When it comes to defining and answering, “what is demand generation?” it’s about driving awareness and interest in your service or product. Ultimately, you want users to understand your product or service, provide a solution to a problem they are facing, and to provide your users with value.
If you’re in the process of launching a new business, product, service, or app, it is important to have demand generation strategies in place to grow your business.
With the right checklist and tools, reach new markets, garner interest, and promote new features, build consumer awareness and interest, generate PR, and re-engage existing customers. Learn more about what is demand generation, the top demand generation strategies and how to implement, demand generation best practices.
What is Demand Generation Marketing?
So what is demand generation? It’s a gradual and comprehensive data-driven strategy that drives awareness and interest. The goal is to grow your business by establishing a predictable and strategic pipeline.
It’s more than creating demand. It is about sharing valuable and beneficial information to your ideal customers. It involves all marketing and sales initiatives and touchpoints throughout a customer’s journey–starting with the initial prospect interest, all the way to upselling customers. With the right demand generation strategies, you will build leads and nurture long term, loyal customer relationships. This means demand generation best practices require long term investments, not a quick fix, or a one-off activity.
What is Demand Generation vs Lead Generation?
To really delve into demand generation, let’s get into what is demand generation vs lead generation. They differ in a few key ways. Demand generation is the process of creating demand and interest in your product or service. While lead generation is about obtaining an interested prospect’s contact details, and following up with them. Lead generation focuses on using information gathered by interested prospects or leads to take action, such as having a sales team make contact.
Demand generation marketing guides prospects from the point of awareness and through various strategies that increase trust, confidence, and interest in your brand, product, service, and the problem it will solve for them. As we will discuss in the demand generation strategies section, your goal is to promote product or service benefits, showcase expertise with leadership content, provide free resources or tools, and more.
Demand Generation Best Practices
Demand generation best practices really just translate to creating a clear personalization strategy. This includes data, ongoing testing, staying on top of new trends, targeting, retargeting, and more. With these demand generation marketing strategies in place, you will have metrics attached to each marketing activity. The goal and the sign of successful demand generation is nurturing customer relationships for long term success and loyalty.
Demand generation marketing can be split into the following three categories:
Above we discussed what is demand generation vs lead generation, and found lead generation is about obtaining an interested prospect’s contact details, and following up with them. In order for your demand generation marketing to move forward, you need interested prospects. With lead generation, you aim to gather details about potential customers and add that information to your database.
Unless you are embarking on an entirely new and untapped market, your potential user base is probably using an alternative solution. Research your competitors and any similar products or services that are currently available. Capture the market demand to guide prospects to your products and services. This is typically achieved through PPC advertisements, SEO optimizations, or 3rd party intent data.
At this stage, you’ve generated interest and captured demand. It is time to accelerate your sales process. Engage in conversation with potential customers and create valuable and specifically targeted content for your target market at each stage of the sales funnel.
Demand Generation Strategies
With demand generation strategies, promote product or service benefits, showcase expertise with leadership content, provide free resources or tools, and more.
Audience and customer journey
The crux of a successful demand generation marketing strategy hinges on understanding the problem your end-user wishes to solve. The success of your demand generation activities are directly connected to how well you identify and connect with your target customers. To begin with, create a customer persona as your point of reference. Creating different personas for each type of audience helps better define the pain point each type of user is trying to solve. It is essential to stay connected and put yourself in your users’ shoes every step of the way.
With qualitative research through user feedback and conversations, you can form an in-depth user persona that includes information such as their interests, dislikes, preferred channels, or method of communication, annual income range, age range, and more. All of this will help build a positive user journey and the best experience.
One of the most important aspects to keep in mind is that users want to feel valued and heard. This means staying on top of trends, and implementing and responding to user feedback. This can be achieved by responding to customer questions on social media channels, creating valuable blog post content, hosting webinars, or launching email marketing campaigns.
Provide tools or resources
Offer a free tool or a free resource that helps your audience understand your solution, and gives them value. This is hands down one of the best ways to create a successful demand generation campaign, especially if you are a new brand. Show users what they can expect, and why it will provide value to their lives. Understanding your audience’s needs, pain points, and what they expect will help narrow down what kind of tool or resource they would benefit from.
Several online services and tools provide users with a free version with fewer features to give users a taste of what its premium tool can do. Users can then sign up for the free tool and get a first-hand look at what it can do and all the valuable features your service or product offers. When users find the free resource or tool helpful, they will likely seek more, which will generate more demand for the premium or paid version.
