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Here’s how businesses can leverage digital content to engage with prospective B2B buyers

Consumers have changed the way they interact and engage with content online, but businesses are still creating content that replicates the printed format of yesteryear. With thousands of digital signals available to be analyzed and new channels being created, marketers are missing the opportunity to optimize the engagement and track the interactions of their digital content.

Over the years, content consumption methods have constantly been evolving, but the pace of change has been increasing in recent years.

After several centuries of reading books and newspapers, humanity has moved on to primarily consume content via screen-based devices, and we’ve been that way for a couple of decades now.

All of these options for consuming digital content have had a profound impact on how businesses market to prospective clients. For example, according to a recent analysis by DemandGen Report, 75% of B2B buyers reported that the winning vendor’s digital content had a significant impact on their buying decisions.

That statistic meshes with our understanding of how humans think, too. According to marketing firm Palo Alto Networks, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual in nature.

Cognitive science has shown that when analyzing information, the human brain prioritizes visual data before processing text-based data. In fact, when analyzing how consumers read online, content marketing firm Buffer found that up to 55% of prospective buyers simply skim through text-based content. Given that, it makes sense that visual content receives the most engagement from consumers online.

Some studies even have shown that engagement from targeted consumers increases by up to 37% when visual content is involved.

Interactive content is lacking today and that’s a huge opportunity

Although these statistics may sound deflating to marketers that have traditionally produced text-based content, they actually represent a massive opportunity.

There are now more avenues for creating digital content than ever before. From short YouTube videos to interactive games, marketers now have the freedom to be more creative when creating compelling content for their prospects.

The reality is, most marketers today aren’t fully harnessing the power of digital content in their outreach efforts to customers, but that paradigm is quickly shifting.

Digital content is being created by businesses at an increasingly rapid rate, and it’s resulted in a never-ending battle for customer mindshare. According to one recent report by LinkedIn, 50% of marketers see producing quality content consistently as one of their top marketing challenges. By creating their own digital content, marketers can capitalize on a great opportunity to reach out to potential buyers in a format that’s both engaging and actionable.

Content produced in collaboration with Turtl.

Deploying interactive content is the key ingredient to boosting engagement among potential buyers – and that fact is backed up by research. According to a recent study by Demand Metric, the presence of interactive content was “93% effective at educating buyers and 88% effective at distinguishing a brand from its competitors.”

It’s clear that interactive content isn’t just visually appealing window-dressing – it also improves online engagement and leads to better brand recall in the future. And beyond brand recognition, interactive content also enables marketers to measure engagement at a more granular level while being able to optimize for that engagement throughout one’s campaign.

The key advantages of interactive content

Interactive content is inherently trackable and this unlocks an entirely new range of possibilities for marketers.

Instead of estimating the impact of a given piece of creative, marketers now have the ability to measure and analyze how consumers are engaging with and progressing through their content.

This is powerful because marketers are now able to provide proof of ROI through the entire funnel and even highlight highly engaged leads to their sales teams if needed. In this way, interactive content doesn’t just give marketers enhanced tracking capabilities. It also gives them the connective tissue needed to form a stronger relationship with their sales teams.

Interactive content also helps marketers optimize for future engagement. Using A/B testing, marketers can test two different versions of creative to see which converts better, or even run two streams of content in tandem to discover which converts the best all the way through the funnel. The possibilities for optimization are endless and that’s part of why making interactive content the cornerstone of one’s marketing strategy can be so powerful.

In a recent study done by the analytics firm Simply Measured, 61% of marketers identified tracking the ROI of their content as the biggest challenge they face on a daily basis. Interactive content can help bridge the measurement gap for marketers by providing engagement data that’s both clear and actionable.

In summary…

It’s clear that business buyers’ habits have changed. But despite the clear trend towards the consumption of interactive and visually appealing content, most marketers still haven’t changed their approach.

Text-based marketing content is still rather common in today’s marketing landscape, but that doesn’t mean that it converts well. Understanding how to overcome the “content deluge” that plagues today’s media landscape is a key challenge for marketers, but fortunately, there’s a solution.

By utilizing interactive content, marketers can improve engagement while also optimizing their campaigns. More importantly, they can prioritize highly engaged readers via CRM or marketing automation platform integrations. But simply creating interactive content isn’t enough – it also needs to be well thought out. Brands and retailers should be cognizant of the context in which their content is being placed, and tailor their messaging accordingly.

For marketers, there’s no better time to act than the present. Making interactive content part of one’s marketing strategy is the best way to boost engagement around one’s brand and increase conversion among present and future customers. There’s no better time than the present to take the plunge and transform your customer journey forever. Are you ready?

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by Jonathan Brown
source: ClickZ