Robert Rose, a sought-after consultant and one of the world’s most recognized experts in content strategy and marketing, rightly says, ‘Great marketing makes markets.’
That’s what marketing is all about. We, marketers, are not just here to talk about our offerings or identify existing demand; we are here to create demand where little or none exists.
That sounds like a challenging task!
In today’s competitive and fragmented market, businesses struggle to generate demand.
- The buyer’s journey has become more complex than ever before.
- The market is full of loud ideas, making it arduous for businesses to differentiate themselves.
- Most marketers are busy devising strategies to reach prospective customers, engage them, and measure the success of their marketing efforts. When juggling multiple tasks, generating new demand seems like a daunting task.
But regardless of how challenging it may sound, demand generation is critical for supporting a business’s growth strategies. Demand generation is a critical part of today’s B2B marketing. In fact, it’s become even more important during these unprecedented times.
No wonder, most businesses are increasing their demand generation budgets. In the State of Demand Gen 2020 report, more than half of the marketers surveyed shared that they have increased their demand gen activities. Further, 78% expect to increase or maintain their demand gen budgets going forward.
So, what is demand generation? How can demand generation help B2B marketers become market leaders? How can they leverage content marketing for demand generation strategies? What is the role of SEO in all this?
We will answer these and other questions on-demand generation in this post.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is quickly emerging as a popular strategy for B2B and SaaS firms because it offers a foolproof approach to attracting and engaging prospects and securing new leads. By mastering the art of demand generation you are creating a predictable pipeline for your business.
So, what is demand generation?
Demand generation involves sales and marketing initiatives that work towards generating interest for a product or service and creating growth opportunities.
If you look at Gartner’s definition –
Whereas, HubSpot states –
The common points in these two definitions are that demand generation strategies –
- Drive brand awareness and get customers excited about a company’s offerings
- Help organizations reach new markets
- Ensure long-term customer engagement
Besides what’s shared in these definitions, I would like to add that –
- Demand gen aims at building and nurturing key prospects for the long term.
- It is not a quick-fix customer acquisition tactic but a long-term commitment to customer relationships.
To sum it up, demand generation allows marketers to achieve what they should (as shared by Robert Rose) – create demand and make a market, even before they have introduced their products or services.
Demand Generation versus Lead Generation: What’s the Difference?
There’s a subtle difference between demand generation and lead generation. Both aim at building relationships as the prospects move through the conversion funnel. However, the basic difference between the two is that –
- Demand generation is a data-driven methodical process for converting strangers into prospects. It creates awareness and demand for your offerings, expands the audience, and drives traffic to transform interest into action.
Examples – Thought leadership content, brand storytelling, and developing content journey maps.
It may also include customer delight tactics intended to get the attention of your existing customers.
- Lead generation involves sharing strategic content that is aimed at nurturing brand-aware prospects, converting them into qualified leads, and moving them lower in the funnel.
Examples – Gated content like white papers, webinars, and videos.
Not every prospect is ready to convert immediately. You need demand generation to drive awareness and develop a market. Thus, your lead generation results are the fruits of your demand generation efforts. Demand generation gets your brand the necessary attention and lead generation will further generate conversions and revenue.
Thus, both demand generation and lead generation differ in their intent. For instance, in demand gen, organic and paid social media can be used to promote assets like company-created e-books or reports to boost thought leadership.
On the other hand, lead generation will use these assets to capture lead information and turn them into known names and qualified leads.
Here’s a chart that sums up the difference between demand generation and lead generation.
Since both demand generation and lead generation operate at different levels in the marketing funnel, the metrics that measure success are unique to both.
Demand Generation Metrics
- Cost per mille (CMP) – the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one web page.
- Organic traffic
- Market share
We will discuss more metrics in the latter part of this post.
Lead Generation Metrics
- Marketing ROI per campaign
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC) per campaign
- Conversion rate
- Time to conversion
- Number of email subscribers
- Number of qualified leads
A power-packed marketing campaign leverages both demand generation and lead generation
Why Should You Invest in Demand Generation Marketing?
Now that you know the difference between lead generation and demand generation, you must have figured out the significance of investing in demand gen. People need to be aware of and interested in your offerings even before you sell them aggressively or before they consider buying them.
For instance, check out this ad by Microsoft in which they communicate their passion to create software that helps kids reach their full potential.
They don’t waste their time telling how much their software costs. Instead, they share how it will impact the lives of little kids who are the future.
Simply put, they are creating awareness and interest for their offerings. They are generating demand that may persuade you to visit their website, check out their products, and even buy.
Here are a few clear benefits of investing in demand generation.
1. Builds Brand Awareness
Demand generation strategies act like awareness machines that make your brand stand out from the crowd and draw interested/engaged traffic to your business site.
Further, thought leadership content like white papers or a research report shared online helps build trust and brand reputation. When the target audience constantly encounters your thought leadership content they are bound to trust your brand over others, thereby strengthening relationships.
