Win Subscribers, Fans and Advocates with Interactive Content Tools

Learn how to use interactive content to engage your audience, collect valuable data, educate effectively, and create brand advocates.

By Barry Feldman ・6 min read
Best Practices
Campaign & Contest Ideas
ShortStack Tips & Tricks

You’ve seen a plethora of interactive content tools vie for your business. It’s no secret why marketers embrace them. Use interactive content wisely and you:

  • Solicit participation and inspire action
  • Overcome form fatigue to collect meaningful user data
  • Educate more effectively
  • Appeal to mobile users
  • Enable customers to help themselves
  • Make your brand fun to “play with”

Each benefit is a potential topic in its own right; however, the intention of today’s post is to explore this fundamental idea…Interactive content can move users from likers to lovers of your brand.

Let's think in terms of emotional stages

We marketing types tend to map the buyer’s journey relative to, well, buying.

Sales funnel chart

You know your funnel metaphor: awareness, consideration, and finally, the purchase decision.Because buying always involves emotion, today I propose we reconsider these phases or stages as emotional milestones.Think about it this way: Getting someone to "like" your brand may have no actual effect while getting someone to love your brand inevitably translates to sales.The emotional milestones of the love affair I’m speaking of go like this…

1. Awareness

There’s no avoiding the re-use of this tired term. Whether your tactic is a promotion, ad, mailer, blog post, social media update, event, or what have you, you simply can’t earn the affection of a customer until they come to know your brand.

2. Participation

Now things get interesting, emotionally speaking. Why? Because the person whom you court doesn’t just read, listen or watch -- they ACT.They answer questions, upload content, vote, assess themselves, etc.Interactive content tools afford you opportunities to engage prospects in a variety of ways. The point: they’re engaging. The participatory action makes the experience far more memorable—and often, fun.

3. Fandom

What do we have here? Fans. You want them. You use social media to get them. You aim to interact with them. And when you succeed, you win a shot at creating something you can’t put a price on: passion.

fandom definition

4. Advocacy

Passionate fans buy. Passionate customers tell their friends. They become advocates of your brand. Brand advocates have always been “money” in the marketing realm. In the age of social sharing, they can be virtual goldmines because they go out of their way to spread the love.

How to woo with interactive content

It may be going a bit far to give interactive content tools complete credit for winning subscribers, fans and advocates. They are, as suggested, tools.It’s the thought that counts, as they say. In terms of creating marketing magnetism, the idea translates to putting something in the path of the prospect that appeals to their desires. For instance:

  • Get more attractive
  • Live healthier
  • Relax more
  • Help a cause
  • Learn
  • Make more money
  • Save money or time

Obviously, as you delve into human desires, the list can go on and on. And so you have your first step in the emotional continuum:

Gain awareness by appealing to a desire

Kolya feeds the eating healthier desire
Eat healthier.

Have fun
Have fun.

Protect your loved ones

Protect your loved ones. Let’s say a contest or promotion like the ones shown above did the trick. Whether your connection came by way of Facebook, Instagram, email, or some other channel, you managed to get on people's radar.They became aware of your brand. Next you want to…

Get them engaged with your brand

Again, the examples above inspire people to act. Participation in the campaigns involves putting some thought into your response—such as testing your car seat safety IQ or uploading a favorite photo.Though these are just a small sample of acts of engagement, they are great examples of participation, which moves prospects and customers further through our emotional investment funnel.Stated simply, as a participant, the more involved the experience of interacting is the more emotional equity you’re bound to earn.

Benjamin Franklin quote

Let’s look at a few more examples…This is an example of a contest requiring entrants to tell a story, which obviously requires quite a bit of thought.

Contest built using ShortStack's Story Contest template

This was built with ShortStack's Story Contest template View and Create Your Own The act of voting is also highly interactive.

Built with ShortStack's Vote to Enter Giveaway template

This was built with ShortStack's Vote to Enter Giveaway template View and Create Your Own What’s next?

