Quizzes Are No Joke

Two Startup Opportunities to Succeed With Quizzes, the Overlooked Million Dollar Lead Generation Engine

Quiz Neon Sign

What’s Your Inner Aesthetic? Sorry, Millennials, But There's No Way You Will Be Able To Pass This Super-Easy Quiz. It's Time To Find Out Which "Schitt's Creek" Character You Are Most Like.

What do those link-bait titles have in common? If you thought BuzzFeed Quiz, you are right. They may sound silly, but each of them has been taken over a million times. How does that stack up against your latest marketing effort?

I have built quizzes as marketing lead generation tools for clients several times in my career, and here’s the thing, they work. People freaking love quizzes, and not just the ones that help you find your Spirit Animal.

I am using “Quiz” in this post to cover online surveys, assessments, tests, and calculators — anything where a user inputs information and receives a scored or calculated response.

Here are some examples of different quiz types:

  1. Knowledge Based: What do you know?

  2. Characteristics & Behaviors: What types of toenails do you have? Is your bedtime routine killing you?

  3. Assessment: Do you have enough saved for retirement? What is the best vehicle for your lifestyle needs?

  4. Survey: Will you be a happy retiree? How does your diet compare to an ancient Roman’s?

  5. Score Based: What’s your financial health score? Get your enterprise network security report card.

Successful quizzes can be simple. I built a quiz for an investment firm years ago that asked prospects ten questions about their lifestyle, behaviors, and savings. The firm had conducted a survey of 1,000+ retirees using the same question set plus an additional question, “How would you rate your level of happiness in retirement?”

There were no calculations in this quiz. The output was a basic on-screen readout with a canned response mapped to each answer. “You said you plan to take one vacation per year in retirement. The happiest retirees travel 3-4 times per year. Consider budgeting more for travel in your retirement plan.”

It took a couple of days to conduct the survey using a third party, and another couple of days to build the quiz. The user had to provide their email to start the quiz and was presented with a call-to-action at the end. This quiz has brought in millions of dollars of AUM for the firm.

When built well, lead generation quizzes collect user contact info, qualify leads (net worth, in-market, location, etc.), create a reason for a follow-up and start a long-term conversation between the user and the business.

So, where are the business opportunities?

I see two startup plays. One that addresses the shortcomings of the off-the-shelf tools and plugins available today, and another that solves for the much harder part of building a successful quiz — getting people to want to take it, and converting those that do.

Opportunity One: no-code Platform for Complex Quiz Building

There are dozens of quiz building tools that enable you to replicate the BuzzFeed experience or the retiree example. Most offer more advanced capabilities including calculations and scoring, but they tend to reach the limit of their capabilities with things like mortgage calculators, social security optimizers and budgeting.

What if…

  • You want to build something more complex with a methodology that cannot be reverse engineered?

  • You need the output of your quiz to be determined by an algorithm that performs conditional and weighted calculation?

  • Your calculations require inputs from multiple databases?

  • You would like to build intellectual property and create a moat for your business?

Then you would have to forgo off-the-shelf tools and hire a developer.

There is a need for a no-code quiz builder that includes/allows for:

  1. Complex calculations

  2. Database connections

  3. Drag and drop quiz builder

  4. Frontend designer

  5. Embed maker (iframe and web view)

  6. API integrations

  7. Third-party SaaS integrations

  8. Frontend A/B testing

  9. Scoring model versioning

  10. Publishing of API endpoints so that quizzes can be headless scoring models

I’ve seen start-ups spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and enterprises spend millions to develop and maintain complex quizzes, and they shouldn’t have to.

Opportunity Two: The Quiz Company

As awesome as the no-code Platform for Complex Quiz Building would be, it is worthless to a business if no one ever takes their quiz, or if the leads never convert to customers. This is where the Quiz Company brings value.

There are opportunities for businesses that specialize in the development of quizzes as marketing tools. The pitch:

The Quiz Company builds $100,000 quizzes that generate leads, convert prospects, grow audience, create higher average order value and increase share of wallet. Our quizzes spark interest, provide value and establish a lifetime conversation with customers.

So, how the hell can you charge $100k or more for a quiz? Well, you are not selling a simple marketing quiz, you are selling a lead generation engine.

The Quiz Company creates quizzes:

  1. That capture attention, address problems and provide valuable information to users

  2. With an identity: Retirement Readiness Report, Family Health Score, Home Improvement Valuation Index, Body Plan, Pet Mental Health Assessment

  3. With results that change—at least annually—based on the user’s information, external factors or preferably both. This creates longterm value for the lead and establishes the basis for ongoing engagement from the business: “Your score has changed. Click to review updates to your report.”

  4. That establish authority: “We compare your answers to those of 10,000 successful American dieters”, “Used by 90% of top financial advisors”

  5. That attract the target audience

  6. With clearly defined outcomes and success metrics

  7. That qualify leads and tailor post-quiz messaging based on an individual lead's results

  8. With the capabilities enabled by the no-code Platform for Complex Quiz Building

This is a B2B model with product results that are easily measured. Translation: the product performance is transparent, so don’t make it hard on yourself out of the gate.

Target businesses with high customer lifetime value (at least $500) who have established marketing channels, an existing audience, large lead databases or high web traffic. Examples are businesses in the financial, health and wellness, and professional services sectors. Public personalities and experts are also excellent clients for this service. They may not have a high customer LTV, but they have large audiences they can present the quiz regularly.

Now, someone, go build this.

How can I help? I have firsthand experience building and launching successful marketing lead generation quizzes. I would love to chat about your ideas.

Subscribe to Go Build This for more ideas, and follow me on Twitter @chadsexton.