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Using interactive tools to data capture, educate or just entertain

By Danyl Bosomworth 14 Jun, 2012

Three examples including the new Smart Insights digital marketing 'health check'

I've been meaning for some time to write about using interactive tools within your digital marketing. I think it's something that's hugely effective; I've used these for years and it still seem surprisingly uncommon given their potential.

The new Smart Insights Health Check

My reminder to talk about this is since we've just finished our new interactive, our digital marketing health check - which you can try it here.

It's designed to give you  immediate ideas by helping you quickly evaluate areas to focus on within your digital marketing. Its core purpose is to signpost key content on our site that's going to be most relevant to you at that moment. It's simple, quick and focussed on defining your priorities.

That aside, we wanted to bring this idea of interactive marketing tools to light in a broader sense first though, to help you consider this for your brand or organisation...

What is an interactive marketing tool exactly?

Whether you call it a 'widget' or a 'tool', it's simply a web application that can be embedded within your website/webpage or even a marketing outpost (someone else's site or Facebook, for example). It can take many different forms, from quizzes to diagnostics and even e-learning modules.

At Smart Insights and First 10, we call them all "tasters", since no matter the purpose or configuration, they enable you to give a user a meaningful touch-point with your brand, and a taste of what you're about and the subject matter that the user is interested in.

From some of the light-weight and hilarious quizzes in Oatmeal, or the plethora of sometimes questionable quizzes in Facebook using promotional tools such as Wildfire, we can see that the concept or technology is not new. However, it remains relatively expensive and time-consuming and therefore uncommon for brands to be doing it. And, we think a treasure trove of opportunity for savvy marketers.

So, why do it?

At Smart Insights we believe that content alone (blog posts, ebooks, videos, demos, webinars etc) isn't enough for the time starved and wary consumer. An interactive tool not only puts an element of control back with the user, if you do it right, it also enables them to quickly:

  • Have content brought to life
  • Learn something, gain ideas
  • Get feedback, ideas and "value"

When attention spans are low and you're seeking brand cut-through, the combination of a new content format, combined with the speed of a 'result' is advantageous for both the user and the digital marketers. On this note remember the RF Intent Index we've mentioned several times - users want to learn and be entertained, quickly.

We shared our content matrix infographic a few weeks ago, an interactive web application can be adapted to sit its across all 4 areas of Inspire, Convince, Educate and Entertain because you can configure it to:

  • Help users find content through sign-posting to key content
  • Educate people, allow them to explore your subject matter
  • Potential buyers can experience something about your topic or brand
  • Visitors can diagnose and get some form of feedback
  • Entertainment is easy through the content formats within your interactive
  • Lead capture based on a real value exchange generates a clear win-win

The benefits to marketers are four-fold

  1. You boost reach since interactives are highly shareable
  2. You gain dwell time on your site, a feeling of good-will
  3. You have a meaningful means to data capture beyond email address
  4. You can design in means to understand purchase intent as par for the course

 A great case study

A few years ago, First 10 created a "TEFL Taster" for i-to-i TEFL. Their business helps people get qualified and find paid teaching work overseas. i-to-i wanted to offer visitors a useful way to understand if TEFL is "for me", to understand the opportunity, the market and get a taste for the TEFL classroom experience itself. In turn, i-to-i wanted lead volumes to increase - the "TEFL Taster" went on to become (and still is) their most powerful lead tool. I've pasted some screen grabs below, you'll notice that data capture happens not only at the beginning (optional) but also on each feedback page by presenting a relevant lead tool multiple times along the whole process.

 Take our new Smart Insights health check

Our interactive health check is created using a content managed platform allowing multiple interactive tools to be quickly created was developed by our digital marketing agency First 10. It's  similar to the i-to-i example above though we're starting out a little simpler.

Our main objective is not lead generation, but signposting to allow members to see where their digital marketing priorities are and the most relevant content we (and other sites) can offer in relation to those. However, it is a landing page format and you do need to be a member (basic (free) or Expert).

We'll be trying a range of styles of tasters in the coming months, so Please try it and do let us know what you think, or if you've any experience with interactive tools post in the comments too.

By Danyl Bosomworth

Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.

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