44% of B2B leaders believe it’s becoming increasingly difficult to drive demand for their products and services.
In a world so saturated by marketing and advertising, it’s becoming harder to get your target audience to notice you.
This is why a killer demand generation strategy is so important. You need to fuel demand for your product by showing your target audience exactly why you’re worth your weight in gold.
Read on to discover what demand generation is, why it’s important, and the top strategies to use to boost awareness and enhance your brand’s authority.
What is demand generation, and why invest in it?
Demand generation is an inbound, data-driven marketing tactic that aims to boost brand awareness and build brand authority.
Using buyer behavioral and intent data, your demand generation team will build digital marketing strategies that aim to target the needs of your audience.
This is a dynamic marketing strategy that shifts as audience needs evolve.
Take B2B marketing, for example.
Currently, 40% of B2B leaders say they’ve struggled to understand their target audience’s needs, and 23% say that changing buyer personas poses a challenge.
Demand generation marketing overcomes these struggles by using data to create top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) marketing campaigns that align the customer journey with the buyer’s intent. This can suck more prospective customers into the sales funnel early on.
Using customer data to create marketing tactics that match buyer intent can increase demand for your products and design a sleek customer experience that nurtures these leads better.
Why invest in a demand generation strategy?
The most obvious reason to invest in demand generation tactics is that they work. Right now, 70% of B2B marketing teams are using this demand gen to improve conversion rates and campaign results.
This is because demand generation strategies improve lead quality.
1/4 of B2B brands say that they use demand generation to better qualify leads before running them through the sales funnel.
Using data to target the right personas can build a better customer relationship in the lead nurturing stage. That’s because they have a more extensive understanding of the customer’s needs. This helps to accelerate the sales cycle.
Plus, demand generation can help you target the right decision-makers in the accounts you’re trying to net.
63% of B2B marketers say that they’re using this method to generate the right contact within the companies they’re targeting.
By knowing more about your customers’ needs, you’re better able to work out who needs your solution. That way, you only target leads that fit this profile.
Demand generation vs. lead generation
It’s easy to get demand generation and lead generation mixed up.
Simply put, demand generation is about generating demand for your product. Lead generation is about generating leads from the audience who show they have demand for your product.
In this respect, your demand generation campaign will focus on tactics that generate interest in what you’re selling.
Lead generation will focus on turning interested parties into leads by getting their contact details.
The 3 pillars of demand generation
Three major mainstays support your demand generation strategy:
1. Demand capture: Use data to look for the existing demand in the market and channel that demand toward your services by using low-funnel content, such as SEO (search engine optimization) blogs, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, and social media campaigns.
2. Lead generation: Create strategies that capture contact data from interested parties so that your sales team can nurture these prospects and move them through the sales cycle.
3. Sales cycle acceleration: Push prospects through the pipeline using sales acceleration tactics such as reaching out to customers directly.
The 5 steps of demand generation
Your demand generation campaign should comprise of five main stages:
1. Objectives: Identify the targets you intend to meet. This helps you to reverse-engineer the strategy you need to reach these goals.
2. Buyer personas: Pinpoint the audiences you’ll target with each demand gen campaign. Use behavioral data to create personas based on your audience’s end goals, requirements, and roles.
3. Marketing content: Plan content that leads your personas through the buyer journey. ToFu marketing content should create demand by building brand awareness and authority. Middle-of-the-funnel (MoFu) content should convert browsers to leads while educating potential buyers. Bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) content should deliver brand-specific content that aims to convert to a sale.
4. Content distribution: Work out where and when to distribute your content to reach the right target audience at the correct time. Use website, social media, and advertising data to work out when your buyers are most engaged.
5. Performance-tracking: Track your KPIs (key performance indicators) to work out whether you’re on the way to meeting these goals. If you’re not, you may want to switch up your tactics.
Demand generation best practices
To fuel demand and convert visitors to leads, you need to focus marketing efforts toward potential customers that fit the profile.
Here are some best practices to help inform your demand generation strategy.
1. Use a lead scoring system
Lead scoring is a strategy where you rank prospects against a predetermined scale that shows how valuable they are and how likely they are to convert.
