Demand generation is a hot topic nowadays. If you’re unaware, it’s pretty much exactly as it sounds. Demand generation is generating demand and awareness for your business.
Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. Demand generation tactics can be pretty complex. On top of that, everyone has a different strategy they use in accordance with their target audience, goal, and product/service that they’re selling.
So what are some of the effective demand generation tactics, and how can you use them to your advantage?
Let’s divide and conquer. Here’s a list of 15 of the most powerful tactics you can implement.
15 effective demand generation tactics that you can easily implement
In demand generation, the goal is to focus on targeted audiences with specific marketing tactics to draw them in.
So with that said, demand generation tactics aren’t anything wild and out there. Let’s start with some simple ones and work our way down.
1. Educational content
In most stages of the funnel, educational content is highly sought after. It will get more technical and specific as the lead moves through to conversion, but almost all content aims to give leads the information to continue moving.
Educational content at the top of the funnel might come out in the form of broad topics. Ebooks that discuss internal communication or blog articles that target entire industries. Something like Hubspot Academy is a great example. They offer loads of free certifications for various marketing practices.
Moving down to the mid-funnel, this is where you’re content will start to get more technical. Here, you’ll begin to educate leads on major issues and solutions. Ideally, the solutions that you provide.
In the B2B and SaaS industries specifically, leads are always looking to update their knowledge. Providing them with the answers they need, even if it’s a simple infographic, could be the straw that finally gets them to break and buy. Take a look at this example from Flipsnack.
In this infographic, the steps to break down product costs are laid out. Since they provide a tool that allows users to create digital catalogs, their target audience, in this case, is people who need to know this stuff.
2. Interactive content
Let’s not forget that people still want to be entertained! That can be hard to do with topics specific to the audience, technical, and somewhat boring to read.
Although, it doesn’t all have to be boring. One of the most popular forms of content right now is interactive content. This is content that elevates the learning experience beyond reading. They add other elements to the mix that constantly draw the viewer’s attention, engaging with them and getting them to do more than just scroll.
Let’s take webinars, for example. These have been around for a while, but they have never really been taken to the level that they’re at now. In a webinar, users can hear a live explanation for questions that they might be having. They’re engaged with visuals, videos, and often, a Q&A session at the end. Here’s an example from Storychief.
But let’s say that you’re camera shy. Don’t worry; it happens. But what can you do? I mentioned videos just above, so how about making video content? The truth is that videos are the go-to content media for many brands. They’re visually striking, provide loads of content, and require minimal effort to listen to and watch.
Start your video marketing journey by converting an article or two into a video format, and see how they perform — this process is called content repurposing. It will take some tweaking, but videos are a great way to enter the world of interactive content. Here’s an example from Airfocus:
Airfocus has a series of videos that talk about basic business terminology. In the case of the video thumbnail above, they’re talking about the Value vs. Effort model. If you navigate to Arfocus’ website, you’ll see that they also cover the definition of Value vs. Effort in their glossary.
3. Content for different stages of the funnel
I talked about educational content throughout the funnel in point number one. But the truth is that not all of it will be a lecture. You have to think about the different steps of the funnel to follow up with quality content for the leads at those stages. Let’s break this one down a little further.
Seeing as each of these steps is very different, they will require various forms of content. At the top of the funnel, your target audience will be relatively large. Here, you’ll target them with blog posts, social media threads, and other almost generic content.
Moving to the middle of the funnel, you’ll start to get more specific. Try creating long-form eBooks, guides, and case studies to attract the right leads.
And finally, at the bottom of the funnel, you’ll want to put the nail in the coffin by providing testimonials, customer stories, and demos/consultations. Here’s an example of an Encharge case study that we’ve covered.
4. Free trials
Everyone loves the word free. Free gift with purchase, first 3 months free when you sign up for a yearly membership, free donut on your birthday. The word free is powerful in demand generation, too.
Free trials could be precisely what a lead needs to seal the deal. Often, especially late funnel, leads are torn between two or more options. They want the decision to be easy, but they want to test out the features first-hand and then decide.
Free trials don’t have to be complicated. Many companies offer them right from the main page as soon as you sign up. Now, of course, this isn’t something that will work well with every brand. A free trial could break the budget if we’re talking about some custom software solutions. Take a look at your audience and decide if a free trial or two could benefit your demand generation tactics.
5. Personalized email campaigns
To generate demand, you have to make your leads and customers feel like they are getting a unique experience. You certainly do not want them to feel like just another number within your system.
One way that I’ve personally felt like a number is through poorly thought out email campaigns. You know what I’m talking about. You see the notification on your phone, click it, and it’s just a bunch of offers that mean absolutely nothing to you.
I’ll give you an even better example. Recently, while shopping for a new car, I visited a whole bunch of websites for cars in my local area. I looked specifically in a certain budget range and even stuck to a few select brands.
The next day, I received an email offer from one of the websites for a Maserati. The website that sent the email had no idea what I wanted, and they sent out a generic email, one that I’m sure they send to thousands of people daily and hoped it stuck. All I can say is that they wasted their time and money because I am certainly not driving a Maserati.
