No single piece of content marketing can exist on it’s own. Content is not an isolated event. It’s a programmatic, ongoing investment of time, focus and budget that touches literally every aspect of an organization from sales to marketing to human resources to customer care. And just like content is not an isolated initiative, we’ve long known that there is no interactive content without the actual content itself. There are no ongoing interactive content investments without an audience and measurement and business results that tie into the overall content program. Brands want, and need, comprehensive content marketing partners who can help drive real business results across the entirety of their content initiatives. Here’s why now was the right time for ion interactive to be acquired by ScribbleLive.
Audrey and Asa, ion’s Director of Account Development, had the pleasure of talking to quite a few impressive marketers about how they are utilizing interactive content in their strategy this year. And while most marketers were thrilled to chat about all the possibilities of interactive content, there were a few that have come across some challenges. On this week’s Ask Audrey, listen in as Audrey and Asa talk about those challenges they heard at Content Marketing World and how you can solve them if you’re experiencing the same.
No matter what session I attended at last week's Content Marketing World event, what conversation I overheard, everyone was talking about the same goals and challenges - stronger and more educated leads, increased engagement, more personalized content, and of course more conversions. The challenges marketers face seem to be the same regardless of industry, buyer stage, and audience. And while I attended many sessions where we were told that we needed to write more content, needed to create more focused personas in order to solve these challenges, nobody was talking about interactive content.
It’s been months since I felt a chill in the air but on this Tuesday, I am standing outside, with a trench coat on and I am shivering. Back home in Florida, temperatures are reaching the high 90’s… but, I am not in Florida this week.I am in Cleveland for Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing conference in the world. Every year, Content Marketing World draws thousands of marketers from hundreds of countries to Cleveland for sessions, workshops, and networking. Lake Erie is to my right, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and to be honest; it takes everything in me to not start singing “All the little kids growing up on the skids are going: Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks.”
I still can’t believe that I am going to Content Marketing World in Cleveland next week. When one of our founders offered to send me earlier this year, I could not believe it. I remember when the email came across asking if I wanted to attend and the feeling of excitement that came over me as I responded with a “heck yes” to the invitation.Within a few hours, my hotel was booked, my flights were arranged, and I was ready to hit the road to Cleveland, where I would rub shoulders with Content Marketers from all over the world and every vertical.
Let me take you back a few years. ion was charging head-first into the interactive content space, and we were excited to see how it could impact our content marketing results, as well as the results of our customers' content marketing. However, I didn’t realize at the time just how many different ways it could impact business results.Interactive content was an obvious answer to solving some of marketers’ top challenges around lead generation and engagement. I am still amazed today at the results interactive content is providing for businesses around the world, and the great experiences it is providing for the customers of those businesses. What I did not immediately foresee was how interactive content would impact not just Marketing organizations, but also functions like Human Resources and Sales.
Over this past month, we’ve given you tips and tricks when it comes to using interactive content for sales enablement, from the very top of the funnel all the way down to what types of experiences will help close the deal. But with so many different types of interactive content and a virtually unlimited number of ways to utilize them, how do you know what interactive experiences will really make a huge impact for your sales team. This week, ion’s Director of Customer Engagement, Audrey Ross, and Director of Account Development, Asa Hochhauser gives their views on what types of interactive content they have seen be the most effective and moving for not only ion’s sales team, but some of our client’s sales teams as well.
Without interactive content, preparing for that first conversation with your prospect as a salesperson can be daunting. You gather endless amounts of information about them—their LinkedIn profile, the emails they opened of yours, what assets they have downloaded—in hopes that you can construct the perfect pitch and the best rebuttals to every question they can throw at you. Your challenge is to prove that your solution is the perfect fir for them and that the ROI on their investment will be tenfold. But, in a world with interactive content and Sell-Side, your content does some of that work for you. That assessment your prospect took? Their answers give you deep insight into their weaknesses and strengths. That quiz they completed? Their answers tell you exactly what they know and what they don’t know about your industry or brand.
When a prospect has taken the time to educate themselves about your product, how it solves their need, it’s time to convince them to purchase. Early funnel buyers want to know the fluff, the simple details, the shiny parts of your product. Late stage buyers are ready for the meat - the price, the security features, the final pieces of information needed to convince them that you are the brand for them.The content you show them at this stage of their buyer journey is the dessert at the end of the meal, the last chance to woo them into partnership, so you better make it good.
