Digital marketing is becoming more and more about a two-way conversation between brands and their customers. Interactive marketing can help you meet this demand and engage your customers better.
Understanding interactive marketing
Interactive marketing is a marketing strategy that facilitates an immediate two-way communication between brands and customers. That communication is initiated by specific customer actions. In the case of beer maker Dos Equis, it’s the act of looking for places to buy their products from.
Being able to quickly respond to customer actions lets brands adapt their marketing to better meet the needs of their customers. Customers are also able to engage brands in the way they want. This two-way engagement makes interactive marketing around 2-12 times more effective than other direct marketing strategies.
Increasing your use of interactive marketing
Larger companies are typically the ones who invest more in interactive marketing. This is mainly due to the resources needed to develop these campaigns. Smaller brands have also explored adding greater interactivity in their marketing.
The development of social media is a major factor in the growth of interactive marketing. Its real-time nature lets brands quickly gather customer comments and deliver their response. Interactivity has also become an essential part of other marketing channels like websites and blogs.
Planning your interactive marketing campaign
Your marketing campaign goals will define the kind of interactivity that you will use. If you are looking to popularize a new product, for example, you might want to let people visualize that product in their preferred styles. This was the gist of adidas’ #MyNeoLabel campaign.
Once you have thought out your desired customer interaction, plan how you will deliver this experience. Determine if you already have the resources to maintain that experience for a large audience.
If you need to develop a new method for driving customer interactions, assess whether you have enough room in your marketing budget to shoulder the costs. Consider the benefits that you will gain from it. You can also look into whether the method can be reused for future campaigns.
Your audience’s preferences will determine the channels to use for your interactive marketing campaign. They may opt for more private means, such as through direct messages, rather than through public engagements. Tailor your choice of channels to suit the varied customer groups you have.
Also, take into account the level of technical support these channels can provide for the kind of campaign you want to run. Social media offers a high level of interactivity, with the various platforms introducing new methods to engage audiences all the time. Other channels like email marketing and websites may have more varied levels of support depending on the kind of interaction you want to create.
Creating your editorial calendar
When planning your interactive marketing content, your goal should be to lead customers into taking the desired action action and initiating a conversation. Having an editorial calendar will help you visualize that process better.
To develop your editorial calendar, go back to your previous interactions with customers. Look for patterns in their online behavior indicating how they will likely take the desired action. Use these patterns to create content that will help build your campaign. Let’s look at examples:
- You are a flower shop and you know that every weekend men come by and purchase flowers. You send out a tweet over Twitter on Friday asking them to @tag their partner who they will be buying flowers for.
- You’re about to release a new product and you want to find out what your customers think of it before final production. So you create a preview video on YouTube and ask for feedback. T-Mobile gave it a try below.
You also need to plan out how to popularize your initial content and get your audience interested in taking the desired action. Use tools like our YouTube views and shares service to quickly spread your content and attract attention. When people see teaser videos and posts often, they are more likely to check out the interactive experience you offer.
Creating an interactive customer experience
The customer experience is the core of your interactive marketing campaign. Your goal here is to better empower consumers and get them to actively tell you their preferences. This, in turn, will help you better cater to their needs.
Providing a certain degree of personalization will make your audience more interested in the interactive experience you offer. They should be able to customize the general customer experience to suit their preferences. If you are doing your campaign on social media, their profile information can be used to automatically do that action for them.
Creating an immersive experience
Getting your customers more immersed in the interactive experience you offer will get them engaging more. Create a variety of interactive content that will guide them through that experience. Have your interactive content mimic the actual buying process to give customers a better sense of what they can get.
VSP Vision Care’s interactive video guides users through a series of questions similar to the ones they will encounter when actually purchasing insurance.
You can also look into using emerging technologies to create that immersion. Virtual reality and augmented reality are some of the new tools that brands are taking advantage of for this purpose. Many of these technologies have become more accessible to consumers, letting you deliver your customer experience to them wherever they are.
Create more immersion by adding an offline component to your interactive campaign. Here, you get to engage with customers in a more upfront manner. This lets you deliver a customer experience that is even closer to the actual product purchase. Interactive kiosks and displays are some of the popular means of adding that offline component.
Tie your offline campaign back to your online marketing to further get your audience invested in the engagement. Displaying a hashtag will work in a pinch.
Getting customers to provide feedback
Making it easy for your customers to send feedback will help you more actively respond to their comments and maintain the conversation. Provide tools, like pop-up comment boxes, within your interactive content for their use. You can also link your content to your social media channels for feedback.
Take this further and turn feedback submission into another point of engagement by leveraging user-generated content. Encourage them to talk about and share their experience in creative ways. Feature their content as part of additional promotions for the campaign. This will encourage them to engage with you more.
Promoting your interactive marketing campaign
Hashtag campaigns are an effective means of generating more social media conversations around your interactive marketing campaign. By creating a unique hashtag for your campaign, you make it stand out and attract the attention of more people. Incorporate the hashtag within the interactive campaign itself to increase recall. Heineken does this for its #SparkMyParty campaign.
— Heineken US (@Heineken_US) December 2, 2014
Influencers will also be a lot of help in getting more people to participate in your campaign. They can serve as mediators to foster initial engagement between you and their audiences. From there, influencers can guide people into exploring your interactive experience more.
Get your audience interacting more with your brand
Interactive marketing can help you better serve your customers by encouraging two-way conversations. To more effectively get them participating in your campaign:
- Plan out your interactions: Identify the kind of interactions that would best suit your audience and outline how you will deliver these interactions.
- Create an engaging customer experience: Build layers of interactions that will immerse your customers in the engagement with your brands.
- Generate conversations: Encourage your customers to talk about their experience interacting with you to build greater interest.
Follow these simple steps and you will be able to get customers more involved with your brand.