Updated January 9, 2023
B2B manufacturers that are looking for ways to narrow their targets, capture their audiences and drive high-quality leads are turning to interactive content. User experiences such as dynamic websites, interactive animations and video, online calculators and assessments, provide added value that can pull the right traffic to your website. Interactive content can be used to target audiences, generate more (and better) leads, establish and nurture a relationship with leads, segment and score leads.
In this blog, we discuss five tactics to get manufacturers started with interactive content, as well as how, when and why to use them.
Content Is (Still) King
Content is an ideal way for businesses to provide buyers and decision-makers with reliable insights and guidance. According to a 2021 study business is rated the most trusted source of information across the globe, coming higher than NGOs, government and the media.
The statistics paint a clear picture—according to a study by Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of B2B marketers believe that content marketing will be even more important in 2023 than it was in 2022. The fact that content remains king is demonstrated by marketing budgets for 2023. Nearly half of B2B organizations plan to boost their content marketing spend in 2023.
Interactive Content Drives More Leads Than Static Content
Because brands are creating more content, there’s more competition for eyeballs. And content that gets more read-throughs, engagement and clicks is going to win.
Interactive content is a participatory experience that resonates with users, driving engagement, increasing conversion rates and generating more leads. That might just give your online manufacturing content the edge you need.Seven or eight years ago, interactive content was all the rage. The frenzy has settled down but let’s be clear: interactive content hasn’t. Interactive content isn’t a novel approach to content, it’s the new normal.
Let’s discuss some of the ways manufacturers can incorporate interaction into their online content.
Dynamic Websites Segment and Score Leads
A dynamic site is integrated into your martech (marketing technology) stack. This includes your customer relationship management (CRM) software and your marketing automation software. This integration enables you to display different content to different users.
Blog comments and real-time calendars are examples of dynamic web content. Menus can be dynamic. But it can go even further than that. Ecommerce websites and social media platforms that users register and log in to are dynamic. They serve up information and ads based on preferences, filterable settings, browsing, searching and shopping patterns.
Not only do dynamic websites display different information to users, but they also provide user information back to businesses, helping them to understand what information is most important to visitors based on how they navigate the site. Scoring tools assign a point value to certain online actions along the buyer journey. These scores can tell you how interested a prospect is in your solution. They help you break leads up into smaller lists based on where they are in their buyer journey.
Connecting a dynamic website to your martech stack provides data that is useful for targeted remarketing campaigns. You can use that data to send ads and emails that deliver exactly the right message to the right person at the right time and on the right channel.
Interactive Animation and Video Marketing Get More Clicks
According to HubSpot, video marketing isn’t just popular — people are demanding more and more of it. Whether it’s animated or traditionally shot, 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.
We’ve all seen those YouTube videos with a text box prompting us to click on an embedded link, subscribe to a channel, watch another video or visit a website. Manufacturing and product marketers can include these markers to guide prospects through the buyer journey, providing more detailed information or next steps.
Software integration allows businesses to take user video interaction even further with these tactics:
- Hotspots are links within an animation or video that take the user to more information
- 360° videos are immersive – think VR without the goggles
- Video branching allows users to participate in and guide the video story
- Embed polls, quizzes, calls to action (CTAs) and more
Interactive Assessments, Surveys and Polls Get Engagement
Interactive assessments, surveys and polls are an effective and non-invasive way for businesses to determine customer challenges, find out where your customer stands in their journey, segment your audience, and gauge customer satisfaction (just look at the popularity of the Net Promoter Score). Adding a poll or survey to your content strategy is also an inexpensive way to engage your target audience.
Here is an example of an online poll in a manufacturing magazine:
Source: Assembly Mag
Not only can interactive assessments, surveys and polls generate leads on your website, but they can be used on other online platforms such as social media posts and digital ads. They are an effective means to showcase your expertise about an industry process or application. And if you use them to reveal customer challenges or needs, they can be effective at guiding prospects further along in the customer journey. And you can reuse your learnings in your content.
Some B2B companies have had success in elevating surveys with gamification, which increases entertainment value and customer interaction. This is a particularly successful tactic to increase engagement and leads at tradeshows and conferences.
Digital Calculators Capture More Traffic
As competition increases, manufacturers can capture more web traffic, improve the user experience and convert more leads by with online digital calculators. Their appeal is obvious—they can reduce complex figures down to simple, digestible bits of data.
Here is an example of a simple tool that calculates total manufacturing cost:
Source: Calculator Academy
Manufacturing companies that develop complicated, often esoteric products can use them to demonstrate product value or answer frequently asked questions using variable user data.
Online tools like Calconic make it easy to create a calculator from a template or build one from scratch with no coding. They can be integrated with your CMS and lead generation tools to estimate required units, provide instant quotes and even ROI.
Look at the calculator Steiner Technologies designed to show prospects how much cycle time they can save with Steiner’s cutting tools.
Besides pricing, ROI and quantity, online calculators can compute:
- Overhead cost
- Labor cost
- Lead time
- Equipment effectiveness
- Production units
- Production time
- Volume and weight
- Raw material
- Thermal energy
- And so much more
Not only is an online calculator a helpful resource for current and prospective customers, but it also gives web visitors a chance to interact with your brand in a new and interesting way. It’s a simple, yet effective means of increasing and improving leads.
Partner With Experts in B2B Content and Digital Marketing Strategy
To achieve a fantastic content strategy that will keep your audience engaged, B2B manufacturers should round out their marketing strategy with several types of interactive content. You can do this by integrating a dynamic website with your martech stack, and using third-party tools to create digital calculators, add interactive elements to your video, and create online polls, assessments and surveys. These tactics will increase traffic, audience engagement, brand awareness and lead quantity and quality.
Manufacturers seeking to integrate interactive content into their websites get the best results when they partner with an agency well-versed in B2B content and digital marketing strategy. With over 20 years of marketing experience in the manufacturing industry, Elevation can help you synchronize your sales and marketing so you can target your unique visitors with the right message at the right time. Our content and digital marketing experts can help you develop the interactive elements you need to drive targeted audiences to your website, increase engagement and conversions.
If you’re looking for ways to integrate interactive content into your website, contact Elevation Marketing today. We’d love to chat about your strategy.