The relationship between companies and customers continues to evolve. Many of today’s consumers expect companies to be accessible and responsive, and customers often favor companies who understand and engage with them. Interactive marketing can help create and facilitate your company’s two-way relationship with its customers. In this article, we discuss what interactive marketing is, different types and methods of interactive marketing and benefits and examples of interactive marketing.
What is interactive marketing?
Interactive marketing is a customer-centric marketing strategy that relies on customer action to trigger a response from the company. Companies determine responses based on customer data, preferences and habits. Also called trigger-based marketing, event-based or event-driven marketing, the purpose of this type of marketing is to create engaging interactions between a company and an individual customer.
Successful interactive marketing requires comprehensive data analysis to better understand and predict customer behaviors. The goal of interactive marketing is to follow customers more than you lead them. For example, one of the most common forms of interactive marketing is the question “Do you want fries with that?” when someone orders a cheeseburger. Restaurant employees often ask this because consumers typically want and order fries with their burgers, but they may not ask the same question if a customer orders a salad.
Types of interactive marketing
Here are a few types of interactive marketing:
Interactive storytelling helps create engaging content. Consider using short video clips to break up long blocks of text in blogs or landing pages. Incorporate interactive elements, such as infographics, to communicate with audiences.
Two-way interaction invites customers to engage with a company. The purpose of this type of interactive marketing is to create an experience for customers. Examples of two-way interaction tools include games, calculators, quizzes and interactive videos.
Layered information helps educate customers. This method provides short sections of detailed content slowly to customers. It’s important for this content to be easy-to-read and engaging to entice customers to read more.
Personalized content helps you provide an individualized experience for your customer. It requires knowing as much as possible about a customer through advanced technology. Using data about your customers, such as demographic and geographic data, you can create more tailored content they may be more likely to engage with and share.
Interactive marketing tactics
Here are some types of tactics to consider when developing an interactive marketing strategy:
Quizzes often attract customers with a promise of fun and teaching the customer something new about themselves. Quizzes also provide the additional benefit of inherent virility. Many people love to share their results, showing your company to a new audience with no additional work required of you.
Search marketing and targeted ads
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a powerful tool in interactive marketing. SEM best practices relate to optimizing your existing website to help it perform better for search engines to appear higher in search results. SEM also includes paid advertising strategies.
Targeted ads enable you to ensure specific audiences see your advertisements. You can also use display ad strategies to show ads to people who viewed certain products to entice them to view or purchase your product. Many customers are more likely to buy products they encounter through advertising relevant to their needs.
Polls encourage customer engagement and attract users with the promise of instant feedback. Many people take part in polls to see how other people answered and how this aligns with their response or opinion. Polls can help strengthen your relationship with your audiences by allowing them to share their opinion in company decisions. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, consider using polls to allow customers to vote for what they want the specialty pizza to be next month.
Calculators help customers learn more about the potential benefits your product or service could provide them. Calculators benefit your company as a way to assess the quality of your leads. Customers benefit from using calculators because they receive quotes about the cost of choosing your company, and you assist them in their research process. For example, a realtor may offer a calculator tool to help customers evaluate their price range for a home by determining the best monthly mortgage payment range based on their finances.
Interactive videos allow users to determine their own viewing experience. These videos attract customers and keep them engaged while watching by offering occasional questions or prompts during the video. Each user has a unique experience based on their choices, and these videos offer a viable alternative to traditional quizzes.
Email marketing campaigns are an efficient and often cost-effective way to engage with your audience. Emails can help you promote your existing interactive content, such as including links to a new quiz or calculator tool on your website. However, the content of your email itself can also be new interactive content. For example, a doughnut shop may send out a promotional email with a clickable drawing of a doughnut box that, when clicked, reveals a discount code for the reader’s next purchase.
Social media hashtags
Social media is integral to many interactive marketing strategies. Using a hashtag allows you to establish the purpose of your strategy. This helps users easily understand what you’re trying to accomplish, join in the conversation and boost the visibility of your campaign. It also creates a central place to view everyone who used your hashtag.
Contests, raffles and photo contests on social media are all effective methods of interactive marketing. Customers often enjoy these methods because of the possibility that they could win. Many contests now integrate with other marketing tactics, such as using a social media hashtag or completing a quiz to enter. Contests often also have an element of virility and users may share them, especially if there is a possibility of receiving more entries for sharing the contest.
