Excuse me, what did you say exactly?
Do you recognize this? Of course! This is you, the moment you are getting overwhelmed with marketing messages from all different kinds of organizations.
Banner ads, push notifications, in-feed ads, sidebar affiliate links, oh my! Or to put it another way, old-fashioned marketing. Times have changed and nowhere is that more apparent than in the marketing world. Old marketing is dead. Long live new marketing or… interactive marketing.
Interactive marketing? What is that?!
Cue the lights, let’s dive in.
What is interactive marketing?
Let’s start with some marketing basics first:
The kinds of advertisements that you skip most of the time (or don’t even notice!) are advertisements that work in one direction.
‘We send out an ad and hope you see it’, this way of thinking still thrives in a lot of organizations but it’s just not effective anymore.
What companies need is interactive marketing, campaigns that result in a two-way dialogue with the consumer. They allow you to connect and interact with your audience. In a two-way question-and-answer format, you can say.
Know the difference between static and interactive content
Static content helps you to collect marketing data passively, but this approach limits your chance for growth, as it does not provide enough info on your customers’ preferences and prevents you from building proper buyer personas.
Get to know your audience. Interaction with your audience creates both trust and engagement. This is the foundation of interactive content.
Continuously monitor your interactive marketing campaign
- You set up a campaign and you DON’T wait.
- See how customers are reacting to the campaign. For example, are they engaged? Are they viewing your content and clicking to learn more? Are they spending more – or, gulp, less – time on your site?
You adapt and try to meet their expectations WHILE the campaign is still running.
You cannot afford to miss this trend as consumers are getting accustomed to various types of interactive content and are more and more willing to share personal details in exchange for interactivity.
Let’s take a look at the best examples. Afterward, you can choose the right type of interactive marketing for your business!
Only the best: interactive marketing examples & best practices
There are countless ways of interacting with your customers and practice interactive marketing. I’ve picked some key interactive marketing strategies that you’ll probably recognize already and some cool ones you might not be familiar with.
Creative forms of interactive digital marketing on the whole and infographics, in particular, are being used as part of a wider search and content marketing strategy. They are powerful tools for SEO and PPC agencies to increase site relevance, engage with users and attract links.
Infographics are excellent examples of engaging content. When a company published a well-designed infographic on its site, others post it on their own sites, more websites are linking back to it, and sharing the infographic, as a result, the company gains more organic traffic.
That’s why the topic of your infographic has to be absolutely groundbreaking, informative, provide practical value to your audience – and excite them.
This infographic case study is a great example: a visually appealing map with all the filming locations of Game of Thrones. They made it for one of their clients: a travel company. Since much of the series was being filmed in Morocco, it was a great hook that synced nicely back to the client’s Morocco offering.
Don’t have a clue on how to get started on your own infographic, just follow these best practices.
This is a great example of interactive marketing – with the results to prove it. Take a look:
Why did it work? By creating something tangible/physical to give them, you’re also minimizing the amount of work they have to do. They can write a paragraph or two, add your map/infographic/video and there’s a story ready-made. For writers who are being asked to publish multiple stories a day, that is a godsend.
2. A stellar blogging strategy
YEP! We are interacting right now! Blogging is one of the most used interactive marketing types, especially for digital companies. With some of the best free blogging sites it’s easy and fast to make fun and short blogs to keep your customers posted and keep them up to date about the last new deals and interesting tips and tricks. Good points for Pointerpro!
Today, regular blog posts are still a strong pillar in most marketing strategies, but in a fast-evolving technological world, demands are high! To increase engagement from your readership and to turn your blog interactive you could:
All this is what we call interactive storytelling. One of my FAVORITE types of interactive marketing! Name it, and you can do it. You can go as far as you want with interactive storytelling and that’s what makes blogging interactive. HOW FUN!
According to Martechadvisor interactive storytelling is the best marketing. It is true what they say. Stories are a human thing since the first day we started communicating. People don’t easily ignore that.
