If content is king, then interactive content is the royal flush of B2B marketing. Interactive content creates an intellectual and emotional connection between the user and the brand to generate positive results for the bottom line.
The following five tips will teach you what interactive content is, why it’s effective for B2B companies, and how you can create it for your own content strategy.
What is interactive content?
Interactive content is content that requires engagement from the user. For example, the reader of a women's magazine who takes an online quiz about health is interacting with the magazine's content.
The same is true for a middle-aged person using a calculator to determine if they have enough money to retire. Even zany content such as "Which Lord of the Rings Character Are You?" quizzes are a form of interactive content.
But interactive content can reach way beyond quirky quizzes and health questionnaires. While most examples of interactive content are B2C in nature, a growing number of B2B companies are delving into interactive content marketing, and it's paying off.
B2B companies can use fictional narrative techniques in a "choose your own adventure" style that leads the user through their product or service.
Alternately, they can provide quizzes that produce customized quotes. Even simple pieces such as clickable doodles can help users organize and engage with the often-complex content B2B enterprises generate.
How effective is B2B interactive marketing?
B2B interactive content is essential for customer and sales success. Here's what the research shows about interactive marketing:
- 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-Suite executives use social media when purchasing products.
- Marketers say interactive content is 93% effective versus static content's 70% effectiveness rating.
- 75% of marketers believe non-gated interactive content can provide a brand sample that improves lead nurturing.
- Interactive content generates almost twice as many conversions as passive content.
- Worldwide, more than 171 million people use virtual reality (VR) devices, and demand for standalone VR devices is expected to increase 16-fold by 2022.
Overall, interactive marketing increases sales conversions, decreases ad spend, improves emotional loyalty, and creates valuable opportunities for social sharing and customer feedback.
The Key to Creating Interactive Content that Drives Dollar Spend
“Content is king, but engagement is queen, and the lady rules the house." —Mari Smith, social media and content marketing expert
The internet is brimming with long content, short content, blogs, memes, social media posts, infographics, and podcasts. Even if your content is interactive in nature, it can be difficult to make it stand out and attract prospects in a sea of words and images.
Like any other marketing content, interactive content needs to solve your customers' problem. In the B2B world, interactivity can supplement, but never replace, the informative nature of content.
Before you worry about your SEO rank or whether paid search is right for you, make sure that 100% of the content you create provides valuable information or analysis to your target audience. All the bells and whistles in the world can't make up for low-quality content.
If your content offers information that’s genuinely valuable to your target audience, you will stand out. When you make that content engaging and interactive, you will draw in the right crowd.
5 Types of B2B Interactive Content
1. Interactive ebooks
Combining the concept of a traditional print book with the interactive technology of the internet, these ebooks contain clickable links that add to the reading experience.
At its most basic, an interactive ebook may simply include hyperlinked endnotes and links to outside resources. At its most enhanced, it might include audio narration, text highlighting, videos, charts, maps, and activities for readers to engage with.
With its clickable links, downloadable forms, and opportunity to create a LinkedIn ad right from the book, LinkedIn: 2018 LinkedIn Content Marketing Tactical Plan provides a great example of an interactive ebook for a B2B company.
Quizzes have a bit of a bad rap because of their association with kid-friendly sites and goofy question sets. But, when done right, quizzes can produce brilliant results for B2B marketers.
Remember that one person at your target company is likely to be making the buying decision. A quiz that helps that person make a better decision is a winner. Be sure to create questions that show your industry expertise and provide answers in memorable format.
Cloud Sherpas, for example, created an exemplary B2B content quiz "How mature is your ServiceNow instance?" that you can review as you make your own.
Be sure to ask the user to input their email address during the process.
Calculators can help your clients determine useful information, such as ROI on a particular project, processing speed, or the total cost of their pricing options.
By offering your users a calculator, you provide them with immediate, personalized, and helpful information—the golden triad of content marketing in a single location. Take a look at Hubspot's ad ROI calculator for an excellent example of a B2B calculator.
4. Interactive Infographics
Perennially popular, infographics provide visual stimulation that the human brain is naturally drawn to. Data visualization almost always ramps up engagement.
By making an infographic interactive, however, you can further ignite the user's imagination. An interactive infographic can include scrolling effects, easy pagination, clickable highlighting options, and the capacity for the user to hide certain visuals or text.
Google's How Search Works animated infographic offers an eye-catching example.
5. Simulation Games
Everyone loves a game, and gamification is a critical concept in content and curriculum development. Games don't have to be complicated, but they do need to simulate the real world so that users grasp the utility of your product or service for their company's day-to-day business activities.
A game's power emerges from its ability to credibly position the player in the game's universe. A Chicago-based company called Level Ex is making video games to help doctors improve their surgical skills. Games such as these can help medical professionals learn to use—and decide to buy—new technology.
Whether in the B2B or B2C space, creating content is vital for any company doing business in the internet age. As online content grows increasingly interactive and the line between physical reality and virtual reality blurs, companies will need to create more and more interactive content.
B2B enterprises don't have to cede interaction and engagement to their B2C counterparts. You, too, can make content that draws in, informs, and converts your target audience.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Holland Webb.