How to Woo B2B Buyers With Interactive Assessments
May 12, 2015 | Dan Trefethen
By now, you’ve probably heard some insane success stories about quizzes and assessments that have gone viral.
You may not be The Gray Lady, or even the viral media powerhouse of the day, but you can borrow their tactics to get unprecedented results in your B2B marketing.
Unconvinced? Stay with me. Here’s what assessments can look like for B2B.
What Do You Mean By “Assessment?”
Sometimes called a persona or personality test, an assessment is an interactive questionnaire structured to match people with specific personalities, patterns, or identities based on their responses. For example, data backup and disaster recovery firm Unitrends created a “What Kind of BDR Superhero Are You?” assessment to learn more about the BDR systems their audience prefers.
In B2B marketing, assessments can take many different forms–from personality tests like the above to industry-specific readiness assessments, solution configurators, or product pickers. Marketers use assessments to let prospects identify their own problem areas and imagine what a future with your solution could look like.
Why Do Assessments Work?
There’s a reason Buzzfeed quizzes are so popular – people love to be the star of their own story, and as Emma Roller wrote in Slate, receive “instant affirmation that we share some part of ourselves with other people (or cities, or David Lynch characters, or Bill O’Reillys) that we admire.”
Assessments are appealing, whether on Buzzfeed or a vendor’s homepage, because they give us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves or explain ourselves to others. Who can resist going off and telling people, “I’m such a Scorpio,” or “I’m such a Carrie [Bradshaw, not White]”? In the case of Fit Marketing’s quiz, “Which marketing superhero are you?,” over 60% of the people who completed it shared it with their networks.
Assessments also work because our prospects are looking for answers. The modern B2B buyer does a huge amount of research during their purchase process. A study by Acquity Group found that 94 percent of B2B buyers report that they conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product, and 55 percent of B2B buyers conduct online research for at least half of their corporate purchases.
Assessments give marketers the opportunity to support their prospect’s research process with personalized recommendations.
When Can Marketers Use Assessments?
Offering a fun experience with real value exchange builds a foundation for a strong long-term relationship with your prospects. Assessments work throughout the buyer’s journey to build and strengthen those relationships.
At the awareness stage, quizzes and assessments offer a fun, low-commitment way to educate and entertain your prospect. Rather than asking your prospect to slog through a 30-page white paper, you can offer real-time, personalized results that add value through a 5-question quiz. An assessment like “How Does Your Marketing Strategy Stack Up?” is perfect top-of-funnel content.
Different types of assessments provide value further down the funnel – “Are you ready for marketing automation?” could work as a mid-funnel offer, and “Which product is right for you?” or “Which pricing package fits my needs?” is pretty spot-on decision-stage content.
And that interest is borne out in the results marketers see: a study by Demand Metric found that interactive assessments convert on average 2x better than static content.
“Interactive content, such as apps, assessments, calculators, configurators and quizzes, generates conversions moderately or very well 70% of the time, compared to just 36% for passive content.”
Which means marketers love assessments, too – better lead conversion means more net new leads, and the question-and-answer format provides valuable insights for profiling, scoring and nurturing.
Returns for the Marketer
Not only do assessments produce more conversions than static forms of content, they also require minimal investment (in terms of time and money) compared to a white paper or webinar.
In fact, one of the best ways to create an assessment is to repurpose core themes and messages from an existing white paper or research report – meaning you get even greater return on your initial content creation investment. Any white paper or long-form asset you create can be repurposed into at least one interactive assessment, and probably several. That alone gives you more conversion opportunities, more reasons to email your database, and more content to promote on every channel.
Second, your data capture is multiplied. Not only do assessments convert prospects more effectively, you also gather rich profile data from the responses without increasing the length of the lead form.
Third, you have a chance to really get to know your prospects as people. Marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo talk about tapping into the digital signals our prospects send to understand more about them – Eloqua calls this Digital Body Language; Marketo calls it Interesting Moments.
