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Published in Engagement category on (07/16/2015)

Using Interactive Content to Boost Event Results

interactive content

By Seth Lieberman, CEO, SnapApp

Face-to-face conversations at events are one of the best ways for marketers to gather qualified leads, but require high upfront costs without a clear way to calculate ROI. With more emphasis on marketing delivering hard results in the form of sales pipeline and converted revenue, addressing this challenge is more important than ever.

Interactive content offers marketers a way to amplify their event activity, creating dialogues with attendees before, during, and after the event – while quantifying impact in real terms. Content formats such as quizzes, assessments, photo galleries, and ROI calculators facilitate natural and rewarding conversations that engage prospects on their terms. All the while, they capture valuable data for your marketing team – a win-win for you and your audience.

Learn how event technology and interactive content can combine to deliver your best leads. Join Certain and SnapApp for a live webinar on Tuesday, July 21 at 11am PT. You’ll learn how to capture the right kinds of data before, during, and after events to feed into your marketing automation systems to serve up relevant content to leads and prospects in order to drive sales faster.

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Before: Grab Attention

It can be difficult to pinpoint just how many of your prospects and clients will participate in an event, regardless of its scale. Industry conferences are often a maze for marketers and visitors alike, and the volume of pre-event email marketing is staggering. Sending out a contest or sweepstakes in your email marketing can make you stand out from competitors and broaden your reach.

Payscale used an interactive assessment (“Find Their Inner Purple Squirrel”) in their event email and saw pretty impressive results. As a leader in the compensation data industry, Payscale humanized their company with fun content and used an industry term their audience would recognize – the “purple squirrel”. This quick quiz engaged readers and enticed them to visit Payscale’s event booth for prizes and to enter a sweepstakes. In fact, one week prior to the event, they received 584 lead submissions, a 75% click-through rate and over 1,100 impressions. By thinking (and acting) ahead of time, they amplified the effect of the event before it even took place, leaving their team in good stead for the big day.

An entertaining quiz is not the only way that you can integrate a two-way conversation into your event emails. Oracle created an assessment that led their 1,000 attendees to discover which event track would most benefit them at this year’s Modern Marketing Experience. Crafting and sending this kind of assessment out in advance aligns your visitors’ goals with your offerings, optimizing their experience. Listening to the results of the assessment will help your team to estimate the percentages of attendees at each workshop or event within the conference.

During: Engaging Prospects and Clients

Seventy-nine percent of attendees go to events to learn more about their field. To connect with prospects, you have to educate them, and not just about your products – but about themselves or your industry. Brainstorm with your marketing team about the value you want to give your prospect from the get-go. That answer is the guiding principle for your content as you prepare for an event.

Once your marketing team has developed ideas to educate your client, your challenge is to break through the noise. As Paula Blazar, a corporate events expert, told Time magazine, “The expectations are so much more advanced today largely because technology is more sophisticated. Retaining an audience’s attention is now one of the biggest challenges.” In other words, a big sign and cheerful staff will not get you far. You need to engage visitors with multiple forms of communication, garnering and keeping their attention long enough to make a positive impact.

Built for a two-way conversation, interactive content is the best way to break through the noise. Instead of approaching individuals for a conversation, pass them a tablet with a short quiz or assessment. You can break the ice with a “hello” and a short interactive experience rather than a long sales pitch.

Cornerstone OnDemand put this tactic into practice at the HR Tech Europe 2.013 Conference & Expo. Their “What’s Your Halloween Worker Style” quiz capitalized on the time of year and entertained guests while catering to HR professionals’ interests. Instead of letting interactive content stand alone, they created a 360 degrees experience, matching individuals’ results with craft cocktails. Their approach created a warm, social environment, enabling natural conversations and combatting conference fatigue among guests.

If you have prospects who are interested in speaking to a salesperson, integrate interactive marketing in your sales channel. An ROI calculator or interactive white paper will empower your sales conversation with tangible examples and figures, arming your team with the best tools.

After: Following Through

Interactive content educates and entertains prospects while enabling long-term engagement. It pulls data from guests that make it easy to calculate the number of leads, and in turn, your ROI. Segment prospects according to the answers you received through interactive content, splitting them according to their preferences, job level, or employer types. Always capitalize on concrete data by personalizing follow-ups and calls to action based on their answers.

Just as it’s important to break through the noise of a large conference, your email has to break through the noise of an overcrowded inbox. Rockwell Automation set the standard for follow-up engagement. Instead of letting their email fall flat, they shared five photo galleries from the event. Each photo gallery received a click-through rate of 40 to 60 percent, capitalizing on the enjoyment people feel at reflecting on a social event. Share the gallery on your company’s social media channels, tagging any visible contacts in the photos for extra traction and additional sharing.

The data-rich feedback collected through interactive content also acts a powerful indicator of ROI — spend some time with your results to make the best of these two-way conversations. If you need more feedback, skip that worn-out survey, and instead include an interactive assessment incentivized by a prize or a piece of valuable content. In order to engage with the this generation of prospects, you need to align your marketing goals with the most innovative tools for the future.

Seth Lieberman is the founder and CEO of SnapApp, a content marketing platform that gives marketers the power to generate leads and drive revenue by creating, publishing, promoting and measuring interactive content that works across the web, email, mobile and social. Seth is a serial entrepreneur who has started three companies and four kids. Two of his companies have been acquired but none of his kids.

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