Rebecca Milligan knows quizzes – and marketing. As a senior digital content guru at the Energy Savings Trust, she’s been a big (no, huge!) fan of the power of quizzes to engage and educate for years. Listen to hear her tips and tricks for success quiz marketing.
Episode 5 – Rebecca Milligan – Energy Saving Trust
Hi there, welcome to this episode of “The Quiz Makers”. My name is Mike, I am one of the co-founders of Riddle.com, which is just one of many, but could be one of the best quiz makers on the market. But this podcast is all about quizzes and marketing – it’s not a Riddle-specific podcast. So for this episode, I want to introduce Rebecca Milligan. Big thanks to you for volunteering for doing this. You are the senior Digital Content Manager over at Energy Savings Trust.
Hi, Mike. Thanks for having me. And it’s Energy Saving. Not Energy Savings.
Ouch. If this was a quiz, I would just lose one point, right? Oh, no. Thank you so much for taking for taking the time. Okay – so I’d like to just start off, just how did you end up at Energy Saving Trust?
How did I end up here? Well, I joined Energy Saving Trust almost two years ago now and I worked at Which? prior to that in a content creation role. Energy Saving Trust were looking to basically revitalize their marketing department. So they took on a lot of new people including myself and another couple of people to form a content function which they hadn’t had previously. Because as we all know, content is extremely important. And that’s basically how I ended up here.
Okay, and Which? also has a similar purpose – isn’t it in a similar vertical of impartial advice for consumers?
Yeah, absolutely. Which? is all about the consumer and empowering consumers to take on organizations when perhaps they aren’t behaving quite as they should be. Energy Saving Trust speaks to consumers to businesses and also we deal with governments. And our mission is all around reducing the demand for energy and saving carbon emissions. So it’s about saving the planet basically. Always good stuff!
Never a bad thing. No, that’s that’s really good. So with with your new role (and it’s a blatant plug, but Which! is also a user of Riddle.com), but what was the marketing objective you were turning to Riddle to solve?
Well, obviously, because I came from Which? and they use Riddle as well.
I knew about Riddle as a means creating really great interactive content. And what I found when I started Energy Saving Trust, it’s an ongoing process.
But a lot of their web content in particular was very static and there was a real lack of interactivity. As you know, we all like to be involved in content when we can be and it makes it more interesting. If you can click on something, you make choices, and it’s just more engaging. So it for me, particularly, it was all about creating engaging content to interest people in the underlying message of what we’re trying to communicate.
And so in quizzes, there are general two use cases. There’s the engagement piece, which you just spoke to. There’s also that data capture piece where you have the option to add a lead generation form, collect emails, things like that. Are you using quizzes purely for engagement, or are you also kind of looking to grow your marketing list that way?
At the moment, we’re purely using them for engagement. It’s really all about taking the message that we’re trying to get across and just presenting it in a different way to reach more people. In the future, we’ve got different parts to our marketing team. And I think that we’re looking to do some more data capture and grow our contact lists, but really, primarily for now, it’s all about engagement.
Okay, and especially with the cause of obviously saving the planet by reducing energy. Can you share some examples of quizzes that have worked really well?
I’m not sure if there’s any metrics you can share, but do you have a good example of a quiz that really resonated with your audience?
Well, you know what? I think all of the quizzes we’ve put together, actually, we found that worked really well to explain some quite complex concepts. Because when you actually think of a quiz, you get a lot of people think of something really simple just like a sort of one word, or no, sorry, a one line question and like one word answer.
But we’ve used it in a rather different way. One of the first ones we did was actually about bees. And there are some in our office building in London, there are bee hives on the roof.
And so this was the vague connection that we were able to use to have this quiz about bees.
But actually what we did was find out quite a lot of information about bees and how they’re connected to sustainability. And because quizzes are so adaptable, we were able to have a straightforward question which some people can answer. Then beyond that, we can give quite a lot of information, which you can choose to read (or not) so it’s just a different mechanism of presenting that.
We’ve taken some quite serious issues about climate change and seeing what people do know about climate change. So you can actually use it to address some of the myths around climate change and present those in a quiz format, and then actually put some data and further reading or links underneath as well.
Perfect. Actually one moment – I’m going to tell my neighbor to stop drilling.
Okay. Apologies for the break. In this pandemic situation, we have lots of people working at home. My next door neighbor is doing some lovely work on his house – but was starting to drill. And I knew our sound editors were going to go crazy.