Winning fans

The sample campaigns I’ve shown you—and the many other promotion types you can create with interactive content tools—are designed to involve an opt-in process. So, should you use marketing automation to follow up with email autoresponders, you earn new subscribers.They have participated too. Again, they took action. We’re halfway through our journey to the ultimate destination: advocacy.The next milestone is fandom. How might you use interactive content tools to win fans?A “Pick Your Prize” contest can be used to showcase your products.

Built with ShortStack's Pick Your Prize template

This was built with ShortStack's Pick Your Prize template View and Create Your Own A smart tactic for winning fans is to reward participants with a discount even if they don’t win the contest.

Send discounts to contest participants

An email such as this is created using ShortStack's Discount Code email template. Asking a contestant for the right to use a photo, video or any content they’ve submitted in your promotions is a great way to earn a fan.

Best Practices for Rights Management

There are a variety of ways you can make your campaigns call for continued interaction after the original point of contact. The many ways you can ask contestants to stay involved includes asking them to share a contest with friends via an Instagram post with your campaign’s hashtag.

Hashtag Giveaway built with ShortStack

This was built with ShortStack's Instagram Hashtag Contest template View and Create Your Own You could create a contest that involves voting for the winners.

Photo Voting Contest built with ShortStack

This was built with ShortStack's Photo Upload Contest template View and Create Your Own Encourage repeated interaction with a multi-day calendar promotion that offers daily prizes.

Holiday Advent Calendar built with ShortStack

This was built with ShortStack's Giveaway Calendar template View and Create Your Own

The passion play

“When you consider customer acquisition for your business, think about this question for a moment: how much of your sales come from repeat business versus first-time customers?”

The quote above comes from the inside flap of Flip the Funnel, a book by Joseph Jaffe. The following diagram presents the essential idea in simple terms.

buying-cycle hourglass

The buying-cycle funnel metaphor evolves to resemble an hourglass when you succeed in winning support and loyalty from customers, and ultimately, creating brand advocates. Again, the goal is to inspire customers to work on your behalf to get referrals.The very idea of conducting contests, sweepstakes and interactive promotions such as a trivia quiz or personality quiz, is to ignite a passion of some sort: winning, saving, learning, playing, etc.All of the idea and examples I’ve shared in this article aim to help you move potential customers into your funnel and then moving them through it by touching a series of emotional milestones.Of course, you can also employ tactics with your promotions and campaigns to deliberately foster word of mouth and social sharing. Consider announcing the winners in a public way. Doing so is bound to inspire winners to talk-up your campaign and brand.

Instrgam contest winner announcement

Winner announcement on Instagram ShortStack contests may ask participants to refer a friend.

Refer-a-Friend contest built with ShortStack

This was built with ShortStack's Refer-a-Friend Giveaway template View and Create Your Own The many contest types that involve submitting content lend themselves perfectly to extending them into social media promotions. You can showcase user-generated content in a variety of ways: on web pages, via email, and via social media. Make sure to get users primed for sharing by alerting them they’ve been featured.

Showcase your collected UGC on social media, emails, and your website!

Invite satisfied customers (and highly engaged contestants) to submit testimonials about your brand. Note how the footer includes social media sharing buttons, and multiple calls-to-action.

Collect testimonials with ShortStack

This was built with ShortStack's Testimonials template View and Create Your Own “Great marketers send personalized email,” said I in a post about using email autoresponders to create better customer experiences.

Personalized email

Make your love story last

The most precious love stories are long lived. In this post, I’ve explored many ways to foster awareness, participation, fandom and advocacy, and I hope I’ve ignited a fire in you to win the trust and love of your customers with the power of interaction.Use your imagination to build on these ideas. Be creative and communicative. And keep kindling the flames forever more.

Create your first interactive campaign!

Get Started Today. It’s free and we don’t need your credit card.

About the author

By Barry Feldman ・6 min read

Barry Feldman is a content consultant for ShortStack. He is the author of several books and contributes to many of the web’s top marketing sites. Barry was named one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn.

Get marketing tips straight to your inbox

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your info.