When people hear “demand generation,” they tend to think, “Oh yeah, that’s inbound marketing. Right?” Not exactly. Inbound marketing is one type of demand generation, but demand generation is much larger than inbound marketing.
Demand generation pulls together a wide swath of marketing strategies, from inbound marketing to social media, newsletters, blogs, podcasts, videos and ebooks. It subsumes all these marketing strategies and content types that have one thing in common—they exist to establish your business as a thought leader, expert and influencer within your industry.
Demand generation aligns that content with customers’ and prospective customers’ needs and interests. In this way, it helps you connect with your target audience and, over time, build trust and loyalty. And, it increases sales. In fact, leads nurtured using demand generation strategies are 5X more likely to purchase your products than those nurtured using conventional, outbound tactics.
Here’s how HubSpot defines demand generation:
“Ultimately, demand generation captures the umbrella of marketing programs that get customers excited about your company’s product and services. Demand generation programs can help your organization reach new markets, promote new product features, build consumer buzz, generate PR, and re-engage existing customers.” However, it’s “more than just a branding concept or early funnel marketing tactic. Demand generation programs are touch points throughout the conversion optimization and sales cycles.”
Every business is different, and only you can determine which marketing strategies will work best for yours. That said, the following five strategies have been effective for many companies, increasing brand awareness, and creating product need and relevance:
Give away free stuff: Offering free giveaways might at first seem more like lead generation than demand marketing, since typically it’s free, gated content that’s among the best ways to generate new leads. But whether it’s free content or a free tool, if what you give away helps prospects solve their problems, you’ll build trust in your brand. That means they’re more likely to return to your site for more of the same. If what you give is especially valuable, you might even create an army of brand advocates who will send you even more qualified leads.
Free, gated content is among the best ways to generate new leads. But it’s also a great way to help prospects solve problems and, in turn, build trust in your brand.
Leverage “lookalike” audiences on Facebook: Lookalike audiences are what they sound like: customer segments which, based on behavioral and demographic similarities, resemble one of your existing target audiences or buyer personas. Facebook makes it easy to leverage lookalike audiences with its tool to upload custom audiences using existing customer data. Because these prospects are similar to consumers who’ve already purchased your products or services, generating demand with them is relatively easier than with other targeted groups.
Feature industry leaders in your webinars: It takes a little work to persuade industry superstars to appear in one of your webinars. But if you can, it vastly increases your credibility and can be a critically important element of your demand generation strategy. When you partner with key influencers in your industry, you elevate your brand and accelerate demand.
Content marketing generates 3x more leads than paid search advertising.
Embrace content marketing: According to HubSpot, content marketing generates 3x more leads than paid search advertising, and marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see positive ROI. There’s a reason content is still king: it works. To increase demand generation, add more value to your content offerings using original data. Provide unique insights that help your audience answer their most important questions and solve their most pressing problems.
Add lead scoring to your demand generation strategy: Lead scoring uses tested algorithms which prioritize leads based on a combination of demographic and behavioral characteristics. Each lead is assigned a certain number of points if they take certain actions on your website (like downloading key content or visiting a prescribed number of web pages) or share certain characteristics with previous leads who converted. Based on total points, leads can be prioritized, ensuring you send only your most sales-ready leads to your sales team. Lead scoring will increase sales opportunities as it builds demand, as well as trust in and loyalty to, your business.
Lead scoring increases helps prioritize leads and increase sales opportunities.
Employing these demand generation strategies (among others) will create measurably more excitement about your business, increase interest in your products and services, and make your demand generation campaigns more successful. It will also help your business leverage a more unified marketing approach (given the wide spectrum of strategies demand generation necessitates).
To learn more about increasing demand gen, check out these articles: