How to use interactive tools for lead-gen
Posted by: Richard Marriott - 20.07.22
A secret weapon for content success
Interactive content is twice as effective at converting visitors than static content. But what type of tool will generate the best leads and data for your brand and how can you make it stand out?
Make it personal
Try to think of a question that can’t be answered via a quick Google search. Whether it’s how to make perfectly poached eggs or the answer to life, the universe and everything, there is undoubtedly content out there that matches your query.
Possibly the answer to life, the universe and everything. Definitely not the correct time for poaching eggs.
For brands and marketers, this growing mountain of content represents an ever-steeper climb to the top. Not only is there more content than ever (including at least 77 million new blog posts each month and 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute), but the overabundance of information has desensitised buyers to content that isn’t remarkably useful, interesting, and engaging. Put simply, searchers these days are cutthroat about content. In fact, they won’t even see your shiny new landing page unless you deliver it nearly instantly.
And if Google answers their question adequately in the search results via a featured snippet, they might not even need to click through to your site.
But notice that the featured snippet above, related to how long you should walk your dog, leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a big difference between a walk that’s 30 minutes and one that’s two hours. What the searcher really wants to know is how long they should walk their precious pooch, not any old mutt. This is where interactive content shines. A dog exercise calculator that considers your dog’s breed and age, the size of your garden, and your desired number of walks per day is far more useful and appealing than even the most well-structured and detailed static blog post.
Rover.com’s dog exercise calculator has attracted more than 40 valuable do-follow links from topically related sites and ranks for 500+ keywords. So, interactive content can be more useful to users than static content. But how does it contribute towards your marketing goals?
Make interactive content count
Imagine you sell premium raw dog food. A calculator that tells pet owners exactly how much they should feed their dog each day based on his/her size and diet goal would be a great way to move them along the buyer’s journey from Consideration to Purchase (the owner, not the dog).
Benyfit Natural’s raw dog food calculator
The same principle applies to interactive content in general.
Interactive tools require an investment of time and personal information from users If your tool rewards them with truly useful, bespoke answers, insights and recommendations, they’re more likely to buy from you and share your tool with others.
Get to really know your audience
Google Analytics can tell you top level demographic data but doesn’t tell you what they really care about. In contrast, interactive tools give you tons of relevant visitor data by virtue of the questions you ask.
This data from interactive tools is ideal for:
- Understanding customer needs, challenges and desires
- Creating accurate, actionable audience personas
- Shortlisting your most qualified leads
- Crafting new, relevant static content
- Delivering personalised marketing and re-marketing
- Feeding data into A/B tests to hone messaging and user experience
- Improving your products and services and the language you use to market them
Souping up your SEO
If your calculator or quiz informs and entertains one person, there’s a good chance they’ll share it and better still link to it to help others.
The best interactive tools can become
high-performing landing pages whose SEO value you can transfer to product pages and other lead capture channels through strategic internal linking.
Educate without the hard sell
A landing page brimming with product benefits can feel pushy. However, an interactive tool puts the customer in the driving seat, allowing them to learn more in their own time and actively discover the benefits for themselves based on their personal situation.
Types of interactive content
Interactive content transforms the user experience from passive (one-way) to transactional (two-way).
Two-way content means the user gives you something (usually personal information and their time), and in return, you give them something they’ll benefit from (a prize, a recommendation, an insight, etc.)
When choosing the best type of interactive content for your marketing goals, you should consider what information users need at each stage of the buying journey and whether a personalised answer would help them move through the stage.
Assessments ask users a range of questions and, using a formula based on your professional knowledge and experience, identify their current situation and offer them personalised solutions for improvement.
Assessments are particularly well-suited to the early stage of the buyer’s journey (awareness/discovery) and middle stage (consideration).
Money Supermarket do this well with their Home Bills Health Check:
Offer up solutions
Solution or product finders are similar to assessments, except instead of giving users a score at the end, they present a shortlist of recommended products or solutions.This type of interactive tool works really well in the end stage of the buyer’s journey.
We think Dove nail this with their Self-Esteem Project that uses five questions to recommend the perfect selection of resources to help young people’s confidence flourish.
