May 20, 2022

Event Strategies

5 Ways To Use Engagement Marketing To Drive 8x More ROI Than Your Traditional Marketing Funnel

By:

Ernest Bogore

The traditional marketing funnel isn’t doing enough…funneling…anymore. Here are 5 ways you can drive more ROI with engagement marketing.

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The current marketing playbook is outdated.

For a long time, marketing focused on analyzing consumer demographics, firmographics, and any other "graphics" to then target buyers with messages.

The problem? This strategy is one-way and heavily focused on the marketer. 

The result? Day after day, customers feel disengaged and disconnected from brands.

The solution? Marketers need a way to bring consumers back into the equation because good marketing should serve the customer. That's where engagement marketing comes in.

In this article, we'll talk about how to leverage engagement marketing, what tools to use, and how to measure its effectiveness.

Note: Have you been experimenting with engagement marketing but want to revamp your strategy? Take our engagement marketing assessment to learn what you need to improve.

What Is Engagement Marketing?

The average internet user sees around 3,000 messages a day, of which they remember an average of only four. Another study found 60% of B2B customers are lost because of perceived indifference or apathy.

Now more than ever, marketers need to change how they communicate and engage with their prospects and customers. Thankfully, engagement marketing is here to help.

Engagement marketing, also known as relationship marketing, is a marketing model that focuses on building relationships through two-way communication channels. 

While the traditional method takes a funnel approach to customers, engagement marketing focuses solely on the emotional states that guide buyers toward their desired outcome. So, with engagement marketing, you create meaningful interactions with people rather than presenting them with funnel-driven ads and content. 

By using data based on who they are and their desired outcome, marketers can reach their target audience on a personal level. How does this approach produce success? Consider that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that provides a personalized experience.

Engagement marketers use two-way communication channels such as email, content, social media, and event marketing to provide a high degree of personalization. These channels offer the opportunity to interact with the customer and build an authentic relationship with them.  

However, don't confuse personalization with using custom variables like {First Name} or {Company Name} here and there. Nor is it about trying to solve problems you assume your audience has. 

Quite the opposite, personalization involves several factors that many marketers overlook. 

What Engagement Marketing Is Not

Engagement marketing is more than using two-way communication channels as part of your strategy. Here's what it's not:

Engagement marketing is not about fitting a prospect into a persona to sell to them. 

Nor is it about determining whether they're solution aware or problem aware. 

Instead, it's about building a deeper, more personalized relationship with them to understand their emotions and the drivers of their actions. Are they frustrated, confident, or optimistic about their current situation? How can you help them feel fulfilled and grateful?

emotional buyer's journey

Engagement marketing is not trying to solve your customers' pain points, but instead working towards addressing their desired outcome. 

Let's take Banzai, for example.

➡️ Our customers' pain point: They struggle to build marketing programs that engage their target audience. 

➡️ Our customers' desired outcome: They want to feel confident while doing their job, and their job is to build revenue-generating engagement marketing programs that move the needle.

Example of Demio's buyer's journey

If we approached them trying to solve their pain points, we would simply offer them a webinar tool, which they weren't looking for. But if we speak to their desired outcome, we build a deeper relationship with them and offer solutions that help them achieve that outcome.

"Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves." – Steve Jobs, Apple

The four tenets of engagement marketing

  1. Relationship-centered: Today's marketers have mastered one-way communication with their audience. Whether it's email, social media, blog posts, or website copy, they're pros at pushing their message out to their audience. But without the link of two-way communication channels, marketers today fail to connect, educate, and build authentic relationships with their audience.
  2. Full-funnel marketing: Your audience's buyer's journey is neither linear nor a funnel. It's a complex maze of brand impressions, and marketers need to take ownership of fostering impactful relationships at every point. The first step in driving impact? Begin measuring marketing-sourced pipelines instead of lead numbers.
  3. Audience-obsessed: Stop focusing on "pain points" and start identifying your audience’s desired outcome. Doing so will automatically shift your attention to helping them reach their ultimate goal by pinpointing the internal drivers that motivate them.
  4. Community: Engagement marketers need to learn how to empathize, listen, take risks, and encourage bravery in their audience. 

