Engaging Your Startup Customers: The Future of Marketing is Interactive
Today’s consumers are bombarded with content wherever they turn.
In a world where consumers expect increasing amounts of engagement from the companies they encounter, interactive marketing is just one of the methods that companies can use to establish relationships with their audiences, and better understand consumer needs.
When combined with social media (an interactive process in its own right), interactive marketing can help you to develop a more tailored and targeted approach to marketing that allows your customers to dive in and enjoy the process of interacting with your startup on a deeper level.
In this post, I will show you the basics of interactive marketing—from learning how to use it to understanding the benefits it represents for your business.
What Does Interactive Marketing Look Like?
Interactive marketing is a type of brand communication that happens after a consumer has taken an action that the company pre-defined as valuable. If you’ve ever participated in a contest, a quiz, or a poll, you know what interactive marketing looks like.
Interactive marketing, just like any other kind of marketing, comes in many different shapes and sizes. For a good example of interactive marketing, all you need to do is head to Amazon.com.
Amazon collects and digests the information gathered from previous visitor behavior, allowing for the delivery of more meaningful information in the present. For instance, Amazon can offer suggested reading selections based on previous book purchases.
This gives customers a comfortable, and personalized shopping experience that often leads to longer stays on a website, and more purchases too.
Amazon isn’t just great for telling you what you could buy—it also tells you what other people have bought alongside items that you purchase. This appeals to our peer-pressure senses and pushes us to consider additional purchases after we’ve already started spending money.
Of course, this isn’t the only way to make interactive marketing work for you. Marketers sometimes interact with their customers through dynamic content, like visual storytelling on Instagram, personalization, or two-way interaction. For example:
- Interactive Storytelling: With interactive storytelling, startups and brands can humanize themselves and make sure that they’re more appealing to customers. For instance, an Instagram portfolio where individuals can swipe their way through pictures that tell an insightful story instantly prompts engagement.
- Personalized content: Certain web designers are beginning to play with new solutions for interactive content. For instance, a company that sells cars might design a website that allows customers to choose specific features within their vehicle. Microsoft is making use of this with the “Xbox design lab“, a place where customers can design their own controllers.
- Two-way interaction: At the heart of interactive marketing is the social angle, where customers have an opportunity to communicate with their favorite startup brands and get answers to their questions. From games and customized content, to interactive videos and social media, engagement solutions are delivering a more powerful experience for the modern audience.
What are the Benefits of Interactive Marketing?
So now that you know what interactive marketing is, why should you be using it to engage and entertain your customers as a startup business? A survey found that 88% of its respondents already believed that interactive content was effective at helping to differentiate them from their competitors.
As a personalized marketing practice, interactive solutions focus on the modern trend of creating content that appeals to the needs of your audience and helps to build stronger relationships for better LTV (lifetime customer value)
Interactive marketing works because it helps you:
- Get to know your customers
- Tell your story in new, more effective ways
- Enhance engagement among customers
- Discover what works for your brand
- Bring your product to life
Let’s take a look with a bit more depth at some of these benefits.
Getting to Know your Customers
Many traditional forms of marketing like whitepapers, brochures, eBooks, and testimonials work on a one-way street. In other words, you talk to an anonymous audience made up of who you imagine being your target prospects, and they raise their hand if they want extra information (perhaps by signing up for an email subscription).
Interactive content is more dynamic when it comes to helping you get to know what your audience wants. With quizzes, competitions, and games, you can subtly gather more information about how your audience feels about your brand, asking questions about what they might want to see in the future, and discovering what kind of content they enjoy best.
The process of getting to know your customer is essential to crafting future marketing strategies that focus on producing valuable, qualified leads.
Engagement is perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of using interactive marketing methods. Remember, even the most interesting and well-written content can start to lose your readers’ attention in a world of readers with goldfish-like memory-spans.
Interactive pieces can help to keep your audience engaged for longer by pushing them to participate in their online experience. They’re not just staring blankly at a screen, they’re clicking, scrolling, playing, and enjoying their time with your brand.
Bringing your Product to Life
One challenge that marketers frequently face is proving to their customers just how great their service or product is—without being able to physically show someone the product, and let them interact with it in real life.
However, with interactive solutions, they can take the process one step further. Being able to provide animated feature walkthroughs, video testimonials, or annotated screenshots all help to bring your business, and your product to life in a unique way. For instance, Brickfielder uses interactive content to explore the fabric of their windproof golf shirts, from information on the technology used to produce each garment, to close-up inspections of performance.
The Future is Interactive
Today’s marketers rely on content to help them produce a valuable experience for their customers. However, it’s up to us to make sure that we use the latest, most effective methods for communicating with our audience, if we want to ensure high conversions, and a great brand presence.
Interactive content can help to bridge the gap between customers and companies, informing us of what our customers care about, and giving our readers a more exciting experience that lets them truly engage with their favorite brands.
Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever considered using interactive marketing for your company? If so, what are your thoughts?
Ivan Kreimer is a content marketer at Foundr, a leading media company that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their startups. His advice has been featured in Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, KISSmetrics, among others.