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January 19, 2016 (Updated: January 26, 2023)
One of the most common questions potential clients ask about our digital media services is, “What kind of return should I expect?” This often happens because clients are used to the ROI of their blog or e-newsletter and want to know what they’re getting into before they sign an IO. Unfortunately, rich media content isn’t a silver bullet solution because it depends on what customers do with the content once it’s in their hands. If they simply share it on their blog and link to it on Facebook, then they’re not going to see the return they desire.
In general, treat digital content like exercise equipment. If you use it once and then shove it in the corner, you’re not going to see the same results than if you use it daily or weekly. Exercise metaphors aside, rich media content is a powerful sales and lead generation tool when it’s in the right hands. Take a closer look at a few of our favorite types of media and learn how to maximize them for the greatest return.
Image via Flickr by markhilary
On the surface, ebooks and white papers require very similar skill sets as everyday blog posts. Unlike other forms of rich media, they don’t require you to familiarize yourself with the design process or fret over cosmetic choices, though we do recommend handing it to someone familiar with InDesign to create a polished look. These types of media are great options if you have a limited budget or an on-staff blogger looking for a challenge.
A white paper should not be considered just a long blog post, especially if you want to turn heads in your industry. Great white papers and ebooks take an in-depth look at a problem and use original data to back up the findings. For an in-house example, look at Kerry Jones’ State of Freelance Writing, in which she surveyed more than 240 writers and presented her findings as a cohesive white paper.
When you distribute your ebook, you’re presenting your brand to hundreds or thousands of potential clients who are interested in your industry and products. This is a great mode of online advertising because ebooks can position you as an expert on par with the most advanced names in your industry. Make sure that any outlets that feature your white paper link back to your website or blog.
To calculate ROI, track referral traffic in Google Analytics or the increase in traffic on days when your content is featured. If the new traffic converts at the same rate as your regular traffic, then you should see a strong bump in leads following each external blog post about the white paper.
Infographics are fun to make and even more fun to share. Infographics take dense, convoluted ideas and display them in a way that people outside of your industry will understand. Visuals done right take dull information and make it interesting, so what’s not to love?
The key to a strong infographic is uniqueness. The popularity of infographics over the years has made it difficult to stand out among the pack. It takes something truly unique to go viral and accumulate hundreds of shares.
While ebooks and white papers are useful when targeting leads that are already knowledgeable about your industry, infographics attract new people. We’ve seen particular success with IT companies explaining their services. Potential clients might understand the need for security, but they don’t know what to look for in a security provider. A static infographic is useful to introduce the problem and provide solutions.
Make sure every infographic you create has a strong call to action at the end. Suggest that potential clients call you to learn more, or sign up for your mailing list to stay in contact. Once you have that, calculating ROI is easy by following the call list or mailing list generated from the content.
Interactive infographics are one of the rarest types of digital media around the Internet, mostly because they’re one of the most complex. They require strong design and development skills, and it’s challenging for someone with only a static background to move into the coding world. Because they’re so rare, interactive infographics can be showstoppers for your audience.
Interactive infographics follow the same principles as static infographics when it comes to quality. You need to research what you’re doing beforehand to see what’s already out there, and then present the information in a unique way. This is especially important because there are fewer interactives out in the world, so there’s no excuse for mimicking something that’s already been done. The worst thing you can do with interactive infographics is create something unoriginal and then watch your investment sit unnoticed as boring content.
If white papers are great for lead generation of those familiar your industry and static infographics are perfect for leads new to your world, then where does that leave interactives? Interactive infographics actually draw both groups, but they also generate endorsement by word of mouth. The Internet is obsessed with new media, and as long as interactives are considered cool, then they’ll generate more buzz than traditional infographics.
Like static infographics, interactives should have a strong call to action at the end. Don’t hesitate to get creative as you go along, though. For example, if you’re an insect extermination company creating a “Life Cycle of an Ant” infographic in which the audience is an ant growing up, ask for the viewer’s name to make the interactive more personable. This way you’re collecting a name and email from each viewer, and you can do more research about who engages with your content.
When it comes to evaluating the ROI of rich media, make sure you set strong goals and a timeline beforehand. Evaluate the success of your content one month, three months, and six months after its launch and keep thinking of ways to get more out of it. In the same way that you won’t see value in digital content that you only use once, you won’t see the true value in its lead generation capabilities unless you track its success long after it’s debut.
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