The 5 Fundamental Steps To Integrate Interactive Content Into Your Marketing Strategy
October 11, 2017 | Guest Post
Full disclosure: I love interactive content and have been a SnapApp advocate for well over two years. I’ve used interactive content because I’ve seen it as an engaging approach, delivering huge value when done properly.
The thing is, failing to effectively integrate interactive content into an overall engagement strategy leads to disjointed customer experiences, a lack of value for your organization, extra effort for your team for sub-par results, and a tendency to (incorrectly) blame the medium.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s be clear about one thing: You should not have an “interactive content strategy.” It’s not a channel. And don’t get me started on channel strategies – remember when we all had a social channel strategy circa 2010?
Interactive content is a form of media, similar to video, print, and audio content. And while some teams may have a video strategy, or audio strategy, these usually fit into a more broader engagement or sales enablement strategy. Same with interactive.
Interactive content creates reciprocal (mutual) value between the audience and content provider.
At its simplest, reciprocal value describes how the act of interacting with content simultaneously enriches the user (through insight) and the content provider (through user data).This exchange of information allows the content provider to create tailored customer experiences, resulting in sustained value for the audience and content provider over time.
Reciprocity at its finest! Because of this, it’s critical that interactive is integrated into your engagement strategy in order to deliver the most value to your audiences while extracting the most value for your organization.
Preaching to the choir, right?
Okay, no more stalling. Here’s the fundamental five-step process for integrating interactive content into your marketing strategy:
- Establish Your Foundation
- Define Your Strategy
- Identify Your Tactics
- Design Your Feedback Loops
1. Establish Your Foundation
In order to effectively integrate interactive content into your overall engagement strategy, you have to have one. And that strategy needs to be based on who your customers are and how they purchase. To make that connection, you need to develop and validate your personas and buying journey before you begin strategizing.
By developing your personas and buyer journey before you strategize, you’ll have a clear understanding of your buyers’ needs (information, content, and others) at any given stage of their journey. This provides the definitive framework for engaging your audience on their terms – something critical to resonance.
2. Define Your Strategy
You understand how your customers purchase and have that process well-documented. At its core, this means you clearly understand what you need to learn about your contacts as well as what they need to learn about themselves, their organization, and/or their situation, at any given stage in the buying journey.
Recognizing and planning for this reciprocal relationship is critical to establishing a strategy that allows interactive content to thrive. As such, you need to distill your audience’s and organization’s information needs into a strategy for engaging and influencing across their entire journey. There are many methods for crafting strategy.
For our purposes, it is the intent in planning that makes the difference between integrated and ad hoc interactive content.
3. Identify Your Tactics
Now that you have a framework and strategy for engaging your buyers along their journey, you can identify where interactive content is well-suited for the task.
Focus on places where you can leverage reciprocal value to tap into the unique advantage of interactive content. Deploying interactive content to those critical interactions within the buying journey will yield the most resonant and enriching experiences.
In a Paycor case study with interactive content, they mapped out three main interactive assets to fit in with their funnel stages. These different pieces of content could be engaged with in a linear fashion from the same prospect or from different prospects at different stages.
As an example, imagine you’re trying to engage someone who doesn’t think they have a problem (we’re talking before early stage – a pre-awareness audience, if you will). A piece of interactive content, such as a calculator or an assessment, will help your audience understand how the problem applies to them or their organization and call attention to its urgency.
Further, in using interactive content, you can craft follow-on experiences that speak to that contact’s specific problem. Which brings us to the next step…
4. Design Your Feedback Loops
Reciprocal value is one distinct advantage of interactive content. As your audience learns about themselves and their organizations, so do you. Purposefully defining how you utilize this information before you collect it is a critical step for integrated interactive content. To get you started, here are some possible feedback loops:
- Sync response data to CRM for use by Sales and other functions
- Personalize content with interactive responses via field merges
- If/Then Marketing (also known as the Choose Your Own Adventure™ approach) – put your audience down different campaign paths or nurture streams based on their responses
- Use data in aggregate to inform future content/campaign strategy
Here’s a SnapApp example from an awareness campaign that went out during hype time around Game of Thrones.
While a user gets to see which family house their marketing team would get, the data gets collected into a marketing automation system and then sends a personalized email suggesting content based on the result they got.
This captures top funnel leads, learns about the prospect, and allows for more informed follow-up content, all while providing a little entertainment. Reciprocity!
You understand your buyer’s decision process, have a sound approach for engaging them along their journey, and understand how you’ll use mutual discovery and reciprocal value to enrich your customers’ experiences and your organization.
It’s time to take all of that and funnel it into creating your interactive content!
Now don’t think that this needs to be an immense creative endeavor. While you certainly can create very involved and highly designed experiences, minimal interactive content can be just as impactful. The New York Times regularly creates very simple, but highly engaging interactive pieces to go along with online articles.
When you’re looking to create multiple assets to go across your funnel, often simple, on-brand experiences are best approach.
In can even be made in as little as time as 30 minutes. See the video below!
Have fun with it!
Justin Yopp is a Revenue Marketing Coach at The Pedowitz Group. He has spent the last seven years crafting business and marketing strategies for local and global businesses, with an emphasis on demand generation. Justin helps organizations accelerate beyond best practices to quicker positive ROI, increase internal buy-in and adoption, and capture more market mindshare. Connect with Justin on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!