Are You Marketing Interactively?
Here’s how to incorporate the practice and why you should.
The marketing world is constantly evolving. Making sure you stand out, initiating engagement, and understanding your potential customers is the only way to survive the static created by your competition. Are you prepared for the new age of marketing? Interactive marketing puts you in direct contact with your consumers.
It generates feedback to help you determine your demographics, making it almost impossible to misinterpret your customer’s needs. And it’s easier than ever. Learn what interactive marketing is, understand how to use it in your business, and built it into your marketing platform if you want to keep up with the times.
What is interactive marketing?
Interactive marketing’s purpose is to engage your customers, providing you with a better understanding of what they want. Instead of testing an idea based on projected demographics, interactive marketing has the power to provide your business with direct responses from your ideal customers. According to NGDATA, there are a few options when it comes to interactive marketing initiatives.
- Interactive Storytelling: The idea behind this initiative is to provide multiple engagement opportunities in your content. By breaking up your long-form post with an alternate type of media, an interactive element, or any other component that leads to sharing or discovering more information, you’ve created engagement.
- Personalized Content: Knowing as much about your potential customer as possible helps dial in your product. By collecting information from them in the form of a poll or a survey, it allows you to curate content specifically for them in the future.
- Layered Information: Using education to market yourself is a common technique, but only using educational information gets boring. By layering information with elements of storytelling to keep the reader involved, you can provide more overall value and reader attention. The same goes for tone. If you always write like a robot, your potential customer won’t know how to connect. Make it interesting while providing relevant information.
- Two-Way Interaction: Engagement is key. Two-way interactive marketing provides a means for active interaction. You’ve seen the quizzes, games, and interactive videos across the internet. These promote the interaction of your potential customer. They give you a better idea of who your customer is and promote direct engagement.
Platforms using interactive marketing
Throughout the years, interactive marketing has snuck into our everyday lives without us realizing it. From Spotify and Pandoras clickable video ads to customer service bots, we are seeing more and more interactive marketing. Hubspot recently put together a list of their favorites which includes interactive video choices and interactive slideshows.
They offer some great ideas for anyone looking to increase audience interaction. Personally, I’ve found value in Facebook and Instagram’s user-friendly additions. Choose to get direct feedback from your followers or use a promoted story to engage a larger audience. Some commonly used options include:
- Polls allow you to ask your audience yes or no questions. Whether you want to do some A/B testing or want to ask a silly question, polls invite engagement. You choose how narrow or broad your engagement goes.
- Questions allow you to ask anything and customers have a chance to voice their opinions.
- Stickers, gifs, backgrounds all provide a unique and engaging backdrop to make your marketing shine. Animated visuals and popular gifs drive customer connection.
- Conversational marketing is the technique we see on product sites where there’s a bot somewhere on the screen asking if they can help. Start a conversation to better understand your potential customer.
- Popups are tried and true. Extend an offer to signup for your newsletter, ask them a question before they leave, offer something to keep them engaged. This can provide a last line of defense to continue engaging with your audience.
Who can benefit from interactive marketing?
The beauty of how far our technology has evolved is the fact anyone can benefit from interactive marketing. Want to ask your relatives a quick question about the next reunion and track their responses? Set up a survey, run a poll, ask a direct question, and track the responses. If it’s whether or not grandma should make her mac n’ cheese, the answer is obviously, “yes”. The point is you don’t have to be the next big startup or an entrepreneur. Information and engagement is the goal. Use interactive marketing however works best for you, but if you are using it for business, let’s look at creative ways people from all industries are using it.
- Maybelline featured an interactive video offering the user to choose their experience of day or night when deciding how to fashion their eye makeup. The customer can choose between day and night options. For marketing, you can see how many choose which style and focus on the one chosen most.
- Envisia 360 is a real estate companies are using virtual tours to allow people to “visit” their properties without leaving the comfort of their own home. Engaging virtually and providing a complete experience builds trust in the company before the customer visits.
- John Krasinski recently started Some Good News, an online news source dedicated to positive stories from around the globe, and is using Instagram's polls, hashtags, and more to engage his followers and spread positivity.
Screen recording of SGN Instagram story
- Musicians can engage with fans, promote new work, or direct fans to sites to purchase their music with interactive marketing. Music Ally recently covered some of the most creative ways artists are engaging with the people who love their music.
Go out and engage
You owe it to yourself to better understand the needs of your customers, and interactive marketing puts you in direct contact with them. Get creative, ask engaging questions, instantly track A/B marketing feedback, and bolster your connection with the people you serve.
Interactive marketing is at your fingertips and it isn’t going anywhere, so missing out on the opportunity to shine through the static of the competition isn’t an option. No matter what industry, no matter what ideal customer, interactive marketing should be in every business’s playbook. Is it in yours?
This article was originally published by Ric burnett on medium.
Ric Burnett is a writer currently based in Boston. He contributes regularly to The GoodMen Project and has been published in "The Ascent", "Better Marketing", and "P.S. I Love You" on Medium. Empathetic leadership, building company culture, traveling, learning about new cultures, and experiencing life drive his creative voice.