Convince and Convert: Why Calculators Are a Demand Gen Marketer’s Best Friend

Convince and Convert: Why Calculators Are a Demand Gen Marketer’s Best Friend

As a discipline, content marketing teaches solving problems and answering questions prospects are asking rather than interrupting their day with unasked-for advertising.

One of the most common questions a B2B buyer will ask is “How will this solution impact my bottom line?” A marketer could answer this question with a pricing grid or a case study – but these methods lack a certain amount of personalization.

When making major purchases, many buyers want to do their own problem-solving with their own data to find a solution that’s tailor-made for them.

Give the people what they need. Don’t ditch your pricing grid, but do try a calculator. Calculators are the easiest, most transparent way to show your audience the impact a solution will have on their company. They help people make better purchasing decisions and pave the way for a positive experience with your product or service.

We encourage you to think creatively about calculators. At the most basic level, this type of interactive content will take a set of inputs, run a formula, and generate a quantitative output that is meaningful to your audience. They’re endlessly customizable, so don’t limit yourself to what you think they should look like, what they should be used for, or who you think would use them.

Calculators Are Multipurpose and Highly Effective

Calculators are designed to educate and empower people to build their own value proposition about your brand on their own time. They provide fast, clear, quantitative answers to pressing questions, and can introduce your audience to new questions, factors, and perspectives that had not been considered before.

Education is compelling to buyers. In fact, a survey of 700 B2B buyers responsible for $3.1 billion in annual purchases reported that being educated by a brand was their top reason for choosing a product or service.

In turn, the information that users give you can be sliced and diced in all kinds of useful ways. Connecting your calculator to your CRM provides a stream of new data that can be used to qualify leads, create buyer personas, segment trigger campaigns, or repurpose into other types of content, such as infographics.

Interactive content such as calculators has been proven to be more engaging than static content. “Because it’s personally informative, it’s more valuable than traditional content marketing. And because it’s personally immersive, it’s a more engaging experience,” writes Jayson Demers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom.

You can use calculators in many different ways. In B2B sales, ROI inevitably enters the conversation, so developing a quick and simple ROI calculator can be a great way to qualify and disqualify prospects early in the sales cycle. With an ROI calculator, your prospects can determine on their own whether the impact of your product will be significant enough to justify the expenditure. Through a targeted email campaign, SilkRoad achieved a 46% lead submission rate with their "Onboarding Costs" ROI calculator.

You can also build a cost-savings calculator. A twist on ROI, a cost-savings calculator shows prospects how implementing your product or service will save them money in the long or short run. Another alternative: Blackbaud created a time-savings calculator based on customer feedback on improved efficiency thanks to the Blackbaud solution.

 

Bounce ideas back and forth with your team and you’re sure to find creative and unconventional uses for calculators. Here are four that have sparked inspiration for us:

Calculator Examples We Love

ROI Calculator via Solar Simplified

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Cheap plus green equals a great value proposition. This super-simple ROI calculator from Solar Simplified shows you how much you can potentially save on your power bill by switching to solar. Not everyone speaks wattage, so having an “I don’t know” option for a few different inputs is smart. If you select that option, the calculator will suggest a number based on the numbers you’ve already provided.

How Many Slaves Work For You? via Slavery Footprint

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Did you see this piece when it went viral? This combination of survey and calculator brings together beautiful animation, gripping copy, and real data to tell a story and inspire action. The main goal is to move people and get them to ask brands where their materials come from. But we’re sure they hit another big goal: to collect rich data that can be repurposed into more content that supports their mission.

Pricing Calculator from HubSpot

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In a complex sale, it's helpful to provide your buyer with as much information as possible so they can consider all their options. HubSpot's pricing calculator gives prospects the opportunity to weigh one plan against another based on their unique needs and goals. This approach lays all the cards on the table up front, letting buyers know what they're in for from a pricing perspective before they spend any time on the phone with sales. 

Is It Better To Rent Or To Buy? via The New York Times

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Does your audience need help with a big, intimidating, potentially stressful decision? Does their choice involve many kinds of data, and does it affect more than one person—perhaps their whole family, or their whole company? Here’s where marketers can help. This is an elegant example of a calculator with a comprehensive set of inputs. We like that the results are framed in clear, simple language and located at the top of the page. Also, the slider function is perfect for changing and visualizing different rent and mortgage scenarios.

Meal Plan Generator via Eat This Much

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If you provide a customized service, this is an amazing way to get people started quickly. EatThisMuch.com put this calculator on their homepage because it is the first step to using their product. Prospects plug in simple inputs (calorie intake, number of meals, and food preferences) to get a detailed meal plan with ingredients, serving sizes, and calorie counts for every meal. Registered users get access to the rest of the platform, which includes grocery lists for their custom meal plan and a system for tracking their progress with healthy eating. We dig their photo background and social share buttons. And check out that reach:  this page has been shared 30K times on Facebook.

Dirty Data Calculator from RingLead

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(Full disclosure - this one's a SnapApp, so of course we love it.) This is a great example of how simple calculators can have a big impact. Prospects who aren't quite sure they have a problem can use this calculator to identify if they should look into a solution like RingLead or not -- and the real impact of not taking action. 

Finally, just because calculators provide numerical answers doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. Come on, marketers! You guys should be the most fun people around. If it makes sense for your brand, add copy and graphics that make it beautiful, emotional, delightful, and primed for sharing with friends.

Ready to implement calculators in your marketing? Request a call

Photo credit: Sandid via Pixabay

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