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Need more leads? Need better leads? Almost all of us do. The trouble is, it’s hard to create content that’s so enticing, so compelling, that it convinces your audience to share their information to get it.
It’s not like they don’t have a lot of other choices. Even when we do create a great white paper, case study, or research report, it can be hard to make it stand out in a sea of similar content. There’s real skill in convincing our prospects this isn’t “just another white paper.”
Interactive content can help with that. A study from Demand Metric found that 88% of marketers who use interactive content say their content was somewhat effective or very effective in differentiating it from competitors. Compare that to marketers who don’t use interactive content: Only 55% of them can say the same.
Interactive content is also tailor-made for engagement. In fact, a working definition of interactive content could be “content that changes based on how you engage with it.” But interactive content is also just simply… clickable. Which is just one of the reasons why it’s so excellent for generating conversions – and leads.
Note that 3X as many marketers (14% compared to 4%) said interactive content performed “very well” as compared to passive content.
To give you some inspiration for how to use interactive content in your lead generation campaigns, we’ve rounded up a bunch of examples of interactive content that’s specifically designed to get leads. Some of these are simple, some are more advanced. But they’re all being successfully used right now.
1. Quizzes (or Polls).
These are one of the most well-known types of interactive content. We’ve written about them as a lead generation tactic before.
Quizzes can be light-hearted, like “Which type of dog is right for you?” Or they can be more business oriented. This quiz from BrightEdge doesn’t ask for participants’ information until the very end of the quiz. If you want to find out how many answers you got right, you have to give them your information.
This brings up a really effective way to use interactive content to get leads: Offer benchmark data. In other words, show users how they compare to their peers. We’re psychologically wired to really want this information, but it’s also come up recently in DemandGen’s 2016 Content Preferences Survey. In that survey, 95% of the marketers said they’d like companies to “provide more benchmark data” in their content.
Bonus tip: You can also use quizzes for lead nurturing, of course. Or to help your sales team gather more information about a prospect.
2. Interactive white papers and ebooks.
These are one of the best types of interactive content with which to experiment. White papers and ebooks tend to be very information-heavy, which makes them less attractive to consume for some readers. Converting them into interactive experiences takes much of that pain away.
Interactive white papers can also give you more information about how your content was consumed than a static white paper. With the static version, all you know is that the content was downloaded – you don’t know if your prospect read the whole paper, or which parts of it.
With an interactive white paper, you can see which sections they viewed, if they used any of the interactive widgets, and what information they entered. All that can help a lot when your sales team needs to evaluate and rank leads.
One of my favorite examples of an interactive white paper is from Hyatt Legal Plans. Ion Interactive helped create it.
These are particularly attractive as a lead generation tool, mostly because they can be so helpful to the people who complete them. But also because you can use the information gathered in the assessment to create an elegant email follow-up series.
Maybe that’s why assessments are the most common type of interactive content used, according to the Content Marketing Institute and Ion Interactive’s research study, Deliver Peak Experiences With Interactive Content.
Here’s one of Act-On’s assessments: “Are You Ready for Marketing Automation?” In this one, the reader gets to answer the questions before being asked for contact information. And here’s an assessment offered from Vidyard with the opposite approach from our assessment: the lead gen form is at the beginning, before you’re asked any questions. Typically, the lead gen form is at the end, but you should test to see which position will get you the most (and the best quality) leads.
“Video” can mean many things. It might be pre-recorded webinars on your site. Or YouTube videos. Or embedded video tutorials on your blog or elsewhere on your site. It’s all fair game for lead generation.
There are a couple of ways to do lead generation with this format. You could use a tool like Wistia’s Turnstile, which will embed a lead generation form at some point in your video. That lets you either gate the video content itself, or to offer a “content upgrade” at the end of the video.
Another way to make videos interactive is to add YouTube annotations. These are basically little tags embedded in your YouTube videos that let users bounce around from video to video – or to one exterior URL. That URL could be a lead generation landing page you specify.
Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to create YouTube annotations.
Want an example of an interactive video? The interactive agency Rapt has one. I found it to be one part interactive video, one part interactive white paper.
5. Interactive infographics
We’ve written before about how humans are highly visual creatures. Interactive infographics leverage that, plus give us cool little digital widgets to play with.
There’s all sorts of ways to get leads from these, but the most common is to offer a downloadable version of the infographic, like Militello Capital has done here.
One other, fancier, option is to offer a personalized downloadable version of the infographic. With this, you’d ask a user a few questions, then show them the infographic based on how they answered.
Then you’d offer them a downloadable version with all their custom information. For an idea of how that might look, check out the BBC’s interactive assessment/infographic, “Your Life on Earth”.
Got a pricing structure that’s too complex for the standard pricing page table? Want to show people how much they could save by using your service? Then you need an interactive calculator.
You can also use a calculator simply as part link magnet, part lead generation tool, as EmailMarketingROI.com has done. Note the lead generation component of this calculator – it lets you benchmark your results against your peers’.
We’ve got an ROI calculator on our site, too… if you’d like to try it out.
7. Solution or Product Finders.
These are similar to “configurators,” or sometimes they’re referred to as the same thing. Either way, the idea is to have the user answer a couple of questions, and then give them a customized recommendation. That recommendation may include a price, or a specific product, or a recommendation for a specific service.
The “Virtual Assistant Assistant” makes product recommendations for – you guessed it – virtual assistants. But it doesn’t tell you which service will work best for you until you give them your contact information. It has to be your correct contact information, too. The Virtual Assistant Assistant doesn’t show your recommendations on the final screen – it sends them to your email address.
If you’ve been having trouble with getting fake email addresses, this is an effective solution.
Addictions to Angry Birds aside, games can be a great way to attract and hold people’s attention. Add a simple lead gen form as a registration tool (or to access more features of the game, like apps do) and you’ve got your bases covered.
This is one of my favorite examples of a B2B-oriented game. It’s called Email Tycoon and was created by the U.K. email agency Alchemy Worx. To play the game, you send out different types of email campaigns, based on how much budget you have available. As you accrue budget, you’re also able to add more resources, like interns, email deliverability people, and even Ping-Pong tables.
Judging by the top scores they show (yet another way to leverage benchmarking), some people are more than a little obsessed with it.
Games are particularly effective when they’re used at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, as this table from the Content Marketing Institute and Ion Interactive’s research study shows. According to this data, games even beat out quizzes.
Contests came in as the third most common type of interactive content in the CMI/Ion Interactive study. They’re reported to do especially well for attracting early-stage buyers, or for just increasing brand awareness.
These are a bit less interactive than calculators or quizzes, but there is definitely input from the users. Photo caption contests, or any contest that asks for user generated content, all count as interactive content.
The lead generation element of this is almost transparent – you need their contact information to notify them if they’ve won, right? But take the extra step and explicitly ask for permission to follow up with them (or just add them to your list) after the contest is over. It might suppress your lead count, but it will pay off with higher-quality leads.
A photo caption contest from Meridian Credit Union.
As content marketing gets more competitive, simply creating good – or even great – content may not be enough. We’ll also have to present our content in interesting ways – namely, in formats that make our visitors want to click.
Interactive content is ideal for this, but it’s also a great way to learn more about our prospects. We can learn about their needs without making them fill out boring forms, or having to wait as they slowly navigate through our sales funnel.