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Four Reasons Interactive Content Supercharges Your Lead Generation

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As marketers, we spend a lot of time optimizing our lead-generation programs. We A-B test our social media and email copy. We experiment with different landing page designs and messaging. We tweak our CTAs until they yield the highest possible conversion rates.

However, we often overlook an important aspect of lead generation in regards to optimization: the content that a lead receives in exchange for information. Sure, we research topics that will resonate with our audience, spend time writing great copy, and work with our design teams to make sure the end product looks great. But for many marketing teams, the lead-gen content creation process is on autopilot.

Forward-thinking marketing teams are starting to experiment with new content formats and ways of using that content to generate leads for their businesses. One of the most intriguing trends I've recently seen in the content marketing space is interactive content.

From well-established brands to rapidly growing startups, marketers are pushing themselves to tell stories in new ways with interactivity.

Consumers are starting to show a preference for interactive content over static content. Moreover, recent studies have shown that interactive content generates conversions more effectively than static content.

Let's explore four key reasons why interactive content is great for lead-generation programs.

1. Interactive content is unique

How many times do you download a PDF e-book or an infographic only to trash it a few days later without ever opening the document? If you're anything like me, this probably happens regularly.

In the B2B space, creating content that stands out and gets noticed online is challenging. The majority of companies are publishing the same types of blog posts, PDF e-books, whitepapers, and infographics for top-of-funnel audience engagement. Even if you have fantastic information to share, format fatigue can work against you via social or in their inbox.

Interactive content is a great alternative to traditional formats because it allows you to tell the same stories for your brand in a unique way. Using text, images, video, audio, animations, and interaction effects, you can deliver your messages in a dynamic, interesting way that stands out in a sea of mostly static marketing content.

With a flexible interactive content creation platform, you can also break out of the 8.5 x 11 PDF or long-scroll infographic mold and build assets of any dimension you like. Not only does this give you more options to create something that looks totally different than the content other brands are creating—it also empowers you to create micro-content that you can easily embed into a landing page or blog post. Those smaller interactive elements can provide just enough novelty to capture a distracted viewer's attention and get him or her to convert.

2. It's engaging

At first glance, engagement may seem to have little to do with lead generation. After all, most lead gen tactics put a "gate" in front of the content you want someone to engage with. Whether the person decides to give you his or her information solely depends on the topic of the piece and the copy that drives the user to it via a social post, an email, or a landing page.

Therein lies the rub. People may ante up their information to download a piece of content, but if that content is boring or unoriginal, you're unlikely to get that lead to engage with you further down the funnel. Often times, gated content is the first touch a prospect has with your brand. If that touch is weak, you've missed a huge opportunity to warm that person up for any further interactions. Your lead that you worked so hard to win will just be a cold, inactive star in your CRM galaxy.

Interactive content can help you drive more engagement with your lead-gen content. By inviting viewers to actively participate in the story you're telling—by choosing their own path through your content, drilling deeper into topics they care about, or answer interesting questions—you create a kind of virtual dialog with your audience. This dialog can then carry through seamlessly in subsequent touches as you nurture leads down the funnel to sales readiness.

3. It's cross-platform-friendly

In regards to lead gen, we tend to create longer assets like whitepapers, reports, and e-books. We feel like, if someone is going to "pay" for a content piece with his or her information, it better be robust enough to make a fair exchange.

The problem is that long-form PDFs are difficult to read on mobile devices. Sure, there are PDF reader apps that make consuming long-form content on a smartphone possible, but those assets haven't been designed with mobile devices in mind, either visually or editorially. Though a PDF e-book may render legibly on a small screen, a viewer will likely bail after a couple of pages because the content doesn't reflect the nature of the medium in which it's being viewed.

Interactive content solves the issue of cross-platform friendliness. By designing content in a more fluid, bite-sized, visual format, you ensure that your content will be easy to digest on every device. And with interactive content software, you can build content once and not have to hassle with testing it on every operating system and browser to make sure it renders properly.

4. It's flexible

In regards to generating leads with traditional marketing content, there isn't a whole lot of flexibility. The majority of marketers use a landing page with a form that triggers a PDF download or an email send on submit. Some marketers using Web-based PDF readers that allow readers to preview content for a minute or two before a form pops up and blocks the content.

With interactive content, your lead-gen options are much more flexible. You can...

  • Go the traditional landing page route, with your content hidden behind a form.
  • Embed a teaser piece of content on the landing page to entice someone to convert.
  • Use a time-triggered pop-up form within your content so readers can get a taste of what they’re "buying" with their information.
  • Use an event-triggered pop-up form (either based on how far someone has gotten through the content or which objects he or she interacts with on a page) within your content.
  • Let viewers opt out of a form and continue reading or lock them out until they complete it.

The other way interactive content is flexible is in terms of storytelling. You can create a simple, long-scroll content piece with a few simple animated and clickable elements, or you can create a multi-page, multi-layered experience with lots of rich media that provides deep insight into a specific topic. Interactivity can help you articulate your message in a way that's visually appealing and relevant for your audience, whether your message is simple or complex.

* * *

Incorporating interactive content into your lead-generation strategy can help you create marketing assets that stand out, keep prospects engaged with your brand, provide a seamless experience across devices and browsers, and provide a more flexible lead capture experience for your audience. With the right platform and a clear creative vision, you can fuel your lead-gen engine with content that makes a great first impression with prospects and drives results for your business.

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Ashley Taylor Anderson is director of Content at Ceros, a provider of interactive content marketing software.

LinkedIn: Ashley Taylor Anderson

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  • by Peter Altschuler Wed Dec 9, 2015 via web

    And some examples would be...? Judging from the ones on the Ceros site, there's a lot of animation but very little (if any) interactivity. In other words, there's nothing that I, as a content consumer, have to do to engage with the information and control what happens next... apart from clicking or scrolling -- the same action I'd take with a static presentation.

  • by Ashley Taylor Anderson Wed Dec 9, 2015 via web

    Hi Peter! Here are a few examples for you to play around with:

    This quiz incorporates animations and customized responses based on the viewer's answers:

    This ebook has a baseline narrative, but gives viewers the flexibility to drill deeper into a particular topic with on-screen prompts:

    This microsite provides a flexible way to explore content based on interest. Unlike a normal slide deck or web page, you can consume content in a non-linear fashion. It also includes videos and other rich content.

    While clicking and scrolling is common in other online content, these actions take on new significance within interactive pieces, providing a more flexible and personalized exploration of narrative and multimedia elements.

  • by Peter Altschuler Wed Dec 9, 2015 via web

    Thank you, Ashley. They all made me nervous, but I'm probably not in your demographic -- all my clients are B2B, and their prospects don't want to guess what's behind the curtains.

  • by Ashley Taylor Anderson Thu Dec 10, 2015 via web

    Makes sense, Peter. However, I've seen a lot of B2B companies using interactive to tell their stories in new and innovative ways.

    Certain industries like finance and healthcare are more about using animations and videos, audio, etc. to bring their content to life instead of hiding content "behind the curtain", as you put it. :) But there's a time and a place for both treatments depending on the nature of the piece, it's purpose in the sales cycle, and your prospects' preferences.

    The nice thing is that interactive content is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of use cases. At Ceros, we use interactive for super top-of-funnel engagement content, meatier lead gen content, and mid-to-late stage sales enablement content. Depending on the goal of the piece, the design and setup varies widely, but the bottom line is that people are much more engaged with our content at every stage of the funnel because we're providing something besides static PDFs or slide decks.

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