As you experiment and implement your relationship marketing initiatives, you must ensure that your strategy reflects these tenets. 

And if you still don't have a clear idea of how to implement engagement marketing, here are five ways to nail it.  

5 Ways To Use Engagement Marketing

Here are five ways to make the most of engagement marketing.

1. Use interactive webinars

The most important part of a webinar is its engaging and interactive nature — that's why it's a more effective engagement tactic than watching a one-hour video on YouTube.

Take advantage of this edge to meet your audience, survey them, and share materials. Through these two-way interactions, you’ll be able to connect with your audience and match your event to the stage of the emotional journey they’re at. This way, you can better engage them and have them take your desired action.

Here are some ways to make your webinars interactive:

➡️ Polls

Polls engage your audience en masse and give you beneficial insights you can use both during and after the event.

For example, you can run a poll to determine the most relevant area to focus on within the topic you're about to present, or to gauge their preexisting knowledge levels.

➡️ Chat

Mastering the chat is essential to keeping your webinar interactive. It allows your audience to ask you questions or give feedback. It's also a place where your audience can interact with each other and feed off everyone's energy.

Depending on the platform, you could bring on moderators (a dedicated team) to help answer questions or respond to feedback in the chat.

➡️ Exercises

Get your audience's gears turning by posting short quizzes or having them write down thoughts related to your presentation, like goals or ideas (sharing dedicated worksheets as handouts is a great idea for this).

This engages your audience and encourages them to take immediate actions on your material, which earns buy-in from the get-go.

➡️ Q&As

Live Q&As reveal your audience's desired outcomes while giving you a platform to help them achieve these. 

Case in point: a study found 78% of marketing webinars and 82% of training webinars implement Q&A because 92% of webinar attendees say they prefer webinars that are Q&A style..

Most webinar tools don’t support all the above features, but Demio isn’t your average webinar tool. With Demio, you can engage your prospects, launch polls, gather feedback, answer questions, and build relationships to turn more leads into customers. 

Want to make your webinars less boring and more interactive? Try Demio for free today.

2. Encourage marketers to call prospects 

"Whoever gets closer to the customer wins." ~ Bernadette Jiwa, best-selling author, brilliant marketer, and all-around smart cookie.

A study revealed marketers who regularly conduct audience research achieve 466% better results than those who "rarely" do so.

Getting on the phone with prospects is usually seen as a Sales Development Representative's (SDR) job, but this tactic can benefit marketers as well. Marketers have to construct strategies and content around customer emotions and their desired outcome, and to do that, they need to talk to customers and be empathetic. 

There's a reason marketers like Gary Vee are always talking about empathy:

"It's one of the most important things I attribute my success to…. [I]f you can understand what the other person is thinking and what their goals are, you can reverse engineer those goals and match them to your own. That knowledge puts you in a position to win. You will both win." 

Empathy gives you the ability to connect with your audience in a way that data can't. For example, while generic market research statistics provide insight into who (i.e., the type of people who make up your market) and what (i.e., the product or service they buy), it misses the most crucial element — the WHY.

➡️ Why did they start looking for a solution like yours? Were they frustrated? Were they worried? This gives you more details into what emotions drive their actions. 

➡️ Why did they need a better solution in the first place? What's their desired outcome? Do they want to do their job efficiently? Do they want to spend more time handling complex stuff? This gives you insight into how you can help them achieve their desired outcome.

➡️ Why did they choose your product over your competitors? Maybe your competitors are doing something wrong, or your brand makes them feel more valued and respected. This is instrumental in updating and improving your current engagement strategy

Conducting one-on-one interviews allows you to pull out their why's and develop empathy for each customer and the audience they represent.

Link to Banzai's engagement marketing assestment.