Interactive marketing by way of storytelling decreases the boundary between the customer and producer. It also makes it a lot easier for the customer to make its decisions.
Here are some amazing examples of interactive storytelling!
You could even create a blog post that walks customers through what product would fit their needs best. This is what SFGATE did to walk customers through picking the best mattress for their needs.
They guide customers through the different types of mattresses, the firmness that would work best for them, and multiple size options. It is a good post to include in a follow-up email you could send to abandoned cart customers, as well.
3. Puzzle games
Ever heard of Cicada 3301? If not, you’re certainly not the only one. But this is not a case of bad marketing! you never heard of it because 99,99% of the people on this planet aren’t the target market. The CIA was looking for some very gifted encoders but there was only one small problem: Where do you find these if only 0.01% of the population has the skillset you need?
To do this they created a kind of game that only the most skilled people could play. With a lot of clues, they created an online puzzle. Every time you solved a clue, you got a new one. See this smart strategy in action.
Extremely cool stuff!
4. User generated content
Another prime example of interactive marketing is user-generated content. We came across this particular example in this Brafton article
Inviting users to share their own content is one of the best examples of leveraging interactive content. This approach usually works best on social media, often accompanied by a hashtag, and is a fantastic way to shine a spotlight on the brand’s target audience and allow customers and prospects to see themselves represented.
Jimmy Fallon provides a perfect case study on user-generated content. A normal segment in his show includes him reading viewers’ social media posts according to a certain hashtag prompt.
Gamification. I could try to explain this AWESOME example of interactive marketing to you with endless theories. But I won’t.
I’ll show you.
What a brilliant way of doing interactive marketing. This is something that people will remember and link with the brand that has given this experience to an unexpecting crowd.
This Asics marketing campaign was launched in 2011 and the results after that year were incredible. The overall sales increased by 15% and the sales of footwear, what this campaign in particular is about, had a rise of 20%.
So very short: Gamification is mixing ‘game-like’ elements in a non-gaming environment. It is all about stimulating a behavior of human beings starting from the intrinsic motivation or the motivation from within an individual.
EEUM… you are reading my blog SOOOOO you obviously know I’m from Pointerpro!
With our tool, it is very easy to add some gamification to your surveys. I’ll just give you some examples to make that clear to you. With our software you can:
6. Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality has been making waves in the marketing space lately and it’s projected to keep growing in the coming years. It’s a great tool that can be used by marketers to provide a unique customer interaction in both B2B and B2C environments. Here’s how:
7. Social media
Maybe more in your comfort zone is Facebook. It is possible to target the people you want in a million ways.
You have probably seen it a lot. Advertisements on Facebook which make you think: DAMN this is useful! It is because you are targetted for those nice sneakers you looked up earlier that week. Targeting is based on previous behavior and interests.
A great example of social media targeting is the campaign of ‘Orlando magic’. We sit here behind a computer so at least we can talk about sports! Orlando Magic was a campaign of basketball team Orlando to get people to a game during the holidays.
They used specific segmented groups to send a more personalized link to their fans and made sure that the ‘magic’ of Orlando was clear and visible. The results were also magical!
The return on advertisements was 52 times bigger than normal!!
If this is not really your taste, here are some other great social media marketing strategies.
8. Quizzes and personality tests
The perfect example of interaction: Questions and answers!
It attracts all of us. Take personality tests: “Which car suits your personality best?” or “How good are you with completing the lyrics of this rock band?”
It’s not that the makers are really interested in who your celebrity crush would be or what kind of bread you are.
HA-HA! Nope, I didn’t make that up!
Quizzes are a great method to use in your interactive marketing process because they’re easily shared and easy to fill in. Using quiz software to create easy, personalized mobile quizzes suits two goals – delivering a custom experience for the respondent and making it fun and easy for them to respond wherever they are.
