What would happen if you were presented with a brand new, top-of-the-line Ferrari?
I mean, whether you are into cars or not, you definitely know the impact of owning a piece of this brand and what sort of possibilities and experiences it may offer you.
I’ll risk saying that a sense of exhilaration, empowerment and thrill, even a bit of cockiness, would rush into your veins at this moment!
And taken over by it, you’d get in the car, be gently invaded by the smell of leather, carefully admire the Italian design, the high-quality materials, linger and feel the lines, the traces and then… Click! You realize you don’t know how to drive.
Yeah. That’s it!
Something that could bring you some of the most amazing experiences in life just felt short. How would that make you feel? Frustrated? Angry? Dumb? Because that is exactly what happened to me when I was presented with Ion: Rock Content’s software platform for designing and creating interactive content — a.k.a Rock Content’s Ferrari, so to speak.
I don’t work as a designer, nor as a programmer, but that didn’t stop me from catching sight of the endless possibilities Ion could offer me.
I am an Associate Marketing Analyst here at Rock Content, responsible for lead generation in North America. Generating leads is not an easy task. In addition to establishing communication with the audience who’s the right fit for our products and services, we have to be relevant!
And by relevance, I mean the standard of a value powerful enough to make people’s work more productive, efficient, noticeable and profitable.
So, there I was with my brand new Ferrari and I didn’t know how to drive. During my early days exploring Ion, I came across some recurring feature names, such as “interactive,” “tags,” “integration,” “codeless experience” and “data capturing,” as well as different templates for multiple sorts of experiences… It was a lot to process.
In time, I reached a better level of awareness about the platform, but I was still holding an unsatisfied feeling with all those scrambled pieces of that giant puzzle. So, I was challenged by my direct leader, Marina Cordeiro, to gather all the knowledge I had so far and optimize an old Ion page experience.
My heart might have skipped 3 or 4 beats when she told me that, but I knew it was the only way to roar the engines of my Ferrari. So I did it! And not in a million years would I have imagined the outcomes would be so groundbreaking, defining new paths for my work as a lead generator here at Rock Content.
In order to share my journey with you, and also teach you the best practices, hacks, tips and everything else I’ve learned, I wrote this success case on How I Increased Conversions on Ion by 431% In Only Two Months — or, as I would like to call it, How I Learned to Drive My Ferrari and So Can You!
But before I tell you all about it, show the numbers and teach the magic, let me tell you a few things:
- I’d like to first go through some important concepts surrounding Ion and the interactivity spectrum for marketing and sales.
- Then, I’ll walk you through the Success Case, breaking down what I did, what processes I improved, and how you can do it too, adapting each step to your own purposes.
- And last, from now on, your life will be divided into two eras: b.I. and a.I., as in before Ion and after Ion. Mark my words!
Are you ready?
Ion 101 for dummies (like me)
As mentioned before, it is important to shed light on some elements that build the foundation of Ion. Throughout this article, there will be plenty of links to complementary articles. In case you feel you need more information about anything, don’t be afraid to take a look at them.
In a few words, Ion is a platform from Rock Content that allows you to break through the boredom and insufficiency of static content through interactive formats. Once bringing them to life with Ion, you amplify their value and increase the chances of reaching more expressive results regarding what goals you are aiming for.
Whether you want to promote, capture, convert, sell or retain, you have to offer something first in order to establish value and trust — at least! What Ion does is provide a series of powerful features capable of boosting the user’s experience to a whole other level, as you are about to read more about.
Another thing that makes Ion one of a kind is its native integration with leading CRM services and social networks, such as HubSpot, SalesForce, and plenty of other marketing tools. It also allows API integration, meaning you will have seamless connectivity to organize and automate your business processes.
At the beginning of this case, I mentioned that I am not a designer or a programmer. But that is not a problem. Those attributes are not required to build an Ion experience because it works through drag and drop. Isn’t it amazing?
