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Etee Dubey · 11 min read · Partner posts · November 6, 2019

Using interactive content to grow your email list: A comprehensive guide

Growing your email list is not a child's play. A lot of marketers struggle while creating the right strategy to collect email addresses and ensuring continued recipient engagement. Moreover, a majority of marketers face problems while collecting additional information about their subscribers.

In fact, 51% of marketers say that enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success.

In this blog, we will have a look at the major problems faced by marketers while looking to grow their email lists, and focus on how interactive content can help solve those problems and turn prospects into subscribers.

According to research by HubSpot, 53% of marketers say blogging is their #1 inbound marketing priority. Another study shows that 74% of companies have found that relevant content marketing boosted their email list, both in quantity and quality. 

However, it is hard to find relevant content for customers with different needs, preferences and at different stages of the buyer’s journey. So, how can you design content that helps increase your email subscribers as well as retain existing ones? 

One solution is interactive content. It can help you create personalized content for customers for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Moreover, it adds value to the user by answering their pressing questions in real-time. 

To illustrate, here are some different types of interactive content ideas for each stage of the buyer's journey. 

Top of the funnel: outcome quizzes and assessments

The top of the funnel is all about awareness. At this stage, the buyer is trying to solve a problem but has not decided on a solution or a provider. Your job is to entice them enough to make them interested. Here is where interactive content jumps in to make it easy for you.

Let’s assume you own a SaaS company. Demand generation can be tricky in the competitive market environment. However, the right interactive content may solve that problem for you! Exhibit A:

interactive content quiz example

A quiz like this will attract prospects that are interested in your domain. Not to mention, it will help you gather qualified subscribers.

Case study example

olf Avenue is one of the biggest online retailers of pre-owned and new golf equipment. They wanted to attract their top of the funnel prospects and created this interactive outcome quiz. It helped their prospects find the perfect USA handicap suited for their needs. The professional design and personalized outcomes of this quiz helped them garner around 258k visits and 83K emails

golf avenue quiz example

Middle of the funnel: product recommendations and cost calculator

Prospects in the middle of the funnel are aware of their problems and looking for solutions. In this stage, you need to take a deeper dive into how your company can help them solve their problems. 

However, keep in mind that customers today do not want to be sold to. They have likely already researched the topic quite a bit at this point and are interested. So, send them content that helps them better understand how you can address them. For instance, have a look at this example:

cost calculator example

Case study example

Suno Research is an investment analysis firm focused on providing information to the public interested in the capital markets.

They created an interactive calculator that helped their MOFU prospects calculate their ideal monthly investment to reach their savings goals. This experience helped them gather 39K leads and 15K visits.

suno research interactive calculator example

Bottom of the funnel: savings and ROI calculators

Your bottom of the funnel prospects are looking to buy, but they are not sure if they will buy from you

In this stage, you need a strong CTA or an added advantage to nudge them in your direction. An ROI calculator can be that final nudge.

For instance, here is a Hubspot ROI calculator that can act as the final nudge that leads the prospects to purchase.

hubspot roi calculator example

Case study example

Rock Content is a content marketing company that created an ROI calculator to convert their prospects. They targeted the experience specifically at the BOFU leads. 

The result? They ended up garnering 76K visits an impressive 34% conversion rate just by including a simple formula!

There are a lot of factors that affect a company’s experiments for finding the right email marketing strategy. In fact, experimenting with strategies is one of the biggest marketing trends in 2019. However, attaining the level of expertise required to create and execute an effective list growth strategy is a big challenge. 

A/B testing allows you to evaluate each aspect of your content with great detail. You can experiment with your topics, tone of voice, content type, CTAs and many more aspects of your content. A/B testing with interactive content makes this process a lot easier due to the better UX experience. 

Here at our company, Outgrow, we wanted to experiment with our newsletter content to understand which type of content increased engagement and CTR. We embedded an assessment in one of the newsletter variations and an interactive calculator in another. Assessments are graded quizzes that test the lead’s knowledge on a particular topic whereas a calculator helps the lead arrive at an estimate on the basis of their variables. 