2. Boosts Website Traffic
With fewer or no website visitors you have no one to nurture or convert. Demand generation allows marketers to attract the right audience – people who will be interested in their offerings.
Demand gen strategies focus on researching the type of content customers are looking for. The insights derived are used to create content that appeals to them. Post that, they make sure they get found by the searchers as they research.
That way demand generation can significantly improve the traffic to your website, thereby boosting the chances of conversion.
3. Secures New Leads
As mentioned earlier, demand generation has a broader focus on creating awareness. Though demand generation is not as narrow in its objectives like lead generation, it creates a significant surge in qualified leads.
A well-executed demand generation strategy can attract and fill the top of the funnel with a stream of qualified traffic. Since this traffic is educated on the problem, they are more likely to translate into qualified leads and loyal customers.
So, with demand generation, you can attract and engage prospects and lead them downwards in the funnel using lead generation activities.
4. Acts as an Antidote to Sales and Marketing Silos
The marketing and sales teams rely on each other not just to achieve common organizational goals but also to perform their roles effectively. However, in most organizations, the two functions are working too disparately to be effective.
The marketing team drives prospects to the sales team; hence they must work together. Demand generation bridges the gap between sales and marketing, aligning them towards achieving powerful inbound growth.
It is an antidote to sales and marketing silos because it offers a holistic approach to customer engagement. It includes marketing and sales touchpoints mapped across the overall strategic timeline of the organization. Thus, it encourages the two functions to work together strategically to drive the organization’s ROI.
5. Increases Revenue
More awareness and qualified leads moving down the funnel translates into more revenue. Not to forget, strong customer relationships and trust are built through the demand gen content.
Thus, demand generation offers a short-term and long-term revenue strategy for organizations where they can build the pipeline, nurture leads, and establish a consistent rapport with their audience.
Why Content Marketing + SEO Is the Secret Sauce for Demand Generation?
Content marketers, SEOs, and demand generation staff work in different ways. However, they share a common goal of attracting prospects and ultimately boosting conversion and sales.
The content team shares the brand story that’s overlooked by the organization’s brand strategy. The SEO team optimizes the content for the search engines to grow organic rankings and traffic. Whereas, the demand gen team works closely with the sales team to understand and win over the target audience.
Imagine what happens when these teams work together!
The three areas put together can take the business to the next level. Content marketers and SEOs get interesting audience insights and learn what they are seeking and how they prefer to consume information. On the other hand, demand generation teams can use the value-adding content to engage prospects at every stage of the sales journey.
Content and SEO have always been core components of go-to-market strategies. Today, modern B2B buyers have grown independent and prefer to do their research. In fact, research shows that most B2B customers have progressed more than 70% through their decision-making process even before interacting with a sales representative.
Hence, it is up to marketers to guide them through the process with thought-leadership content in the format they consume and on the channels, they frequent the most.
Content marketing for SaaS demand generation prioritizes content and SEO. This can trigger a methodical shift in the perception of the audience, thereby capturing mindshare and driving brand affinity. Hence, content and SEO are the lifeblood of demand generation.
In the next section, we will see how you can leverage content and SEO to power your demand generation strategies.
Top Content and SEO Strategies for Demand Generation
1. Build a Value-Rich Blog
If you visit Growfusely’s blog you’ll see that we share a sea of information for SaaS business owners and content marketers. Each month our blog receives a growing amount of traffic because we solve problems in the B2B SaaS industry and the content marketing realm.
Simply put, our blog offers thought leadership content that addresses audience pain points, feeds their interests and helps SaaS and B2B marketers solve their problems. So, if a SaaS firm needs to plan and implement a foolproof content marketing strategy, they’ll get in touch with our team.
Thus, building a content-rich blog can help you gain online visibility, attract qualified traffic, and engage the right audience. Blogging is one of the most effective and popular content marketing tactics for businesses wanting to create a buzz about their offerings and procures qualified leads.
1. Put Your Audience First
This advice will be offered by every SEO pro known in history! If you want to get ahead of the competition and share stellar content, you should analyze your audience.
- Use an audience analysis tool
Tools like Google Analytics, Google Ads Keyword Planner, and Facebook Insights to identify the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your target audience. These tools will tell you the type of content that will resonate with your audience.
For instance, Google Ads Keyword Planner allows you to discover keywords and phrases your audience is searching for. It also reveals terms they are using in large volumes.
The insights derived will feed your keyword research.
- Use this information to create a buyer persona.
Successful demand generation begins with creating a buyer persona.
Share these audience insights with your sales and marketing teams to define your ideal customer with their goals, pain points, the type of content they prefer, and the channels they are active on.
- Consider creating a survey
Creating a survey would help you know what your audience expects. Free tools like SurveyMonkey can help you uncover opportunities to help your audience.
Get hold of the recurring phrases encountered in these survey responses and brainstorm a few alternatives on Google Ads Keyword Planner.
The tool will return a list of related phrases. It will show you how many people have searched for each phrase and their competitiveness. Focus on phrases that have a high search volume.