Additionally, Ion has pre-defined templates for different formats of interactive experiences, such as calculators, quizzes, interactive landing pages, interactive e-books, interactive infographics and more!
But… What is Interactive Content?
I totally get when people think that interactive content is just a page with some motion designs, GIFs on-screen, or even a video embedded in it. If this idea ever crossed your mind, please, kick it away and remember this:
Interactive content is a format that places the user inside the experience, as an active character, increasing engagement and providing customized feedback according to the user’s actions.
Instead of simply scrolling across pages when reading an e-book, the user can engage with the content, exploring the information, inputting unique data to walk through an exclusive and personalized journey.
And, above all that, this is all 1st party data that can be sent to your CRM through native integrations or APIs. To catch up on more details about interactive content, check this complete guide!
Why is Interactive Content better than static?
How about because it raises user engagement rates? Or because it supports higher click-through rates? Maybe because interactive content optimizes the gathering of valuable data for your strategy?
Do you think that is it? Think again, because I could spend all day long listing and proving reasons why interactive content is way better than static content. Actually, let me just share another reason: Interactive content is so impressive that you can use it to repurpose static content.
I bet you want to know more about it, don’t you? So, take a look at this!
The importance of User Experience
Reputation is one of the key factors to define success or failure. It doesn’t matter if you deliver a high-quality product or service: if the user experience doesn’t have a prime standard, the consumers are not going to stick with it.
Interactive content allows the audience to be part of the process. It gives multiple possibilities to explore and build value by what matters the most for them. And that is a mighty way to raise interest in what you are offering.
The Success Case: How I Increased Conversions on Ion by 431% In Only Two Months
So here we are where it matters the most: How did I actually increase Ion’s Buyer Persona Generator conversions by 431% in two months? Here are my two cents before we move on:
- If you are already an Ion user, take what resonates with you and apply it to your Ion experiences.
- But, if you are not an Ion user yet, I recommend you stop wasting time and opportunities with only static content and reach out for more information.
What is The Ultimate Buyer Persona Generator?
You must know that having a Buyer Persona works like a compass in order to reach relevance and coherence in strategies and approaches, right? But the persona can’t be just a pile of meaningless pieces of information. It has to actually make sense to those you are trying to communicate with.
So, with that in mind, our marketing team built the Buyer Persona Generator in April 2020: an interactive experience beautifully carved with Ion. A selected number of form fields were chosen to cover, in a very flexible and versatile way, multiple market segments. There were even open slots in case the user wanted to add further details.
At the end of the experience, they have access to the full persona, with an illustration picture and all. We even offer the possibility to download it as a PDF file!
How was it before the optimization?
Here is how the Buyer Persona Generator home page looked before:
Not bad, huh? Well… we’ll see about that.
How does it look now, after the optimization?
Mind-blowing, right? Click here to live the complete experience!
Why did I choose this experience to optimize?
Even though we were living in a worldwide crisis because of the pandemic, our engagement level was pretty above average. People were craving great content online, and well… here at Rock Content we do it like no other if I say so myself.
But surprisingly, when the Buyer Persona Generator aired, the results didn’t reach the peaks we were expecting. The audience was simply not engaging properly with the experience until its end. We could see the movement, but the conversion numbers left a sour taste in our mouths.
And since there are not enough memorable experiences available online for such an important topic, why not optimize ours and help our audience? So, I dove into the core of Ion to understand from within how to turn the Buyer Persona Generator into one for the record books.
What was not working and how I improved it
After a while of analyzing data, user behavior, copywriting and some other criteria, I present to you now an overview of what was not working, how I improved it and a bunch of best practices in case you need to optimize and boost an Ion experience yourself.
As a professional writer, the very first thing that caught my attention on the old Buyer Persona Generator page was the copywriting. Writing is the ability to translate the abstract into the visual. It is the power to awaken emotions and desires through words.
I mean, it can also go all the way around and become the nemesis for the entire thing, so… be careful with it.
When you write something expecting it to trigger a reaction, don’t simply present or describe what it is about. To deliver truly effective copywriting, you must:
- Understand why that person is looking for that solution.
- Embrace their needs.
- Untangle the problem.
- Share the benefits.
- And become their problem-solver.
Here is how the copy was:
The first paragraph contextualizes what a buyer persona is. And that’s great because instructions must be clear and resolutive, no matter the level of knowledge of who’s reading.
However, the second part of the text doesn’t add much. It explains the purpose of the tool instead of showing the benefits to be obtained by the Buyer Persona Generator.
It may sound cold, lacking empathy, increasing the distance between the one with the problem and who owns the solution.
Another thing is the Call to Action. Even though there was an attempt to create a first-person reading illusion here, I was the one offering something. So the sentence “build my persona” felt too loose here, lacking guidance.
Here is the new version of the copy:
Did I reinvent the wheel here? Absolutely not. I just brought the audience closer to me.
I explained what a buyer persona is, shared some relevant benefits of having a well-constructed one, and made myself — as the authority character — available to help them through the creation process, and we were good to go.
The user experience
We have gone through the essence and importance of having a positive user experience. And regarding the old Buyer Persona Generator page, here are the three main low-lights according to my research and perception:
If you scroll up to the part I showed before, of the whole first page of the experience, you will see there was not much related to the Buyer Persona subject design-wise. It was two people looking at a laptop, a few icons around, and… yeah, that was it.
Now, we have a motion design picture of a mobile phone being tapped by a hand. And with each tap, the character displayed on the mobile screen changes. That allusion brings the idea that, in a way as simple as a tap, the user can build multiple personas that fit their business segment.
See how it serves better?
When we create something really good, it is normal to want to add as much value to it as possible. But before pressing the “publish” button, stop for a second and think: Am I delivering a frictionless, easy journey here?
On the main screen of the previous version of the Buyer Persona Generator, the visitor could get pretty overwhelmed by two different offers: The persona generator experience and an e-book.
Marketing-wise, each offer led to different paths of the funnel.
With such distinct paths displayed on the same screen, the journey projected to fulfill the buyer persona gets corrupted, and the user may 1) get lost in the experience and/or 2) lose the value of such a powerful resource.
If you want to add complementary resources to enrich your user’s experience, great! No problem with that. Just make sure they are not competing and causing distraction from your main objective.
Now, the Buyer Persona Generator home page is entirely dedicated to it. But if you think there is no complementary material through the journey, you are wrong! They are just better disposed throughout the experience now.
3. Selling pusher tone
I could have added this item as a highlighted passage when I mentioned copywriting. But the selling pusher tone goes beyond the copy!
In the old Buyer Persona Generator experience, there were Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) offers displayed more than once throughout the steps. Just to make the concept clear, an MQL is supposed to be a lead, qualified by marketing initiatives, that wants to reach out to a sales rep.
Our Persona Generator is top-of-the-funnel material. We can help them move to the early-middle of the funnel, but still, it is very likely this person is not ready to become an MQL yet. And if we try to push it, they might 1) become a fake MQL, wasting precious sales reps’ time or, 2) feel frustrated we did not help them solve their problems.
With that in mind, all copywriting was re-written, and every friction that may cause this kind of pushy feeling was adapted or cut off.
To track the engagement inside its experiences, Ion has tags. For each clickable action, you can tag it with a specific name to understand how, where and when it happened. The tags on Ion also correspond to different stages in Ion’s engagement funnel.
You can configure the engagement funnel stages to whatever action serves you best. The aim here is that you should be able to easily visualize how the user’s journey is going inside your experience.
We know that clickable actions can have any sort of purpose, as in a “next” button or even a Call to Action. But the old Persona Generator carried none. So, we couldn’t measure or analyze what was happening there, spot bottlenecks, track the distractors… nothing.
