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You’re probably already familiar with inbound marketing methodology, as it’s become a popular marketing approach over the past 10 years.
Essentially, inbound marketing means that by creating content that pivots around your customer’s interests while providing them insight and value, you naturally attract web traffic that you can then convert, close, and build long-term relationships with over time.
This modern approach is highly effective and increasingly popular. As a result, some of the more traditional marketing mediums and content formats (that don’t resonate with customers) are beginning to fall by the wayside. Marketing PDFs (whitepapers, sale sheets, etc.) are experiencing a slow death due to an over saturation, and today, audiences more and more expect a variety of different formats to choose from for their learning process.
So what does this mean on a mass scale? Forward-thinking marketers are confident with the inbound approach but are looking for ways to expand the content experience for more impactful results.
Let’s look at this idea in greater detail as well as some of the content types that are helping achieve success.
Marketers are discovering that adding an interactive element to their inbound efforts is a simple way to create interesting, engaging content for inbound visitors that cuts through the noise.
With 70% of marketers creating more content today than they were a year ago, and 86% of B2B marketers using content marketing – it’s clear to see why there’s so much competition for the user’s attention.
Interactive content comes in many different forms. Sometimes it may come in the form of a game, a poll, or simply asking questions along the way of an ebook or white paper, allowing users to share their individual input.
In the example below, you can see how an assessment like this one transforms the content experience. Instead of publishing a one-sided information dump, Pentaho offered their buyers an engaging experience in which they could learn something valuable about themselves. In return, Pentaho gains key prospect insight that they can use for more downstream content.
Interactive content works so well because it hacks the audience’s attention using classical learning and psychological triggers. It produces results, too: Interactive content can drive conversions by as much as 45%.
So what are some of the psychological aspects that interactive content puts to use? One is Piaget’s Active Learning Theory, which explains that experience-based learning with active participation is a more powerful form of education. Because it puts the user in a position to actively learn and engage with the material, that person will have a deeper, more intrinsic educational experience – making the content stick better, too.
Interactive content also taps into gamification, where learning and engagement happen through game-like elements. When marketing materials become a two-sided experience with elements of fun, users are entertained rather than merely informed.
It’s extremely effective on the business side, too. By using multiple interactive content formats, marketers are able to create more touchpoints that offer better customer insights for the sales team. Not only does this help keep content from repeating (and exhausting) the same messages over and over, but it gathers important feedback that enables lead scoring so the sales team can better prioritize and understand leads.
All of these things sound wonderful, right? So maybe at this point you’re wondering, “How can I integrate interactive content into my inbound marketing strategy?”
Implementing an interactive strategy and tying it in with your existing inbound efforts isn’t as difficult as you might think. Let’s walk through some basic steps that will help you get started.
Think about some of the common questions your customers have, and consider how you can address those with interactive content. For example, if you know that many of your customers first need to understand the pain point you can solve for them, an interactive assessment or caluclator might be a good way to tease out those pain points by reminding the user of existing gaps in service.
In the example below, you can see how this calculator allows the user to see if they have enough bandwidth to move ahead with VoIP.
Before thinking of creating all new content from scratch, often repurposing existing static content is the best approach for both bandwidth and getting the most out what you already have.
Repurposing chapters from an ebook, or research in an infographic can make for a quick way to greatly boost engagement. A “Test Your Knowledge” quiz for an ebook chapter can give your audience a quicker, more immediate sample of the subject, building interest while also gaining user data.
Once you’ve identified how and what content will be part of your interactive content integration, you’ll need to consider how you’ll keep the material diverse and interesting for the user. Rather than promoting a single interactive experience, provide different opportunities for users to learn and participate via:
With diverse content, you create more places where you can learn about your customers – and that they can learn about you.
This is not to say your static content should disappear, but rather be additionally available. It’s all about variety. Some prospects will be more interested in an interactive infographic, others will want the 10-page ebook.
From here, you’ll want to put together your feedback loops that will help you better understand your participants and leads. This means:
If you’re taking the time to develop and integrate strategy, you certainly want to reap the benefits of the rich feedback you can gather from it. Share this data across teams in a simple, easy to understand format, often this means linking with your marketing automation platform and sales software, like Salesforce.
In three simple steps, you can start down the path to creating more powerful inbound marketing materials that engage your audience and create a more interesting and insightful experience for both parties.
We know that inbound marketing works – otherwise marketers would have already tossed it aside as a passing fad. However, starting with baby steps and repackaging your existing content, you can create valuable interactive content that takes this strategy to the next level – and drives ROI, too.
Do you have existing assets you’d like to repackage into interactive content, but don’t know where to begin? There’s a new free tool called LeadRev. LeadREV makes transforming PDFs into interactive content simpler and faster than ever before, and is a great way to get your feet wet with the new medium.