2. Optimize Content for Search Intent
Closely related to knowing your audience is understanding the search intent. It is the main goal of a user to search. Every searcher has a specific goal for searching online. It could be to make a purchase, gather information, or search for a service.
There are four types of search intent –
- Informational – looking for educational content (How to/ What is/ Where do I)
- Navigational – finding a page from a specific source (Growfusely content marketing agency)
- Commercial – for products or services people are interested in but may not be ready for purchase (best content agencies in Asia/ which mobile should I buy?)
- Transactional – motivated users who are ready to buy (Buy Apple iPhone/ Apple iPhone price)
Regardless of the type, Google is smart enough to assess whether or not its users are satisfied with the search results.
So, make sure your content is optimized for search intent.
- Match your content format with the search intent.
For instance, a query like ‘how to calculate content marketing ROI’ will deserve a step-by-step content ROI guide like this to satisfy the search intent.
- Categorize your content by search intent to visualize all aspects of your content, including keywords and formats.
- Think about the passive or secondary intent too! If you look at our post on How to Measure Content Marketing ROI, you will notice that it addresses the most explicit intent of the query – How to calculate content ROI?
However, in this guide, we have also shared additional content like ‘Challenges faced when calculating content ROI’ and ‘Tips to build a strong business case for content marketing.’
This content responds to passive or secondary intent – learning how to calculate content ROI.
Optimizing content for search intent will make each piece of content you share in the blog valuable to your audience. Be clear on what questions you are answering and make sure to include the specific keywords in the title and the description.
3. Build Amazing Content
Once you have performed your keyword research and have your content plan in place, it’s time to build your content. Each content piece on your blog should –
- Be well-written and well-researched. It should answer the most pressing issues of your audience.
- Carry recent statistics, case studies, and examples that show them the ‘how.’
- Include the main and secondary keywords in the main content as well as the title and descriptions.
- Be scannable with proper subheadings. It should have plenty of headers, subheaders, and bulleted content for easy skimming.
- Be media-rich with relevant and high-quality images and videos.
- Avoid using a lot of text-based content. Include media files to make your content engaging and easy to understand.
- Leverage exit-intent pop-ups to boost conversions.
Blogging is one of the most popular tactics to gain online visibility, arouse interest, and attract relevant traffic. So, make sure you build a content-rich blog that helps in long-term awareness and affinity building.
2. Pair Lead Magnets with SEO
Lead magnets like white papers, templates, ebooks, or newsletters compel visitors to share their information for access to content. They make excellent demand generation tools, especially when paired with SEO.
That’s because to attract the right people, your lead magnet should rank on the first page of Google. Research shows that over 75% of users never scroll past the first page of the SERPs. And the first result gets 33% of clicks.
Hence, you should leverage SEO for SaaS demand generation. This will allow you to tweak certain elements of your lead magnet to ensure that Google promotes your content on page 1.
Most lead magnets are PDFs, whether they are guides, white papers, presentations, ebooks, toolkits, or templates. Though Google can crawl, index, and rank them, PDFs demand a unique set of SEO best practices. Here’s how you can create SEO-friendly lead magnets.
1. Create an Impressive Landing Page
Your landing page should sell your lead magnet and inspire confidence in a first-time visitor who’s usually reluctant to trade their email address for your content.
First things first, start with a strong headline. Next, make it relevant for the reader by sharing how the contents of the lead magnet will add value to them.
Also, make your content scannable and engaging by writing short sentences and paragraphs and a relevant image. Ideally, the image should be a shot of the first page of the white paper or ebook.
Don’t forget to include the relevant keywords, thus enabling your landing page to rank in the SERPs.
Finally, keep the sign-up form short to minimize signup friction.
Check out this landing page for a white paper by Salesforce Pardot. It has a succinct headline and promises useful information that would negate the need for any other resource.
For more advice on creating an awesome landing page for your lead magnet, read our post –
2. Compress the File
Page speed is a critical ranking factor. Hence, it’s important to optimize your lead magnet for speed.
- Make sure the “Fast Web View” is enabled. This feature restructures the file to download one page at a time. This hugely helps if your PDF is big
- Use standard fonts like Times, Helvetica, or Courier. Also, use a lesser font style variety. The more fonts you use, the bigger the file will get.
- Optimize the image file size by using vector-based or monochrome bitmap images.
3. Use a Keyword-Rich File Name
Make your file name search-friendly and relevant by adding the main keywords to it. Besides, here are a few filename best practices.
- Keep your file name short, about 60 characters. Use lower case only.
- Avoid using hashes or stop words like but, of, or the.
- Where possible, match the URL to your PDF title.
- Separate words using underscores or hyphens.
So, an ideal file name should look like this –
4. Use Heading Tags
Lead magnets like ebooks and white papers offer a world of information. Hence, it’s critical to break them into subheadings and assign heading tags for the content. This will make the content easily scannable by readers and search engines.
