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Marketing effectively is a constant struggle. You need to sell products and services in a way that connects with consumers, but these potential clients are savvier than ever. Many years of internet use have also made them jaded about content. The brutal reality is old tricks of the trade no longer engage buyers.
You need fresh content that will add a sense of positive reinforcement to your clients. Otherwise, they will forget about you and wander off to find other products and services that suit their needs. Thankfully, you can take steps to engage these people in meaningful ways. You just need the right strategy, one that’s interactive. Here’s what you need to know about the present and future value of interactive content.
Image via Flickr by PICNIC Network
At its core, interactive content is your best attempt to engage your viewing audience. You want to inform and entertain your readers, after all. This content is the mechanism that maximizes your ability to do so.
With the right interactive content, you will gently persuade customers that they should visit your site regularly. Think of it as if you’re delivering a form of positive reinforcement. When your content is reliably entertaining, people will view each visit as a tiny dose of happiness during an otherwise dull day.
When done well, interactive content is one of the most effective sales techniques. In fact, it’s the optimal form of demand marketing. You’re generating leads with every click from an excited user. They want to engage more with your brand.
You likely have ideas about what qualifies as interactive content. When you hear the term, you first think of online polls and quizzes. Those are the most common types, after all.
Polls are a content creator’s dream in that they’re easy to write and post. Using a service like Poll Daddy, you don’t need any programming knowledge. You simply use that functionality to post your polls on your site. Once you’ve posted a poll, your readers will chime in on the hot topics of the moment. So, you get plenty of bang for the buck while expending little effort with online polls.
Quizzes require more effort from readers, but they happily give it. Taking a quiz engages the reader on an intellectual level and fosters competition. People love to share quizzes as a way of challenging friends to see who has more knowledge on a subject. Writing a quiz takes more effort from you, but the benefits more than justify this endeavor.
Interactive quizzes are one of the stickiest types of web content. Even a brief, five-question quiz will hold a reader’s interest for a couple of minutes. A longer quiz will keep the person on your site for several minutes more, and that brings the conversation back to a basic sales tactic. Holding a client’s attention for long stretches of time is always a positive.
While those types of interactive content are popular, you should investigate a few other types, too. For example, tournament brackets are growing in popularity. Loosely based on March Madness brackets, these tournaments list a number of participants for a given subject, such as Best Horror Movies. Then, readers vote on their favorites. Each selection faces a heads-up matchup in a given round, preventing any entry from crushing the competition after a single vote. It’s a novel way to pick a winner from a large group.
Assessments are another great type of interactive content. The most familiar form of this concept is the personality test. A user answers several questions that reveal character traits. The scoring engine grades the responses and places the quiz-taker in one of several designated user groups.
Sites such as BuzzFeed and Huffington Post have turned assessment tests into a cottage industry. They know users love to talk about themselves. These tests let them do so in a way that also allows for group comparisons afterward. When you offer an assessment test, you’re showing the reader that you want to learn more about them, thereby fostering a stronger sense of community.
Leads are everything in sales. You spend many resources on marketing outreach simply because you want to acquire new leads. Interactive content is a way for you to generate new leads with marginal effort. Your only job is to create the content. Once you have it in place, it’s an evergreen source of leads.
Each time someone new discovers your site, the interactivity will hook them enough that they’ll make return visits. They’ll even look forward to these returns to your site. Each time the client comes back, you have an opening to close a sale. Interactive content is one of the most organic sales techniques on the internet.
Let’s strategize lead acquisition via interactive content. As an example, a clothing retailer creates an interactive set of brackets for the Ultimate Fashion Ensemble. Users get to pick which outfits they like best in each round. Once they’re ready to see the final matchup, require an email address to post the results. You’ve just added a subscriber to your email list, but you’ve done something even more impressive at the same time.
You’ve compiled data about the customers’ fashion sensibilities. You know from their selections the type of ensembles they like. You can mine this data to hone your fashion suggestions for future visits. You can also use your email list to sell some of the most popular outfits.
This system is elegant because the people who have recently signed up are the ones who picked the Ultimate Fashion Ensemble. They clearly love these outfits, and now you can attempt a sales conversion from a hot lead. Your interactive content will pay long-term dividends.
Effectively, you’ve engaged a customer with a fun interactive game. Then, you’ve increased your email subscriber list. You’ve also learned which of your goods are evoking a passionate response from new users. Finally, you’ve made a direct sales pitch to a captive audience. When implemented correctly like this, interactive content is stunningly efficient.
Building great interactive content is a creative challenge. When you do unearth clever ways to engage your readers, however, you’ll reap immediate benefits. Over time, these modest gains will blossom into a loyal customer base that feels deeply connected to your brand.