With automated email campaigns, you’ll want to be specific and personalize the message. Use the lead’s name and take their behavior into consideration. If they’re looking at the lower-end package for your SaaS, they won’t be interested in paying 4x more for the enterprise package. Here’s a great example from Revolut.
This email is simple, but it is personalized. Firstly, you have my name. Secondly, they know how often I use Revolut and that I would very likely invite friends to join. In doing so, I get a little cash, and they get a new customer.
It’s worth mentioning here that you’ll want a tool that can automate all of this. You’ll never keep up by yourself when you’re talking about personalizing email campaigns and sending them out on time. Invest in a tool that helps you nurture leads and convert them, all while generating demand for your business.
6. User-generated content
Admittedly, user-generated content can be hard to pull off. But it’s not impossible. Essentially, you have to provide the context for users to create their content within your brand and then capitalize on it by using it for demand generation. An excellent example of this is Airbnb and its magazine.
First of all, digital magazines are great for brand awareness, making them a good demand generation tactic themselves. But, what Airbnb does in their magazine is rely on user-generated content to fill the pages. Mixed in from the front to the back, you’ll find stories from Airbnb users worldwide.
Many blogs allow users to submit articles to be published, brands of all kinds utilize user-generated content on socials, and the list goes on. If you can figure out how to wiggle user-generated content into your demand generation tactics, you’ll be better off for it.
7. Engage with your audience on social media
Speaking of content on social media, the platforms themselves are a great way to engage with users and generate demand. It all boils down to two facts:
- People want a brand that cares about them, and engaging with them on their social media platforms is a great way to meet them where they’re at.
- People want a fun and creative brand, not bland and boring.
Just think about all the big brands on social media. What do they all have in common? They think outside of the box and constantly engage. There for a while, it seemed like you couldn’t go more than a few hours without seeing some sort of outrageous Wendy’s tweet. It turned out to be one of the best things for their brand.
There are millions and billions of users on social media, making engagement there one of the best demand generation tactics. No, it’s not all that easy to stand out when competing with almost every other brand. But, if you invest the right time and budget into a solid social media plan, you’ll notice a difference.
8. Consumer intent data leveraging
Leveraging consumer intent data is one of the best ways to hone in on your target audience. All you’re going to do is analyze data from customers searching for similar solutions.
Consumer intent data is behavioral data gathered about an individual’s online activities. The user will have to opt-in for this data sharing, but you’ll gain valuable insight even if only a few people allow their data to be shared.
Data like gender, location, age, keywords they used to search, and the products they buy give you a window into your ideal customer. This is the data that uncovers the lead’s purchasing potential.
Taking this data, you can do a few things to help with demand generation:
- Pinpoint new prospects
- Personalize content for your ideal audience
- Produce higher-quality leads for the sales team to convert later
- Significantly speed up the sales cycle
- Improve custom retention rates
It may take some time, but once you’ve gathered the right data, you will be able to cater to your target audience a lot better. You will improve all your demand generation tactics across the board.
9. Healthy collaboration between sales and marketing
It’s no secret that sales and marketing greatly rely on each other. To fully maximize any demand generation tactics, you will have to have a very healthy collaboration between these two departments.
The last thing you want in a demand generation campaign is to have any sort of gap between sales and marketing. When acquiring new clients, there is often a communication and strategy flop between the two departments.
To completely master demand generation, you will need to make sure that sales and marketing are synced. They need common processes, procedures, goals, and an overall understanding of the customer’s journey.
Without sales, marketing has little to market for. Without marketing, sales have almost nobody to sell to. They are different but connected. Make sure they are synced up before using demand generation tactics.
10. Utilize omnichannel marketing to expand your reach
Omnichannel marketing is the practice of using multiple channels to distribute your marketing efforts. For example, a company might use a blog, social media, and email are some common ones.
The idea behind omnichannel marketing is that not every customer will see the same ad. You might have 10% of your users that only use Facebook, while 25% use Twitter. Maybe only 40% of your users even open their emails. What do you do?
You expand your reach across multiple channels in order to meet your ideal customer where they’re at. You simply cannot implement demand generation tactics if your audience will never see your efforts anyways.
You have to make it convenient for your audience. Any friction will send them running the other way, eventually being scooped up by a competitor on a platform that the lead is familiar with.
For this demand generation tactic, I really can’t say where to invest your time. Ideally, your efforts will be spread across all the given channels, but it entirely depends on where your audience spends their time.
The good news is that you can monitor and measure most of this. The best thing to do would be to test out multiple channels and track their success through Google Analytics. Doing so will easily highlight what channels work well and which ones don’t work so well. Once all this is determined, you can divide your efforts and budget accordingly, maximizing ROI.
11. Create partnerships with experts and influencers in your industry
It’s been discovered in recent years that one of the best bangs for your buck is influencer marketing. This is the idea of paying a person online who has many followers to promote your brand.
