Demand Generation: Full of Leads with Nowhere to Go
“We want them, and we want them now!”
This is the approach most companies have towards gaining new leads. When people feel a slump in the market, or feel ready to grow, they gain a proverbial itch for immediate change. The problem isn’t just, “How can you find new leads?” but also, “What should you do with new leads once you attract them?” The answer is demand generation!
What is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is the aspect of marketing that includes the process of building awareness, interest, and buzz for your products or services—expanding your audience, increasing your customer retention, and driving demand to your brand.
Demand generation strategies aim to leverage inbound marketing and account for every touchpoint in the buyer journey. When I go to fill up my car, I don’t dump the gas in the general direction of the tank with the hope that most of it lands in the right place. Instead, we use a funnel to make sure every drop moves in the right direction—toward our destination and goals. Similarly, your demand generation strategy should guide leads through the conversion process and keep them delighted for a longer lifetime value.
To achieve demand generation, you need data-driven marketing that drives long-term engagement—from awareness to buyer and customer lifecycle. This includes:
Measurable and repeatable company growth with qualified leads
Quantifiable revenue generation that includes returning customers
Aligning marketing and sales teams for a cohesive outcome
Building Your Strategy: How to Attract and Guide Leads
Your demand generation strategy will contain every touchpoint a buyer experiences along the way, and there are four key areas where you will want to turn your focus. Let’s take a look at the basic, fundamental pillars of a solid strategy.
If people don’t know who you are, they won’t even be able to give you a shot. To grow your business, you first have to increase your reach and build name recognition for your brand.
Establish your brand identity: The tone, look and feel of your brand should be memorable and recognizable. You want to build a cohesive experience that appeals to your audience and helps you stand out from the competition.
Know your audience: Who are your potential customers? What channels do they use? What drives them to purchase? Build buyer personas to explicitly define who you are trying to attract and guide with your demand generation strategy.
Show your industry leadership: How does your brand approach industry problems, projections, planning and trends? Establish a clear point of view on what you want to be known for—communicating expertise through thought leadership.
Provide consistent communication: Regularly posting on social media is one way to communicate about your brand and show you are active. You will need multiple channels to amplify your brand voice and provide consistent updates.
Digital marketing is not the same thing as demand generation—just a part of it. While marketing will draw your customer in, demand gen is how you create a desire for your products or services. Inbound marketing is particularly focused on bringing leads into your funnel.
Write blogs for sharing and SEO: Focus on creating top-of-funnel content that drives traffic, highlights your solution, links to product pages, defends your brand name and offers valuable insights to your audience. You can write two kinds of blog posts: posts that are very likely to be shared socially, or posts that improve your ranking on organic searches by answering a popular query.
Use paid advertising to extend your reach: You can pay for ads on social media, search engines (SEM), website banners and more. Ads can drive attention to a specific post, profile, event, targeted landing page or product page to help support a larger goal for growth. Your paid social ads will often reach a low-intent audience that will appreciate guides, eBooks, checklists or other meaty content. Paid search ads will help your brand land in the top results for a high-intent audience that may be interested in free trials, demos, sales or special deals.
Offer valuable gated content: Your meaty, high-value content doesn’t have to be given away without a return value. Gate any content worth exchanging personal information for to build your contacts list. Webinars, eBooks, guides, white papers and reports are examples of content that could be worth gating. Segment the parts of your list who join to access the gated content so you can specifically target them with related content moving forward.
Nurture leads with email marketing: A customer-centric approach to email means reaching out with relevant content that addresses your audience’s pain points. Content aimed to truly nurture doesn’t focus on your company or product. Segment your lists to ensure your content is valuable and appropriate for their needs. Email groups might be formed due to location, interest, site activity, past purchases, professional role and more.
Improve website conversion rate optimization (CRO): CTAs (calls to action), accessible conversion points and intuitive navigation are all part of the user experience (UX) that impacts the resulting conversion rates for your website. Match your web experience to your goals for growth. For example, if you want to increase newsletter signups, you don’t want to bury your newsletter signup CTA at the bottom of the page, or create any confusion in its labeling.
Sales Process and Customer Support
The initial stages of inbound marketing efforts typically lead to the conversion point, but the sales experience and following customer support will solidify (or unravel) the relationship. If you don’t plan for sales enablement through an easy transaction, you will let buyers needlessly fall through the cracks.
Ask for testimonials and reviews: People trust first-hand experiences from non-affiliated peers. Ask paying customers to provide you with reviews or quotes for testimonials about your products or services.
Develop case studies: Similar to reviews and testimonials, case studies are more in-depth proof of your work and how it solved a problem or helped your buyer. Case studies are often helpful in building trust with buyers considering your offerings.
Publish fact sheets, supportive blogs and FAQs: Create internal tools for your sales team that save them time and provide faster responses to leads. However, many buyers do a lot of their own research, so consider making this kind of supportive content widely available on your site.
Create ROI calculators: Show your customers the value of your service or product by allowing them to do the math. If you offer savings or revenue growth, create a calculator that illustrates the potential return on investment (ROI).
Finally, you need a plan to hold on to what you’ve got. Pouring something into a funnel is a waste if you don’t have a tank or plan below to hold it. Likewise, you will spend too much on lead acquisition if you don’t have a customer retention strategy in place.
Practice client re-marketing: Your existing customer base is your best test audience for new content, journeys or ideas. This group trusts your brand enough to pull the trigger on a past purchase, helping you streamline your funnel (because they already know your brand).
Create a customer hub or portal: Offer one central place containing information about your product, supportive content (how-to or help pieces), scheduling, best practices or anything else helpful to your customers.
Show customer appreciation: Host events, send exclusive deals, or offer opportunities to trial new products and beta releases. There are many ways to show your customers you value them.
Promote relevant cross-sell/up-sell suggestions: Expand average ticket sales by offering additional products or services during the checkout process. Think about how many times you hear, “I didn’t know you did that!” Offer upgrades or paid plans to anyone getting a free trial or demo.
Start offering convenient renewals: Create plans that make it easier to keep ordering products or scheduling services from your company. Remind people of renewal opportunities while explaining the value to increase your returning customer base.
Offer great customer service: When your customer reaches out, have a real person ready to give a quick response. Most of today’s buyers place a lot of value on timely support and personal connection.
Adapt using customer feedback: Track key performance indicator (KPI) metrics and reach out to solicit feedback from your customer base. Use data-driven strategic changes to adjust to the needs and interests of your audience.
Incorporate these four key areas to achieve a truly powerful demand gen strategy—creating a higher and more predictable level of demand for sustainable growth. With these tools in hand, you will create a funnel that draws in new leads, lengthens their lifecycle, and enhances the overall staying power of your brand.
If you want help perfecting your demand generation, reach out and let’s talk!