3. Build community

Creating a community is a sure way to establish a deeper connection with your audience. Several studies have proven this, with key statistics stating:

  • 86% of Fortune 500 companies say communities help them better understand customer needs.
  • 64% of companies say the brand community has improved their decision-making.

A community tells you what your customers want and why. 

What your customers want

Lego is an excellent example of a company that uses community marketing to determine what product its customers would like them to build and if they really want it. 

The company manages a community called Lego Ideas, where fans and community members can share visual ideas of a game they would like the company to build. 

Members can then vote and comment on specific ideas, and when a game earns 10,000 positive votes from other customers, Lego builds it.

The company’s strategy works because of two elements:

➡️ Customers can express the outcome they want: Anyone can come up with an idea and share it with other community members, knowing Lego is watching. This makes customers feel valued and heard.

➡️ Lego brings this desired outcome to users: By setting a minimum number of upvotes at 10,000 before a product is built, Lego ensures they produce something their audience wants. 

Why do they want it?

Glossier is another company that uses communities to engage its audience. 

The company launched a community around the Gloss beauty blog for crowd-sourcing and co-creating products. A typical product research article receives over 300 detailed comments. Feedback from the comments section then informs product, packaging, copy, and advertising campaign decisions.

When sourcing its best-selling moisturizer in 2016, Glossier wanted to use jars for the packaging. 

Customer feedback suggested jars were considered less hygienic, and the brand opted for a pump instead. They incorporated other feedback related to preferred products, textures, and ingredients as well.

So thanks to the community, customers can tell you why they want what they want: 

  • They want it because they can choose the product's shape and the ingredients. 
  • They want it because they can justify their choice and explain why they don't like the company's first proposal.

As a result, the company engages its audience by allowing audiences to dictate the form and composition of the products they create. This will also have an impact on their revenues. In fact, 94% of marketers believe that listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line.

Now that you know the community's role in relationship marketing, here are a few tips to create one:

➡️ Start with your current users. When building a brand community, marketers tend to think they need to employ tactics that will attract as many community members as possible. 

Instead, start with the fans you have. Ask them something as simple as joining your community or newsletter and engage them. 

Here’s how we do it at Banzai.

example of Banzai newsletter sign ups.

Once you feel confident in your engagement marketing methods, you can start to bring in more members to the community.

➡️ Listen to your users. Remember, your goal is to speak to their desired outcome, so talk to customers to figure out what that is. While outcomes vary from customer to customer, you’ll notice certain patterns, and you should double down on those.

At Banzai, we do this through our Demio Product Board where we share some of the recent updates we've made and some of the things that are in the pipeline. It allows us to get feedback from our best customers, and at the same time, it enables them to feel heard.

demio roadmap and feature request

➡️ Create interactive content. The purpose of building a community is to build deep relationships with your users, and for that to happen, communication must go both ways. Don't create and throw content at them; craft content that elicits interaction (for example, blog posts with open-ended questions at the end, interactive webinars, social media posts, etc.).

➡️ Set rules and boundaries so activities in the community run smoothly. This ensures each member is in a safe zone. However, your rules shouldn’t hinder member creativity and client engagement. 

4. Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales 

In most companies, marketing and sales teams work separately. Marketers often know too little about customers and their relationships with the sales team. 

SDRs and marketers usually run separate campaigns and work on different acquisition funnels. As a result, each department builds an acquisition funnel based on different personas they’ve identified as their ideal customer profile (ICP). And failure to align marketing and sales makes it even harder to find consensus on who the actual ICP should be.

The other problem with this approach is that it assumes your audience's buyer's journey is linear and is a funnel. As we stated, that’s not the case. 

Studies found that B2B companies' inability to align marketing and sales teams with the proper workflows and technologies costs them about 10% or more of their revenue per year.

When your sales and marketing departments operate independently of each other, they exert effort on unproductive tasks. For example, a study by Sales Insights Lab reported 50% of sales time is wasted— either pursuing unqualified leads or trying to convert ones that aren't ready to commit.

