Generating demand for B2B businesses in the summer months
As the summer sun shines down on us and a rediscovered sense of freedom prevails, we have been asked by our customers – “what form of marketing is going to be effective this summer as everyone tries to make the best of the sunshine and fulfilling their pent-up craving for a holiday?” Should our demand generation activities go on holiday as well?
Based on 15 years of experience running successful B2B demand generation programs for B2B technology and software businesses, here are few suggestions on how sales and marketing teams can build their pipeline and generate demand during these summer months.
Time To Collect Data
Data collected by the most used B2B marketing platform, LinkedIn, suggests that social engagement and interaction increases over the summer as people find more time to engage with interesting content. The keyword being “interesting content”. While your prospects will habitually scroll their phones, even on break, they probably won’t read a 20-page whitepaper. So here’s the first tip – make your content marketing interesting and lighter to read. It’s time to invest in multimedia assets – videos, gif’s, infographics, quizzes and puzzles. Gamification of content is a great way to engage your prospects while they are basking in the sun.
Pick Your Moment
Timing and relevance are key – sending out a webinar invite on a Friday evening before a long weekend is a bad idea. Whereas sending an email on the Tuesday following a bank holiday with a subject line – “Wish You Were Still on Holiday” or “How to get 2 Hours of Your Day Back to Enjoy The Sun” will get you a higher open rate and better responses.
We’ve found that many companies use the traditionally quiet summer holiday period to plan projects and scope solutions. Engaging customers at this stage of the sales lifecycle gives you a better chance to work together later. Create and share content that helps people in their research such as savings calculators, build your own business case templates, case studies and use cases. Making the effort to provide relevant content now, can work in your favour when the prospect reaches a decision point.
Make use of the less hectic schedule
If you have run outbound calling campaigns you will know from experience that you can get more appointments in the summer months and kick start conversations. This could vary for different industry sectors, however, we have seen that summer months are ideal to start conversations with clients. This is an ideal time to get involved and approach key personnel with new products and services. People are still evaluating solutions and building a qualified pipeline will ensure your sales team have a great pool of leads to close in the autumn.
Leverage the power of data
Your marketing campaigns are only as effective as your database. Use this time to build your marketing lists and expand your subscriber database. Spend time with your sales team to segment the database into personas so you can personalise the messages that you send to various segments of data. Personalisation can deliver 5x-8x the ROI but 85% of marketers surveyed say their audience segments are too broad.
Monitor response data to campaigns closely and refocus and tweak campaigns to suit target audience needs. Focus on sectors or personas where you are getting better engagement.
If you target industries that shut down in the summer such as the education sector, mark them in your exclusion lists so they don’t affect your engagement rates are part of a larger dataset.
Put your B2B demand generation on autopilot
Last but not the least, don’t forget to take a break yourself and while you do that, demand generation doesn’t need to stop. Making use of marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot makes it easier to put your marketing programs on auto-pilot while you are away. Just a word of caution automation requires planning to ensure you get the right message to the right person at the right time. Whether you are running Google ads, LinkedIn ads or email campaigns, HubSpot or similar marketing automation tools, ensure your database is clean and clearly segmented and marketing workflows defined based on your prospect behaviour.
Predictable Marketing manages global demand generation campaigns for software and technology firms and we are busiest in the summer months and the latter half of the year. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your summer strategy for demand generation and other marketing activities.