4 Steps to Creating a Profitable Demand Generation Strategy
You want more people to reach out to your business for sales and services. But how can you make that happen when no one knows who you are?
You have to create buzz around your business—and to do that you’ll need set up an effective demand generation strategy that addresses:
- Which target audience are you aiming to generate demand from?
- What inbound content should you create to create buzz for that audience?
- How do you distribute that content?
- How do you set your website up to capture the demand your content strategy creates?
We’ll help you answer these questions, and show you how to create a demand strategy that fits with your team’s budget and timeline. Keep reading, or listen to the full audio in the player above.
1. Which audience are you aiming to generate demand from?
You need a framework for how you’ll talk to customers through your sales and marketing to actually generate demand.
Demand generation is making people want what you offer. You create buzz for what your product or service does, then turn it into paying customers.
But you can’t create buzz that resonates with customers, if you don’t know who your customers are.
Start by defining your buyer personas so you can get a grasp of who your audience is and how you can effectively pitch to them. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers that are based on your ideal customers’:
- Demographics (i.e., age, gender, marital status, education level, income, etc.)
- Needs, aspirations, and goals
- Problems, pain points, and obstacles to achieving their goals
- Buying behaviors and patterns
- Potential objections to your product or service
- Average timeline from interest to purchase
You can create as many buyer personas as you want, but pick just one for your pitch or piece of content (you want to keep it simple). Then ask yourself, what would you need to know if you were that person and knew nothing about your product beforehand?
From there, you can turn the message into a single sentence pitch that covers what goal you help that persona accomplish.
You need to keep this message limited to just one sentence so you can grab and keep your customers’ attention. Once you have your pitch and target customer nailed down, you can start creating content that shows them the value you bring.
2. How do you create inbound content that generates demand?
You need to generate enough interest that your target customers start coming to you. But you’ll need to first convince them that you can solve the problem they have. This can be a huge challenge if they don’t know they have a problem in the first place.
So how do you establish yourself as the ultimate go-to and make people aware they need a solution you provide?
You create inbound content that simultaneously informs your customers and establishes you as their trusted guide.
This content could include:
Your content should talk about the problem you solve and what it takes to solve that problem, instead of just talking about your business. Start with a bigger picture perspective that gives your audience what they’re already looking for first, before moving on to why you could help.
Consider the questions that keep your target audience up at night, and use your content to answer those, preferably in ways that are more helpful than what competitors are doing.
If you notice your audience doesn’t engage with some topics as much as others, adjust your content accordingly. It’s all about what your target customer is interested in.
You’ll also want to make sure your content is optimized for SEO, so you’re simultaneously building up your web presence.
Pick 10 keywords that you want to rank on the first page of Google, and start producing content around them.
3. Where should you share the inbound content you create?
It doesn't matter what you do if no one knows you did it. So once you have a constant flow of content, where do you actually share it so it reaches your target customer?
Email campaigns, social media pages, and open sources (like GrowthHackers or Zest) are all great places to start. You also want to toss it up in industry forums (assuming you're engaged in industry discussions already).
You can use collaboration tools like Trello to organize when and where inbound content is scheduled to be shared (along with any instructions for additional copy that needs to be within the initial body of the email or social media post). Agorapulse is also helpful for managing inbound content that will be shared across multiple social media platforms.
You’ll want a content creation process that allows enough time for:
1. The content creator or writer to receive, review, and complete the content assigned to them
2. The draft to be approved and proofed by a supervisor
3. Any final edits that need to be made are completed
4. The content to actually be scheduled, uploaded, and shared in the correct places
This process leaves space so your team can act on the fly if a new trend or piece of news needs to be included in your content flow. You also may want time to pull quotes and insights from other customers and partners to heighten your content.
Depending on your budget, you can pay to promote your content on social media or through industry or local media—but we recommend you have a website that is setup to convert any traffic you create before that (which we’ll touch on next).
4. How do you set your website up to capture the demand you create?
Your website's goal is to show people your value and be a lead generation machine. That means having it optimized, so visitors stay and are led to take a next step.
Use the pitch we talked about earlier as a way to immediately introduce your visitors to the problem you can help them solve.
Keep your calls to action concise, clear, and limited in number. You don’t want to confuse your visitors. Start with the value proposition, and tell people what problem you help them solve.
Then use forms to create opportunities for visitors to take action, like:
- Entering their email for more information
- Scheduling a demo
- Downloading a free trial
Analyze your site’s traffic, and ask yourself:
1. Are people filling out the forms or taking the next action step you want? If not, why?
2. What pages do they pay attention to or ignore?
3. Are they able to quickly get answers to their questions?
Consider those questions, and make adjustments accordingly. A website that’s been optimized should have a bounce rate that’s in the 40% to 50% range. Any higher means you still have more work to do.
Focus on helping people achieve their goals.
A successful demand generation strategy ultimately comes down to creating messages that people care about. What do you do better than everyone else, and why does it matter to your target customer?