Interactive content has become the B2B world’s answer to creating enthralling brand experiences and forging profitable buyer relationships. It’s what buyers today want, after all. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2017 Content Preferences Survey, 87% of buyers agreed or strongly agreed that they prefer more interactive and visual content that they can access on demand.
So you would think if you built these immersive experiences, your buyers will come groveling at your feet, right? Wrong. We’re seeing many B2B brands follow the mantra: the more bells and whistles, the better. This is flawed logic. When you have too many interactive layers, pop-ups and animations, you’re distracting your viewers. Even worse: these animations don’t serve a purpose or augment the overall story, which ends up frustrating your buyers.
There are six foundational questions you need to ask to ensure your content not only captivates an audience but also serves a purpose:
1. Who’s my audience? I’d be remiss if I didn’t put this as the first question you need to ask. Before you start any content project, you need to identify who you’re trying to reach. You can think broadly, like focusing on a specific industry, or more specifically at the job role/function level.
2. Do they even want interactive content? This is definitely the “do not pass go, do not collect $200” question. If you know for a fact that your target audience has zero interest in interactive content, you need to do a quick pivot and find a new format for your idea. If you’re completely new to this whole interactive content thing and you’re not quite sure how your audience will respond, try to pick a format that won’t swallow up too much time and budget. It’ll be a great project for you to test and determine whether you can and should invest more heavily in interactive in the future.
3. What stage of the buyer’s journey is this content for? Each company leverages a different buyer’s journey model, so for the sake of consistency, we’ll just use the standard three stages: Top Funnel, Middle Funnel and Bottom Funnel. The specific stage you’re aiming to fill won’t necessarily impact the formats you can use. However, it will have a significant impact on the content you develop for the format and, of course, the interactive layers you incorporate.
4. What do we want buyers to get out of this experience? This is the next logical question once you determine which buyer’s journey stage you’re targeting. If you want to create an interactive top-funnel asset, you likely want to educate buyers about a new trend or challenge their thinking on a particular topic. If you’re creating content for mid-funnel, you’ll want to encourage them to assess their current processes or situations, and of course, spotlight a potential solution and ideal features capabilities. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, you want to present your brand as the ideal solution and expert to help buyers along their journey.
5. Which interactive elements will help us empower our audience? At this point, you need to take a hard look at your target buyer and messaging and determine what interactive layers or capabilities will help you get your points across. For example, if you’re trying to challenge your audience on their current knowledge or perspectives on a trend, a quiz or assessment would be great formats. If you want to encourage buyers to learn more about your new point-of-sale system and all of its supporting components, an interactive product-picking tool would be a powerful medium.
6. Where do we want our audience to go next? The worst faux pas I see marketers committing is creating a dead end with their content. This is especially detrimental with interactive content. Don’t let your buyers’ amazing experience fall flat. Think of the next step you want them to take after they engage with your interactive infographic, microsite, quiz or ROI calculator. Do you want them to contact a sales rep, sign up for a free trial or download a supporting content asset? Again, the ideal next step will vary based on the buyer stage and your goals, so think critically about what your call-to-action should be.
By answering all of these questions, you can guarantee you’re creating interactive content that serves a purpose for your buyers. The end result will mean your buyers are more engaged, happy with the experience and have a better overall perception of your brand.
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