The ins & outs of using interactive content & quizzes in your products
Want a leg up on the competition? Interactive content is easy, free, and fits into every stage of the customer’s lifecycle. Here’s how to use it.
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.)
Beyond that, remember that quizzes are powerful tools for lead generation and qualification, but they don’t have to be dull, long, or stodgy to achieve either goal.
And they’re not a one-trick pony, either.
Nurture customers with engagement-boosting interactions
Do you know why I built the membership website calculator?
It wasn’t for a love of math (okay, maybe a little), but because I know that telling you about your potential profits isn’t enough to convince you, and it shouldn’t be, either.
If you’re from the states like I am, you’re exposed to somewhere between 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day. And that kind of overexposure breeds a lot of things, but trust typically isn’t one of them.
No, the best way to show you how much profit you can make on Podia is to give you the tools to see it for yourself.
The same concept applies to your customers, too.
Sure, you could tell them about how your productivity course will save them 400 hours over the year in wasted time, and you could even build up a graph to back up your research, but if you really want to make the case, let them run the calculations themselves.
Likewise, you could tell your learners that they’ll gain learn more about marketing in as little as one module, but wouldn’t it be better to show them?
If you’re using Podia to host your online course, it’s easy. Let me show you how.
As usual, start off on your products page and select the online course you want to edit.
Once there, choose where you want to add the quiz and click on the “add” button within the module at the top right corner of the page or using the “add content” button attached to the module.
This will create a new modal for the quiz. Follow the link for “edit” to continue setting it up.
Start by giving it a good name.
Since this quiz is specifically for education, it’s okay if it reflects a more academic tone, but keep your overall objectives in mind -- if your teaching or engagement style isn’t usually formal, it shouldn’t suddenly shift when it comes to interactive content.
Settled on a name? Now let’s add some questions by clicking on the purple “add question” button. If your question has more than one answer, simply select the grey “+ add answer” link to continue expanding the fields.
Finally, checkmark the correct answer and hit save.
And that’s it. To edit or change your question, just click the appropriate links. When you’re ready for the quiz to go live, toggle the “published” button and your online courses will have interactive content alongside your awesome lessons.
Wondering how to use this for leads that haven’t converted into customers? Create a free mini-course or lesson and attach a quiz to it to demonstrate how quickly they’ll learn whatever skill you’re trying to teach.
This not only nudges the prospect into your email list by having them sign up to access your product, but like all free content, gives you plenty of share-worthy reusable content to promote your brand further.
It also helps you capitalize on a priority 55.5% of businesses rank as their top priority -- improving and personalizing the customer’s experience.
Don’t know how customer experience (CX) fits into all of this?
There’s a pretty in-depth write up in our successful membership website examples article, but the gist is this -- improving your CX pays off, and it’s swiftly becoming the metric that separates the bland from the beloved in business.
By the way, if you’d rather give calculators a spin than quizzes for engagement, I recommend uCalc.
It’s what I built our calculator with, and among free platforms, it had the most user-friendly and stylish features, though be prepared to work a little spreadsheet magic if you want more advanced calculations.
Now, for our last foray today, we’ll look at retention-focused interactive content.
We’ll also be focusing on a different form of interactive content for this round, because although quizzes definitely have a place in retention, there’s one uncontested champion of interactivity that gets you more user data, safeguards against churn, and gives you user-generated content to show off.
And that’s the survey.
Leverage surveys and polls to retain customers longer
Did you know it’s up to ten times cheaper to keep your current customers than it is to earn a new customer?
Unfortunately, it’s also perilously easy to lose your current customers.
Just one negative experience with your business can cost you 51% of your current customers.
It’s a scary tightrope, right? Fortunately, not all hope is lost -- 11% of customer loss can be prevented merely by reaching out to customers.
The key to capitalizing on that is creating open dialogue and getting information from your customers directly.
In other words, you have to interact with them, and it does have to be you leading the interaction.
Only one out of every 26 unhappy customers will complain before making their departure.
Enter the net promoter score (NPS) survey.
Even if you’ve never heard of the NPS survey by name, you’ve likely participated in one over email or the phone. Usually based on scales that run from zero to ten, the NPS asks how likely a customer is to recommend a product or business to a friend.
Here’s another example that I recently received in my inbox from OfficeMax --
And one more for the show from our fearless leader Spencer:
(Spoilers: the answer is a solid 10.)
By themselves, an NPS doesn't provide much information. Rather, the benefit of this type of interactive content is the ability to provide opportunity to intervene in a poor customer experience.
It’s an opportunity many businesses -- particularly successful ones -- strive to never miss.
For instance, by reacting to their NPS ratings in real-time, the health and fitness brand Genesis is able to address issues that lead to customer churn (loss) proactively and keep their members satisfied.
Think NPS is best reserved for corporations? Don’t.
Instead, look at it this way:
If businesses in the fitness industry, one of the most churn-replete industries no matter where they are in the globe, can make NPS surveys an instrumental tool to retain customers, so can you.
It’s actually really easy, too.
From here, click on “create survey” in the top right corner. This will take you to the next screen where you can choose to build a survey from scratch or use a template. We want to select the top option on the right side.
After you make your selection, a new window will pop up asking if you want to use the template. Click the button at the bottom of the window to proceed.
There’s only one thing we need to change to use this template -- the title.
Hover of the title with your mouse to reveal the “edit” button and change it to your business name. It might not be a bad idea to change some of the wording to reflect your brand voice while you’re at it, but it’s not critical.
Once that’s done and you’re satisfied, click the “next” button -- again in the top right corner -- to preview your survey.
If you’re happy with how it looks, continue clicking through “next” until you land on the “collect responses” stage.
Choose “send by email.”
(Want to integrate your Podia email list with this? You can connect them with this zap.)
On the next screen, customize your subject title and make sure the “embed first question” option is enabled and keep clicking through.
Now, confirm that everything is correct with your settings on the next screen, and get ready for the last step.
At this point, you’ll be given the option to either schedule your email to send later or send it now. For the sake of this example, we’ll go ahead and send it now.
And like that, you’re done. In just a few short minutes, your customers will have a live, interactive piece of content they can fill out from within their email, and you’ll have valuable customer data on your hands.
Something that can be painlessly completed from my inbox and on a touch screen? Sign me up.
Much like forest fires, customer retention starts with you. Use interactive content by embedding NPS surveys into emails to identify areas of weakness and keep your customers satisfied.
Otherwise, another business will.
Interactive content is changing the way we do business
And like all change, that might seem daunting at first, but it’s ultimately a good thing. Interactive content has stronger engagement than static content, drives more leads, and gives you more opportunity to build -- and protect -- your relationship with your customer.
This is the breakdown of interactive content:
- Any type of content that directly requires user action to be consumed is considered interactive, even if the action is as simple as scrolling.
- Interactive content fits into every stage of the customer’s lifecycle.
- For the first stage of the lifecycle, quizzes are phenomenal for driving lead generation and qualifying your leads.
- At the second stage, calculators and quizzes give you the opportunity to do more than just talk the talk -- they let your customer walk the walk with you and demonstrate the quality of your product.
- Plus, adding online quizzes is now as easy as 1-2-3 on Podia. Give it a spin if you haven’t yet.
- On the last front of the customer lifecycle, SurveyMonkey makes it easy to embed interactive surveys directly into email and get your NPS. When you have real-time data coming in from customers, you have the opportunity to intervene in customer churn.
With so many free options available and creator-friendly tools, there’s no reason to overlook interactive content. It’s easier than it looks, cost-effective, and sets your brand apart from the competition.
So get out there and do what you do best: create.