Introduction to Demand Generation
Today’s business world is changing at an ever-increasing pace. One of these changes that continues to grow year after year is social media. Businesses are using social media more and more each day for advertising, branding, connecting with customers and prospects, customer service, etc.
Many businesses look at social media as an additional expense or cost of doing business. However, there are many ways that businesses can use social media as an asset or tool rather than just another line item on their budget sheet.
One way companies can use social media for their benefit is by creating what is known as a demand generation strategy.
How to Create a Demand Generation Strategy?
The demand generation strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy. Generating leads for your business is how you will bring new customers into your funnel, so making sure you have one in place is very important.
If you are building a new website or business, it’s best to create your demand generation strategy at that time. However, if you already have an existing website with traffic, you can still implement parts of it for added effect.
Once you have decided where to incorporate demand generation into your business plan, these are some things that should be included:
Social media ads: Social media has become one of the most effective ways to create sales leads. Utilizing paid advertising through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is cost-effective and can give you immediate results.
SEO: Creating great content on your website allows search engines to pick up on what you offer and rank your site accordingly. In turn, more people will visit your site from search engines which means higher chances of generating more leads from various sources such as social media and email campaigns.
Lead nurturing/data capture: Have forms that collect information from potential customers when they submit a form online or by phone. This includes having a pop-up option during certain times throughout each day where people who have visited certain pages on your site may see them asking for their information in exchange for a whitepaper, an extensive checklist, or an ebook.
Automation: Nowadays, automation tools make lead generation easy and affordable. It doesn't require a lot of resources or money to set up automated tasks via software such as AWeber, or MailChimp, but can pay off tremendously by saving hours every week for your team members.
Webinars/seminars: Hosting webinars or seminars will allow you to communicate directly with many individuals simultaneously while creating multiple opportunities to generate leads.
Forums: Join online forums related to your industry where there are opportunities available for sharing valuable knowledge along with promotions about your products and services.
Press releases: Through professional press release distribution sites, you can send out releases to thousands of online news outlets quickly and efficiently. Offer free stuff – Encourage customers to join your list by offering free ebooks, videos, or other freebies that they might find useful.
Make opt-ins obvious: Don't hide opt-in boxes on landing pages or websites. Instead, prominently display a simple form for readers to enter their contact information quickly without forcing them away from their original page before they have made a buying decision.
Create better offers: Sometimes generic offers don't work as well as specific ones do. Try tailoring your offers for a specific subset of prospects. For example, create a free report for software companies in North America with annual revenues over $5 million rather than a generic report for SMB software buyers.
Host/Attend events: If you have a physical location where customers can gather, hold networking events to meet and get to know others. Consider inviting local influencers and business leaders to present on topics that are relevant to your business and industry. Attend local events or trade shows.
Guest blogs: Create guest blogs that contribute value to your audience and include calls-to-action (CTAs) at the end that promote your product or service.
Why is Demand Generation Important?
If you don’t understand why your organization is investing in demand generation, then chances are that money won’t be well spent. While demand generation might seem like an investment in marketing or sales, it’s really about customer loyalty and retention.
Think of demand generation as an investment in your most valuable asset: your customers. By creating sticky relationships with your current customers, you make it more likely that they will buy from you again—and buy more often.
How do you get started building that loyalty? You start by creating a demand generation strategy. There are two types of demand generation strategies: top-down and bottom-up.
Top-down is where the business comes up with some desired results for their demand gen efforts, whether it’s revenue targets or increased leads per month. From there, marketers set metrics to determine how successful they were at reaching those goals.
Bottom-up strategies, on the other hand, begin with market research on how competitors tackle lead generation before forming strategic plans around these learnings. Both approaches have their pros and cons, but neither can succeed without a clearly defined plan.
Research says that demand generation programs fail because companies lack a clear understanding of what they want to achieve.
Ultimately, no matter which approach you choose, you need to know your end goal first before moving forward with your demands. A good way to figure out if something requires immediate attention is if it’s hurting sales growth—if so, it needs to go onto your list of priorities.