Another consequence of sales and marketing teams working with different digital marketing funnels is a lack of consensus on the ideal customer profile to target. For example, a prospect who the marketing team deems qualified may be considered unqualified by the sales team’s standards. 

Another study showed salespeople ignore 50% of marketing leads because they’re unqualified.

When marketing and sales teams work together, it’s easier to determine what content the marketing team should produce for lead nurturing and how to use it to warm up leads. 

By aligning marketing and sales, your prospects receive a single branded customer experience instead of separate, siloed ones. As a result, everything — from the frustration stage at the start of the customer journey to the gratitude stage — is linked.

Here's how you can align your sales and marketing team:

➡️ Adopt a full-funnel approach. Marketers are not top-of-funnel content creation machines. So take part in every step of the funnel, not just the first. Also, start measuring marketing-sourced pipelines rather than lead numbers.

The benefit of engagement marketing is it makes you realize that the customer journey is a complex maze of brand impressions, and leads you to build impactful relationships at every point. This translates into more marketing-owned pipelines. 

➡️ Create a single customer journey and agree on a customer persona. The marketing and sales teams should have the same funnel. This allows them to work together to offer a cohesive experience to prospects. Use customer feedback and keep marketing messages consistent. 

Talk to your customers, learn about their desired outcome, and be empathetic. This prevents you from creating random content while the SDRs annoy cold leads. If your messaging is consistent, the prospect will be more engaged.

5. Meet your prospects where they are 

Engagement marketing is all about company-customer interaction. To generate that interaction, share your content where your customers will see it.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Who are my customers?
  2. How old are they? Are they Gen Z or Millennials?
  3. Where do they go to find expert insights to solve their problem? To the library or on Google? On LinkedIn or TikTok?
  4. Where do my competitors achieve the most engagement? 

The answer to these questions will give you a better idea of where your customers are. For example, Millennials tend to use Facebook while Gen Zers are on TikTok and Snapchat. 

Even though most of today's consumers are online, social media isn't the only place to meet them, so consider incorporating other channels. And this applies whether you’re a B2B or B2C company.

Explore options like:

  • Murals in places with lots of foot traffic
  • QR codes in and on modes of public transportation
  • Holiday cards sent the old-fashioned way — through the mail
  • Sponsorships on niche YouTube channels

Here's how Amazon does it:

Amazon Prime truck

Here’s another example from Lipton. The company created a shopping cart that tracks customers' steps, calories burned, and time spent moving at the grocery store. So, rather than running a Super Bowl commercial, they chose to meet their customers where they are: in grocery stores. 

Tools and Platforms That Drive Engagement Marketing

Now that you know how to make engagement marketing work, here are tools you can use to leverage it.

Social media 

Social media allows you to communicate with your customers wherever they are, listen to their opinions on the topics that matter to them, and respond.

Let's take LinkedIn as an example. The platform has features like polls, video sharing, comments, DMs, InMail, and Sales Navigator that let you reach out to your prospects, share content they can engage with, and start conversations with them. 

Here’s an example of how HubSpot uses LinkedIn Polls to collect feedback from their audience on their product (the CRM). Notice how each poll option focuses on an outcome instead of the problem. 

Hubspot LinkedIn poll

Here is another example where they use video to showcase the outcome their product helps users achieve.

Hubspot grow better gif

Another example is when LinkedIn itself sources user-generated content to make LinkedIn News. This prompts the platform's users to engage with each other, start meaningful conversations, and amplify their voices. 

example of LinkedIn engagement

Another advantage of social media in your quest to increase user engagement is that you can offer unparalleled support with it.

Here's how PayPal uses Twitter to listen to its users and offer them fast and uncomplicated support.

Example of Paypal Twitter interaction with a customer

Interactive webinar platforms

Eighty-one percent of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective at holding attention than static content.

Interactive webinars are a two-way experience that allows brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level. According to a University of Michigan study, video conferencing is almost as effective as face-to-face for building trust.

Here's how to incorporate interactive live marketing into your engagement marketing efforts:

➡️ Use interactive elements. 

