With the myriad of available B2B marketing engagement opportunities, which strategies should marketers use, and at what point in the buying journey? At which of the marketing funnel stages are prospects prepared for various types of outreach?
Here are 25 different engagement tactics, organized by funnel stage, and designated by category -- content, social, paid media, direct mail, and events. If you’re looking to bolster your marketing strategy across the board (or just at one specific funnel stage), these tactics can help boost prospect, lead, and/or opportunity engagement.
Also note -- most, if not all, of these engagement strategies cross-apply between demand generation and account-based marketing. If you’re doing ABM, tailor these tactics with additional personalization and targeting to your specific list of accounts, and you’re golden.
TOP -- Marketing Funnel Stage Engagement Tactics
1. Publish cleverly-titled, vision-based articles
Attracting prospects who have never heard of your brand before requires higher-level information and crafty titles for your content. Publish these types of pieces on your blog and share them out. Content syndication sites (like business2community) might also scoop up and your articles, giving your content campaign an even wider reach.
2. Create high-level, educational downloadable ebooks
Introductory-style ebooks are meant to grab viewers, much like the articles in #1. These are your “Top 25 Tips” or “10 Reasons Why” ebooks that bring in potentially interested parties who know little to nothing about your product/service offering.
3. Create an online sweepstakes contest
Everyone likes free things. Offer a $100 gift card, a free flight and hotel stay, the newest iPhone, or another attractive prize to motivate users to visit your site and hand over their email address. Use this as a tool to ask for as much relevant persona information as possible.
4. Host a webinar, partner with a thought-leader or brand-advocate in your space
For companies trying to expand the top of their funnel, having your brand associated with an already well known name in your space can be helpful. Host a webinar and invite a thought-leader to join you.
5. Run “educational” persona-based ad campaigns
Paid media platforms these days allow you to serve up media ads to a specific audience. Hone in on your personas, and use ads to promote your gated ebook offers, sweepstakes contest, and/or webinars.
6. Configure a string of automated social posts after articles published
Content is only good for the eyes that read it. Expand your content’s reach by publishing a set of different automated social posts to intermittently publish within 2-3 weeks of the date of the article.
7. Informational/introductory mailer package
Even though a large portion of our marketing engagement occurs online, there’s still something to be said for receiving snail mail. It grabs prospects' attention in a different way. As long as you’re able to target your personas, a TOFU mailer campaign can go a long way to engaging prospects -- even if it’s just a postcard.
Keep in mind that you always want to call your recipient to some form of action -- tell them to visit your website, dial a phone number, or email a representative. But, they’ll likely only take the action if they’re motivated to do so -- which usually requires a prize. For instance, “Receive a $10 gift card via email after you [take some action]!”
8. Run an activity or attraction at your booth
If you’re using an industry event to increase your brand awareness, make sure you have some sort of attraction or activity to garner as much attention as possible. A series of short contests, an ongoing activity, or some sort of spectacle can create a buzz and bring a roomful of people to you.
It’s also important to know how to measure the effectiveness of your B2B marketing events, so consider investing in martech solutions that will allow you to do so.
MIDDLE -- Marketing Funnel Stage Engagement Tactics
9. Publish educational, strategy-focused articles
Instead of the high-level, vision-based articles that target the top of the funnel, these articles are more focused on practitioners who care about strategy. Write articles that describe “how-to” topics that are closer to the use-case of your product or service offering.
10. Host a webinar, discuss new/improved strategies related to your service offering
Similar to #9 above, host a webinar where a mid-level or higher-up at your company covers solutions, strategies, and/or industry trends. Use this as a casual opportunity to explain the associated value of your offering, without being too salesy.
11. Create deep-dive downloadable ebooks
Individuals in the middle of your funnel are looking for more information, so the best thing you can do is give it to them. These are your “Definitive Guide To” and “10 Steps to Implementing” ebooks that will give your leads the contextual information they need to move them toward a purchase decision.
12. Monitor social media channels, engage personas sharing like-minded content
Set up social media monitoring streams in whichever tool you’d prefer. (Marketing automation can usually do this, or your can use the built-in features of the social media networks themselves.) Monitor users who are using hashtags, mentions, or keywords that indicate like-mindedness. Engage with those users who already show interest in a topic related to your business by offering additional articles or ebooks on topics that might interest them.
