Content has long been used as a tool for generating leads.
In theory, content as a lead generating tool can give users all of the information they need to make the purchasing decisions necessary to convert and become a customer. However, it’s becoming clear that the decline in Internet user’s attention spans, combined with the radical change in how buyers arrive at the decision stage of their buyer journey, has rendered traditional content-based lead generation efforts much less effective than they once were.
To reap the benefits of using content for generating leads, marketers must put themselves into the shoes of the buyer to determine what type of content will resonate, and push them further into the purchasing funnel. It’s important to note that although lead generation typically refers to targeting buyers, content-based lead generation, when done correctly, can also be a powerful tool for business development and recruiting efforts as well. If you are one of the many marketers who feel like your content-based lead generation efforts are falling a bit short of the mark, you may want to consider emphasizing interactive content into your strategy.
Implementing interactive content into your strategy, or even repurposing old content into a more interactive format has the power to boost the number of leads you’re getting, and the power to bring you better qualified leads as well.
The Gated Content Conundrum
To better understand why interactive content works so well as a lead generation tool, we must first figure out why static content doesn’t work anymore in today’s landscape. Most iterations of content-based lead generation are rooted in using gated content to ask readers to provide information to access the content. Invariably, this model has worked for quite some time because it’s somewhat reciprocal. The user gets something for giving up bits of personal information that will be used in the sales process later. Everyone’s happy, right?
The problem with this model is that it has become so formatted it’s now quite literally almost impossible for users to differentiate your offering from another company’s. No matter how much time you spent creating it, how dynamic the design is, or how useful the content is, it probably looks like something the user has seen before.
Another principal issue with gated content is the long term belief that users will only offer up their information if they believe the offer is worth it. While this notion may be true in some aspects, this has led marketers to create ultra long form content in the hopes of getting more information from the user without providing the information they need to solve their problem. And, most of the time the content is so boring readers don’t even bother finishing it. Worse still is that more of your precious resources will be wasted trying to sell to a lost lead later, pushing you further and further down the rabbit hole. So, what’s the answer? Interactive content.
Leads on Leads on Leads
Interactive content, by nature, requires participation. As opposed to static content which is designed for consumption alone, interactive content drives users to engage with your content, and therefore your brand. It’s found in digital content like quizzes, surveys, calculators, assessments, and more.
Another desirable trait of interactive content is that it often includes a feedback loop where the outcome is directly affected by the user’s interaction with the content. This opens the door for a deep and rich dialogue between you and the user in which you can gear your efforts toward gaining a better understanding of their pain points and how your offering could be a solution to the problem.
When used as a tool for business development and recruiting interactive content also has the power to establish your business as a credible authority, and develop robust prospective employee profiles. Using interactive content as a tool for lead generation, whether for sales, business development, or recruitment, boasts a wide array of other benefits as well.
Interactive content gives you the option to tell your narrative in a more dynamic way. By offering your users an experience rather than a form, you give users more incentive to participate. Engaging the user during the early touch stages of their interaction with your brand is crucial for moving them towards conversion. “Research shows that interactive content consistently beats passive content when it comes to shares and conversions,” said Owen Fuller, Chief Evangelist for Boombox, a leading interactive content platform, “And it’s not surprising — who doesn’t like to have a chance to participate in a story and better yet, to be rewarded by it.”
And, he’s’ right, according to Demand Metrics, interactive content generated conversions moderately or very well 70 percent of the time compared to 36 percent for passive. If you are producing content that is not unique, the user can’t find value in, or that doesn’t offer some form of engagement, you may have lost that lead forever.
When used for recruitment purposes, interactive content allows prospects to become more engaged with the ideals, culture, and mission of your organization. This can effectively help you weed out those who may not be right for your company, and can produce the most qualified leads for employment. For business development, interactive content is ideal for warming users to your brand, and creating dialogue for a better understanding of the topics they care most about.
Differentiation From Competitors
According to Demand Metric, interactive content is 88% effective at differentiating a brand from its competitors, compared to only 55% for static content. This is because, like mentioned before, gated content pages have become so formatted that it’s difficult for the reader to differentiate between who’s actually offering the content. This is crucial because your content will do your business no good if the user doesn’t understand where it came from.
This aspect of interactive content is of particular importance when it comes to recruitment because rather than offering prospects a traditional application/interview process like every single one of your competitors, you are giving them a small window into your company in an engaging way. This type of content creates an unparalleled awareness for your company and brand.
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Increased Tracking Abilities
With traditional gated content, there are few opportunities for tracking anything other than whether a user accessed or shared your content. Static content that is ungated has even fewer tracking opportunities still. Without the ability to see how the user interacted with your content, there is little room for assessing what information they found useful, and what was effective and what wasn’t. This gives your brand little insight on how to improve your content efforts moving forward.
On the other hand, interactive content is highly trackable and provides the tools necessary for assessment, and tweaking if necessary. Being able to see how the user answered each question on a quiz, for example, provides highly useful intel on your lead, and gives you the best chance to understand and analyze the user’s pain points. This robust understanding of your lead will help with future targeting, and can help you begin to assess outcomes and developing patterns. This is particularly useful regarding business development as it can help you determine what efforts are resonating with potential partners, to allow you to hone in on these key points in future interactions.
Attract an Audience
As interactive content inherently provides more educational value to the user, it has a better chance of actually attracting an audience. With the Internet so saturated with traditional content marketing pieces, people are clicking on and reading less of the content that took your precious time and resources to create.
Interactive content is much more compelling, because it targets the user as an individual, provides customized material, and hones in on the self-awareness of users today. “Quizzes help answer that age old question of ‘Who Am I?”, and that’s never going away,” said Fuller, “Just like it’s hard not to take a quick look in a mirror as you walk by, it’s hard not to get pulled into take a quiz that will tell you something useful or interesting about yourself.”
In today’s Internet landscape, marketers cannot expect traditional content to produce the lead generating results they want and need. Interactive content strays from the traditional gated or static content model, to better understand the type of content their target audience wants and needs to convert.
By taking the time to understand what information users need, and then creating an engaging piece of content to address that need, brands can effectively engage the user, differentiate themselves from their competitors, and track the results for better content in the future. Businesses looking to recruit better-qualified leads for employment, or create more meaningful relationships with potential partners can boost credibility, authority, and brand awareness through interactive content.
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