Customer Engagement Using Interactive ContentThe Millennials know where to spend their big bucks, and if they aren’t spending them on you, you’re hitting all the wrong notes. Do you have a post-sales strategy in place? Are you engaging them right? Why should they be loyal to you? Today, customers are more powerful than ever. Contemporary technology, increasing inter connectivity and the power to fetch information with the press of a button has enabled them to control their experience. Thus, it’s time to put old school customer engagement strategies into the trash. Brands, and us marketers, need rethink how we connect with the customers and engage them. We like to call it Customer Engagement 2.0.
Customer Engagement 2.0 - A New ChapterNew age customer engagement gives the reign in the customer's’ hands. Brands can just create experiences, whether to consume them or not depends solely on the customers. And thanks to the ever growing power of digital, Gen Z has an array of choices. This results in a gap between production and consumption of content, what we marketers refer to as content fatigue. Oh, and this means that the content piece you published last night, may or may not interest your customers. Sorry, it’s got to compete with 211 Million other pieces created the very same minute. Sad. But what’s the way around? The key to engaging the Millennials lies in building a solid strategy that touches on three aspects - personalization, rewards, and returns. Creating experiences around these touch points can help marketers retain customers and encourage them to become brand advocates. A recent Forrester research reveals that 71% of connected consumers feel negatively toward brands when they encounter inconsistent experiences, and 10% say these inconsistencies will make them stop interacting with a brand altogether. Interactive content brings consistency to your overall marketing experience. It combines the best of these three aspects and delivers experiences that connect with your customers at a personal level and improve sales. In fact, it has been proved that customer engagement leads to customer retention. Research by Rosetta Consulting, for example, found that engaged customers are five times more likely to buy only from the same brand in the future. Let us understand why you must use interactive content to boost content engagement.
3 Reasons Why Interactive Content Can Boost Customer Engagement
#1 It Focuses on the CustomersInteractive content like quizzes, calculators, recommendation engines etc. are highly customer-centric. It’s less about brand promotion and more about customer appreciation and acceleration. Unlike the traditional marketing banter or annoying sales pitches, these experiences focus on providing a solution to the customers. This encourages customers to engage with them. Besides, they educate rather than selling, which helps them win customer loyalty.
#2 It Adds Real-Time ValueOf the nearly 60 percent of brands using interactive content methods such as apps, assessments, quizzes and calculators, report seeing up to 70 percent more conversions compared to passive content at around 36 percent. Why? Because it gives real-time answers to your customers most pressing questions and adds value. They don’t have to wait for a download to finish or keeping reading long-form content to derive value. Interactive content helps achieve an overall balance in your content strategy and provides instant gratification, which makes it tick.
#3 It Delivers Personalized ResultsWhen your customers take a quiz or use a calculator, they input actual values or give answers that are true to them. This ensures that they get results that are exclusive to them. This degree of personalization encourages customers to interact more with the brand and stay connected for more tailored services/products.
How Can You Use Interactive Content to Better Engage Your Customers?Interactive content is an umbrella term that includes various different forms such as calculators, quizzes, recommendations, surveys, and interactive video. Each form serves a different purpose when used as a part of the marketing funnel. Here, since we are talking about customer engagement, let's look at 4 different ways you can use varied interactive content forms to keep your customers hooked.
RecommendationsProduct recommendations have been a good old way for e-commerce companies to lure buyers and upsell. And they’ve worked like a charm. Probably this is why 70% of Amazon’s homepage is dedicated to product recommendations. But if you thought that recommendations only worked for e-tailers, it’s time to re-think things. Whether you’re a product or services company, you can give your customers recommendations that’ll help them get more out of what you have to offer. And a creative way of doing this is through a quiz or calculator. Take this Forbes college recommendation quiz for instance. It asks users to answer questions about their preferred location, high school experience etc. and on the basis of the answers tells them the best college for them. Not surprisingly, this quiz has received a lot of traction and engagement, with more than 198K shares to date! Here’s another calculator that we created at Outgrow, which can be used for budget recommendations. Based on the inputs you give, it tells you the amount you should actually spend on social media marketing.
Rewards/IncentivesIncentives and rewards have the power to impact Millennial decision making. A recent study published on the Marketing Land blog revealed that rewards encouraged customers to engage more with the brand in multitudes of way. Interactive content lets you experiment with how you chose to offer rewards to your customer. You can think beyond the usual sweepstakes way and build your rewards program around a graded quiz. Ask your customers to take a quiz related to your brand or product/services and then attach incentives to the grade they score in the quiz. For instance, if on a scale of 0 to 10, they score between 0 to 5 you can offer them X% discount and if they score between 6 to 10 you can give Y% discount.
Customer EducationEducating customers forms an important part of the customer engagement strategy. How will you convince your customer to upgrade or buy another product or recommend the brand, if they hardly know anything about the brand or the product Thus, it is important to add value to your customers in order to encourage them to move further in the funnel. We send out regular email newsletters, create white papers and ebooks, or send out product release updates, you may say. Sadly, these methods of customer engagement fail to deliver results. These pieces don’t facilitate a two-way communication with your client and are ignored/abandoned easily. Thus, customer engagement using interactive content. It not only educates the customers but also gets their feedback for you. It opens a channel for communication, which makes the customers feel more involved with the brand. What’s more? It provides an instant gratification, which puts the users in the control. They can derive value whenever they want, without having to wait for your email updates or reading long form whitepapers. Cloud Sherpas created a quiz called ‘How Mature is Your Service Instance?’ which let the users test their knowledge about service instance. The results were followed by recommendations on how people can improve their score. The quiz was a perfect way to target both prospects and existing customers. While Cloud Sherpa gets 3-4 qualified leads from the quiz everyday, it helps the existing know more about the brand and their service offerings.
ROU (Returns on Upgrade)Why should your customers upgrade? What value does it hold for them? You must be able to answer these questions for your customers and prove what we call the Returns on Upgrade (ROU). Creating a calculator that proves the value of the cost of upgrade or a quiz that makes your customers familiar with the features/benefits of the upsell. Here are some ideas you can create a quiz or calculator around - #1 How Much You Can Save By Opting for - Calculator #2 Is a Right Fit for You? - Quiz #3 Which Are You Eligible For? - Quiz #4 ROI of Upgrade to - Calculator 58% marketers feel present content campaigns don't provide the opportunities for interaction or engagement. Interactive content, however, is customer-centric and thus leads to repeat visitors and greater online exposure, as experienced by 79% marketers. How does your company engage customers? Any creative ideas you'd like to share with fellow marketers? Let us know in the comments section below.
Antara Agarwal is a full time marketing consultant at Outgrow. She can be found packing her bags for her next trip, often to the mountains. And in one of those bags you will always find a half finished book she’s been struggling with for months.