Back to the topic – so one of the misconceptions, and you spoke to that, is that quizzes are light and fluffy? And no, they’re just educational tools. I like how you’re using them as a simple gateway. But then, “oh, if you’re interested, here’s a lot more information”, lead sources, all that other stuff.
Yeah, I mean, we can do fluffy too.
But there is the option of having a rather deeper engagement than perhaps you would imagine from a quiz. I mean, we also find like the list function is really good for this as well. And we’ve used lists in a few different ways, because we have lots of programs that we deliver on behalf of like the devolved national governments.
We can present examples of where the funding has gone like “10 great examples of projects that have been funded by “The Green Economy Fund”, for example, the format is there for you, you’ve got the overall picture of the project and a little bit of a blurb about it. Again, it’s just a more engaging way for people to view that content.
So I think we probably have done a couple of “What kind of energy saver?” kind of quizzes. Many people took the quizzes in a more traditional way, but you can really use them for just getting across quite complex and detailed messages – because it provides you with a way of breaking those down and engaging people with them at the same time.
Absolutely. Yet, especially on a smartphone.
You know, I write all of our blogs for our site and everything else. And I’m very aware that a normal-sized paragraph on a desktop will seem like a whole page of text on a smartphone.
So you have to write that differently. Being able to encapsulate in a listicle format, the 10 reasons or 10 ways to save things. It’s just a much more bite-sized format. Mobile-friendly.
It’s a discipline, isn’t it? To compress the information into a short accessible format, and actually making it into a listicle or quiz? It gives you a structure to say that.
Actually, that leads nicely to the next question since you’ve been using quizzes for marketing for a while now. What are maybe two or three bits of advice you would give to someone new to quiz marketing in general?
Well, the first thing would be as with any piece of content, really think about what is it that you’re trying to say. What is the underlying message that you want to get across?
Obviously that would lead you on to ‘What’s the best mechanism to do it?’ Is it a list? A quiz? Is it a poll? And I find that I use a lot of images. So think about what images do you want to use. I tend to in terms of the actual putting it together, get them all in one place before you start, because otherwise you can spend ages looking for them.
And lastlyl – don’t make your quiz too long. Even if the subject is complex, just pick a little bit to focuse on, you know, and keep it as simple as possible.
No, absolutely, that last one is by far the most important advice we give to everybody. You know, there’s a number of quiz makers on the market and most of them are very easy to use. So people get excited and think “Oh yeah, I’m gonna make a 30 question quiz!”
We call it the “Three minute rule”. Generally three minutes is kind of the sweet spot – after which you see people start to lose attention because they might be in line at the supermarket or waiting for a bus or whatever.
Life is busy – we don’t have time for 15 minute quizzes.
Yes. Although to be fair, if you are listening to this podcast and you are in more of an analytical role for more serious or involved experiences, it’s a different matter. Maybe talking about “Are you depressed?”. People who choose to take that type of serious test are totally different and they will give you that time. But for the casual browsers like you’re speaking of, yes, definitely go short and sweet.
Yes – some of the messages that we are wanting to deliver are around things that empower people to take action.
So if you give people too many actions, it’s just confusing. You need to just pick one. So if it’s about switching your light bulbs to LED, that the action you want people to take at the end of the quiz. Don’t also say well, “also think about doing draught proofing your windows. And your doors as well.” It diminishes what you’re actually trying to say.
Okay, so super targeted, super focused and short content. Yes, perfect. No, that’s awesome. You’re preaching to the choir. And that is exactly the advice we give.
We’re going to wrap this up just because like our quizzes, we like to keep these podcast episodes nice and short.
Now for something totally unrelated to quiz marketing.
But we’re in a pandemic shut down right now, so what is your one favorite ice cream or something sweet – to get you through the lockdown?
Well, I’m really lucky. Actually, where I am based in London, there is a really great ice cream shop just up the road. It was shut for quite a long time. And I went past, maybe a week or so ago – and it was open again and I’m so happy.
They do fabulous ice cream and my favorite is mango and strawberry. On the first day that that opened, I think you know I was out on my daily walk – my permitted daily exercise – I happened to walk past this shop. And they’ve obviously changed it up – I used to be able to go in and sit down, and they now have a counter at the front. So I went and I got a strawberry and mango ice cream. And I walked down the road eating it and it tasted like freedom.
No, that is lovely. And it’s a lovely way to wrap this up. Hey, I’m going to look that place up when I’m next in London. It’s one of those little things that keep you going. Rebecca, thank you so much for participating and sharing your kind of insights into again, keeping quizzes short, sweet, and to the point.