6 B2B Marketing Campaign Ideas to Power the Middle of Your Funnel
May 7, 2018 | Robbie Richards
Ah, the often overlooked middle of the marketing funnel — even the most thoughtful marketers often fail to create dedicated content that speaks to the unique needs of buyers in this critical step between helping your audience realize they have a problem and that your company has the best solution.
In this second post in a three part series, we are diving into B2B marketing campaigns that will help you activate buyers already in your orbit and push them down to the bottom of your funnel and into the hands of your capable sales team.
First, let’s remember the job of middle of the funnel contnet in relation to other content and campaigns in your marketing mix:
Top, Middle, and Bottom of the funnel
- Top funnel: Light, widely-appealing, brand-building campaigns that appeal to an audience that has the potential to be interested in what you’re selling.
Miss the first piece in this series? Check out campaign types and examples to power the top of your funnel here
- Mid funnel: Campaigns that connect the dots between the prospect’s pain and interests and your product’s benefits.
- Bottom funnel: The potent, high-converting stuff. Case studies with compelling statistics and super-relevant, industry-specific scenarios.
Foundation set, let’s jump in…
6 Middle Funnel B2B Marketing Campaign Types (with Examples)
With top funnel content bringing in leads that resonate with your demand gen material, the middle funnel content is where you start tying those needs and pains to your product or service.
Middle funnel marketing talks directly to your audience, and convinces them you’re the only solution for them.
For this reason, competitor comparisons and qualification campaigns are used to facilitate the hand-off between marketing and sales; a prospect with more knowledge of your product benefits is a prospect more likely to buy.
Here are some of the most effective middle funnel B2B campaign types.
Competitor comparison campaigns
Competitor comparison campaigns aim to position your company ahead of the competition by providing one-to-one feature/ benefit comparisons.
The KPIs to track include demo requests, lead quality, and attribution by source.
The SaaS form market is a crowded space, with many established names vying for dominance both against each other and against widely-used free incumbents like Google Forms.
Jay Baer shares the strategies behind this great middle funnel tactic in a detailed blog post. In it, he advises:
“Don’t just create landing pages that shout “We’re better than they are!” Another page that hypes your benefits doesn’t differentiate this campaign from the rest of your site. Instead, research the real differences between your product and its competition. Then, share your findings.”
Here’s the variation for Google forms…
…But when it comes to how the company stacks up against Survey Monkey, Jay took a different approach:
Both snippets from these two related landing pages use the same structure, but agitate the lead’s pain points in different ways.
Google Forms users are looking for more form field types (“Do more than Google Forms with Formstack’s 15 field types”), whereas a Survey Monkey user might be frustrated with the rigidity of the tool (“Formstack lets you do so much more than just surveys. Streamline your department’s workflows by…”).
Social Proof retargeting campaigns
According to AdRoll, only 2% of prospects convert when they first meet your brand.
So what can you do to re-engage the 98% of lost opportunities?
Short answer: retargeting.
Retargeting allows you to reach prospects that have shown some sign of interest in your content or website. While they might not strictly be 100% ready to buy, they’re more qualified than someone who found you through top funnel campaigns because they’ve already shown enough interest to engage with your brand.
How much more qualified, you may ask? According to Criteo, website visitors that are retargeted with displays ads are more likely to convert by 70%.
One powerful driver of conversion is social proof.
The social proof psychology principle says that when people are uncertain, they’ll most likely look to others for behavioral guidance — Angie Schottmuller
BrightLocal found that 88% of people trust the opinion of your consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Social proof retargeting campaigns leverage this element of human psychology and trust by association.
This Pipedrive ad lays the social proof on thick with reference to its 50,000 customers and claim that it’s the leading sales management tool for small teams.
Any small teams that are also evaluating bigger, more expensive CRMs would be more inclined to give Pipedrive a closer look after seeing it reframed as a tool for a business of their size.
AdEspresso used facebook ads to retarget people who had already visited the website. The ads use customer testimonials to build social proof and move leads further down the funnel to a free trial:
There are a couple things I really like about this mid-funnel campaign example:
- The social proof directly addresses the friction points of potential customers
- The user can get a free trial without entering their credit card information
The ad builds trust, clearly communicates the value proposition and overcomes objections.
This campaign generated 38,456 impressions, 181 clicks and 40 conversions with a budget of $98.18!