But interactive assessments let you actually talk with your prospects and hear what they’re saying, gathering qualifying info, rich data about their readiness for your product, a sense of their knowledge of your services, and more. You can offer personalized follow-up material depending on the outcome of the assessment to nurture and score that prospect.
How to Get Started
How could you actually use an assessment as part of your B2B content marketing program? Here are 4 examples of B2B assessments you could build today. Check out these examples and see if anything piques your interest. If it does, get in touch!
1. Product Match/Readiness Assessment
Help your prospect discover the value of your product or service with a product readiness assessment.
This is the perfect type of content for a prospect who knows they have a problem, but doesn’t know that your solution exists.
A Google search will fetch them lots of products and services similar to yours, and it will likely be a steep learning curve.
Give overwhelmed prospects a hand with an interactive assessment that is unbiased, easy to digest, and puts them on autopilot when learning about your product or service.
Determining a prospect’s product readiness is a great way to qualify leads and drive conversions. Druva’s “Data Privacy Readiness” test is a great example of this type of assessment. (image via Islam Elsedoudi)
2. Skills Assessment or “How Much Do You Know?” Quiz
People love to compete and test their knowledge. An interactive assessment is the perfect challenge for a top-of-funnel prospect.
A great example of this is from UPS: their “Are You A Shipping Genius” quiz lets large-scale shipping operators assess their knowledge of transit deadlines. (A pretty dry topic, but even I want to take this quiz just to see how I do!)
You’ll hit a couple of goals at once: you’ll help customers see how they measure up, while learning more about who they are and how you can best serve them.
3. Benchmarking Assessment
If you have access to benchmarking data across an industry, what’s the best way to share it?
Typically, B2B marketers will create an in-depth research report laying out all the findings. They might also create a few accompanying blog posts to get the data out in more manageable chunks, but keep the bulk of the research in the report itself.
Interactive assessments let you engage your audience with benchmarking data in a whole new way. Instead of reading through the whole report, they can take a short assessment and have their results in front of them in minutes. Your analysis is all value-add on the back end, and your audience gets a unique, personalized outcome along with relevant next steps.
One of the reasons benchmarking reports are so valuable is that knowing where your company stands against specific competitors or the industry as a whole is crucial knowledge for identifying strategic next steps. They help businesses differentiate themselves and stay ahead of the curve.
This is your opportunity to answer pressing, specific questions, such as:
- How much are you spending on employees?
- How effective is your social media marketing?
- Is your website ready to succeed online?
- What is your incident response maturity?
These assessments are also a great opportunity for you to qualify buyers. Prospects who fill out your assessment and receive a certain result might be a better fit for your product – and you can flag those leads for sales.
4. “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style Game
I mentioned earlier how people like to have fun, especially at the top of the funnel. Can you think of anything more fun than a “choose your own adventure”-style game?
Data backup and disaster recovery firm Unitrends hit the nail on the head around Halloween with an interactive game they called “Build Your Own Data Apocalypse.”
Built in SnapApp, the Data Apocalypse let users pick out the elements of their story (is it about Zombies or a real-life Sharknado? Are you fighting with a shotgun or a machete? Where do you go to hide out?) and pulled it all into a funny narrative at the end.
Unitrends included nods to pop culture they knew their audience loved – The Walking Dead, Mad Max, Sharknado, etc – and wrote everything in a casual, inside-joke tone that was instantly relatable for their prospects.
Their prospects loved it, and so did their demand gen team – the game generated 300 lead conversions and 185 net new leads in the first 24 hours. Holy cow, this stuff works!
Modern B2B buyers are looking for engaging, entertaining, and informational content from potential vendors. Creating an interactive assessment is a way to add value while also collecting information on your buyer’s interests, preferences, needs, and buying process. Whether fun, serious, or a little bit of both, interactive assessments are an important tool in the B2B content marketing tool belt.
Are assessments in your future? Find out if you’re ready to move beyond the white paper!
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