For instance, if the H1 tag functions as the headline for a page H2 and H3 can be used for subheadings to break the content into bite-sized chunks.
5. Pay Attention to the Internal Linking
Make sure your lead magnet links to other pieces of content on your website. This will encourage readers to visit relevant pages if they want to.
6. Test Your Lead Magnet
A/B testing your lead magnets will help you understand if it’s successful in generating leads. For instance, if you have a landing page that promotes a free report and another that advertises a white paper, A/B testing tools will tell you which one’s better as a lead magnet.
Use tools like Optimizely, AB Tasty, and HubSpot’s A/B Testing Kit to gauge the success of your lead magnets.
3. Prioritize B2B SEO
B2B buyers often spend a lot of time in the research and decision-making process. Moreover, there are several decision-makers and stakeholders involved in the process. Once they are convinced, making a purchase decision doesn’t take long.
In fact, a report by Gartner reveals that sales reps have roughly only 5% of a customer’s time during their B2B buying journey.
No wonder, B2B marketers are hugely dependent on demand generation strategies for procuring qualified leads. Demand generation through channels like paid ads, content marketing, and influencer marketing comprise a huge part of the initial purchase process when buyers are researching.
Google confirms that 89% of B2B buyers use the internet during the B2B research process. Further, buyers will not get in touch with a business until more than half (57%) of the purchase process is complete.
So, for nearly two-thirds of the purchase journey, your prospect is out in the ether, looking for information, forming opinions, and narrowing down their options. Thus, search engines dominate the initial phase of research.
That’s where B2B SEO comes in!
Here are a few steps for leveraging B2B SEO for demand generation.
1. Carve Your Decision Maker Persona
Since B2B purchases are long-term investments, multiple stakeholders weigh in on the buying decision. You may have managers, executives, product managers, or the CFO, each approaching the decision with different issues in mind.
Hence, a B2B firm needs to optimize its pages for all these personas.
For instance, your content may have to answer high-level questions from executives like ‘how do I scale my marketing team?’
On the other hand, you may have to answer questions like ‘what’s the best email marketing software?’ from managers.
The best way to manage this is by creating a persona that represents your ideal decision-maker. Use tools like HubSpot’s Make My Persona or Live Persona by Delve AI to create a buyer persona and attract the right kind of traffic to your website.
Check out how Make My Persona helps in creating a perfect persona for your target audience.
2. Choose Top of the Funnel Keywords
Now that your buyer persona is in place, it’s time to figure out what they are researching and how it broadly relates to what you sell.
Simply put, you need to identify top-of-the-funnel keywords, the phrases used in the first stage to drive volumes of organic traffic to your website.
It helps to visualize the entire funnel with people at the top doing general online research in your niche.
So, if you promote a software product that relates to email marketing automation, here’s what your visitors are experiencing.
So, here are a few points you need to be clear on before picking TOFU keywords.
Who is a TOFU searcher?
TOFU searchers are typically trying to educate/inform themselves on a topic. They may eventually land lower in the funnel but are presently looking for the ‘what, how, why, and when?’
So, compared to sales-ready buyers who would use phrases like ‘buy’ or ‘store near me,’ TOFU searchers will use ‘how do I automate my email campaign?’ or ‘Why am I struggling with my email campaign?’
As a marketer, your goal here is to –
- Educate them
- Incite them to come back
- Establish and nurture a bond (either through lead magnets or encouraging them to join a webinar)
They will use this information to educate themselves before they are ready for a purchase decision. So, stay on the top of their mind and add value to them to establish a trusted position.
How to attract a TOFU visitor?
The straightforward answer is – using TOFU content!
- Create stellar online content that ranks
- Create interesting and educational content and promote it on social channels to get attention
So, if we go back to the same email marketing tool example we shared earlier, for point #1 you may create an SEO-optimized FAQ page on email marketing automation.
For point #2, you may create an interesting guide on email marketing automation and attract traffic by promoting it on your LinkedIn page.
Now, what you are most waiting for!
How to find TOFU keywords for my niche?
Follow these steps.
- Pick the top 10 websites in your niche using tools like Ahref’s Keyword Explorer tool and find the keywords they are ranking for.
- Filter out the TOFU searches.
Once you have the list of keywords, all that’s left to do is pick out the TOFU phrases. I have done this for the piece of content ranking #1. Likewise, you need to repeat the exercise for the other 9 URLs.
Create TOFU keyword-optimized content
Now that you’ve narrowed down the keywords, it’s time to create TOFU content optimized for search engines and social channels.
Here are a few ideas.
1. A blog post with a sea of shoulder topics. These are topics related to your business but not directly tied to your product or service.
So, instead of topics like, ‘5 ways to choose an email marketing automation tool’ you should share super-valuable content your audience looks for.
For instance, ‘Top marketing strategies to scale your startup,’ or ‘How this ecommerce firm increased its revenue by 300%.’