Just because you’ve piqued a lead’s interested doesn’t mean you can give up the marketing and let sales take care of the rest. Similar to retargeting, there’s a lot to be gained from turning your attention towards your existing database instead of chasing more new leads.
Equipped with CRM data, you can create more personalized campaigns that improve response rate and guide the lead to your sales team.
An opportunity-to-close campaign uses your existing open opps as a custom audience to get re-establish mindshare and build credibility.
To measure the campaign, you’d look at whether the leads who have seen the ads or content have been in touch with sales again, or signed up for a demo.
This campaign targeted a very specific set of users — those that have tested Sumo and have under 5,000 visits per month. Perhaps the low traffic to their site put them off, but Sumo’s here to sell a solution for 40% off when you buy an annual plan.
This ad is effective because it’s targeting such a tiny segment of Sumo’s audience with messaging that would appeal to small, conversion-hungry businesses that have already made an investment by installing Sumo on their site.
Leads are often happy to share more information about themselves, especially if it’s framed in a way that benefits them. That’s where self-qualifying campaigns come in.
The goal is to get some kind of input from the lead which indicates their current stage in the buying cycle. With that information in your CRM, the marketing team will be better equipped to serve the right nurturing campaign, and your sales team go in for the close only when the lead is hot.
Examples of self-qualifying campaigns include calculators, assessments, or even email marketing campaigns asking the reader to click a link that best describes an aspect of their business.
Example: Iron Mountain
This calculator is ideal middle funnel content to help ease the hand-off between marketing and sales. It gathers specific information about the lead’s recurring costs, office size, and staff salaries before presenting the user with a savings estimate.
This helps overcome the lead’s ROI doubts, and asks them to share their email address before redirecting to a slide deck download.
The deck is packed full of hard benefits and the phone number of Iron Mountain’s sales team, which will help guide prospects to purchase more quickly and with less friction.
Want to generate more leads with viral content and collect invaluable data your sales team can use to close deals? Use a soft qualifier in your campaign, such as a quiz. These campaigns generate wide awareness and qualify prospects without the friction of long-form gated content.
To judge how successful a soft-qualifying campaign is, look at both middle funnel metrics like sign-ups and demos, but don’t ignore awareness KPIs like social shares and page views.
Example: Paradigm Life
Paradigm Life is a digital wealth management firm with clients all over the US and Canada. The company uses SnapApp to create “soft-qualifying quizzes”.
For users, these quizzes combine the fun of knowledge tests with a learning experience. Marketers love the quizzes because they provide information that helps educate and nurture the lead, helping the sales team by convincing the user of the benefit of the services:
With an average click rate of 50%, and lead conversion rate of 40%, interactive content like quizzes work on autopilot, feeding you the contact details of leads that come educated, qualified, and ready to buy.
Competitor direct mail campaign
Email marketing is the standard, proven way to nurture leads and generate sales, but in the age of inbox overload it’s the marketer who isn’t afraid of getting personal that stands out.
Let’s face it, in this climate it’s unlikely your competitor is trying to engage and convert leads with direct mail.
So, why not use that open opportunity to give your target market the attention they’re missing?
A competitor direct mail campaign agitates common pain points, and its goal would be to direct recipients to a custom landing page URL which they’ll find printed in the letter.
This is the perfect example of a brave company seizing a big opportunity. When one of Workfront’s competitors announced it was closing down, the management software company ran a targeted direct mail campaign using predictive analytics to identify premium prospects.
The campaign wasn’t something simple like a postcard, though. It had a Valentine’s day theme.
“Many of the premium prospects enjoyed receiving the flowers, especially as these were unexpected. The biggest problem with DM is getting people to open it, but who’s going to ignore a big bouquet of roses on their desks?” explains Workfront’s marketing director, Jada Balster.”
The DM referred recipients to uniquely-named URLs and used the Valentine’s day metaphor to make prospects feel like they were being ‘dumped’ by the competitor.
The campaign was a smash hit. From the 2,000 recipients (500 with flowers, 1,500 with Valentine’s day cards), Workfront generated 7 qualified sales opportunities with a pipeline value of over $370,000.
The Power of the Middle of the Funnel
Planning to incorporate some of these middle of the funnel B2B marketing campaign ideas into your strategy will help your buyers connect your solution with their pain points.
But remember, the middle of the funnel, while critical, is only one step for your buyers. Check out our campaign ideas for top of the funnel, and stay tuned for bottom of the funnel campaigns coming next week!