Top factors used to determine lead scores include:
- Presence and quality of contact details (personal and/or professional)
- Demographic information
- Company and industry information
- Online behavioral data
- Social media engagement data
- Email engagement data
2. Leverage your data
Demand generation marketing hinges on targeting the right audience by showing that your products or service meet their needs.
Use your analytics to understand buyer intent and behavior to better shape your campaign.
3. Perfect your lead funnel
Create a lead funnel that drives each target audience toward their end goal with a seamless customer experience.
Make sure you have specific actions at each stage to convert inquiries to market-qualified leads (MQLs) through to sales-qualified leads (SQLs) and on to a closed deal.
4. Improve your lead nurturing tactics
To nurture leads, you must educate prospects on your product to persuade them that you have the solution they need.
78% of marketers complain that they struggle to build the right targeted content to do this, while 77% say they find it hard to work out the right timing.
One of the best ways to overcome these hurdles is to deep-dive into customer behavioral data to work out when your audience is most engaged and what they respond to best.
56% of marketers use content engagement data to improve lead nurturing programs, while 27% use intent data.
Both of these insights will help fuel better social media campaigns, more impressive personalization strategies, more effective retargeting programs, and higher email open rates.
5. Align your sales and marketing teams
Your sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page.
Like a relay race, your marketing team is passing the baton to your sales team once they’ve qualified the lead. Following this process, your sales team needs to convert that lead to a sale and retain that existing customer over time.
According to B2B revenue leaders, sales and marketing teams could maximize growth better if they improved communication, aligned strategy frameworks, synchronized targets, and addressed flawed processes.
Demand generation traps to avoid
While demand gen can be an extremely effective method of sourcing leads, you’ll struggle to find visitors that convert if you’re falling into the following traps.
1. Sticking to the status quo
You may find that a particular tactic works at netting your target audience, and you run with it for a while. However, you shouldn’t expect this method to work forever.
Make sure you’re monitoring KPIs to track the performance of this strategy. You may find that your target audience’s needs and preferences change over time, making this tactic redundant.
2. Not properly aligning sales and marketing
For your funnel to perform its job correctly, sales and marketing need to be on the same page.
If your marketing team has different goals from your sales team, they’ll be passing down irrelevant leads that your sales department will struggle to qualify.
Make sure that all sales and marketing goals, strategies, and materials align.
3. Misunderstanding buyer intent
It’s easy to get confused between what you think the buyer wants and what they actually want.
You may think that you have an all-around wonder product that deserves high demand, but you’ll be marketing it wrong if you don't understand your buyers’ intentions.
Use your buyer intent data to determine which prospects are interested in your products and services — design lead funnels based on these intentions.
Top demand generation metrics to measure
Want to know if you’re reaching your goals? You need to establish which metrics you'll track to measure performance.
Here are typical demand gen metrics:
- Visit-to-lead conversion rate: The rate of visitors that become qualified leads
- Cost per acquisition: How much it costs to acquire a customer
- Percentage of MQLs that close: The volume of MQLs that end in a sale
- Average deal size: How much money is typically made from each closed lead
- Marketing cycle length: How long it takes to close each deal
- Customer lifetime value: A customer’s profit contribution over the time they remain a customer
7 demand generation strategies to drive interest among your target market
Are you looking for top demand and lead generation strategies to drive interest in your products and convert visitors to leads? Try these.
1. Produce SEO content based on target audience insights
Consider that 49% of all clicks go to the first-place search result on Google.
If you want more people to see your products, you need to get to the top of relevant search results, which means producing top-quality SEO content.
The problem is that while 60% of B2B marketers say content marketing generates the most qualified leads at the top of the funnel, 40% of SEO experts say that companies under-invest in quality content.
That said, things are about to change. 71% of B2B brands intend to add more content marketing to their demand generation strategy over the coming year, while 64% specifically plan to boost their SEO tactics.
If you want to keep ahead of your competition, you’ll also need to step up your SEO game.
Luckily, there’s demand for content — 36% of people say they’d like to see more educational/explainer content.
Creating how-to articles and industry-specific guides shows your brand as an authority in your industry and gives you a chance to show how your product provides a valuable solution to the target audience’s problems.
