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Marketing has become a billion-dollar business across the United States. Statistics show that companies spent more than $250 billion on marketing services in 2021 and nearly the same amount on media advertising.
Does that mean that brands need a substantial marketing budget to stand out from their competition? Not necessarily. By using interactive content, businesses of any size can increase campaign participation, customer engagement, and loyalty. Neither requires extensive budgetary commitments.
Why engagement matters
Thousands of brand messages are presented to American consumers every day, but only a few capture their attention and establish a connection. Creating this connection is the key to standing out from the competition and generating sales, revenue, and growth.
To connect with a brand, customers need to engage with it. Driving engagement has become so important in sales and marketing that ‘engagement marketing’ has become a subdiscipline of marketing as a whole.
Engagement marketing aims to trigger an interaction between a customer and a brand. A simple way to think of these interactions is to imagine a conversation between the customer and the brand they are interested in. In the context of digital marketing, that conversation could be initiated by clicking a link, reacting to a post, commenting, or sharing content.
To understand the impact of engagement, it helps to compare the level of involvement on the consumer’s side to the limited engagement generated by traditional forms of marketing. Take traditional TV advertising, for example. A consumer may have watched and loved a commercial, but there are few options to engage with the brand. The viewer may decide to purchase the product instantly or visit a website shown in that commercial, but there is no direct opportunity to engage with the brand and build a bond before purchasing.
The same lack of engagement opportunities used to make it harder to inspire long-term consumer loyalty. Of course, brands could send direct mail to customers to remind them of existing products. But again, there were few options to create a true exchange between brands and consumers.
Related: 5 Ways to Build Killer Relationships With Customers
How digital marketing channels support engagement
Digital marketing has vastly increased the opportunities brands have to connect with their audiences by facilitating the use of truly interactive marketing strategies and tactics. Interactive marketing tactics focus on driving engagement by using visuals or videos that entice the audience to react to the content.
Interactive content not only aims to stimulate a reaction in its audiences, but marketers also want their audiences to share those reactions. Sharing that reaction is effectively the start of a conversation between consumers and brands.
Just like conversations between two people, conversations between customers and brands are more memorable than a simple nod or a quick hello exchanged between two people in passing. When it comes to making a purchase decision, that brand is far more likely to be at the front of the consumer’s mind than any other brand. As a result, your brand’s chances of making a sale are better, revenue increases and the business grows.
But engagement marketing is about more than driving one-off purchases. Continued engagement between consumers and brands is also the key to creating long-term relationships and building customer loyalty.
Loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases without additional marketing. They may also recommend a brand to family members, friends, and colleagues. These recommendations can generate substantial growth for any brand.
Customer loyalty matters most when a problem occurs. Perhaps a product breaks or a service is temporarily disrupted. When that happens, long-term, loyal customers tend to be more understanding based on their existing brand experience. Brands can use the initial problem and turn it into another engagement opportunity by resolving the issue quickly.
Related: 7 Excellent Reasons to Focus on Employee Engagement
Maximizing engagement through interactive content
Developing interactive content does not need to be high in cost or difficult. Some of the most effective tactics are easily accessible to small businesses and fledgling brands. These tactics include:
- Polls, quizzes and surveys: most people love participating in quizzes and polls, and social media platforms like Instagram have made it easy to create simple polls and integrate them into content like reels and videos. Quizzes are another excellent option to engage your audience, and they allow you to share details about your product or service without appearing pushy.
- Interactive videos: how can you make videos interactive? The simplest way to create engagement is to end videos or reels with a question or a call to action. However, using slightly more sophisticated software, marketers can integrate multiple-choice questions for viewers to answer directly on the screen.
- Interactive blog posts: maintaining reader engagement can be tricky, especially if blog posts are longer. To make them more interactive, add clickable or expandable graphics and images. Making those graphics downloadable allows users to take something valuable away. Asking questions throughout and at the end of a blog can also drive engagement.
- Personalized content: personalized content works especially well for eCommerce businesses. Asking customers if they are still interested in items in an abandoned cart, for example, is a great way of showing that the business cares about each individual purchase.
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Today’s consumers are surrounded by more advertising and marketing messages than ever before. To stand out, businesses need to engage prospective and existing customers through interactive content marketing tactics. Customizing content to drive engagement is cost-effective and, therefore, accessible to businesses of any size. Brands benefit from increased sales and revenue as well as long-term customer loyalty, all of which help drive sustainable business growth for years to come.