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Published in Content Marketing category on (12/02/2016)

How to Boost Marketing Engagement During the Holidays with Targeted Outreach

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Are you looking to increase marketing engagement during the winter months? You’re not alone, the myth of the B2B marketing slump during the holidays is a strong misconception, when in reality, successful B2B companies often experience a holiday spike in sales if they plan properly. So how can you leverage targeted outreach, events, and marketing strategies to rake in sales before the end of your quarter?

According to Influence & Co, “Developing content around annual and seasonal events can increase traffic, shares, and awareness for your brand and the content you create. The key to success is managing your time efficiently. If you publish content too far in advance or too long after an event passes, it may defeat the purpose of your efforts.” For example, if you create a winter wonderland infographic, timing is everything. You want to give your holiday content enough time to “be discovered,” while at the same time, you want to release your content as close to the holiday as possible to boost your chance of appearing in search results. Meanwhile, it’s important to keep considerations in mind, like when offices are closed and when customers and prospects are often on vacation.

To increase customer or buyer engagement, Marketing Profs recommends thinking about your target buying personas and customers differently. For instance, just because a customer has made a purchase does not mean that they are at the end of the buyer’s journey, and reaching out to them with personalized content re-engages the customer and offers your company cross-sell and upsell opportunities. But, the way in which you reach out to your customers is also important. According to Marketing Profs, “The brand no longer controls when and how consumer engagement occurs. Today, customers and other actors are just as likely as marketers are to initiate brand-related communication. Brands are moving from being broadcasters to being listener-responders.”  

What does this look like in practice? Listen to your customers and gather feedback whenever possible. An example being, at the end of the year, you can send out a survey to see what knowledge or information gaps your customers have about your product. Based on your survey results, this can help inform your content strategy so that you can release fully-integrated campaigns on all of your marketing channels that speak to your buyer. So, if you find out that your customer is looking for ways to leverage your product’s reporting functionality, you can create a blog post, data sheet, and webinar about this topic, and send your customer a targeted nurture campaign that is catered to their interests.

You also want to keep in mind that towards the end of the quarter, many businesses are looking for ways to spend their extra budget. In the article Why Q4 Is the Perfect Time to Sell to a Major Account, Entrepreneur magazine states, “B2B buyers are finalizing their budgets for the coming year, and many are looking to purchase new solutions before the holidays bring their inevitable slowdown.” This is an excellent time to release content or short guides that provide your buyer with information on new tools, complementary products, or services that they can take advantage of before they “lose” their marketing spend. So, the winter months provide a window of opportunity for your sales, demand gen, and content marketing teams to work together to perform customer outreach to make your end of quarter goals.

But not all customer outreach needs to have the goal of “converting customers.” It is important for your customer to know that you value their business. This means that marketers need to come up with thoughtful ways to express thanks to their customers. This can range from traditional forms of outreach like a handwritten note to congratulating your client or customer on social media for throwing an excellent event, reaching an important milestone, or launching a new product. These types of responses show that you care about your customers and that you are up-to-date on their activities.

At Certain, as a form of customer appreciation for Thanksgiving, we released a holiday infographic that was a modern day spin on thank-you notes. We had members of our customer success, support, implementation, product, and sales teams hand-write thank you notes to customers that provided them with insight and enabled them to do their job better. Then we compiled these notes into an infographic and had our customer success team reach out to customers that they were thankful for with our infographic. It was a great way for all of our teams to work together on a project and to show our customers we cared.

Sincere gestures of gratitude are appreciated by your customers. So when coming up with your own “thank you campaign,” invest time to personalize your messaging so that you can accurately reflect what makes each customer special to you and your company.

Another way to show gratitude to is to throw a customer appreciation party or event. And if you want your event to really stand out, you can extend this concept into an entire customer appreciation week. To increase registrations and get more customers to sign-up for your events, you can use contests or prizes to incentivize them to get involved, and you can send thoughtful gifts as part of an ABM campaign.

When planning your event, know your audience, make sure that your marketing and customer success teams work together for all outreach efforts, craft quality content, and pick a killer location to throw your party. Parties are great opportunities to connect with your customers face-to-face and learn more about their concerns, needs, and how you can partner more effectively with them in the future. By providing an excellent customer appreciation party, you deepen your relationship with your customers and increase their opinion of your product and offerings.

While you’re pulling out all the stops to increase engagement during the winter months— don’t forget to reach out to customers with sales, offers, and limited-time discounts. This can be an excellent re-engagement strategy or a way to get customers who may be on the fence about your company to renew their contract or look into your other product/service offerings.

All in all, there are many ways that you can boost engagement during the “slow season.” Whether it’s by reaching out to customers with personalized contents, sending thoughtful expressions of thanks, throwing a customer appreciation party, or offering discounts, you can leverage these quiet months to deliver your best marketing and close the quarter with a bang.   

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