The statistics paint a clear picture—according to CMI, content marketing generates 3X as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. Marketers in the manufacturing industry have found particular success utilizing content due to the nature of the business. Manufacturers are often producing complex products, so explainer and information content, such as an FAQ page on their website is useful to potential customers. The same concept is seen for case studies, which take advantage of manufacturing’s often long sales cycles to tell a story of how a customer overcame a problem using a particular product.

But there’s another type of content that is being underutilized—interactive content. According to Snap App interactive content is content that requires the participant’s active engagement. It’s a better way to educate, entertain and engage your audience. And manufacturing marketers should look into this new horizon sooner rather than later.

Because educating the customer is the key to success, a staggering  70% of B2B brands created more content in 2017 compared to 2016, meaning there’s a lot of competition for eyeballs. If you can educate the customer and solve their pain points on the buyer journey through interactive content, you’ll be perfectly positioned for greater conversions. With that in mind, here are five ways your manufacturing company can leverage interactive content without upending your marketing budget.

Interactive Infographics

Simply having a few infographics on your website to entice new customers with attractive data isn’t enough anymore. Presenting information to an audience is no longer just about the hard numbers, but presenting them in a way that’s eye-catching. After all, according to Time Magazine, people’s attention spans are now so short (around eight seconds) that they rival that of a goldfish. And although some studies debunk that theory, the fact is you need to engage your audience, and you need to do it quickly.

A well-designed interactive infographic will compel the user to take action. They will have to scroll or click to access the info and doing this right means, quite possibly, a rush of new visitors to the site and potentially more backlinks. Don’t believe in the power of interactive infographics? Check out this stellar example from iconic manufacturing company GE to get a sense of just how compelling this technique can be.

Interactive Video Marketing

According to HubSpot, video marketing isn’t just popular—people are actually demanding more and more of it. Video is the perfect medium for modern marketing because it allows advertisers more creative freedom in how they present their message while giving users an inside look at who they are as a brand.

However, the rise of interactive content has proved that video doesn’t have to be a passive experience where users simply sit back and watch. Marketers can now interact with viewers through this visual medium.

Some ideas to add an interactive element to your video content is to produce more product tutorial videos and/or webinars. In addition, using interactive hotspots in your videos cost little to implement, and people are already familiar with them.

We’ve all seen those YouTube videos with a text box prompting us to click on an embedded link. Or the video host directs us to click on a link leading to yet another video. Manufacturing and product marketers can include these markers to direct people to another portion of the same video, launch a website, direct them to another web page, or even tell a story.

Surveys and Polls

Marketers love surveys because they are an effective way to gauge customer satisfaction (just look at the popularity of the Net Promoter Score). Customers like them because they are often short and non-invasive. Adding a poll or survey to your content strategy is another great, inexpensive way to get your target audience engaged.

Certain B2B companies have had success in elevating the plain, hum-drum survey to something more entertaining for the user. GoToMeeting, for example, added a gamification element, combining sports with their survey to entice the user to interact. It’s a strategy that marketers everywhere can shamelessly copy to their advantage.

Calculators

For most people, calculators bring back images of schoolwork and tedium. That’s why it’s so ironic that digital calculators have become such popular interactive content tools. But their appeal in digital marketing is obvious—they can reduce complex figures down to simple, digestible bits of data. It’s a dream for manufacturing companies that deal in complicated, often esoteric products. As an example, take a look at manufacturing leader Steiner and their calculator designed to show prospects how much cycle time they can save with Steiner’s cutting tools.

Among other benefits your organization will enjoy by implementing calculators are:

  • More qualified leads
  • A 51% boost in click-through rates

Here is a great example from Profile Products, who specialize in soil management for sports fields, golf courses, mining, oil and gas reclamation, landfills, commercial/residential construction and DOT/highway projects. They created a specialized Lawn & Landscape calculator to help their audience determine the appropriate amount Profile Product that should be added to their soil.

Not only is this a helpful resource for their current and prospective customers, but it also gives the audience a chance to interact with the brand in a new and interesting way, other than just reading content. It’s simple, yet effective.

Interactive e-Books/White Papers

E-books and white papers are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, those done professionally are generally regarded as solid sources of authoritative information about industry trends and news. On the other hand, they are often, very, very long. Simply put it’s hard to keep a potential customer’s attention over 30 or so pages.

Interactive white papers and e-books solve this problem by captivating the readers, which results in a higher engagement rate. This can be done through creative design using eye-catching colors. Moreover, adding interactive elements within the white paper/e-book, such as quizzes and surveys, further boosts engagement. This example by Athena Health utilizes tile design and interactive content to make their white paper unrecognizable (and far more engaging) than your typical PDF document.

Conclusion

To achieve a fantastic and smooth content strategy that will keep your audience engaged, be sure to round out your marketing plan by implementing different types of interactive content. You can do this by including things such as  interactive emails, quizzes

The best part is that none of these initiatives require a huge marketing transformation on your end, but they will likely result in impressive audience engagement, improved brand awareness and even new leads.

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