A few years ago we created an infographic that included 75 content marketing stats that we found impactful. The infographic was successful, consistently shared on social media organically and engaged with even though we were not sharing it with our audience regularly. The content was dated and so, we set out to update the stats, redesign it with a new modern look, and return it to the world. This was a fun project and the content within the infographic was valuable enough to write about… there it was! My inspiration, my solution to writer’s block.
Here at ion, we’ve been focusing on interactive content for sales enablement this month, giving you ideas for your sales strategy to utilize interactive experiences throughout the buyer’s journey. Not only can interactive content drive your prospect through the funnel, but it can educate and create self-awareness. But when they’re at the bottom of the funnel, ready to make the purchase, how can you take your audience from simply a prospect to an engaged and excited customer? Experiences such as solution finders and configurators can provide your prospect with the perfect fit of your product or service.
As your prospects move through the sales funnel, their needs will change. In the early stage of the buyer journey, your prospects are aware that they have a problem and are possibly in need of a new service or product to solve for it, but they have yet to consider options.When your prospect reaches the consideration phase, there is a good chance that they have been comparison shopping and are engaging with content from multiple solutions. Interactive content can be leveraged at this point to showcase the value of your product over your competitor and also to educate them on the benefits of partnering with you.
For your sales team, interactive content can prep both the buyer and the sales person for the perfect conversation once the interaction between the two is made. For those in the early stage of the journey, an interactive infographic can educate; for those in the middle stage, experiences such as assessments can create self-awareness; and for those in the late stage, calculators and solution finders can provide a perspective on how your brand can solve their challenges. But at which point in the journey are these interactive experiences most effective? In this week’s Ask Audrey, ion’s Director of Customer Engagement, Audrey Ross, and ion’s Director of Account Development, Asa Hochhauser, give their opinions on what stage interactive content has the most impact on your buyer’s journey.
Your prospects now are well prepared with what they need to know long before they even speak with you. Forget the lengthy sales pitches and Powerpoint presentations when their eyes begin to gloss over like freshmen students in a 3-hour college course. Your prospects do the research to obtain the information they want; now they just want the information they need from you. But as they browse your content and answer their own questions, how can you be sure to get the right content into their hands at the right time?
As consumers are doing more research on their own of your product or service during their journey with your brand, it's essential that your content not only grabs their attention immediately, but also answers the question of why your brand would be the perfect fit for them. While no longer being able to rely on the human-to-human conversation to answer those questions, you must leverage tools that will sell them on the value of your product or service, rather than just the features. Interactive content such as assessments delivers quality leads that could eventually turn into potential buyers.
Thank god it’s Friday! And it’s the first Friday of August, our Sales Enablement-themed month here at ion. All month, we’ll be focusing our content on how interactive content fits into your sales strategy and how you can effectively utilize interactive experiences to educate and inform your prospects and buyers. So to kickstart the month with some great tips and tricks for your Sales team, here’s what’s new over on ion’s Medium publication this week.
Before the digital age of content, marketers rarely had any control over the flow of information sent to the customer. Quick advertisements could set a tone for the conversation that would happen between the customer and sales but it ended there. Content marketing has changed all of that. Now, marketers are and customers are equally in charge of what content is available to educate the user prior to reaching a sales agent. But, this also means that marketing now places an equal role to sales in acquiring new customers and closing deals.
The way consumers purchase products has changed dramatically all because of the progression of content marketing. Over 60% of the buying process is done before even speaking with a salesperson. So before you reach out to your prospect, where's the insight? Interactive content can be a huge aid in bridging the communication gap between sales and marketing, allowing marketing to have further insights into what content your audience is interested in and allowing sales to see what your audience needs or wants. Both sides are provided with an additional level of insight that is often missing with static content.
Happy Friday! Another week when we bring you the latest from our industry and what you may have missed over on the ion Medium publication. As we wrap up the last week of our Back to Basics series, we were focused on what you’ll need now that you’re informed and ready to take on interactive content. So if you’ve been busy killin it as a content marketer getting ready to transform your static content into engaging online experiences, we’ve got what’s new right here for you.
We all want to capture quality leads, increase engagement, and better understand who our buyers are and the best way to do that is with interactive content. From the moment we decide to create a piece of content, we need to be thinking about what we will do once the content is live. Where will we market it? How will we repurpose it when the campaign ends? How are we going to measure success? These questions are so important and answering them as soon as possible will help you find success with your content.