The traditional definition of interactive content is that we create content that gets readers to engage and interact with our content. As a result, we can improve the effectiveness of our B2B marketing activities instead of slogging away at producing an endless stream of offers to get customers to respond.
But, like everything else in the B2B marketing world, this definition of interactive content too is changing. A customer’s attention is valuable, and you can’t compete for their time by doing more of what everyone is doing. So just because someone can click or answer a couple of questions, it doesn’t mean that you have met the interactive content bar.
Interactive content must form an active bridge between marketing and B2B sales stages. The back and forth must be seamless because the B2B sales cycle is itself not linear.
That’s exactly what good interactive content does.
For example, to help with your B2B marketing campaigns your probably already have:
All of these are excellent vehicles of B2B marketing. They get the word out there and raise your SEO score for organic reach. They also provide valuable credibility during the middle stages of B2B sales.
For example, as nicely explained by Neil Patel in this blog post, info-graphics can really help improve backlinks. They can increase your site authority and traffic too. If more people link to you, your credibility is higher.
Similarly, anyone who’s taken a Buzzfeed quiz can attest to the fact that they are irresistible. Inserting a quiz or calculator into a blog post is another way to make the blog post interactive.
But for a business that engages in B2B sales and relies on multiple people making a decision, creating such kind of interactive content is not enough to do the job. If you have recently wondered about the quality of your MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) that you have given to sales, or if you have struggled to keep up with the middle and bottom of the funnel activities of your sales team, then you have all the evidence you need. Today’s interactive content may generate traffic and raise awareness, but seldom does anything more substantial.
As a result, B2B marketing teams are left in an intense cycle of trying to do more and more qualification. They are also constantly producing more and more content. All this while their B2B sales teams still have to follow their traditional methods of engaging the buyers once they are in the door. That sounds like a major disconnect in alignment which can be solved using interactive content that allows them to work together.
How then should we tie in the top-of-the-funnel B2B marketing activities with bottom-of-the-funnel B2B sales activities? Let’s look at some nice examples of real interactive content that do bring together both marketing and sales teams.
Before we discuss what’s missing in these excellent examples, let’s review them to see what makes them so great. Hubspot website grader This is a fantastic example of interactive content. It gives you immediate value and gets you to engage with other content in a very focused and targeted way. If you get a 10/30 on the performance of your website, wouldn’t you want to see the video that tells you how to improve that score? And after trying to fix it yourself, wouldn’t you engage an expert to do it for you?
BrightLocal Listings Scanner
Another great example that gives people immediate value, and then guides them to a call to action that leads to a tangible benefit. Of course, you are much more likely to engage a local consultant or agency to do this for you, but BrightLocal becomes the tool of choice.
Conversion Helpers or Product Selectors
Excellent for aiding decisions during checkout, these quiz like tools help you navigate a set of options to get to a solution. Much like a credit card selector. We found some more mentioned in a very nice article here. These are excellent examples of how to guide a customer journey along. You can help a customer decide which product to buy or which next step to take. It’s likely that customers will come back and buy from you all else being equal.
The examples we saw above were great at customer engagement. But almost all of them don’t go “beyond the moment”.
As any B2B sales and marketing professional knows, a successful transaction takes anywhere between 3-10 high quality touchpoints. These touchpoints have varying levels of detail – education, pitching, refining, pilots, trials, and so on.
Next generation interactive content not only achieves the first step of getting the client in at the top of the funnel, but it also addresses these next steps for continuous customer engagement. It connects the top-of-the-funnel (more traffic) to the middle-of-the-funnel (sales pursuit) to bottom-of-the-funnel (sales). That’s what is needed for B2B marketing that is aligned with B2B sales.
For example, assume that you are a coach that helps professionals with better career progression. This coach developed an interactive assessment for his clients to take the first step in engagement. Then used the goal setting feature to help the client in full context of their aspirations and present status. This is definitely something where the initial interactive content resulted in a long term engagement – profitable for both sides. In addition, the volume of top-of-the-funnel activities seem less important than just a few quality interactions.
If you rely on consultative B2B sales and B2B marketing, then you should explore interactive content of the new kind. You cannot remain satisfied with generating more and more content to get more eyeballs and visibility. It may look good on your dashboard, but it gradually erodes the value of all the hard work you do when MQLs don’t convert into SQLs with high accuracy.
Using such an approach for B2B marketing also helps streamline your time investment. Every hour that you spend writing a blog post or creating an infographic maps back to the systematic structure that supports your interactive content. Once you have that going for you, your interactive content becomes an anchor that leads to what is called evergreen content – it keeps working for you over time!
If this approach sounds reasonable to you, then there is nothing better than testing it out! Get started for free and craft your first assessment. We are here to help you be successful. (image courtesy here)