2. An infographic sharing this information and recent statistics on how email automation impacts business goals.
3. A video tutorial, showing how it works.
4. Social shareable visual content on this topic.
In fact, at this stage, it’s important to create an insanely valuable blog for your B2B buyers. Include shoulder topics and ultimate guides to become a go-to resource for your prospects.
3. Optimize Your Website and Pages
Invest in on-page and technical SEO to boost your ranking. Here are a few points to consider in B2B SaaS SEO.
- Core web vitals
- Image compression
- Page load speed
- Duplicate content
- Image alt text
- Accessibility and readability
- XML sitemap and URL structure
- Optimized titles (under 60 characters)
- Optimized meta descriptions (under 160 characters)
- Internal linking structure
- Disavow spammy/toxic backlinks
- Keyword density
- Blog shareability and more
Involve your internal SEO team or count on an expert like us! The team at Growfusely will study your business case and work with you to carve out a winning strategy. Get in touch with our team now and we can take it ahead from there!
4. Promote Your B2B Content
Off-page SEO involves procuring backlinks and sharing social posts. Though this part of demand generation SEO strategies isn’t completely under your control, it’s important to invest in them to improve your website’s authoritativeness and ranking.
Here’s how you can boost your off-page SEO efforts.
- Share valuable resources like original research.
- Publish high-quality and link-worthy content.
- Engage in email outreach for link building.
- Promote your content on social channels like LinkedIn.
4. Invest in Account-Based Marketing to Complement Your Demand Gen Efforts
In the B2B world, building awareness is easier said than done. Among the various strategies used to connect with audiences and increase traffic, ABM campaigns are quite effective. These campaigns can help marketers lead their teams to build profitable relationships with their audience.
In the ABM approach, SaaS firms treat their customers or prospects as individual accounts instead of one huge audience. Hence, the strategies implemented are highly targeted and personal, allowing B2B firms to focus on their customer and customers their marketing efforts.
This includes personalizing the content creation too!
ABM strategies can boost a B2B firm’s demand generation funnel because –
They Allow Personalization at Scale
Most B2B firms struggle with personalizing account engagement across every available channel. For businesses using a customer relationship management tool, ABM can work with AI and use predictive analytics to spot engaged leads.
That way, demand gen experts can focus all their efforts on key accounts, making it easy for them to personalize engagement and supersede audience expectations.
They Facilitate Cross-Team Alignment
As I mentioned earlier in the post, marketing, sales, and service teams often work in silos. This prevents them from getting an overall view of the account data, making it tough for all teams to meet the expectations of their audience.
With unified data on the CRM, AI-powered ABM can help all the teams involved have access to the account data. They can assess the engagement trends to determine which campaigns resonate with the accounts. Hence, all teams can align to deliver seamless customer engagement.
They Offer Great ROI
For demand generation teams, the best way to measure ROI is through the traffic and revenue generated. ABM allows them to get a unified view of all the account data, thereby allowing them to measure their ROI.
Demand gen professionals can use AI-powered CRM insights and real-time analytics to see how their campaigns are driving sales and conversions at each stage of the sales funnel.
Account-based marketing is a must when it comes to B2B demand generation. When done right, ABM can help generate demand from the key decision-makers in your target account.
5. Don’t Miss Out on Link Building
A lot of research has proven that B2B buyers need multiple interactions before completing a purchase. Hence, you need to look at all the factors influencing strangers to become leads and eventually customers.
The path from becoming a stranger to a lead is far shorter than converting a stranger to a customer. Moreover, businesses can communicate more meaningfully with leads than with strangers. That’s where B2B demand generation tactics like link building help as they increase these interactions.
An effective link-building strategy combines inbound and outbound links to make your content credible.
Here are a few tactics to improve brand awareness and traffic using link building.
Organize Expert Round-Ups
Involve experts in your industry to share views about the most pressing issues in your niche. Since these expert round-up content pieces hold authoritative views, they are bound to improve your brand authority in the industry,
Further, these experts or influencers will likely share your content or add a link to your content for their audience to read. This way you are widening your audience base and generating more traffic to your website.
Invest in Contributor Blogging
This is a time-tested tactic in B2B link development. Seek guest blogging possibilities with high domain authority websites in your niche and share your content there.
Moz’s Domain Analysis tool shares information on a website’s authority, the number of backlinks it has, and from which sites.
Before pitching your content though, make sure the website you are considering is actively seeking guest bloggers in your niche to contribute their thoughts, views, or information.
For instance, our blog is open for high-value and engaging content in the SaaS and B2B niche. 🙂
Repair Broken Links
Broken links indirectly affect your ranking by increasing bounce rates. Hence, it negatively affects the time your visitors spend on your website and how you pass the link juice. It sends Google signals that your website is outdated.
Use tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to identify and fix the broken links on and to your website.
Check out how the Ahrefs Broken Link Checker works.
Once you have identified the external broken links, fixing them is fairly straightforward. You should either remove them or replace them with a valid link.
For internal broken links, check if it’s a typing error (the most common cause of 404 errors!). If not, Google recommends using 301 redirects to a page with relevant content.
