In my very first article for Relevance, I mentioned that ideation for interactive content is arguably the most difficult aspect of the creation process. That statement still holds true.
There are certain interactive content types that many consumers seem to latch onto (e.g., self-evaluators, avatar creators, planners), but those ideas didn’t sprout up out of nowhere. They came from a deep understanding of what a particular type of consumer needs to solve a problem or be entertained.
When you achieve that understanding, it becomes easier to create effective interactive content. You do this by asking questions about your current and prospective consumers, as well as considering your own goals.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself prior to ideating and creating interactive content:
1. Who Are Your Current Customers?
How well do you know your current and past customers? Do you know their average age or income level? How about their past purchases? If you have a thorough understanding of your customers, you might consider crafting interactive content with the goal of retaining those customers or winning them back.
Possessing knowledge of your consumer base can present a plethora of useful interactive content concepts. Your database of current and past customers allows you the opportunity to really customize the online experience and cater it precisely to their wants and needs.
If you choose to create interactive content with this goal in mind, there are several avenues you can take. Even though you’re targeting folks who have previously engaged with your brand, you might still consider some brand awareness content, like an avatar builder or a fun game to reinforce their existence.
Some consumers might not have been to your establishment in a while, as they purchased something large a few years prior. By sending out an e-mail or displaying an ad about a game, it allows past consumers to engage with and “fall in love with your brand” all over again. To sweeten the offer, you might even consider incentivizing consumers with a “Welcome Back” coupon for playing.
Another great idea for retaining and winning back consumers is interactive content that directly relates to a new product or service your brand is offering.
If you’re an amusement park that recently opened up a new attraction, you want to let consumers that haven’t been to the park in a while know about it. To promote the park and the new attraction, you could initiate an email drip campaign that links to an interactive map, or an app that allows families to plan their day.
Whatever content you decide to create, just make sure it’s enticing. After all, you’re trying to impress them all over again.
2. What Do You Sell? Who Are You Selling To?
The next question you should ask yourself is “What do I sell?,” which should then be followed up with “Who do I sell to?” These might seem like completely obvious questions, but they really aren’t. When you have taken a step back and examine your products, services, and audiences, your goals become much clearer, and that helps with the ideation of interactive content.
Sure, you can say (at a high level), that you sell burgers, fries, and milkshakes—but is that all you really want to convey to your target market? Assuming you’re passionate about your brand, you want to say that you sell “100 percent Grade A Angus beef burgers” and “premium hand-cut french fries.”
Take a look at Steak ’n Shake. They don’t sell hamburgers. They sell Steakburgers. And Hardee’s & Carl’s Jr. sell thickburgers. Labeling based on what makes your products unique helps differentiate your products from the competition.
Once you’ve really determined what it is you really sell, the next step is to determine who your target market is and their nuances, likes, dislikes and behaviors. Not only will this help with overall messaging, but it’ll help establish the types of content that they’ll be more attracted to.
If you answer the aforementioned questions with great detail, you now have a much better understanding of what your consumers would be interested in interacting with as it relates to your product or service.
For example, If you’re a car dealership that sells economy vehicles (remember—you don’t just sell “cars”) in a firmly middle-class neighborhood consisting largely of new parents, there’s a good chance that they’re looking to upgrade their vehicles for reliability & size. It’s also likely that they need some financial assistance, but not a tremendous amount.
Knowing this, a good interactive content piece would be a trade-in appraisal tool that you install on your dealership’s website. Not only would it act as a resource for someone looking to appraise their current vehicle, but it would allow you (the dealership) the opportunity to provide an on-the-spot trade-in offer after they’ve had their current vehicle appraised. Moreover, the consumer information collected from such a trade-in tool could help you and other dealers with future automotive event sales, as they’ll be able to foster more personal relationships with their customers using this data.
3. Does your Business Have a Physical Location?
The last question you should ask yourself before generating interactive content ideas is, “Does my business have a physical location?” If so, then the amount of foot traffic you get correlates with how much revenue is coming in. Your goal, then, is probably one of two things: sustain the flow of traffic or continue to increase it. You can use interactive content to make either of these goals happen.
Planning and customization apps are great options for business with physical locations like grocery stores, restaurants, concert venues and amusement parks. When consumers visit your establishment, they want to feel like they have complete control over their experience. By installing a meal builder, nutrition calculator or day planner, consumers are reassured that they can do what they please when they enter the establishment. Generally, when consumers are comfortable and in-control they’ll be more inclined to pay your store a visit.
Another idea for increasing foot traffic into your store is to create a fun game with a legitimate prize or incentive at the end—assuming you’re in an appropriate industry for a game, of course. When consumers play your game, they can win a prize or a special coupon just for playing (and claim the prize in-store, of course).
The type of game you create depends on your target market’s interests, as well as the relevance to your industry. For example, busy parents shopping for an efficient vehicle might not have time for an elaborate, digital side-scrolling game, but they might have a few minutes to spare for a “spin-to-win” game.
Coming up with viable interactive content ideas is not an easy task. But with a thorough understanding of your products, services, and target market, you should be able to conceive some really cool ideas. Remember, the ultimate goal in all of this is to be a utility for your customers. The more resources you provide consumers, the more likely they’ll be to use your products and services.
By being a valuable resource, you’ll distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition. And in the end, that’s why you want to create interactive content—to stand out.