Using polls, CTAs, live chats, and other interactive tools during your webinar makes attendees feel like active participants. 

➡️ Engage with participants.

Invite attendees to join you in the discussion instead of lecturing them with boring presentations. Or, add them as co-presenters. The point is to make them feel valued and heard.

➡️ Ask your audience to submit their questions a few days before the webinar.

This creates a sense of engagement for your attendees while giving you a first-hand look at what they want to know more about.

➡️ Reward attendees.

This is an easy way to produce an enjoyable, all-encompassing experience for your audience that’ll entice them to come back for future webinars. Giveaways can include certificates of completion, coupons, hands-on content, or other resources.

Our interactive webinar tool, Demio, lets you:

  • Ask your audience a question at any time with Polls
  • Use Featured Actions to link your audience to an offer, sign-up page, or any URL during the event
  • Share handouts, gifts, and bonuses for your audience to download
  • Easily manage Q&A with dedicated features for organization and answering questions live
  • Give your audience more ways to interact through emoji gestures, as well as the ability to mention other participants
  • Bring attendees to the stage

Using these features, Nutshell managed to boost their conversion rate five times, from 12% to 60%, via their weekly lunch-and-learns and improved customer engagement. 

Email

Emails are a great engagement marketing tool because they’re sent directly to your audience's inbox.

They can gather information about your customers and entice the recipient to perform a certain action (e.g., purchase a product, register for a webinar). 

Here are some tips to make your emails more interactive:

➡️ Use a subject line that elicits clicks. This is important because recipients will only open your email if you clearly tell them what the call to action is. Or at least, what’s in it for them.

Here are two great examples from Write Together and Chris Von Wilpert.

Example email subject line that says "Let's Get Acquainted".

How to make your subject lines enticing? 

➡️ Keep it short. Most people view their emails on mobile, so keep the subject between four and six words. 

Example: “Engagement marketing myths debunked”

➡️ Leverage curiosity. Pique the readers' curiosity so they’ll want to know more about the email’s content. 

Example: “What Musk teaches us about marketing”

➡️ Ask a question. This is the best way to make them feel like you're interacting with them. 

Example: “{first name}, have you hit your Q3 quota yet?”

➡️ Include polls. Interactive elements such as surveys allow you to gather insights from your audience quickly. Most importantly, they allow attendees to feel their voice counts and is valued.

Here's how Morning Brew does it. 

Example of Morning Brew's interactive polls.

➡️ Ask for customer feedback. Soliciting consumer opinions gives them a chance to say what they think of your brand and how you can serve them better. 

Here's how Product Hunt does it.

Example of how Product Hunt asks for customer feedback.

Conversational marketing

Today's customers have high demands. They expect to be able to interact with brands and companies when and where it’s convenient for them. Likewise, they no longer relate to the “9-5” store concept.  

If a customer buys an item online and a problem arises during the process, they expect it to be handled as quickly as possible, whether it's 2 am or 10 pm.

Engagement marketing tools like chatbots help companies provide that level of customer service and interaction at every moment of the day — whoever they are and whatever the time.

Here's how Lyft employs chatbots to make ordering easier.​​

Example of Lyft chatbot.

Chatbots are based on artificial intelligence technology that can impersonate human conversation patterns and trigger realistic engagement experiences. Even if the customer knows they’re chatting with a bot, if the communication is effective and solves their problem, they won't mind. 

Here are some tips for improving customer engagement with conversational marketing:

➡️ Define the chatbot's purpose. What is the bot for? To welcome visitors to the website, or help them schedule an appointment with a staff member? The bot's goal will determine what conversational flow you should use.

Example of Banzai chat bot.

➡️ Craft a persona. Defining a persona gives your chatbot tone, personality, and style. 

For instance, the chatbot could behave professionally, or the language it uses can be casual, featuring slang or tons of emojis.

