Brand awareness and customer relationships are two very important factors to consider when working in any kind of marketing. One of the biggest questions is often “how can we get more leads and sales?” Demand generation is just one way to make this happen in both the short and long term. In this article, we review:
Demand generation is the process of creating awareness and want or need for products and services. Marketers use it to create predictable funnels and pipelines for sales. They also use it to get audiences to engage with a brand on multiple touchpoints. This keeps the brand in a person’s mind so that it’s the first one they think of when they have a demand to meet.
Demand generation is data-driven and relies heavily on inbound marketing and content marketing to make people aware of a company and stay interested throughout their shopping life cycles. Its strategies focus on meeting the needs of potential customers, wherever they interact with a company, no matter where they are in their lifecycles or sales funnels.
At a basic level, demand generation tries to grow an audience by attracting new visitors to your website or getting more eyes on your content. In contrast, lead generation works to convert members of that audience into qualified leads. In theory, you can’t have good lead generation without demand generation because you have to get brand recognition before you can determine if someone is a good lead. The fundamentals of demand generation include increasing brand awareness, building trust, and educating your target audience. These activities take place at the top of the sales funnel.
The principles of lead generation include collecting audience contact information, nurturing qualified leads, and showing how a brand is valuable and different from competitors. These activities take place at the bottom of the sales funnel. Both are important for making conversions and ultimately sales and partnerships. They can overlap in some areas depending on the type of content you create or the audience members you target.
Demand generation rests on certain principles for generating interest and providing value, such as:
Though lead generation is a separate step, acquiring people who can become leads is one primary goal. You can collect leads at any stage of the funnel, so it’s important to create targeted content and be aware of customer needs at each phase. Though exposing people to your brand is a large part of demand generation, customer retention can also be a side benefit of engaging with the practice.
If there’s a need in the market that’s going unfulfilled and your product or service can fit it, show the public. Demand generation helps people learn you exist and discover what you can do for them. You can do this by developing brand awareness, or being consistent in how your brand looks and sounds across all touchpoints so that people recognize you immediately and stop to note what you’re saying.
Getting someone through the sales funnel can take a long time. It’s an even longer process when you’re working in a business-to-business (B2B) model. But filling the top of your funnel with demand can speed up the time it takes for customers to flow through the pipeline. By making your company and representatives available in so many ways on multiple platforms, you create the opportunity for those one-on-one conversations. With your highly targeted pieces that reach the right people, you can convert them into leads and customers even more quickly.
Image via Unsplash by @startaeteam
Consider these factors that make up the structure of a demand generation campaign:
Who are you targeting? Understanding your audience can help you make content that interests them and has value. The more details you can learn about your audience, the better. Demographic information like age, gender, and location is good, but so is more specific data. Research things like where they spend their time and with whom, what they do for fun or for a living. All of this information can help you target the right people in your funnel.
What are you going to use to reach your audience? You can plan specific content for each layer of the marketing funnel to turn people from casual visitors into qualified leads, and then customers. The higher parts of the funnel have broader content that’s interesting, but most focused on brand awareness. Mid-funnel content is more educational about topics related to your brand and goes more in-depth to solve a problem. The bottom of the funnel is brand-specific and offers things like case studies, tutorials, and reviews to better sell your products and services.
If you’re looking to create engaging targeted content for all levels of your funnel, start a call with CopyPress. We provide content writing for a variety of industries and projects to help increase demand for your brand.
How are you going to get your content to the public? Your content may be great, but if nobody ever sees it, that doesn’t matter. Demand generation takes full advantage of all available channels, such as:
The way you distribute and what you distribute may vary based on the channel and stage of the funnel you’re targeting. Where and how you share things may also become more targeted the closer to the bottom of the funnel you get.
What do you want to get out of your demand generation campaign? Setting goals can help you decide on your outcome before you begin. Goals for a demand generation campaign may include specific numbers or metrics you’re trying to reach, such as increasing the number of leads or sales you get by a certain percentage. If you know these numbers, you can work backward to figure out how to create a campaign around them.
How are you going to track your demand generation campaigns? You won’t know if your campaigns are successful or if they’re reaching the goals you set if you’re not tracking any data. You can often choose key performance indicators (KPIs) for each goal and assign them to specific metrics to determine if your campaigns are doing what you expect. Consider choosing different metrics for each stage of the funnel or by channel to make them more realistic and easier to track.
Benefits of engaging in demand generation include:
Demand generation does more than just bring a click or two to your website. It takes hold of inbound marketing campaigns that show visitors how unique your company or product is and make it appeal to people that don’t even know they need it yet. It does this consistently through multiple channels, like conferences, social media, and articles to get people not just to say “I know that company,” but “I trust that company.”
Even though demand generation deals with attracting strangers and new people to your audience, it can also increase your leads. This is because it fills the top of the sales funnels with people who notice your brand. It’s likely a percentage of these people continue to engage with your brand and trickle to the bottom of the funnel to become qualified leads and then, hopefully, customers.
With more leads comes more revenue. This can translate in both the short and long term. Initially, you might attract someone who becomes a customer right away after learning about your brand, which leads to quick revenue. But you can also play a longer game with people progressing through the sales funnel. These people benefit from nurturing and eventually lead generation, which can turn into long-term revenue.
