Are your marketing efforts falling a bit flat? Are open rates, click-through rates, and lead flow less than stellar? If you were 100% honest, would you click on your brand’s latest “download our new white paper” call to action?
For many marketers, the challenge isn’t just creating content – it’s making it remarkable. Prospects crave something different. You can pique their interest and curiosity with more compelling calls to action that offer something unique or unusual. Following up a unique CTA with an unusual piece of content is even more powerful.
4 Ways to Get Over the Barriers to Reach Tough Prospects
Consider giving your marketing a boost with five unusual calls to action (and the follow-on content) that work:
The theory of narrative psychology tells us people love to be the star of their own story. That’s why personality tests (like the ones found in magazines and on BuzzFeed) are so powerful – they give us a chance to categorize ourselves and share that snippet of who we are with the world. As humans, we respond to the “assess” call to action.
This fact carries over into B2B marketing – assessments tap into our human desire to validate our hypotheses and conclusions. It’s hard to resist clicking on a two-minute assessment that will provide us with a few key insights that we can use to make a decision or at least take the next step.
Plus, because we expect that taking an assessment is less time consuming than reading white papers, assessments are more likely to grab our attention, and get clicks. According to the 2014 Demand Gen Report:
- 95% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they prefer shorter formats for their content consumption.
- 20% used assessments to research B2B purchase decisions in the past year.
In addition to their short-form appeal, the entertainment value that comes from assessment content is a large part of what makes them so effective: In our button-pushing, instant-gratification world, the give-and-take and immediate feedback that follows an assess call to action fits us perfectly.
All of this suggests that rather than hitting your prospects over the head with a meaty white paper out of the gate, it might be more effective to warm them up with a smaller, more consumable piece of content and a more compelling call to action than “download” – something that provides a few nuggets of information and an indication that there is more to learn, while establishing your credibility by demonstrating your subject-matter expertise.
Need some inspiration? Here is one we love:
The Find Your Frame quiz from Zenni Optical has been taken almost 600,000 times.
This is not a test as in “A/B testing” (which is important, too) but as in “Test your knowledge,” “Test your skills,” and “Test your readiness.”
Like assess formats, test calls to action tap into our desire to see how much we know or how much we need to learn. We use this data to make and justify our decisions and to guide us toward areas where we want or need to learn more. This is particularly helpful when we (or our prospects) are not sure we are ready to dive in – or even what we might be diving into.
For prospects at the discovery or consideration stage, for example, it might be impossible to get them to commit to downloading and reading a white paper. Still, that person is looking for something – an information gap waits to be filled – and a test can be the right mix of information and efficiency. Emails and landing pages that call on prospects to “test” instead of “download” offer a more personalized call to action because they promise an individual result.
As a marketer, tests and assessments also are opportunities to develop and play with brand personality. Marketers can showcase their brand and expertise through unique graphics and language, creating a memorable experience and setting the stage for future outreach.
How do we compare to a standard, end goal, the rest of the world, or at least our peers? It’s generally really helpful – or at least entertaining – to know this, which is why so many of us are eager to see just how we size up.
It might be personal: “How does your leadership style compare?” Or, it might be company-specific: “How does your manufacturing process compare?” The goal in benchmarking is to see how we are doing – so that we can either feel good about our path or learn where we are falling behind.
TIP: Any “poor” results should be unveiled definitively but delicately … the goal is to encourage action, not offend your prospects by telling them they are utter failures.
Prospects are almost unanimous in their desire for better benchmarking data. The Demand Gen Report reports 97% of respondents agree that B2B marketers could improve the quality of their content by providing more benchmarking data.
When it comes to combining benchmarking with interactive content, marketers can offer a series of questions or go for a more visual format like an interactive infographic. The benefit of an interactive infographic is that it takes one of the most powerful forms of content marketing and supercharges it with a benchmarking call to action, as well as adding the attraction of interactive content – a true triple play. Benchmarking content might make sense at the top of the funnel, but it also can be used further down at the consideration or intent stage, when prospects are looking to hone in on specifics.
You can see the benchmark format in this Marketing Grader, which assesses visitors’ websites along multiple dimensions and offers suggestions for improvement. The grader is a way for HubSpot to offer useful information while advertising some of the features of the HubSpot inbound-marketing platform.
Calculators have come a long way in the last few years. No longer reserved for the few who have the budget and resources to develop one, calculators are being used increasingly by B2B marketers to make the case for their products.
Across industries, buyers are hungry for calculators that help them consider and justify purchases. According to the Demand Gen Report in 2015, nearly 25% of those surveyed said they had used ROI calculators to research B2B purchase decisions in the past year – more importantly, 40% of respondents ranked calculators as a 4 or 5 (out of 5) in terms of the value they provide during the purchase process. Thinking about building a calculator? Consider one that calculates:
- Cost of customer churn
- Cost of server downtime
- Cost of product returns
As marketers, providing prospects with an easy way to calculate the ROI they would receive by purchasing your product is high value and high impact.
Solar Simplified’s ROI calculator shows buyers how much they could save on their power bill by switching to solar. Not everyone speaks wattage, so having an “I don’t know” option for a few different inputs is smart. If the visitor selects that option, the calculator will suggest a number based on the numbers already provided.
5. Watch … and respond
Everyone loves a good movie, and marketing videos are no different. Think of the allure of Super Bowl commercials. Marketers across industries use videos to identify, educate, entertain, and engage prospects and move them through the funnel. However, as great as these videos are at generating views and shares, they suffer from the same challenge as static white papers. It’s hard to gauge your prospect’s real engagement:
- Did they even watch the video or was it playing in the background?
- Was the mute button on or off?
- Did a co-worker interrupt, but the prospect didn’t bother to pause the video?
Marketers need a way to combine the power of video with the engagement and tracking. Enter the interactive video. It melds two of the most effective content types – the video and the quiz (or survey, calculator, configurator, assessment, etc.) – into one super-charged content experience. Take your awesome video content and layer in a series of questions. Allow the prospects to pause and respond at any point, giving you valuable insight into their viewing and buying journey, while your prospects collect their personalized results.
Check out Symantec’s interactive video on end-point protection. It marries cool animation, a few quick questions, and a lead-gen form in 1:37. (Note: Symantec uses SnapApp for this.)
Try an unusual CTA today
We’re almost three-fourths of the way through 2015. Are you achieving the marketing goals you boldly outlined in January? Can you do better? Interactive content might be just what you need to give your marketing a mid-year boost.
More Than Quizzes: 3 Types of Interactive Content That Drive Leads
Need help finding which content marketing tactics will put your business on the path to success? Check out CMI’s guide to Building the Perfect Content Marketing Mix: Execution Tactics.
Cover image by Splitshire via pixabay.com