July 12, 2023
Case Study

Effective Audience Engagement Strategies: Real-life examples from social media and email marketing


Ultimately, we’re all looking for a final conversion, right? Maybe a product sale. Or at least a qualified lead.

But sometimes the customer isn’t ready quite yet. Or perhaps you’ve just given up on them too soon because they haven’t purchased right away.

Thus, the importance of engagement. Read on for examples from a not-for-profit theater, biz dev agency, and apartment rental agency.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Effective Audience Engagement Strategies: Real-life examples from social media and email marketing

We’ve been using AI as an engagement tool. You can see for yourself. Chat with MECLABS AI about an AI Guild research briefing (Wednesdays at 2 pm EDT).

And in this article, we bring you a few other examples to give you ideas for engaging your potential customers:

  • Shifting from promotions to engagement – In Quick Case Study #1, we show you how a theater shifted its ad strategy from promoting individual shows to branding with Facebook Page like ads.
  • Better targeting engagement ads – If after reading Quick Case Study #1 you would like to take a similar approach, Quick Case Study #2 gives you ideas for how to target your ads to get page likes at a more efficient cost
  • Re-engaging ‘lost leads’ – Once you have an engaged audience, they likely won’t purchase right away. In Quick Case Study #3, we show why you shouldn’t give up on leads that don’t purchase right away, as we explore an apartment rental agency’s ‘lost leads’ re-engagement email campaign.

Quick Case Study #1: Not-for-profit theater shifts strategy from event promotion to branding, grows social media following 577%

Now in its sixth season, Mirrorbox Theatre has put on dozens of performances both virtually and in local theater venues.

BEFORE – Promoting individual shows

The theater invested their marketing budget in promoting individual shows. The team would run event promo ads that focused on short-term ticket sales or Facebook event responses.

The issue was that they did not yet have a loyal community of followers, and not many community members were familiar with their brand. They did not see great ROAS.

Creative Sample #1: Individual show promotion

Creative Sample #1: Individual show promotion

They decided to take a new approach with their ads. “We were entering into the phase of opening a new building and really needing to expand our awareness, our footprint. We needed to make sure things were being done thoughtfully and in a way that sets us up for even more continued growth,” said Cavan Hallman, Founder and Artistic Director, Mirrorbox Theatre.

AFTER – Page Likes ads

The team decided to start at the top of the marketing funnel by running Facebook Page like ads. The ad strategy aimed to emphasize the difference between the company’s nuanced approach and mainstream theater offerings, hoping to attract a specific audience interested in experimental and independent arts.

Creative Sample #2: Facebook ad focused on getting page likes

Creative Sample #2: Facebook ad focused on getting page likes

RESULTS – Social media growth

By stepping back and focusing on loyalty first (instead of promoting events), the team achieved 577% growth in social media following year over year, with 860 new Facebook Page likes in 2022. “Very substantial given the company’s size and target audience: the Cedar Rapids Metro. They also saw an 8,356% higher engagement rate across Facebook and Instagram, proving their new followers were interacting with content they posted,” said Haley Johnson, Digital Content Specialist, Informatics (Mirrorbox Theatre’s marketing and web agency).

In addition to the change in paid ad strategy, the team is making organic posts with in-depth, behind-the-scenes updates to its new followers. For example, Hallman routinely posts progress photos and descriptions of their building, from the messy empty space to the fully remodeled theatre.

Quick Case Study #2: How business development agency beat automated AI targeting to lower average Page like cost to 12 cents on Facebook

Business Goals Groups advertises on Facebook to grow its Page followers.

BEFORE – Broad audience

The first ad for new Page followers targeted a fairly broad audience. Here are the parameters the team used for their custom audience…

  • Location: United States location
  • Age: 18 – 65
  • Demographics and Interests: Business owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers

The results weren't bad but not what the team wanted. Ad spend on average was about 25 cents per new Page like.

AFTER – AI and a more refined customer audience

To improve performance, they created two new ads.

One ad had the original custom audience, plus:

  • New business greater than six months old
  • Top 50% to 25% of income earners
  • Interests in clickbank and affiliate marketing

The other ad used Meta Advantage, automated targeting that leverages AI and machine learning.

RESULTS – Lower cost per follower from manual, refined customer audience

Both new ads outperformed the original, but the custom audience at one point got down to 12 cents while the Advantage audience only got down to 20 cents per new Page like.

Creative Sample #3: Results from custom audience for Facebook Ads

Creative Sample #3: Results from custom audience for Facebook Ads

“The strategy I've used to perfect my targeting is mainly marketing psychology. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Find overlapping interests, behaviors, and demographics of that audience,” said Austin Jones, Founder, Business Goals Group.

“You don't need to spend a lot of money to get results, you just need to perfect your targeting through analyzing all your data. Make sure you have Meta Pixel and Google Analytics integrated on your website. Continuously retest your targeting at minimal ad spend until you get results,” Jones advised.

Quick Case Study #3: Apartment rental agency uses re-engagement campaign with ‘lost leads,’ gains 3 new members

June is an apartment rental agency with a membership model.

BEFORE – Typical promo

The team was sending out promotions to its leads – for example, including free rent for a period – but had zero members from these offers. If they didn’t hear back from the leads in a week, the team would just chalk them up as lost.

Creative Sample #4: Typical promo email for apartment rental agency

Creative Sample #4: Typical promo email for apartment rental agency

AFTER – Re-engagement campaign

“With a significant pool of unconverted leads identified using Klaviyo CRM, we saw an opportunity to reconnect with these potential customers,” said Fedor Kiselev, Content Marketing Specialist, June.

Instead of the regular sales promos the team decided to give information to these cold leads. They had properties in Boston and Washington, D.C. that had price drops. The team used their CRM segmentation feature to create personalized campaigns for folks who had previously shown interest in these two areas.

“To make things more engaging, I put together unique landing pages on WordPress for each campaign, highlighting properties with price drops,” Kiselev said. Then they sent emails to drive the cold leads to these segmented landing pages.

Creative Sample #5: Price drop landing page

Creative Sample #5: Price drop landing page

RESULTS – New members

The Boston campaign saw an open rate of 51.6% (3,184 opens), a click rate of 2.2% (134 clicks), and three leads became members. The D.C. campaign achieved an open rate of 53.8% (1,730 opens) and a click rate of 2% (63 clicks). No new members from D.C. yet.

Aside from getting the new members, the team feels that the high open and click rates across both campaigns indicate a strong demand for rental properties in these locations, particularly when coupled with price reductions.

Remember, the team considered this to be an unused segment of lost leads. Now, they regularly run re-engagement campaigns.

Related Resources

Marketing Strategies: 3 proven customer engagement strategies to try (examples with results)

Customer Engagement: Marketing case studies from Coors Light, a professional soccer team, and a private jet charter

Content Marketing: Strategies of businesses that improved (and replaced) digital content marketing

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