Let’s start off by answering two basic questions. First, what is interactive marketing?
The Harvard Business Review has a definition of interactive marketing that’s, unsurprisingly, a little fancier than some of the others you might see (it is Harvard, after all), but it raises some nice points:
The term interactive, as we interpret it, points to two features of communication: the ability to address an individual and the ability to gather and remember the response of that individual. Those two features make possible a third: the ability to address the individual once more in a way that takes into account his or her unique response. Thus we see interactivity as a tool that allows good marketing to become good conversation. The promise of the interactive paradigm, we anticipate, lies in its ability to put a more human face on marketplace exchanges without losing the scale economies of mass marketing.
Did your eyes glaze over at that wall of text? Well, here’s a much simpler definition:
Interactive marketing is a one to one marketing process that reacts and changes based on the actions of individual customers and prospects. (Genroe)
On to question number two. Why should you care?
If you really didn’t read Harvard’s definition closely, go back and do that now. In my opinion, they answer our next question in one key sentence: “The promise of the interactive paradigm, we anticipate, lies in its ability to put a more human face on marketplace exchanges without losing the scale economies of mass marketing.”
That’s huge! Who wouldn’t be excited to learn that expedient, intuitive online brand interactions can now feel personal and warm and generate loyalty as well? And Harvard isn’t overstating things – you can in fact put a human face on marketplace exchanges. More on that below, but for now let’s bask in the magic of technology. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Okay, so now that we’ve squared away what interactive marketing is and why it’s so important, let’s talk about how you can become an expert in your response-based marketing efforts.
1. Identify the right actions to follow-up on
Your goal is to make customers feel like they’re understood by a brand and are being offered personalized service.
To that end, common touchpoints include when a customer has signed up for a mailing list, when they have searched for a general product on a brand’s site and when they have looked at a specific product.
2. Supply the best, most relevant content when following up
You want to only send follow up communication that enhances someone’s experience with a brand, relates directly to the interaction they made and offers a solution or benefit. Anything else runs the risk of feeling invasive and pestering.
Helpful communications can take the form of “people who looked at this item also looked at” or “more like this” type suggestions. Amazon is a master at doing this right on their website. A number of other brands do it both on-site and via email and will frequently pair their follow-up with a limited time special offer. The aim here is to make someone’s search for the right product quicker and easier.
This is also an opportunity to send product reviews, especially if they’re unique (think: video-based content, real-life user uploaded photos, humorous and helpful comments from social media channels, etc.).
Have fun with the messages and content that you’re sharing.
3. Build relationships
I told you we’d circle back to Harvard’s statement that interactive marketing opens the door to put a human face on marketplace exchanges at scale. You see, every time you follow up with a lead, it’s not just a sales opportunity. It’s an opportunity to share a bit about your brand – the people who work for you, the values you hold dear – and form real and lasting customer relationships.
This is where video is an incredible tool to quite literally put a face on your response sequences. Imagine if every time someone received interactive marketing content, it was from the same person, a familiar face who’s talking to them about items they’ve been browsing, things other customers have found helpful and more. Videos can even be personalized to leverage customer data like name, location, interests and more.
It’s not at all as challenging as many people assume to get video-based interactive marketing to a place where it feels incredibly personal, conversational and fresh.
4. Don’t stop after a customer has made a purchase
Interactive marketing doesn’t have to stop once a purchase is made. Making a customer aware of relevant accessories and services or related products can be an excellent opportunity to touch base after a sale has been made and drive repeat business.
Similarly, if a customer has purchased something that needs frequent replenishment, like paper towels, diapers or cases of water, for example, you can always send helpful reminders with an easy “order again” button and increase retention rate.
It goes back to the personal service aspect of interactive marketing. Think about the ways your brand can make someone’s life easier.
5. Assess your success
After you’ve created a sequence of responses to your customers’ actions, you need to be able to regularly measure success and make tweaks where needed.
For more information on how to launch a successful interactive marketing campaign, take a look at these relevant posts: