Whether you use data visualization, infographics, quizzes or other tools, interactive content can provide a more engaging user experience that differentiates you from your competition.

“Static content is still useful but is slowly becoming yesterday’s marketing tool,” says Subhas Fagu, partner with Toronto-based Techlicity Ventures Corp., a web design and development firm in Toronto. That is not to say you have to abandon your static marketing content, Fabu says. “You just have to find ways to make some [content] interactive.”

Caroline Grimont, vice president of marketing with Excel Funds Management Inc. in Mississauga, Ont., says interactive content elicits user response and generates instant feedback. “It keeps them engaged,” she says. “And they end up staying longer on your website — which potentially increases your chance of converting them to clients.”

Here are five ways in which interactive content can be used:

1. Data visualization
Presenting numerical data in visual form — or data visualization — can be a useful client-education tool. It can help users understand and interpret concepts more easily, Grimont says.

For example, you can simplify an explanation of market volatility by providing visual historical data showing the causes of volatility during various market cycles. The data would be is connected to a trusted source, so users can scroll over certain data points to get additional information.

2. Interactive white papers
You can add interactive elements to your static content, such as white papers, by creating an online version that users can navigate, Fagu says. For example, animation tools and visuals can be used to illustrate important points.

“Make the content reader-friendly and attention-grabbing, rather than just a dry read,” Fabu says.

Adds Grimont: “Rather than reading hundreds of words, people tend to find it easier to immerse themselves in visuals.”

3. Infographic storyboards
An infographic storyboard is a graphical of representation of elements of a story, using charts, pictures and animation. This type of interactive tool incorporates media that changes when users scroll over certain content. It is, according to Grimont, an effective way to get your message across.

“You have many different options when building a storyboard,” Fagu says, “including getting users to participate by answering simple questions, which can generate different angles of the same story.”

You also can show variations of a story that is part of your marketing program.

4. Self-assessment tools
Visitors to your website can find answers to specific questions about their financial goals.

For example, Grimont says, use the headline, “Let’s help you find the right investments to achieve your goals.” In this case, the user would enter personal information, such as age and time horizon. He or she would then proceed through a series of steps showing various options and results.

In each case, Fabu says, you can show charts or use interactive case studies to demonstrate how your visitor can achieve his or her objective. “You can give the user the option to create different scenarios based on their own objective,” he says.

5. Calculators, quizzes and surveys
Features such as calculators, quizzes and surveys are among the simplest of interactive tools, Grimont says. The objective is to allow users to find out something of value.

For example, with a calculator, visitors to your website can find out how much they will have to save to achieve a certain goal. To make it more interesting, you can offer them appropriate solutions based on the results they get from the calculator. With quizzes and surveys, you can show your visitors how their answers compare with those of other participants.

The is the second part in a two-part series on interactive content.

Click here for part one.