Every marketing automation manager I know is an obsessive A/B tester. There are hundreds of factors you can optimize within your automation efforts: segmentation, template design, sending cadence, subject lines, sender names, email copy … the list goes on. But there’s one key component of marketing automation that often gets overlooked: the content you use to engage and nurture leads and customers.
Marketers are starting to see diminishing returns from sharing static content like blog posts, PDF whitepapers, and long-form eBooks. In a recent Demand Metric study, 58% of participants said that their content doesn’t create enough opportunities for interaction and engagement. The 2015 Content Preferences Survey from Demand Gen Report confirmed this trend:
“As buyers view more content, they want it to be easily digestible. [...] Shorter, interactive formats continue to win the day, as 74% report that they have less time to view content than they did a year ago.”
What exactly does the term “interactive formats” mean? These formats encompass two main types of content:
- Quizzes, assessments, and calculators where the end user interactively gives an input and gets a customized output as a result; and
- Content that uses animations, layered information, flexible navigation, and different media (text, photos, videos, sound bytes, GIFs, etc.) to create an immersive viewing experience.
Traditionally, interactive content has been touted as a great top-of-funnel engagement tool—but it can also help you maintain a high level of engagement at every stage of the customer journey. Here are four ways you can use interactive content for your marketing automation program.
1. Lead Acquisition
Without great content, lead acquisition is a constant struggle. You can generate brand awareness and drive top-of-funnel leads with highly visual, dynamic formats such as:
- Interactive infographics that bring data visualization to life;
- Articles with interactive charts or other graphics;
- Landing pages with embedded interactive visuals; and
- Interactive e-books that tell compelling multimedia stories.
2. Lead Nurture
Once someone becomes a lead in your system, you need to have relevant, enticing content to move them down the funnel. You can nurture leads by sharing engaging and interactive pieces such as:
- Quizzes and assessments that help you profile prospects;
- Whitepapers with results that support your value proposition; and
- Case studies with stories from happy customers.
3. Lead Re-Engagement
When leads go cold, you need to work even harder to try and re-engage them. Interactive content can be a great way to spark interest with unresponsive contacts. A few effective formats include:
- ROI calculators;
- Interactive microsites; and
- Personalized top-of-funnel content that addresses specific challenges and goals.
4. Customer Retention
Content is the key to keeping customers invested in your company over time. You can stay connected with customers and educate them about additional products or services using interactive content such:
- How-to guides that help customers get up and running;
- Video tutorials that educate customers on how to get the most out of their investment; and
- Upsell / cross-sell nanosites or landing pages to increase revenue and retention.
The Bottom Line
Prospects are being inundated with content from brands, businesses, publishers, and peers. Marketers are turning to interactive content because it’s unique, engaging, and effective. If you haven’t experimented with adding interactive content to your marketing automation strategy, now is the time to start!
Ashley Taylor Anderson, Director of Content at Ceros, is a writer and marketer who's spent her career knee-deep in the B2B technology space. In previous professional lives, she worked as a science textbook editor, interactive media producer, and pastry chef. When she’s not typing away madly at a keyboard, you can find her in the kitchen whipping up baked goods, strolling a museum, or cursing affectionately at her sewing machine.