search of is critical for creating an effective content strategy. But we’re not just talking about pain points here. Consumption preferences are critical, too.
While the use of interactive content is on the rise in the B2B space, it’s still pretty cutting edge for most brands and audiences. Simply put, not everybody may be ready for deeply interactive experiences. Some might find the experience more jarring than personalized or easy to navigate. As a result, you may need to take baby steps with your audience to get them warmed up to the idea of interactivity.
Certainly, your website and social analytics should be a stop on your audience research train. You should already be engaged with your content performance here, but now you can use the interactive lens. What are your top performing pieces of content? What topics are resonating the most? What actions are visitors taking? Is there an opportunity to add an interactive element to existing content?
At the end of the day, you want to know what is already grabbing the attention of your audience and from there you can make some determinations on the type of interactive content that makes the most sense, and match those with your objectives (which we’ll get to in a minute).
If you can’t wait to get started, a great testing ground can be conducting on-site polls. Easypolls, a tool we’ve highlighted in the past, is super easy and cheap to use.
There are also plugins that can be added to your CMS. You could also test across social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have polling functions. (Once you’re ready to go bigger, there are several interactive content tools that you can take a peek at.)
#2 – As Always, Define Your Goals
Surprise, surprise. Like any other piece of content or content marketing campaign, you need to determine what you’re trying to achieve so you can chart your interactive course. Are you looking to generate brand awareness? Are you after leads? Are you trying to engage existing customers and hot prospects? Are you promoting an original research report?
From calculators and quizzes to choose-your-own-adventure microsites and immersive virtual reality environments, interactive content can take on many forms—and some may lend themselves better to certain objective.
For example, let’s say you have an upcoming trade show or industry conference where you’re sales team will be manning a booth or a team member will be speaking. An interactive infographic or eBook could help generate some buzz ahead of and during the event to drive people to your booth or session. Here’s a little something we released ahead of Lee’s session at B2B Marketing Exchange (B2BMX) in February 2019. (You’ll notice the nice tie into today’s topic of discussion.)
Or let’s say you want to actively engage conference attendees and familiarize them with your brand or expertise on a deeper level. An immersive virtual reality experience at your booth (while the grandest of options) could deliver.
#3 – Know Your Limits
There are many tools and formats (such as the polls mentioned earlier) out there that don’t require extensive development expertise to execute on. But if you’re eager to embark on a more robust interactive content asset or campaign, tools, web design, and web development needs get more complex.
For example, a build-it-yourself quiz through a tool like Qzzr is easy to embed on most websites through a simple iFrame. However, interactive landing pages or infographics leveraging a more advanced tool (or needing to be built from scratch) are dependent on having the right website infrastructure and web designers and developers in place.
As a result, before getting too far along, you’ll need to validate whether your team has the bandwidth and expertise to bring your content to life. Of course, an agency experienced in interactive content can be a valuable extension of your team here. If you have questions, concerns, hopes, and dreams, reach out and ask for insight.
#4 – Consider Combining Interactive AND Influential Content
Research shows that interactive content can not only inform, engage, entertain, and connect with audiences, but that it can boost conversions, too. Influencer content lends credibility, authority, and builds trust with audiences.
And together they’re a powerhouse duo.
What’s interactive influencer content look like in action? Meet Penny, Prophix’s virtual assistant who helped readers self-navigate to topics of interest featuring text and audio influencer insights, which were housed in an interactive eBook. The results? For starters:
- 189% increase over benchmark pageview goals
- 642% increase over benchmark engagement goals
- 80 net-new keyword rankings
Looking for more samples? Check out our recap of a recent presentation that Lee did on interactive influencer content.
When in Doubt, Test It Out
Interactive content starts like every other marketing tactic: setting your goals, narrowing in on your audience, assessing your capabilities and budget, and looking for opportunities to evolve.
It’s in these stages of planning where you’ll discover if interactive content (or specific types of interactive content) are ripe with opportunity for your brand. But if it’s still not clear to you whether you should take the plunge or not, start with baby steps using a poll or a build-it-yourself quiz to test the waters.
Ready to pump your B2B marketing up? Check out this interactive piece featuring 16 seasoned marketers.
Need more food for interactive thought? Check out more of our posts on the topic of interactive content:
- Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold
- 5 Cool Ways to Make Marketing Magic with Interactive Content
- 7 Interactive Tools to Delight Your Audience
- B2B Brands Go Bold: 7 Great Examples of Interactive B2B Content
- Embracing Interactive Content: 19 Statistics Every B2B Marketer Needs to Know
- The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential
- How B2B Marketers Can Make the Most of Interactive Content Tools