In this particular newsletter, we were focusing on the topic of email marketing. So, we had to decide between the two options.

Option 1: a calculator that offered to find out the ROI of the lead’s email marketing strategy.

outgrow roi calculator example

Option 2: an assessment that tested the lead’s knowledge on email marketing.

outgrow assessment example

The aim was to encourage prospects to convert into subscribers. The version with the graded quiz had a 48.54% conversion rate compared to the other version that had an 11% conversion rate

Through this process, we learned what works for us and what doesn’t.

Marketers continuously question how many opt-in forms they should have on their site. They regularly fret over the placement, content, and design that should they use to turn the prospect into a subscriber.

However, interactive content can help you find a way out through excellent opt-in incentives. You can entice the prospects to opt-in for more information by providing them with real value through the interactive content. Thereafter, you can offer expert advice or analysis if they choose to opt-in for future conversations. Here is one example of an interactive content that includes the opt-in form. 

This Business Valuation calculator created by Flippa is a marketplace for buying and selling online businesses. Through this calculator, the prospect can determine their business valuation by answering a simple set of questions. Moreover, this provides them with a real-time estimate, which would have otherwise entailed professional help. This free of cost analysis encourages the prospects to opt-in for more information and email. 

flippa business valuation calculator example

This calculator garnered around 12k emails for the company. Furthermore, all of these are qualified because prospects wouldn’t bother to engage with this piece of content unless they had something to gain out of it. Now, that is a lesson straight out of the inbound marketing textbook.

Most marketers claim that they aim to grow their email list primarily to increase/ retain their customers. This requires the sales team to have a bit more information than just an email address. 

Marketers are constantly looking to acquire more information from their prospects. This can help in personalized advertisements, targeted sales pitch, and a higher conversion rate. But, how do you procure that without directly asking for it?    

Interactive content can help you collect valuable information from your prospects without any other extra efforts. In order to generate a result, the prospect has to provide personal information. This can then be used for personalized follow-ups and targeted offers. 

Let's have a look at how Rausch Coleman Homes collected a lot of valuable information about their prospects through their interactive content. The users have to enter their personal and unique information like their monthly salaries and payments to calculate their total buying power.

rausch coleman homes interactive calculator example

Now evidently, each user will get a personalized response according to their answers here.

However, here’s the catch.

Coleman Homes is not just collecting the contact information of their prospects in exchange for this free estimate. They are also collecting personal information like their savings, their spending, their city, and possessions. All this information is enough to create a very detailed buyer persona of their potential subscriber

A lot of marketers use social media to gather qualified emails. In fact, 66% of marketers see email growth benefits with social media.

Interactive content can be useful here in the form of gated content. Interactive content types like giveaways and contests can be a great way to generate demand and increase brand awareness. 

Furthermore, it can be used as social media ads in the form of calculators, quizzes and even polls. This increases the engagement from your followers and might even catch the attention of people from your industry.

The Western Journal ran a similar interactive content ad in July 2018. They published a well-researched article titled Why Conservatives Don’t Trust Facebook. Later, they repurposed it into an interactive poll FB ad to increase their reach and get more engagement on the post and their social media pages.  

the western journal interactive poll example

This Poll ad garnered 41.2K likes, 4.6K shares, and 7.9 K comments in just 3 days. This massive response to their ad helped them garner more social followers and consequently, more subscribers.

Ooff! We know! That was a lot of information to get your head around. However, we hope this article helped you understand interactive content and how it can play a major role in building your email list. 

Are there any other ways to collect emails through interactive content? Apart from personalization and adding value, what do you think are the major factors of interactive content success? Let us know your thoughts! :)

Etee Dubey

Etee Dubey is a full-time content marketer at Outgrow and a part-time dreamer. In her free time, she catches up with her reading and explains the meaning of her eccentric name to the people around her.