Pro tip: Be human in how you interact with your audience. Too much seriousness will only emphasize that you don't care about them and that it's a robot that is conversing with them. Instead, compliment them and be witty, just as if you were face to face. 

➡️ Create a conversational diagram. This breaks down the conversation into small pieces that give structure and precision to your chatbot's messages, so users obtain the answers they desire.

A conversational diagram has five elements:

  1. Greeting. This is the beginning of the conversation. The formality of the greeting depends on the bot's target audience and the persona. For example, a DTC brand’s bot would be more casual than a B2B company’s bot.
  2. Asking. This establishes the basis of the conversation. It enables the chatbot to keep the discussion going.
  3. Informing. This element allows your chatbot to provide the requested information to the user.
  4. Error. This is where you define the chatbot's answers when it doesn't understand or fails to fulfill a request.
  5. Conclusion. This marks the end of the conversation.

Here's an example of a conversational diagram.

Example of a conversational diagram

How To Measure Engagement Marketing

Although marketing engagement is linked to emotions and is less linear and straightforward than other marketing activities, you can measure it — and reap a high ROI from it.

According to one study, 74% of customers are more likely to buy a product promoted through brand engagement marketing than through other types of marketing.

Another study found engagement marketing accounted for 50%–80% of all word-of-mouth activity, which makes sense because if your customer is emotionally connected to your brand, they become an advocate. That has a significant impact on your customer's lifetime value.

So, how do you measure the ROI of engagement marketing? 

While there are several approaches, the method will differ depending on the channel.

Prioritize engagement scoring over lead scoring 

Marketers have long measured the effectiveness of their campaigns using lead scoring. 

Lead scoring consists of evaluating your prospects according to whether or not they fit your target audience persona and where they are in your sales cycle.

However, this method is based on assumptions and doesn't tell you how deeply connected the lead feels to your brand. It also neglects their current emotional state to know if the lead is ready to convert.  

With lead scoring, it’s difficult to differentiate between two leads with the same score, even if they have differing levels of engagement. Similarly, a lead with a low lead score might be more engaged than one with a high score.

Marketers need to adopt new ways of scoring that allow them to compare leads according to their engagement score. That's where engagement scoring comes in.

Engagement scoring takes into account the recency of your leads' engagement activities in addition to their lead score. 

To measure the engagement score, first make a list of the engagement activities you leverage to qualify prospects and set the weight of each event you’ll track. The higher the benefit, the higher the weight. You can use a range of 1 to 100.

Then, track the number of times prospects perform these activities to obtain a final score. For example, if you decide to measure likes and comments, you would track the number of times your prospects have performed these activities and then multiply it by the weight you assigned to each task.

As another example, if we want to give our leads an engagement score based on whether they commented on our LinkedIn post, here's what it'd look like.

engagement marketing score tracker

Combine this score with each prospect’s lead score to qualify them more easily. 

So, if all three leads had a lead score of 15 for instance, here’s how the above engagement score differentiates them. 

engagement marketing scoring

Measuring engagement marketing ROI on different platforms

➡️ Event Marketing

Demio Event ROI allows you to track registrations, pinpoint where your registrants are coming from, and understand how they viewed your event. For example, you can see how engaged they were during the webinar and when you lost their attention. Plus, you can export that data and analyze it to view each attendee’s engagement score

➡️ Social Media

Engagement actions on social media include clicks on your website link, comments on your post, brand mentions, or sending a DM. You can then score each of these actions and evaluate your prospects' engagement based on the number of times they interacted with your brand. 

Note that this doesn't apply to social media alone; you can use it with other two-way communication channels as well.

Build Lasting Relationships, Be a Better Marketer

Marketing doesn't stop at acquisition. You have to cultivate a successful relationship with every milestone you share with your customers. This helps you know how to better serve your audience and generate more ROI.

Work with Banzai to create quality experiences that make it easy to engage your customers, help them grow, and earn their loyalty. Take our engagement marketing assessment to learn what steps you need to take to successfully execute your engagement marketing strategy.

Link to Banzai's engagement marketing assestment.
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