All too often, companies wait until sales start slowing down before thinking about ways to boost them back up. Then when things hit rock bottom, they turn to demand generation hoping that something—anything!—will work.
This type of reactionary behavior is bound to bring failure because businesses aren’t starting with strong analytics-driven insights into their buyer personas or campaign strategies based on deep insights into what has worked (or hasn't) in the past.
And even if you manage to crack some short-term wins through happenstance, it's highly unlikely you'll retain those gains long enough for them to grow into any kind of meaningful success story.
What are the benefits of creating a demand generation strategy?
In today’s marketplace, there is more noise than ever before. It is estimated that marketers spend three times as much money on marketing messages that are never seen by their customers.
Because of all of these reasons, getting your message out is becoming increasingly difficult, and having a demand generation strategy in place will help make sure you get noticed and continue to be seen.
Once you have done so, you will be able to take control of your marketing message and let it speak for itself.
Having an effective demand generation strategy in place allows you to build trust among your target market while still sharing what you can do for them. The result? Sales! To use an analogy from Geoffrey Moore, going broad means selling less. Going narrow means selling more.
If you want to sell more (rather than simply spend your way into awareness) then going narrow is important. You need relevant information about individual prospects/customers/leads instead of a blanket, vague messaging targeting everyone equally.
Without knowing specifics about an individual prospect or customer, you are severely limiting your potential revenue opportunity with them. So why do so many companies invest heavily into advertising that doesn't target their customers or prospects individually?
Some companies confuse awareness with demand generation because they don't understand just how different they are. They think that making people aware of who they are and what they offer will translate into sales opportunities.
But if you go back to my previous statement, it becomes clear that spending most of your time focusing on developing awareness isn't very productive unless those new leads become qualified leads.
Sure, some percentage might turn into revenue-generating customers but without qualifying those leads first, all efforts will be wasted. And let me tell you something else: it isn't easy qualifying those leads either since individuals receive tons of offers every day through traditional marketing channels as well as from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Why is demand generation strategy important for B2B?
So what exactly is demand generation strategy? It’s an approach to marketing that has become one of today’s most effective tools for B2B companies.
Instead of relying on traditional marketing channels, demand generation marketers bring their companies straight to prospective customers through digital channels. This means they target specific individuals or companies that are actively seeking out solutions related to your product or service—and then give them just what they need, right when they need it.
Demand generation focuses on creating prospects who are ready and willing to buy now. And, if you can master it, you’ll get more sales at better prices than ever before.
Here are three things every company should know about demand generation strategy: What is demand generation strategy? How do I create a demand generation strategy? Why is demand generation important in my organization?
As you can see, demand generation strategy is pretty important for businesses in today’s world. You need it to increase sales, boost your bottom line, and remain competitive.
But how do you go about implementing a demand generation strategy?
One of your first steps should be writing down goals for your demand generation strategy so that you have something to work towards. Then, map out specific strategies that will help you achieve these goals.
Here are some ideas: Once you’ve decided on what tactics will make up your demand generation strategy—and determined which stakeholders should be involved in each—the next step is coming up with specific goals and measurements for each tactic.
This way, you can track whether or not each aspect of your demand generation plan is working.
What metrics should you measure in our demand generation strategy?
Next, consider how and when you’ll evaluate your program: Are there any particular trends or benchmarks that will help determine if you're on track to meet your objectives? You might want to adjust the course along the way if you aren't hitting the targets?
The answers to these questions will determine who does what when it comes time to execute any portion of your demand generation plan—as well as who gets credit for its success (or failure).
The process of developing an effective demand generation strategy is not something that should be taken lightly. Businesses that are thinking about creating their demand generation strategy but are unsure of how, or why they should do so, would do well to keep reading.
As soon as you understand what demand generation is, how it works and why every business needs one, you will have all of the tools necessary to begin developing your demand generation strategy.
If you have never created a demand generation strategy before then hopefully at least some of these insights can prove useful!