I can think of few words more cursed when combined than hearing my eighth-grade life science teacher announce, “Pop quiz!”
And yet, despite such a harrowing childhood association, there are few words more enchanting to me as an adult than “personality quiz.”
Do I need to know what kind of dog I am based on my personality? No. But will I saddle up with a cup of tea and think long and hard -- as much as you can in 20 seconds -- about what my favorite park looks like?
I’m not alone in this indulgence, either.
96% of the people who start a quiz on everyone’s favorite time-killer -- Buzzfeed -- finish it.
Contrast that with statistics like the fact 43% of people confess to skimming through blog posts or that the average time spent reading through a blog post is only 37 seconds, and the trend becomes clear.
Whatever trauma we suffered at the hands of pop quizzes, we’ve not only moved on from it as adults, but we’ve come full circle and embraced them in the form of interactive content.
And if you want to sell digital products -- whether they’re online courses, memberships, or digital downloads -- you need to do the same.
Here’s how and why.
Interactive content is the hot new ticket in marketing
Before we go any further, we should clear up what we mean by interactive content.
Anything that requires user action to consume, whether it’s an informational infographic that requires users to click, a survey users need to fill out, or a quiz with multiple-choice options, falls into this category.
Blog posts with static content (like what you’re reading now), plain infographics, and videos, on the other hand, fall outside of it. Users can consume the content passively: whether or not they take any action does not change their experience with the content.
This interactive infographic from NeoNam Studios is a particularly pertinent example of what I mean.
As you scroll, new elements are introduced and react to your actions. While it doesn’t require extensive interaction the way a quiz does, it’s still contingent on you taking action -- without it, you can’t proceed through the content.
Marketing and sales professionals around the world are excited about this kind of content.
Just how excited, you ask?
88% of marketers say that interactive content helps them differentiate their brand (or clients’ brands) from the competition.
What’s more, interactive content produces nearly twice the engagement rates that static content does.
But what’s most exciting about interactive content is how flexible it is in the customer’s lifecycle.
Just to make sure we’re on the same page about lifecycles, let’s clear that up while we’re at it, too.
Lifecycle stages vary depending on who you ask and your industry, but for our purposes, HubSpot’s model is the best frame to start with. It’s concise, and although designed to reflect the SaaS lifecycle, applicable to any online business.
Here’s how they break down:
- Acquisition is the first stage where the customer enters your sales funnel. They aren't ready to make a purchase yet, but they’ve probably signed up for your email list and at least become aware of the problem your product can solve.
- Engagement is the second stage where nurturing and purchases occur. Ideally, activation also happens at this stage, and the customer begins using your product regularly.
- Retention is where they either renew if you’re using a subscription-based model (membership site models fall into this category) or buy new products from your store, as well as refer potential customers your way.
Different types of interactive content work best for certain stages of the cycle. The Content Marketing Institute surveyed over 350 professional content marketers about where and how interactive content fit into the lifecycle, and this is what they found:
You’ll notice that most forms of interactive content are ranked best in the early to middle stages of the lifecycle.
In part, this is likely because customers in the late stage will be primarily interacting with the product and not its promotional assets, but it may also be due to a disparity in priorities.
Confusingly, despite overwhelming statistical evidence that customer retention is easier and more lucrative to maintain, 44% of companies still place greater focus on acquiring new customers than keeping those they’ve already done business with.
In other words, most business goals are still primarily directed at marketing to customers in the early stages overall, hence the drop-off of perceived effectiveness in the later stages of the customer lifecycle.
But getting back to the point, what do the higher engagements rates with interactive content mean for the bottom line?
For Neil Patel, it meant 500% more leads captured than before.
For the New York Times, it’s consistently meant high-profile pieces that reached more audiences and went viral, many times topping even their (ridiculously good) static editorial content.
Take, for instance, this older-but-timeless quiz about accents.
Despite being published six years ago, someone shared this with me just last week, unaware that they’d play a role in my article research.
Indeed, the quiz in the above example has been shared 185,000 times and has 1,500 referring domains pointing back to it.
Interactive content may be relatively new compared to marketing technique greats like copywriting and advertisements, but it’s proven, more accessible than ever thanks to creator-friendly platforms (more on this in a minute), and withstands the test of time.
Now that we’ve covered the ‘why,’ let’s get to the good stuff: the how.
However, please note that for the rest of this article, we’ll be focusing on interactive content in the form of calculators, quizzes, and surveys. In part, it’s because they’re all free to create and novice-friendly -- in the other part, it’s because they’re fast.
Otherwise, full steam ahead.
Drive and qualify leads with ‘fun’ interactions
Outside of generating leads, what’s the next biggest challenge with customer acquisition?
Making sure your leads are well-qualified in the first place. Not everyone who visits your website or sales page will be right for your business (and vice versa), and that’s especially true as your lead generation ramps up.
This is something even businesses with over 200 employees struggle to control -- indeed, it seems that as leads increase overall, keeping those leads qualified becomes harder and harder.
So, how do you get around this?
Simple: you ask your leads if they’re qualified, ideally in a way that doesn’t burn any bridges or create a poor experience for the visitor.
That’s where interactive content comes in. Not only does a quiz help you narrow down on which leads are qualified for your business, but they also give you the chance to reach a wider audience because of their shareability.
After all, 84% of social media shares on Facebook are quizzes.
Plus, they have massive potential for building up a subscriber base in the process.
One creator pulled in 10,145 ultra-engaged subscribers in 10 days -- that’s not a typo -- by launching an online quiz. All told, their quiz converted visitors to subscribers at a rate of 62.89%.
And while those results were extraordinary, they’re not the only people to benefit from using quizzes to bring new users into their funnel.
It’s a great quiz, too, which I highly recommend checking out once you’ve read through this article, but I especially want to highlight two of its questions.
The first question sets up the potential to qualify, or at a minimum, segment the leads she gets from her quiz by asking about the user’s experience level with their brand.
Someone who selects the last two options will likely require much more nurturing than someone who chooses the first two.
Why? Because if you’ve already made the foray into running your own business, you’ve probably at least passed by the overflowing data on the necessity of branding and hiring professional content creators.
The other question I want to point out is the last. Check it out:
What does this question have to do with the quiz topic about identifying your brand voice? Statistically and scientifically, probably nothing, but it’s a fun way to end the interaction and makes the experience lighthearted.
It also demonstrates that while interactive content may be serious business, the content itself doesn’t have to be stuffy or serious at all to be effective.
We’d recommend the latter if you’re a Podia customer -- integrating the two is a cinch -- and you can find a detailed step-by-step guide to setting up your first quiz in our previous article about membership site retention.
(Not a customer yet? You can fix that and try us out for free for two weeks, or better yet, tune in for a live demo to discover everything Podia can do for your business.)