At Zight (formerly CloudApp), we offer a free version that includes unlimited screenshots and annotations, screen recordings, and GIF up to 15 seconds, a cap at 25 drops created per month, up to 25MB per file upload, a bandwidth limit of 1GB per file per day, some tool integration. However, if a user tries the free plan, and finds value in it, they can easily upgrade to the pro version for wider access to all of the available features and tools. As with many companies, a free tool or resource has proven to be a remarkably strong demand generation tool. With this demand generation service, Users get a taste of what they can expect, get comfortable with UX design, and can decide if it is something worth investing in.
If you’re worried about the overhead costs of developing a free tool, app, or resource, keep in mind that the benefit and value in the long run far outweigh the upfront costs. It is one of the best ways to build trust between your users and your brand, which increases the likelihood of them returning to your content or your website. It also reflects extremely well on your brand. Prospect users that have tried your free version and liked it, are more likely to recommend it to their friends, family, or colleagues. When you provide real value, your users are more invested and willing to provide any information required to begin the lead generation process, which is the first stage in the demand generation process. It’s also noteworthy to point out that word of mouth and recommendations from people we trust are extremely powerful when promoting a product or service.
Track and measure data
Tracking and measuring analytics and data is paramount to your demand generation strategy. Focus on specifics and measure relevant data to get insight into the effectiveness of your demand generation marketing strategy. Data is best analyzed over a longer time period to show a clear picture of what’s happening.
Start with defining what data needs to be tracked. The best place to start is by identifying and tackling low hanging fruits first. Constantly collecting the right data that provides visibility into users’ experience will help hone your strategies.
Retargeting and remarketing
Remarketing is an extremely powerful strategy that can be used to significantly increase conversion rates, as well as builds brand awareness. Perhaps your data shows that you are successfully attracting new traffic to your site, but not doing well retaining or converting this traffic. Customers that click on your site once, never return again, actually provide you with a great opportunity. With remarketing, your goal is to increase the number of repeat customers, conversion rates, and the average time-on-site.
A huge component of lead generation is content creation. If you generate content regularly, you have likely noticed that much of your lead generation comes through inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is about capturing and attracting users’ who are seeking out specific information for a problem. This is an exceptional way to increase the success of your demand generation marketing as it attracts users who are already aware of a specific problem and are actively seeking out solutions. In their search to solve an issue or find an answer, they organically come across your brand as a possible solution. Creating content that is intended to solve a common problem, this increases your likelihood of attracting inbound leads. Since inbound marketing is less disruptive and more targeted, when implemented effectively it can provide you with higher quality prospects.
Establishing your company as an industry leader is an exceptional way to build trust. Take it a step further by partnering with well-established industry leaders. Establishing relationships with industry leaders takes time and effort, but it can pay off. If you plan on producing webinars, it can be extremely beneficial to feature highly respected, well-known guests where you can provide your best advice, and strategies during the webinars, and have an industry leader to back you up.
Social media is a great way to increase awareness of your brand and build trust among your target audience. Using a proper social media marketing strategy will help nurture relationships with your social media following and increase demand for your product or service.
Target users who seek a specific lifestyle that your product or service fits with. Social media is more about creating demand and less about convincing people why your product or service is superior to its competition. Connect with your social media following on an emotional level, and the rest will follow.
Most websites provide customer chat software right on their website or app with a live chat option, typically found on the bottom left. When a user clicks on it, a live chat window will pop up on their current screen. Conversational marketing gives you the ability to deliver immediate service and information in a live environment. Having a way to quickly solve user problems as they encounter them is a generation marketing best practice must-have!
Email marketing and A/B testing
During the identifying and qualifying prospective user process, email campaigns nurture prospects while providing them with resources, offers, or material needed to understand how your solution can benefit them. Avoid blasting your email list. Keep in mind that less is more, and only offer your prospects the best tools, resources, and offers. This ensures you offer high value content that subscribers look forward to, and it will reduce the number of users clicking the unsubscribe option.
This is best achieved with A/B testing. Email marketing and A/B tests should go hand-in-hand to ensure you choose the right content, and customize timing for each of your marketing campaigns and customer segments. Track and test everything from headline length, subject line copy, offer placements, and so forth so that every detail is based on data, not assumptions.
Tailor your process to create an experience that really hooks your user. Get clear on who your target audience is so you can speak directly to them. A great process requires ongoing revisions and updates as you continue to improve your product or service. Comparing slightly tweaked variations is one of the best ways to improve your demand gen marketing process and get concrete data on which variation attracts more customers. Simple changes can help you analyze different results and optimize accordingly. It’s important to remain open to feedback, test regularly, and revise it to ensure you continue to meet your goals.
Instantly test the effectiveness of your product adoption process with users and get invaluable insight based on direct input and real user interaction with Zight (formerly CloudApp).