Make sure you research your referral traffic data to see which keywords are sending the most traffic your way. Target these terms and similar keywords to drive your content up the Google search rankings.
2. Build lookalike audiences on social media
According to 37% of B2B marketers, social platforms are the most effective way to encourage early-stage engagement with your brand.
Delve into your website and purchase data to explore the personas of your buyers. This will tell you who’s interested in your products or services.
Use this information to build lookalike audiences on your social media platforms by creating content that appeals to those demographics, preferences, and behaviors.
For example, imagine that your purchase data shows that your B2B audience is typically made up of Millennial working professionals.
90% of Millennial buyers say they act in support of purposeful brands.
In this sense, your social media campaigns should show that you’re a purpose-driven organization. Even from a B2B perspective, this can be a vital factor in reaching a purchase decision.
3. Collect customer testimonials and create case studies
Testimonials and case studies work as tangible social proof that happy customers would recommend your services. This is especially true in the B2B market, as most businesses are reluctant to trust an unknown vendor.
Create a testimonial page on your website and use testimonials in your social media campaigns.
Try creating customer evidence videos since video testimonials are highly effective.
While 30% of B2B marketers say that case studies generated the most qualified leads at the top of the funnel, 29% say that videos did the trick.
Why not combine both? After all, 79% of people have watched a video testimonial to find out more about a company, product, or service.
Look at this customer testimonial video for UIPath, for example.
In under two minutes, the testimonial shows how UIPath solved Pandora’s problem and the tangible benefits the solution brings to the company. This shows that UIPath is a top choice for companies with similar issues.
4. Offer a free tool
Offering your prospects a free tool is like Costco offering cheese samples — it gives the consumer a little taste of what you can do and how good you are at doing it.
It doesn’t have to be a full version of your product. You can always offer a free basic package with options to pay for upgraded features.
Alternatively, you can offer a free basic tool that compliments your main product. For example, accounting software Quickbooks offers a free Paycheck Calculator on its website.
By putting this tool behind a gateway, you can force customers to share contact details before using the tool. That way, you can collect lead data for future marketing campaigns at the same time.
5. Leverage email campaigns
53% of marketers say that email campaigns are most effective at driving early-stage engagement, which is why 73% of B2B companies are planning to add more email campaigns to their demand generation strategy over the next year.
To take advantage of email for demand gen, you should create drip campaigns that contact customers who download a free tool or access a lead magnet.
Offer personalized educational content, promotions, and giveaways that lure potential prospects to engage with your content.
Make sure your emails are shareable by adding a call-to-action button that encourages readers to forward the email or share it on social media.
6. Broaden your reach with influencers
85% of marketers work with influencers and affiliates to boost brand awareness.
Influencers and affiliates already have their own audiences, so by working with industry-specific influencers, you have the chance to reach a new audience that matches your niche without having to put in the work to create it.
Not only that, but influencer endorsement helps to build your brand authority, which is why 46% of marketers and creators work with influencers to improve their brand’s reputation.
Try contacting nano and micro-influencers, as you’ll get better engagement rates than when you work with huge accounts.
7. Use targeted PPC ads
65% of marketers spend over 15% of their marketing budget on paid advertising, with nearly 1 in 10 spending as much as 50%.
This is because it’s so effective. 28% of B2B marketers say that online ads are the most effective way to fuel early-stage engagement.
By utilizing managed placement, you can create targeted ads that use your customer data to target lookalike audiences. This means you target the right customers at the right place at the right time, so you’re not wasting time or money.
Automate PPC ads that help you reach your demand gen goals, such as maximizing impressions to boost awareness.
As RJ Huebert at HBT Digital Consulting puts it, “When you select your campaign goal, it’s so important to understand if you want awareness, consideration, or conversions.”
Why not try creating testimonial ads to leverage social proof at the same time?
A solid demand generation strategy not only amplifies brand awareness — it also helps to boost your credibility and authority as a brand.
Make sure that your demand generation tactics show off how your product or service solves solutions to all your different target personas.
Customer evidence videos are one of the best ways to build case studies that convince future buyers that your solution will solve their issues.
If you’re interested in creating high-quality customer evidence videos to increase demand for your products, get in touch with Testimonial Hero today.