They also offer to send news, advice and recommendations by email, which they can segment based on how users answered the five questions (e.g. separate lists for men, women, parents, and so on):
Configurators let potential buyers put together their perfect product package. Instead of merely imagining their ideal colour, size, and arrangement, they can preview the full look and price. Configurators are ideally suited to the end stage of the buyer’s journey, as they effectively ease visitors into making enquiries.
For instance, our client JELD-WEN’s online window quote tool lets visitors preview what their bespoke timber window will look like, inside and out, based on their chosen wall style, frame and hardware colour. Users can then request a quote directly from within the tool, attaching technical plans and other important information if required.
Do the math
More than half of the UK’s working-age population has the numeracy level expected of a primary school child.
It’s a concerning stat for educators but an encouraging one for marketers. It means that there are hundreds of opportunities to give consumers and businesses a shortcut to the numerical answers they’re seeking.
To show you what we mean, we pulled data for every broad match ‘calculator’ search phrase with over 1,000 monthly searches. At the top of the list, with the highest search demand, were broad terms like ‘calculator’, ‘calculate mortgage’, and ‘salary calculator’. But in the full list of over 1,700 calculator terms were hundreds of more specific types spanning dozens of verticals. Most calculator search terms fell into the following five categories:
Financial calculators (43%)
Tools that help people manage budgets, make payments, save money, calculate costs, and convert currency.
Ideal for banks, building societies, insurers, lenders, financial advisors, accountants, and estate agents.
Mathematical calculators (28%)
For calculating specific scientific formulas, e.g. volume, angles, gradients, surface area.
These calculators are only useful if you can apply them to your target audience. For instance, if your audience is small businesses, they might appreciate a calculator that helps them solve common accounting questions like gross and net profit, break-even point, and key financial ratios.
Health and wellness calculators (16%)
Tools that help people look and feel better, achieve their fitness and diet goals and find the right product to match their body.
Ideal for health and beauty brands, online pharmacies, healthy eating businesses, personal trainers, and corporate wellness providers.
Home and garden (5%)
Tools that help contractors and homeowners calculate material requirements and costs.
Ideal for retailers, suppliers, and small business contractors.
Everything else! Including:
We also found examples that couldn’t have existed a few years ago:
- E-liquid calculator
- TikTok earnings
- Pokemon Go calculator
- Covid-19 risk scoring
- Vaccine wait times
How to create a powerful lead generation tool for your brand
For your tool to successfully educate visitors, nurture leads and collect insightful data, you need to research and design it in just the right way.
One-up your competitors
When we design interactive tools for our clients, we start by assessing the competitive landscape. That means making a list of every similar tool’s virtues and limitations. What makes the highest-ranking, most-linked tools stand out? What could make the best examples even better?
Identify audience needs
Interactive content comes to the fore when buyers are considering their personal situations and needs. After analysing competitors, we do a deep dive into what customers care about at each stage of their buying journey. At which stage would they benefit most from a personalised insight or recommendation? More to the point, when can their need for information merge with a justified lead capture?
Answer the Public is a great resource for generating ideas for interactive tools based on your product or service. It outputs dozens of search term variations derived from Google’s People Also Ask feature.
Look at the ‘what’ questions for inspiration for calculators.
‘Which’ questions are good for solution and product finders.
And try using SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool to shortlist search phrases containing your product or service plus the word ‘much’.
Put it to the test
Audience research is essential when designing an interactive tool with lead generation in mind. You don’t want to invest time and money into the development of an assessment that your target market isn’t even interested in.
We recommend seeking the input of your target audience directly through well-designed sentiment and user testing surveys.
For example, when My Menopause Centre launched their groundbreaking online menopause clinic, they suspected that an assessment tool designed by a menopause expert would be really useful to their target market and a highly effective lead generator.
So we surveyed more than 150 women to measure their interest in such a tool….
…and gathered feedback on our first build.
The refined assessment tool was completed by more than 1,000 women in its first six weeks online, leading to hundreds of account signups. To read about the project in more detail, click here.
Strategically designed interactive tools can be an incredible addition to your inbound marketing strategy. Chances are, you already have the information and expertise needed to form a quiz, assessment, configurator or product finder.
The next step is bringing that knowledge to life in a way that your customers will love.
If you need a hand researching, designing, building and user testing an interactive tool to generate leads and insights for your brand, get in touch.