Use these strategies for demand generation to fill your sales funnel:
Blog posts provide helpful information that addresses people’s questions, confusion, and interests. It’s a popular form of content creation because blog posts can be short and easy to write. They’re also good for sharing and gaining visibility online. Blogs are also prime for engagement because most have comment sections or reaction options that let readers share what they think about each post.
If you want to create content in areas where your audience is searching for information but not finding the right results, consider trying our free content analysis tool. Your report can show gaps in your content strategy, and those of your competitors, to help find niche areas for blog topics and other pieces.
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Try a raffle, contest, or sweepstakes to generate interest. Offer a prize that may be a little more valuable or higher quality than you would with a lead magnet, but follow a similar principle, such as asking people to sign up, complete an action, or share a post on social media. You may choose to give away one of your products or a subscription to one of your services.
To make the contest unique, consider what actions your audience may be comfortable taking to enter. Also, think about what you can get out of it for the business, like user-generated content or feedback.
In 1998, hearing the words “You’ve Got Mail” from your computer was exciting. Email and technology were new. Today, things have flipped. We spend so much time online that it’s now more thrilling to get something valuable in your actual mailbox. That’s why direct mail is still a good demand strategy. It may take more planning than other forms of digital content to make sure you’re putting pieces in the right hands and that people are reading your material rather than recycling it. But it can be worth it, especially if your target audience responds well to physical content.
You can hold both in-person and virtual events to give your audience a place to learn and network. Conferences let your brand create unique experiences that become memorable to the audience, such as through the decor or food you choose, the seminars you hold, or the entertainment you provide. Webinars, live chats, interview panels, and other virtual events can do the same thing, but they allow audience members to take part from anywhere without traveling to a specific event location.
What’s a great way to get people to take notice of your brand? Get their friends to tell them about it. And if you can’t get a friend, make it an influencer. These marketing professionals get their names because they hold clout in certain circles. Think of them as the popular kids in high school. What they say, do, or like matters and sets the tone for their niche.
Micro-influencers can be helpful for demand generation. When choosing an influencer to work with, consider who already follows them. It’s not necessarily about those with the largest numbers, but those with the most loyal followers.
A lead magnet is a free service or tool that you can give away to collect audience information like names and email addresses. While this might sound like a better tactic for lead generation, you can use it for demand generation too because it gives you more avenues for getting your content and products in front of the audience. You can pair lead magnets with other forms of content creation, like blogging. They work best in free downloads you can offer in exchange for that personal information. Popular choices include:
Podcasts are an interesting form of content because they’re long-form—each one may run a minimum of 30 minutes and come in seasons like TV shows—and they’re auditory rather than visual or readable. They’re a great way to reach a different group of audience members, like those who prefer to listen and learn while they do other things, such as driving or exercising. Podcasts can help build thought leadership and create ongoing relationships with the audience by encouraging people to return each week for a new episode.
Did you know, according to a Wyzowl report, 96% of people have watched explainer, or informational, videos to learn more about a product or service? This is good news when working in demand generation. Creating videos about your products or services, how they work, and what makes them valuable can get a lot of viewership online. Video is also a compatible format to use on websites and social media so you can share your content through multiple channels and platforms. It’s another option to attract audience members through the means where they’re most likely to consume content.
Use these tips to help enhance your demand generation strategies:
Staying consistent with your branding can help demand generation. This means using the same voice across all platforms, from how you address people in emails or on social media and in person. It also includes your visual elements, like your logo, fonts, and colors. When everything stays consistent across all channels, this helps with brand recognition. When someone sees a combination of those elements, they know immediately that the communication or product belongs to you.
One of the long-term goals of demand generation is to make more sales and more revenue for your company. Work with your sales department to boost your demand strategies. You can do something as simple as talking with representatives from the department and asking them what qualities and characteristics they look for in a qualified lead. This information can help you decide what types of tactics may work best in marketing.
Marketers use customer profiles, or fictionalized biographies of audience members, to represent their ideal customers, the ones most likely to purchase their products or services. You can develop these personas from the demographic data you collect about your current customers and people who view your content or follow your social profiles.
You can also uncover some of this information from the sales department as you research what makes a qualified lead. These profiles can tell you the type of people to market with your demand generation efforts. It humanizes your audience. Rather than just being a random faceless person, you can view the people you’re targeting like well-rounded humans or characters in a TV show or movie.
Like most other functions in marketing, there are software programs that cater to demand generation or have related components. Use them. Depending on what other marketing activities you do, you may choose a comprehensive system that helps not just with demand generation but also with other functions like content development or distribution.
Demand generation campaigns come with a lot of data. This is because you’re trying to decide which tactics work and what’s most appealing to your audience. It’s helpful to track numbers, compare them, and see what’s successful for future use. Some statistics to track may include:
These may all be things you can track with your digital platforms and software, which is helpful to keep it all in one place.
Content marketing is one of the largest parts of demand generation, but there is a lot of content out there already. Why should people read yours? Being original can make it harder for people to pass up what you’re sharing. That doesn’t mean you should use clickbait, but be creative and do research. What is something valuable that can help your customers and hasn’t already been said 100 times? This can help your brand stand out against competitors on the same channels.
Doing demand generation the right way can help you get more engagement and improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. By providing targeted value at every stage of the funnel, you don’t just get people to notice your company, but you can lead them on a journey to becoming customers and making a purchase.
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