Benefits of interactive marketing
Here are some potential benefits of pursuing an interactive marketing strategy:
Increased customer satisfaction
Companies develop interactive marketing strategies in response to typical customer behaviors. Anticipating customer behaviors or desires can increase the likelihood that your company’s product or service can meet the needs of potential customers and prospects. This creates a smoother process for customers, and it often creates a positive impression of your company. This may lead to satisfied and loyal customers.
Increased conversion rate
Interactive marketing strategies are customer-centric strategies. These tailored, often highly personalized strategies are often more successful at reaching the company’s most ideal customer. By reaching your most ideal customer, you may increase your conversions and ultimately increase your leads.
Increased sales and revenue
Interactive marketing attracts and converts customers because it’s based on customer desires and behaviors. Marketers understand what customers want, and the company can efficiently deliver to satisfy the need. This can lead to more conversions and improve sales and revenue.
Interactive marketing may reduce risks associated with taking a product or service to market because of the comprehensive research required to develop these strategies. This type of marketing ensures your company spends more time targeting the right customers at the right time rather than broadly aiming to attract many customers. Also, marketers understand how customers are more likely to react to help fine-tune appropriate responses.
Lower marketing costs
Interactive marketing strategies may help create more loyal customers for your company. The cost of keeping customers is often lower than converting new ones. Also, only focusing on specific customers in particular scenarios may help you reduce spending on constant tactics without a specific target audience in mind.
Ability to automate strategies
Depending on the tactics you use, you may be able to automate your interactive marketing strategy. For example, many retail websites track what customers look at and shop for. SEM tools can track customer behavior and send follow-up emails to remind them of what they viewed or prompt targeted display ads of the item or similar products.
How to implement an interactive marketing plan
Here is a closer look at how to develop and implement an interactive marketing plan:
1. Identify triggers
Determine the specific trigger or action a customer must take to start the interactive process. Customer research, data analysis, internal brainstorming, focus groups and customer surveys or feedback can be helpful to select the trigger. You may select multiple triggers for a strategy.
2. Determine the response
Decide how the company will respond to encourage the customer to take the desired action. This also requires determining what you want the customer to do. It’s important to research and understand customer behavior to develop responses that best align with what a customer will do.
3. Establish your system
Establish your system and implement your marketing tactics. This may involve setting up parameters for automated or online tools. It may also involve implementing new verbiage for in-person actions, such as suggestive selling of related items.
4. Evaluate your success
Set check-in points for your strategy. Evaluate the success of your existing strategy. Determine if customers are responding as you hoped, and evaluate if the strategy improves sales and conversions as desired.
5. Adjust and optimize your strategy
Adjust your strategy. Make improvements based on data you gather through your evaluations. If possible, explore ways to automate or optimize your strategy to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Continue to evaluate and adapt your strategy.
Examples of interactive marketing
Here are some examples of interactive marketing strategies:
Interactive video example
Supermodel Beauty wants to build excitement about their new cosmetics line. They develop a video that allows the user to create a look using each of these new products. The user chooses everything in the video, from the model at the beginning to the color of lipstick to apply at the end. The video shows a variety of products to the user, allows viewers to see how products work together and understand the proper application of the products.
Let’s Explore Travel Agency wants to attract more college customers. They develop a quiz to determine the user’s perfect spring break destination based on what they enjoy, such as if they prefer the beach or the mountains and if they want to relax or go on an exciting adventure. The quiz requires users to enter their email address, providing the agency with contact information to follow up about the destination. Quiz takers also receive a promotional code to use as a discount when planning through the agency.
Contest and social media hashtag example
Cuddle Buddies Pet Supplies wants to promote their new line of dog beds. They prompt their social media followers to take and share photos of their dogs sleeping, and they ask users to include the hashtag #DoggyZzz. Cuddle Buddies randomly selects an entry with the hashtag, and the dog owner wins the dog bed of their choice.
Email campaign example
Aesthetics First Medical Spa is introducing a new cosmetic injectable to their treatment offerings. To educate patients, they send an email blast to existing customers. The body of the email includes a graphic of a woman’s face with clickable points on various parts of her face. When the user clicks on the point, it discusses what you can use the injectable treatment for in that area.