Build Links with Social Shares
One sure-fire way to get more backlinks to your content is through social shares. Though social sharing is considered a part of an off-page SEO strategy, it isn’t a ranking factor.
Yet, social shares indirectly contribute to SEO because they allow extensive content distribution, improve online visibility and traffic, and boost brand reputation.
This study of 23 million social shares also explains this correlation. The graph below shows how the highest-ranking content usually has more social shares.
6. Implement Local SEO Strategies
Sure, global SEO gives your brand much-needed exposure. But it isn’t always the best-case scenario!
For instance, if you are a local SaaS firm selling file hosting services and operating in New York City, attracting traffic from all over the world will be pointless. What’s the use of that traffic if you do not rank high locally?
By targeting keywords like ‘how can a file hosting service help my business’ you can eliminate the real local competitors.
So, local SEO can help you –
- Eliminate local competition
- Attract traffic that is ready to be nurtured into hot leads
- Build a local community and strengthen your relationship with the audience
Here’s how you can boost demand through local SEO.
Create/ Update Your GMB Page
Google My Business is a great way to help your local audience know more about your business. Your GMB profile offers Google accurate information about your business, thereby improving your brand visibility, traffic, and local rankings.
Further, localize your website by sharing accurate information about your business name, address, and phone (NAP).
Notice how DropBox has updated its GMB page for its local audience.
Share High-Quality Local Content
Working on location-specific content can help your local audience relate to your business, thereby creating a strong relationship. One of the best ways of doing this is to answer the common questions they ask when looking for a solution. This way you can establish yourself as a local authority and convert visitors into leads.
Secondly, tools like Ahrefs and BuzzSumo can help you determine the content that will resonate with your local audience.
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, puts it across aptly when advising local business content marketers.
Work on Your Backlink Profile
Though we’ve already covered link building in the previous points, it’s critical to mention that it is a big part of local SEO. Backlinks from industry-related blogs, online directories, or newspapers can drive traffic to your business and improve your credibility with Google and other search engines.
7. Invest in Social Media Outreach
Social media outreach can help you create brand awareness, educate your audience, and build credibility and trust.
Social posts like that shared by Miro on Twitter are bound to build trust and prove business worth.
Here’s how you can leverage social media outreach to turbocharge your demand gen efforts.
Put Your Customer at the Forefront
Regardless of how technical your product or service is, customers need to be at the front and center of your campaigns. And your social campaigns are no exception to this rule!
This simple tactic can make your brand feel relatable and humane.
Check out how Twitter has emerged as a staple customer service platform for SaaS businesses. It is a transparent platform that serves as an effective alternative to emails or chats.
Besides customer care, make sure you share customer stories to create a sense of loyalty among your customers and build trust with prospective customers.
Notice how Sendlane shares posts about happy customers as a part of their customer-centric social strategy.
Break the Myth: SaaS Content Needs to Be Boring
Yes, SaaS and B2B are more about ‘software’ and ‘technology.’ But your social content shouldn’t bore your audience.
Make your social presence felt by sharing engaging and conversational content. Your followers should feel that there are humans behind these social accounts (not robots!).
Check out how Sendlane shares details of their talented team, through this behind-the-scenes video. They’ve also managed to add a humor element to it.
Meet the friendly faces that make up our Business Development & Strategic Partnerships teams! 👋 pic.twitter.com/HPUMEilkKj
— Sendlane (@Sendlane) January 12, 2022
Prioritize B2B-Friendly Social Channels
A recent research report shared by Content Marketing Institute revealed that LinkedIn is the most preferred social channel used by B2B marketers to distribute content. This channel is followed by Twitter and Facebook.
Each of these channels can help you serve a specific purpose.
- LinkedIn: It is the ultimate B2B channel for building thought leadership and engaging your audience. This is also a great place to connect with influencers like industry analysts, experts from industry bodies, or opinion leaders.
- Twitter: It is a great channel for interacting with prospects and customers. Moreover, it helps you spot the latest trends in your industry.
- Facebook: It’s an effective channel for customer and employee-centric engagement.
- YouTube: Leverage this channel to share tutorials, how-to videos, webinar highlights, and interviews with experts.
- Instagram: This is the perfect channel to share your visual content, namely infographics or a behind-the-scenes video.
Don’t Forget to Measure Your Social Success
Measuring your social media efforts is critical to B2B social. Without tools like TapInfluence, HubSpot, and Sprout Social you will never know which channels work best for your business and whether your efforts are generating the traffic you expect.
Count on social media analytics to determine how well your social content is attracting visitors and track your ROI.
8. Assess Your Performance
All demand generation content marketing strategies and SEO strategies consider a variety of metrics to help a marketer paint a clear picture. Besides the three metrics we shared earlier in this post, here are a few metrics that you should consider.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
MQL is an essential KPI that tells you whether you are on track to meet your company’s revenue goals. It is a lead that your marketing team deems is likely to convert into a sale.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQLs)
An SQL is a hot lead your sales team has qualified to receive sales material and buy your product.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
This metric offers clear insights into the success of your demand generation campaigns. Though demand generation doesn’t lead to sales, the number of qualified leads acquired and how much their acquisition cost can be attributed to your strategies.