If you’ve watched any sort of YouTube video in the past 5 years, you’ve probably seen this in action. The video will get about 5-10% of the way through, and the influencer will have a short chat about a product or service that’s sponsored the video. You could potentially reach millions of people for just a couple of thousand dollars. Plus, as long as the video is live, you have an ad there, too.
In a slightly more professional setting, people have found ways to connect with subject matter experts in their industry and have them talk about their brand. This is one of the demand generation tactics widely used on platforms like LinkedIn, and it can be just as effective.
If you’re curious about this, just pay more attention to the next YouTube video you watch. Or analyze your feed a little more on LinkedIn. You’ll see what I’m talking about and why this can be such a powerful tactic.
12. Build a community
Companies build a community, and communities build brands. Many companies worldwide are hiring what’s called a community manager, and their job is demand generation, just a little more specified.
On Facebook, for example, you can create groups explicitly designed to talk about your product or service. The more people you get interested in, the more the group will grow. After a while, Facebook group internal linking will promote your community group, and it will continuously gather new leads.
Here’s an example of utilizing a community setting to push your brand. Depesh Mendalia helps people scale their businesses through Facebook Ads. So, naturally, he created a Facebook group to discuss anything and everything Facebook Ads.
This is a highly effective tactic for generating quality leads. Think about it. If someone is interested in joining a group or community around your brand, they are already pre-qualified. They know what they’re getting into and have proven that they are interested, making them the ideal audience for promoting your products and services.
13. Offer incentives for brand advocates to promote your brand
At the very end of the funnel. Here, you’ll find people that have stuck with your brand through it all and are loyal to you. Ideally, they promote your brand, describing their experience with you as one of the best they’ve ever had, hence why they’ve stuck around.
One of the demand generation tactics that often gets overlooked is offering these loyal customers incentives to promote your brand. We do this with our Encharge Experts, and it has greatly benefited our brand in ways that wouldn’t be possible without them.
Loyalty programs often offer free products or cash incentives for putting your name out there. Once the referred lead converts, the incentive gets pushed back to the loyal customer. In the gaming industry, big brands like Activision and Jagex use what they call creator codes for in-game purchases.
The new lead goes to make a purchase, pastes the creator’s code into the promotion box, and they typically get a little discount. Once the creator code is used, the creator (YouTuber, basically) gets a little bonus for bringing in a new lead. It’s a small gesture, but the goal is to generate more loyal customers in the long run.
14. Put a massive focus on user experience
One of the overall goals of demand generation is to make people happy with your brand. If they come in and have a bad experience, the demand will eventually stop. They’re looking for a solution and a pleasant experience. One without the other is useless in the world of marketing.
So how do you improve UX? Lots of ways, honestly. It all comes down to removing any possible friction. You’ll want to optimize your website and all your child pages (landing pages, blogs, etc.) to make sure they run as smoothly as butter.
This will also involve a little UI. Making the website easy to navigate is essential, too. Place the CTAs in a visible location, clearly label all tabs and buttons, and make sure nothing gets in the way of the user finding what they need. I can’t tell you how often I’ve visited a website, haven’t found what I needed within a few seconds, and bounced. Here’s an example of smooth UI.
Right from the main page, even without scrolling, you have everything you need to get started on Unsplash. You have categories, other resources, and a search bar.
But more than all of this, you’ll want to answer all the user’s questions quickly and easily. Some companies implement a chatbot for this, some have a help center, and some offer 24/7 customer support. These things are a good idea, maybe even a combination of a few. Make it as easy as possible for the user to find what they need, and they will be far more interested in your brand.
15. Create a lead-scoring model
Lead scoring is the process of applying a score to your leads based on specific actions they take. The higher the score, the more likely they will convert, pre-qualifying them for either sales or marketing.
If you don’t already have a lead-scoring model, I highly advise looking into it. For some brands, it can mean the difference between a conversion and a loyal customer and a waste of time and money.
Lead scoring helps you identify how well your demand generation tactics are doing. If you notice that the leads you’re generating aren’t converting in the end, then your demand generation needs a little work. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, so don’t freak out if this is the case.
Think of lead scoring as a check and balance system for marketing. If you have leads making it to the end of the funnel with low scores, you’re doing something wrong. Alternatively, if you have high-scoring leads that bounce mid-funnel, there’s a hiccup somewhere.
The best advice I can give you here is to really, and I mean really, understand your audience before you implement a lead-scoring model. Identify the significant touchpoints in your funnel, and make the progression past these touchpoints a part of the model. It will take some testing and practice, but it is a reliable system that can save you some time, money, and headaches.
Conclusions and takeaway
Take a deep breath. Demand generation might seem overwhelming, but as you can see from the 15 demand generation tactics we’ve listed above, it’s not all that different from what you are already doing.
Every company’s goal is to bring awareness to its brand and use it to make sales. Demand generation is getting highly specific with where this awareness is coming from and assuring that the leads it generates are high-quality. For right now, take these 15 demand generation tactics and try to implement them into your business as quickly as possible.