Take a look now at the chart that is supposed to provide data about user engagement through the tags. The date range shown below is from April to August 2021.
As you can see, there are no segmented tags, and the numbers are pretty uneven — and not expressive at all either.
- The number of users who have downloaded the PDF file — meaning those who completed the experience — corresponds to only 4% of the total visitors.
- The number of users who have chosen to download the e-book, falling into the distraction trap instead of pursuing the whole journey, corresponds to 22% of the total visitors.
- 8% of the total visitors clicked on the “Powered by Ion” icon and might have left.
- During 5 months, the old Buyer Persona Generator had 342 visitors, 90 conversions (subscription or lead form filled – couldn’t be identified), corresponding to 26% of the total number.
In this sense, I’ve created a glossary of tags. Instead of having multiple formats used by the teams, this standardization can help everybody to follow and improve the same process. To keep it short and meaningful, here are the 5 criteria I decided to tag and analyze:
- Which page the interaction happened: pg1, pg2, pg3…
- Where on the page: top, mid, bottom, left, right
- Which kind of button is it: CTA, icon, next, back, social share…
- What Ion funnel stage it’s related to: respondents (equivalent to visitors), segmented (equivalent to those who interacted somehow inside the experience), subsegmented (equivalent to subscribers), converted (equivalent to leads).
- Which form is being used: subgen, leadgen, mqlcontact…
This is how the tags looked for the elements on the first page:
- Main CTA button: pg1-mid-cta-segmented
- Bottom Ion icon: pg1-btm-icon-respondent
- Bottom Facebook icon: pg1-btm-fbshare-respondent
- Bottom Twitter icon: pg1-btm-ttshare-respondent
- Bottom LinkedIn icon: pg1-btm-lkdshare-respondent
The results achieved
After a while deciding how I would promote this refurbished experience, I decided to keep the same approach its old version had: e-mail marketing only. Of course, I would love to have this brand new Buyer Persona Generator all over, but to keep it as homogeneous as possible with the original, I decided to follow this way.
So, I sent two e-mails only: the first in October and the second in November, both in 2021. And through this period, I had the following results:
Meaning that the new Buyer Persona Generator had:
- 610 visitors
- 465 users engaging
- 257 subscribers
- 131 leads
In conclusion, this means all the analysis, takeaways, improvements and new practices led me to a:
- 178% increase in page traffic.
- 431% increase in conversions.
90 conversions (summing the numbers of subscribers and leads generated) in 5 months to 388 conversions (also summing subscribers and leads) in two months.
After all this work, these are the main takeaways I would love you to have and apply to your Ion experience:
Be obsessed with your user’s experience
Most of the problems faced throughout a journey could be avoided if a user-centric behavior had led the way. And these problems happen not because we are bad professionals. On the contrary! We know better than anyone else what our needs are. So, we try to achieve them without thinking deeper about the ways.
Take your time to plan, test, re-do, test again, analyze and start the cycle over. We all just want to see our great ideas being used, but chill! Don’t rush the process and think from beyond your marketer seat — or, at least, ask for external help!
Copywriting is your best friend
It doesn’t matter what kind of material you are building, with or without Ion. If there is text, you can benefit more than you think from it. Words can build emotions from scratch. If you want to do it right, know your audience and say what they need to hear — and, obviously, not more than you can deliver.
Interactive content is the future
People want to be entertained or educated while they learn something new. Every time marketers miss the point to go past the mark of just being acceptable, they also miss the opportunity to be memorable.
To be interactive is to actually prove that your name, your brand, is the top option there is. As I said before, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just spice it up a bit, bring your audience to the center of the stage, and make them feel like protagonists of their own journey.
How about joining me now in this experience with Ion and interactivity? How about creating broader possibilities for your brand and your audience, delivering unique values and extraordinary solutions?
Check this page to see how interactive content can help your company meet your consumer’s expectations.