You are an individual. So you want to be treated as one. This gives followers the possibility to feel like they are different than ‘normal’ people because they are exactly the person that can solve a quiz that can only be solved by 1% of the population.
These quizzes are such a good source for marketers. While you are telling your audience which kind of bread they are, you collect a lot of information about the user and that gives you a better insight into the needs of your clients.
Quizzes and personality tests can be challenging to create. For example, a useful calculator should be based on correct information and provide accurate results. Otherwise, it’s just there for show. Here are some tips on how to create quizzes, calculators, and social media contests.
When done right, all of these interactive content types will naturally boost your engagement rates and keep visitors on your site.
This is probably the oldest method to interactively collect customer feedback and test if your customers are willing to buy a new product or service. Most surveys come with an option to get updates on (future) products and services. Be careful, though, to comply with GDPR regulations.
A good assessment tool can increase time on site but it can also help you generate more leads and customers. By offering a free interactive tool that makes suggestions about the most suitable product or service a visitor can choose, you collect info about both the particular visitor, his problem and the solution he chooses.
It can be invaluable from a marketing point of view while providing the customer with valuable and engaging interactive experience. You can even make it more interactive by giving them advice in the form of a personalized assessment report.
Forget Optimus Prime, Forget R2D2 and forget Bender! I got something way more spectacular. And real!
Companies are using their own bots or online bots these days for their marketing or their customer service. This is a real HOT item ladies and gentlemen, even so hot that there are now organizations with ‘shops’ for bots. For example Kik or Telegram.
Some of them are very basic and send only your daily horoscope or give you instructions for transferring money to other people, Others are way more complicated.
For example GrowthBot. This is a chatbot that helps companies with their marketing. If you ever get in a situation where you need to do a lot of research, this bot can help you. I’ll give you an example and then you will probably go and use it…
Even some social networks are jumping on the bot-bandwagon. With Facebook, for example, offering an automatic answering bot in messenger for company pages.
The important takeaway here is that your goal should be to become as personal and responsive as possible. Especially in this millennial day and age, marketing should be taken to a whole new level of “personalized” conversations.
12. Interactive video
Both marketers and advertisers are eager to place more video online as video and animation are emerging as one of the preferred content formats.
You can take advantage of interactive video to create different marketing content such as pools, forms, or assessments. Nonetheless, do not overuse this format and carefully consider whether the auto-play function is appropriate.
Interactive content in the marketing funnel
Creating content is one thing; creating engaging content is another. You need to retain your customers after their first visit to your site. More importantly, you need customer engagement to build loyalty and generate leads.
Overall, nearly a half of B2B marketers find that creating engaging content is one of the three most challenging tasks they face in 2014, a survey by the Content Marketing Institute reads. A couple of years later, 60 percent of the respondents say that creation of truly engaging content is their top task. And for a good reason.
Everyone is creating content these days and standing out from the crowd is getting harder by the day. Interactive content can help both B2C and B2B websites in attracting and retaining visitors while finding the right mix for each particular business is still a challenge.
Additionally, creating interactions for the sake of interactivity does not help you much. You need a meaningful content strategy that envisages the use of the most proper content type, in the right sections/pages, and for the right customer.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
You should start by properly placing your interactive content to grab the visitor’s attention and make him wish to explore more. Selecting the right type of interactive content and the right placement spot on your site is just the first step. Once the visitor has engaged in exploring this initial content, you can offer more of interactive content to lead them down the marketing funnel.
As you can see from the picture above, interactive content is not that effective in “sealing the deal” but works quite well in the beginning and the middle of the marketing funnel. However, you should not concentrate only on its type but on the topic/area you want to cover because that is what decides in which phase of the funnel your content belongs to.
Squeeze the most value out of your interactive content
Expecting that interactive content will increase time on site and retain visitors just by being there is a huge mistake. Interactive or not, content needs to appeal to your target audience to actually be effective. Otherwise, you are just throwing your money down the drain.