CPA can be calculated by dividing the total costs for acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) by the number of customers acquired during that period.
Demand Gen Funnel Progression Conversion Rate
As visitors move through the funnel a huge chunk may drop out for some reason. However, as a marketer, you need to track the number of prospects who are successfully moving through your demand generation funnel. This number should keep growing with time.
Make sure you are focused on continually improving your conversion rates between stages along with the quality of your leads.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV or LTV)
CLV tells you the revenue you will earn for each new customer generated through your marketing campaigns and channels. It is the net profit contribution of a customer over their time with you.
A growing CLV indicates that your demand generation funnel is generating qualified traffic and high-value customers.
A lot of your demand gen success can be assessed through the success of the content you share.
For instance, the comments, likes, and shares for your social posts speak volumes about how engaging the content is.
Similarly, email management tools show your email open rates, clickthroughs, email sharing, and bounce rates.
If you’ve been successful at delivering quality and value-adding content at the top of the funnel, your brand sentiment will be high. Sentiment analysis tools like HubSpot’s Service Hub, Repustate, Critical Mention, and Lexalytics can save you valuable time and effort involved in organizing and reporting customer feedback.
These tools process customer comments and feedback and interpret whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral.
Your Demand Generation Tech Stack: Tools That Can Help
Regardless of whether you are a SaaS business owner, a B2B marketer, a sales professional, or a customer service professional, your ultimate success depends on your tech stack. Today’s digital world demands firms be equipped with technology and clean data.
For demand generation campaigns, you can count on all-in-one extensible platforms like HubSpot or specialized tools for individual strategies.
Platforms like HubSpot allow marketers to run their entire demand gen strategy from a single place. On the other hand, we have specialized tools that focus on single strategies and offer more specialized features for the task.
Regardless of what you choose, you need tools that can accommodate the key aspects of your demand gen campaign. Here are a few tools that are worth considering.
1. Content Management System (CMS)
Your demand generation strategy will be fuelled by the volume and the types of content you share. Hence, you need a content management system that can manage those volumes. Moreover, it should be so straightforward that it allows non-developers to generate and publish content on their websites.
A good CMS is an asset for websites with landing pages, blogs, forms, and more. It can also report on the success of all these assets. CMS removes the technical details and coding needed to upload content assets, thereby empowering marketers to share, optimize, and monitor the success of their content in one place.
The most popular CMS used today include WordPress, Drupal, Wix, and Squarespace among others.
2. Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
A CRM stores all the prospect information captured when they fill a contact form or share information in exchange for gated content. Further, the platform manages interactions with prospects and customers.
Effective CRM software includes sales outreach capabilities and sales acceleration tasks like email templates and automation. Moreover, they offer reporting and analytics, allowing marketers to organize contacts, qualify leads, and nurture prospects into a sale.
Thus, a customer relationship management platform is the hub of information that businesses run on. Hence, CRM should be a priority in your B2B tech stack.
You can invest in popular CRM software like Salesforce, HubSpot CRM, Zoho, and LeadSquared to centralize, organize, and store the information captured through your demand gen activities.
3. Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP)
If CRM is the central nervous system for demand generation activities, marketing automation platforms are the muscle. MAP can automate and manage all marketing tactics, namely conversational marketing, email marketing, form strategies, call to action, social media marketing, and more.
For instance, in email marketing, MAP can automate email sends based on your prospect’s behavior and online interactions with your brand.
As your business grows, marketing automation software like Marketo, HubSpot, or Oracle Eloqua can help you make the most of your marketing efforts. This tool can go a long way in making your life easier.
4. Business Intelligence Platforms (BI)
Business intelligence platforms offer firms the required data within their business context, empowering them to make better decisions. Demand generation teams can leverage BI to identify and focus on qualified and high-profit leads.
These tools use predictive modeling, data mining, and contextual dashboards to help businesses improve the accuracy of their sales forecasts. What’s more? Businesses can measure the effectiveness of their marketing programs, thereby improving their performance.
Tools like SAP Business Objects, Datapine, and MicroStrategy offer comprehensive reporting, analysis, and interactive data visualization. These can easily integrate with different data sources and perform advanced analysis to generate actionable insights.
5. Conversational Marketing Tools
Having a meaningful conversation with prospects early on can go a long way in building meaningful relationships. A recent report by Drift revealed that 55% of businesses use conversational marketing to generate and nurture qualified leads.
Conversational marketing tools like HubSpot Live Chatbot, Facebook Messenger Chatbot, Drift, and BirdEye allow marketers to connect with and engage their audience, thus helping brands to deliver meaningful conversations.
