The term ‘demand generation’ refers to the marketing process of creating demand or interest for a company’s products or services.
A critical part of the sales and marketing funnel, get it right and you will be rewarded with a pipeline full to the brim of prospects, enjoy increased brand awareness and market penetration, and experience faster business growth.
But how can you give yourself the best chances of getting it right? And what makes a good B2B demand generation strategy?
As a growth marketer I work with businesses to come up with, and implement, B2B demand generation strategies. With endless opportunities available to marketers to promote their brand, it can be difficult to know where to focus activities and how not to burn through budget. Some of it comes down to experience, some of it comes down to using the data to make decisions on what’s working or not.
Here I share my top 6 rules for B2B demand generation success. Consider them when preparing your demand generation strategies and you’ll give yourself the best chance for success.
Demand generation rule 1: Know where to find your audience
Rule 1 of generating demand is to be seen where your audience hangs out. A good place to start with this is by finding out exactly where that is.
Take for example TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, as platforms. Whilst these are huge platforms, are they where your audience is active? Depending on your market, the answer could be yes. If so, the platforms could be ripe for finding and engaging with your audience.
For the B2B market, it is often platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, networking groups, industry events and associations are where your audience hangs out during work time. If this is the case, then they should be considered within your demand gen strategy.
Let’s say you offer business software to Finance Directors. You’ll be hard pushed identifying Financial Directors on a platform like TikTok – it just doesn’t identify with their professional status that much. But you can jump straight into a list of Financial Director profiles on LinkedIn or through Financial groups, associations and events.
If, on the other hand, you work with business owners in the events sector, then these types of decision makers do hang out on Facebook. Check out the various event groups and you’ll notice your target audience recruiting and prospecting on them, because this is where their audience hangs out.
My tactic? When identifying where your audience hangs out, take a selection of your top clients and check out which social networking platforms they use. Now you’ve got a good starting point.
But……..there’s a second part to rule 1:
Rule 1 (part b): Where are your clients active?
It’s all very well knowing which platforms your audience is present on, but we need to go a step further and see where they’re actively engaging and chatting. If they’re on LinkedIn but never look at it, then it’s not the platform to be focussing on.
So when researching your ideal clients, look at whether they’ve posted anything within the last 3 months. This will give you a better feel of whether that platform is worth investing time and budget on.
You’ll also find a wealth of information on your prospects that can be really valuable in helping you uncover new areas/groups/conversations where you can promote your brand.
My tactic? On LinkedIn you can check whether your prospects have been active, and which groups they belong to – just scroll down to the ‘interest’ section of their profile and select ‘groups’, then expand the list out. Join these groups to get instant access to more prospects of a similar nature.
There are some pretty cool tricks you can use to getting yourself in front of group members on LinkedIn. But that’s a topic for another day.
Demand generation rule 2: Know your goals
So you’ve discovered where your audience hangs out. Next step is to set your goals. This may be to generate webinar attendees, capture data of prospects that have downloaded content, or generate leads by way of free trials, demos or enquiries.
A good tactic is to create a user journey that takes a prospect down a path towards becoming a paying customer, which may involve creating a series of goals along the wat. Take SaaS tools for example. Dux-Soup (LinkedIn automation) and Woodpecker (cold email automation) both offer a free trial.
A trial lets users explore the tool, become familiar with it and see the benefits of it. With the onboarding process of a new tool being a big barrier to entry, making this process as simple as possible can help convert customers, whilst the pain of defecting to a competitor improves retention.
Have a think about your goals and how you can make it as easy as possible for clients to adopt your product or service.
My tactic? Explore more than one goal. A goal that’s further down the sales funnel (e.g. a software demo) will have a higher conversion rate to customer, but can you achieve more demos by driving a softer goal e.g. webinar attendees in step 1.
Demand generation rule 3: Make your content address your prospects’ pain points
Content is king for demand generation. There are many ways to slice and dice your content. It’s format, messaging and call to actions all play a big part in how much interest you will gain in your product.
Depending on the platform you’re using, you may be predefined in terms of character limits, imagery and video specifications, but regardless of the type of content it should be focussed on addressing pain points.
There are a number of ways you can find pain points, the best being to find out from your customers directly which are the biggest pain points that you’ve solved for them. Analysis of both your company’s and your competitor’s reviews offer great insight into customer pain points and social media monitoring is always a good option for expanding on your research here.
Once you’ve identified the pain points, use them in your demand generation messaging. By clearly articulate that you can solve their challenges, your prospects will start paying attention.
My tactic? Choose one main pain point as the key headline in your content to attract attention and make it more meaningful. Test variations of your pain point to see which one gets the best conversion rate.
Demand generation rule 4: Create great landing pages
So you’ve got attention with some great copy addressing pain points, you’re showing it where your audiences hang out. The final piece in the puzzle is to create great landing pages, with your main goal as the call to action.
This is captured really well in Benjamin Bowman’s podcast with Lana Rafael, so I’ll just it leave it here that this is how it’s done.
Demand generation rule 5: Test and analyze
Great marketers are always trying new things. Whether this is a new channel, different message or a fresh audience. As eluded to, there are so many ways to market ourselves to try that we wouldn’t be doing our clients or employers justice if we stood still.
I’m an avid fan of trying everything at least once (within reason), but it’s critical for marketers to measure the success of their demand generation strategies.
For many, measurement can be analysed by actions taken on your website. GA4 and Google Tag manager are the tools I use to create tags on the website that will trigger when specific actions (e.g. form submissions, button clicks, e-commerce) are taken.
These tags can trigger a conversion in GA4, which when aligned with your goals can offer detailed analysis of what is, and isn’t, working.
My tactic? If you don’t know how to use Google Tag Manager and GA4, get an expert in to help you set it up and show you how to analyse your results.
Demand generation rule 6: Don’t be afraid to move on
My final rule is not to waste budget on things that aren’t working. If you’ve tested, tweaked, measured and adapted and it’s still not working? Move on. Try something else that does work. Whilst it’s good to test new ideas, your gut feel will also be a good indicator if you know your product or service well enough.
Don’t let the thought of B2B demand generation scare you. If you have an idea, try it out. But always measure the results, and let the statistics make the decision on whether it’s working for you.
A data driven marketer will always make the right decisions, but your gut instinct is also very powerful.
Need some help with demand generation? We’re always happy to chat so get in touch.
Director, The Blurb – A results led growth marketing agency that helps small businesses to scale.