Another feature of interactive content you should utilize to the utmost is the possibility to interact with your customers in real-time. So, if you are doing something like a live webinar and the chat starts to get active, use that chance to respond to the comments to keep the audience engaged.
Last but not least, use marketing psychology by taking advantage of methods that create urgency for action, provoke visitors’ curiosity, and force them not to miss an offer. Whenever you try to get your prospects interested in your interactive content, always keep in mind that people tend to react more on the fear that they are going to lose something than on the ability to gain something.
Interactive marketing advantages
Marketing, it’s all fun and creative and especially interactive marketing is really entertaining. But the underlying goal is not to be amusing of course. The fun side is mostly the advantage for the consumer.
1. The increase of social network sharing
We like it, we share it! When you, as an organization, make sure that your content on social media is entertaining, people will share it. If they are more satisfied and engaged they will be more willing to share it with their friends.
A real strong campaign of this was Marvels’ campaign of Deadpool.
They made it happen that there were emojis based on the movie. People used those emojis and started Talking about them. Don’t we love the magic of social media! This made it a top 10 Marvel movie in words of revenue. in 2016 there was a revenue of more dan 350 million only from theaters.
This incredible power that social networks command means that you need to take your brand image and public relations seriously if you’re looking to double down on a social media platform for interactive marketing. Consider investing in a PR team or at least purchasing good PR software to help with managing your brand’s PR. This little investment could work wonders for your brand. A great PR team working full time can come up with some incredible ideas that drive interaction. Who knows, you might even go viral?
2. Positive brand experience
Argh! I…Just….hate it! My movie gets interrupted by boring commercials or I get bothered by other types of pushy marketing.
There is interactive marketing! By making something that’s fun to watch or (better!) fun to participate, you can build a strong, memorable brand. Like the Asics campaign, I mentioned earlier.
Your audience will link this activity and wonderful experience to your brand or product which will make it easier to make up their mind if they need a product like yours or it makes them feel like they need it.
3. Increased sales conversion
It is not because you read something or see something that the marketing campaign is effective. People need to go from reader or viewer to buyer. This is what we call “sales conversion” Many times this happens because of a call to action like ‘buy now’ or ‘try it now’ etc.
A great example for this is the Orlando magic we talked about earlier. Because of the personalization and interaction with people, the ticket sale increased extremely. Another example of an increased sales conversion can be found at Blackbaud, a cloud software company. They had a lot of stories to tell but didn’t really know how to tell them or what do to with it. Once they figured out a way to do it their sales was 133% compared with the quota. The solution they applicated was an assessment and a calculator for their audience, so they could figure out what the followers needed.
OOOHH this advertisement knows my name! I almost feel like meeting an old friend, and that makes me curious…
Now that is the magic of interactive marketing!
Especially on social media or other online platforms, it’s easy to personalize your content. People will feel more connected with the product and will be more likely to ‘click’ on your advertisement. It gives the feeling that someone you know is talking to you.
A company that took this idea to a whole new level is Vidyard. They were able to send a video to every recipient with an explanation about their product but with a personalized introduction. The person in question his or her name was written on a whiteboard. This happened for EVERY SINGLE recipient. This is what it looked like:
Yes, You heard it right. He mentioned his clients’ colleagues as well! Feels like they are spies to me. But it is clever!
It’s pretty obvious that – especially in digital marketing – it’s easy to implement some interaction with your audience. Actually these days, you have to. That is what your customers need and what they are expecting from you as an organization.
Off you go
Thinking visually is a must as interactive content offers great opportunities to represent a lot of info in a visual way. Make it fun and engaging while incorporating the desired message you want to convey.
Besides the visuals, don’t forget to ensure that the interaction with the content is easy and intuitive. You don’t want to waste money on creating interactive content just for your audience to bounce because they got stuck while using it.
Despite being slightly more complicated to develop than your standard blog post, interactive content offers many benefits and it seems it is here to stay. It is as good time as any to give it a try.