13. Run “strategy/execution” persona-based ad campaigns
Use the content created in #11 that provides extensive information. Use persona targeting through paid media platforms to serve ads to only relevant viewers. Make sure your ads are creatively designed and modernly appealing to maximize your CTR.
14. Run retargeting ad campaigns with deeper-funnel content
Retarget viewers who have already had an experience with your brand using retargeting paid media campaigns. Use deeper-funnel content and other offers to keep them moving and prompt return website visits.
15. Partner with like-minded companies to arrange field marketing events
Mid-funnel leads have already submitted a form, giving you an email address. Invite these engaged leads (within a close geographic range) to a co-sponsored field marketing event. Host a class or interview an esteemed industry thought-leader or company executive. Make sure to provide good food and drinks.
16. Send gift packages to MQLs or target accounts
Once you have a more specific list of interested leads or key players at your target accounts, send them a gift box. This could be printed versions of ebooks, infographic, or other designed materials. Or, you can send company swag, sweet treats, or gift cards. Brand it nicely, so they know it’s from you -- and ask them to take a specific action (email, phone call, demo, etc.) Then, send them some follow-up emails and ask again.
Again, measuring your direct mail campaign is almost as important as launching it. Make sure you’ve set up proper tracking measures to gauge your mailer’s effectiveness, so you know how to optimize for the next time.
BOTTOM -- Marketing Funnel Stage Engagement Tactics
17. Publish detailed, how-it-works, showcase articles
These are articles targeted toward individuals who are in the intense stages of consideration, looking toward a purchase decision. Showcase your product/service, highlight case studies and reviews, and show (in detail) the effectiveness of your solution to your persona’s problems.
18. Create persona-based sales enablement content for email outreach
When prospects are deeper in the funnel, they’re most likely conferring with a sales representative. At that point, they’re likely to consume content that is sent directly to them, which is where deep-dive sales enablement content can be uniquely helpful. The content should be specific to personas’ interests and provide information that can address any unanswered questions.
19. Maintain an updated set of benefit-focused customer case studies
Case studies are gold, especially when they highlight the unique benefits of your product or service. Ask customers for case studies, and be sure to keep them updated. Display them prominently on your website, and use them as powerful social proof to boost confidence.
20. Opportunity-stage, pre-demo email workflows
Post-opportunity marketing outreach can be a powerful tool to keep leads and accounts engaged through the demo process. Use content from #’s 17, 18, and 19 and create a pre-demo email workflow that keeps your company top-of-mind in the interim. Be sure to communicate with your sales account executives who own the opportunity, as they typically like to drive the relationship at this point in the funnel.
21. Host a webinar, discuss the benefits of your offering or category
In order to make this seem less like a demo, invite a current customer or an industry leader to be a guest, and let them endorse your product/service category, showing how they’ve personally benefited (or seen others benefit) from the solution you offer.
22. Run ad campaigns to opportunities using lower-funnel content and case studies
Pay attention to your opportunities, and keep them in your paid media campaigns. Show them case studies, lower-funnel ebooks, and other relevant content while they’re contemplating (or waiting for) a demo or trial.
23. Run post-demo ad campaigns, emphasis on product/service benefits
Opportunities often drop off the radar after they’ve had a demo, but running ads to these down-funnel opps could help a deal move along. Offer decision-stage content in the form of display ads to keep your brand and benefits in front of your prospects, even after a demo.
24. Executive-to-executive mailer campaign
It’s usually later in the purchase process that higher-ups are consulted for their buy-in on a purchase decision, especially in the B2B world. Use this opportunity to send them a mailer from one executive to another. Make it personal, and make it count. It might mean the difference between closed-lost and closed-won.
25. Provide on-demand demos by booth staff at conferences/trade shows
At events, always have booth staff on-hand to give a demo to a prospect who might have moved exceptionally fast through the funnel. Events are excellent chances to engage prospects because you have their one-on-one attention in person. If they’re interested in seeing your product/service offering in action, be ready and waiting.
Each one of these engagement strategies should be accurately measured to gauge its performance. As soon as you know which engagement strategies work well, you can optimize your time and your marketing budget accordingly. An advanced, B2B marketing attribution solution can track, model, and measure your marketing campaigns at a touchpoint level.
To learn more about what this looks like, download our B2B Attribution 101 ebook and see how an attribution solution can help you optimize your team’s time and money.