How Quizzes Can Be a Lead Gen and Engagement Machine

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Speaking at SIPA's Best Practices Conference on Website Optimization in Atlanta, Melissa Johnson, director, marketing automation strategy, Informa Engage, said that Informa has gone from 9 quizzes and 3,600 leads generated in 2014 to 81 quizzes and 21,000 leads in 2015 to 134 quizzes and 39,000 leads in 2016.

(Brian Malone from SIPA member Malone Media is doing a great job orchestrating the webcast, which will be available for on-demand purchase following today's conference.)

You're seeing more and more quizzes across the landscape and for good reason. They generate leads, engagement and maybe even loyalty. In addition, "quizzes educate people, and one of our goals is to educate people," Greg Krehbiel, director of marketing operations, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc., said in his session this morning.

"Choose a relevant topic, consider a prize to increase engagement—it doesn't have to be that big, even $25 or $50—and be creative, make it fun," said Johnson. "Post the top 10 [scorers] from week to week to week. This is what keeps drawing in people."

The best-performing quizzes Informa creates take the form of brackets, like college basketball's March Madness. Another quiz involved Academic Engineering, asking what the best engineering school in the country is. (Purdue won two years in a row.) It was taken by 2,600 engineers, 14% of whom were new to Informa's database, and 3,000 college students—all new.

"We looked at it as an early recruitment form—for when they do get out in the professional world," Johnson said. "The students share it with friends on social media and seem to have fun with it. We like that." One quiz asked truckers, "What is the strangest load you've ever hauled?" Another centered on a photo contest for pig farming; 2000 people voted for their favorite pig photo!

She added that you should always send out the results and add content links to it. Don't let their engagement end with the quizzes. "Do something with these guys. They're filling out your lead gen form. Keep them engaged."

Here are some recent quizzes that I've come across.

A common purpose for quizzes is to show that a customer doesn't know about a subject you're an expert on. A company called Brightedge does this with SEO. "Do you think you know SEO?" they ask. "Find out now by answering these 15 questions." At the end you can see which questions you got wrong. And if you complete that form, you can download their latest research report on Google SERP Layout Changes.

In 2015, OPIS did their research and designed a simple but tough seven-question quiz to stump readers and convince them to register for a webinar. The copy implied that if you did not know the answers, you would have a tough time preparing and complying with new regulations. This email was their best performing, bringing in 29% of the registrations.

If you have a special report or white paper, a quiz is a good way to get people engaged with it. The Pew Research Center did that with cybersecurity. "Test your knowledge on cybersecurity topics and terms by taking our 10-question quiz... When you finish, you will be able to compare your scores with the average American and see explanations for the terms and topics in each question. The analysis of the findings from the poll can be found in the full report, "What the Public Knows About Cybersecurity."

Explore Ashville has a 6-question quiz based on beautiful pictures of their scenery. That's one way to get us scrolling through their photo album—and planning our next vacation.

The Folger Shakespeare Library here in Washington, D.C., has enjoyed success with its quizzes. The latest is, "How well do you know Shakespeare's genres?" I particularly like the software they use. At the end you can see how you did compared to others, share or tweet it out, or retake it. Isn't that cheating?

Paradigm Life has a financial literary quiz. "Test how financially literate you are by taking this short quiz." After the questions, you can watch a free webinar, contact them or go through the answers which feature some excellent—and fun—graphics.

Finally, my favorite publisher quiz came from the Belgian media company De Standaard. It's a touring quiz event taking place in major university cities like Flanders, Belgium. There's even a pretty wild video that goes with it. About 1,500 teams of three register for a quiz event. But listen to this: "The flow of the game also permits De Standaard to gather data during the first live round. Every online inscriber has to register and is added to our marketing database. Every participant gets one free month trial subscription of De Standaard prior to the event to brush up their general knowledge... You can also integrate your sponsors and offer them the opportunity to activate with their brands (and charge them correctly for it)." Wow.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…