B2B Demand Generation Marketing: Seven Steps for Producing High-Quality Leads
For B2B marketers, lead generation is only half the battle. It’s impossible to find relevant, interested prospects if you have nothing of value to offer. And it’s pointless to try offering anything at all if you don’t know what your target market is interested in, what their problems are, and how to communicate with them. This is where demand generation comes into play. Demand generation is exactly what it sounds like, a way of generating interest in -or demand for- the goods and/or services that you sell.
But there is much more to it than simply raising awareness. Demand generation is also the comprehensive process through which B2B marketing works to align their offer with the interests and desires of their target audience. It takes place over a variety of channels, from PPC ads to infographics to posts on social media, using different forms of content. The content used in demand generation is always free, rather than blocked by ads or paywalls.
Lead generation is considered the natural outcome of your successful demand generation efforts. It builds on itself, carrying your prospects through your sales funnel in hopes of conversion through a signup or sale. It requires a lot more investment than demand generation, which can be considered preliminary to lead generation. There is less dependence on creation and distribution of non-gated content in lead generation, and instead uses content such as webinars, whitepapers, ebooks, and retargeting campaigns.
If lead generation is semi-dependent on demand generation then it’s safe to say that a well-polished sales funnel is going to require some well-polished techniques for raising brand awareness. We’ve compiled a list of seven different tactics that you can use to raise brand awareness, create relevant content to enhance your brand’s image, find your target audience, and capture your audience’s attention.
1. Know Your Niche
Every product in every industry has a ‘thing’ that makes it unique, interesting, and sets it apart from its competition. Duck Duck Go sets itself apart from other search engines by prioritizing user privacy, something Google has been in hot water for on multiple occasions. Snapchat is unique among social media platforms by letting users share strictly ephemeral content, rather than allowing notifications to accumulate and inboxes to flood.
Likewise, there is something about your offer which distinguishes you from others in your industry. More likely than not, this is the very thing which drew your customer base to you. Before you can increase any awareness of who you are it’s important to understand what people like about your brand in the first place. Otherwise your efforts are misplaced and your money is wasted on marketing campaigns which don’t serve to elevate you. Think of it as getting your picture taken and wanting to make sure the camera captures your ‘good side’.
You can identify your niche by finding the common denominators in your customer base. Standard demographics like age and gender are a good start, but try to dig deeper and look into the psychographics. Psychographics are the attitudes, preferences, goals, and behavioral predispositions of your target market. What type of education do they pursue? How do they spend their free time? What are their values, and how do those values influence their economic behavior? What are their aspirations in life?
2. Understand How What You Offer Influences Your Target Audience’s Desires
Aspirations in particular are a very powerful psychographic to understand, as you can leverage it to create an even more attractive offer. An especially attractive offer is not only cognizant of their aspirations, but also the barriers to those aspirations. Icing on the cake is knowing why your audience is aiming to reach these objectives in life, and how they align with their values and priorities. For example, if your target audience is one that is inclined to pursue higher education you should understand what’s driving them to do so. Are they interested in certain career opportunities? If so, why? Do they want to be able to afford their own homes? Are they worried about student debt, and want to go into a field with well-paying entry-level positions or lots of vertical mobility?
When you know what they want, why they want it, and what’s stopping them from achieving it you have pinpointed a key pain point which you can reference from start to finish.
3. Learn Their Preferred Buying Process
A successful sales funnel is one that can naturally draw people to it, not try to force them through. Step away from your business model for a moment and examine how your target audience prefers to do things. Use that information to inform a sales funnel tailor made for them. How can you make your prospective buyer become aware of the problem that your offer is going to solve? How can you demonstrate why addressing that need should be a priority of theirs? Present the information in a way that feels natural and easily accessible so your sales funnel is built on a path of least resistance, rather than one which tests their commitment to solving their problems by making them jump through hoops.
4. Identify Effective Content Pillars
A content pillar is a subset of themes and topics that make up the whole of your content strategy. They’re used in a novel marketing strategy that has defined the way content marketing is being conducted in 2021, using relevant topics across different channels. Try to generate a list of five or six pillars and then narrow it down to three or four that you are going to use. Those remaining topics can be placed in a backlog for future campaigns or act as alternatives if the pillars you chose just aren’t working.
5. Provide High Quality, Value-Driven Content
Consistency is key in your content, and that can be achieved through repurposing your content. Using it again in another format keeps it feeling fresh and interesting to the audience, but those iterations are actually reinforcing the message that you’ve been sharing with them from the start. Less is definitely more here, not in the sense that you should offer as little as possible but rather create as little as necessary. If you know your audience prefers audio and video content you could gravitate towards podcasts, video interviews with thought leaders, and live digital events. Your blog content can come from recycled transcriptions, guest blogs from industry experts, and summaries of events. This way the message stays the same across all channels.
6. Promote Your Content
Content promotion strategies vary by the product you offer and the consumer behavior exhibited by your target audience. Paid, targeted advertising is guaranteed to reach them but this leads to the question of where to place the ads. Google and Facebook ads serve two very different purposes, for example, and one might serve your audience’s needs better than the other. Further, social media habits vary greatly by age so promoting on specific platforms is always preferable to trying to inundate all of them.
7. Improve the Buyer Experience on Your Website
If a prospect visits your website it’s because they want more information about you in order to determine whether or not you’re the one who can help them. A website that is full of ads, takes too long to load, isn’t optimized for mobile use (despite it being 2021), or talks more about you and your needs is highly unappealing. Your site is an extension of your sales funnel and if it isn’t user-friendly it’s going to disrupt the otherwise natural progression from first contact to conversion.
Tying It All Together
Prospects always know what they want even if they don’t always know what their problems, pain points, and obstacles are. This doesn’t mean you should underestimate their intelligence – you aren’t here to lecture, you’re here to open their eyes with engaging content that influences them in an ethical way, not a manipulative one. Ultimately, the easiest way to provide this content is to get to know them, and that’s much easier than you might think. Check your inbox, your reviews, and comments on your social media pages for feedback and insight. Create polls and other interactive content to get more direct responses. At the end of the day people don’t want to connect with a company, they want to connect with other people. The more personalized and authentic your messaging, the more likable you become, and the more your customer base will want to interact with you. You’d be amazed at how easily they will open up to you. All you have to do is ask.
Not sure how to start that conversation, or where to communicate with them? Partner up with a results based growth marketing company that prioritizes your success as you define it above all else.