Common Demand Generation Mistakes to Avoid
1. Misinterpreting demand gen as lead gen
It’s natural for marketers to misinterpret demand generation as lead generation. Both aim at gaining traction and eventually boosting sales.
However, lead generation, as the name suggests, ends with a sales-qualified lead who is ready to become a customer. It works at the middle and the bottom of the funnel.
Hence, lead generation efforts can be directly attributed to the sales and revenue generated.
On the other hand, demand generation works before and after the lead generation strategy. So, demand generation helps in improving brand awareness and driving traffic into the funnel. It also works after the sales process with referrals to generate demand and promote customers.
2. Investing in demand gen without building a robust content repository
More often than not, we see marketers diving into demand generation campaigns without giving a thought to the content needed to scale these efforts. Many directly invest in data and technology only to fail later.
Hence, we recommend beginning with an existing content repository that can be reused and updated to offer the target audience a few interesting content pieces.
So, if you have original research, it could be repackaged as infographics, videos, case studies, or gated content like white papers or ebooks. Similarly, old webinar videos that are still relevant could be converted into a handy guide that addresses the challenges of your audience.
3. Taking the singular marketing approach for demand generation
Several businesses falsely believe that focusing on only paid media, SEO, or account-based marketing can help them succeed with their demand gen efforts. However, by working on a single channel to execute demand generation, you are investing too much in one channel and not taking a holistic approach towards marketing.
For instance, ABM, paid media, and SEO cannot work if content marketing is ignored.
Demand generation encompasses more than just a single channel or marketing approach. A great demand generation strategy recognizes how each marketing fits in the whole picture and combines them to drive interest and mobilize their buyers’ journey.
4. Not having a clear set of KPIs
Check out what Linda J. Popky, a Silicon Valley expert, had to say about why marketers need to measure the right KPIs for all of their marketing efforts.
Failing to have a clear set of demand gen KPIs in place will surely cause your campaign to fail. As mentioned earlier, demand generation encompasses several aspects of marketing, involving a diverse team. Each team will use a variety of metrics to measure their performance; however, all these efforts should achieve common goals.
5. Only focusing on data and ignoring customers
True, earlier in this post, we defined demand generation as a data-driven process. However, that doesn’t mean you completely rely on demographic reports, historical data, sales projections, and market research to design your campaigns.
While this data is critical, you should focus your efforts on constructing a clear buyer persona. Get close to your customers’ motivations, pain points, and buying behavior. Paying attention to these aspects will help you create a foolproof customer-centric demand generation strategy.
6. Following a standard approach when serving content
By this, we mean failing to serve custom content for each buyer persona or buyer at an earlier or later stage of the conversion funnel.
Though you may address the same topic, the way you write and serve it will differ for different audiences. Hence, the depth and scope of each piece of content will differ because their goals aren’t the same.
7. Letting your demand gen and content team work in silos
If your content and demand gen team are working in silos, it’s a clear signal that your demand generation efforts are being set up for failure.
Content is the brain stem of your demand generation strategy, offering value and addressing the implicit needs and pain points of your prospective customers. Hence, successfully running any digital strategy requires content.
Hence, content and demand generation work closely together to drive traffic, boost awareness, and create a strong connection with the target audience. It also contributes to creating additional demand among your existing customers.
Demand generation encompasses all the marketing efforts targeted towards attracting, exciting, and engaging prospects. These strategies – from sales and marketing teams – nurture key prospects over their lifetime, thereby engaging them at various points and on multiple channels.
We are sure the information and tactics shared in this post will help you build a successful B2B demand generation strategy and take your venture to the next level.
If you are looking to supercharge your demand generation strategies with content marketing and SEO, get in touch with us now. Click here for a free content and SEO consultation to get started!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is demand generation?
Demand generation is an umbrella term for all the marketing activities aimed at getting prospective customers excited about a product or service.
2. Is demand generation the same as inbound marketing?
Though you may feel that demand generation sounds a lot like inbound marketing, the two aren’t synonymous at all. You may consider them as cousins working towards achieving a common goal.
Demand generation involves targeted marketing programs that drive audience awareness and interest. They focus on building long-term customer relationships.
On the other hand, inbound marketing is a tactic applied to attract customers to a company’s offerings. It could use content marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, search engine optimization, and other techniques in doing so.
You may see some overlap between these two fields. That’s because demand generation can be considered as an umbrella term that encompasses several inbound marketing tactics. By that, we mean inbound marketing is just one type of demand generation.
3. Who is accountable for demand generation – the marketing or sales team?
Both! Demand generation aligns with the larger organization. Hence, the marketing and sales team each play a critical role in driving demand generation strategies. The overarching role of these functions is to ensure consistency and growth in the sales pipeline.
Hazel Kamath is a Senior Content Writer and Strategist at Growfusely – a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Mumbai. Hazel specializes in the research and development of stellar content in the content marketing and SEO domains. She has over 15 years of corporate experience across strategic brand management and content development. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her with paints and brushes. She’s also an avid fitness enthusiast. Get in touch with her on LinkedIn.