What is demand generation and how does it work?

Content Marketing

Demand generation is about raising awareness of a product or service to generate demand for it.

The process is designed to:

  • Get attention for your brand
  • Attract new visitors to your business
  • Earn their trust.

Ultimately the primary goal of “demand gen” is to enhance your reputation and build a target audience.

There are many ways of doing this which fit into a wider digital marketing strategy and support the sales cycle.

Demand generation practices

Setting marketing targets, educating the world about your business, and building credibility as a source are fundamental parts of demand generation.

It combines multiple marketing strategies to bridge gaps between marketing and sales and build profitable long-term relationships with loyal and informed customers.

Demand generation activities include:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Event planning
  • Paid advertising
  • Lead nurturing
  • Public Relations

Some of these tactics may use marketing automation software to deliver targeted content triggered by visitor actions.

Demand generation content

Content for demand generation engages your audience and educates them about what your business does and how it’s relevant to them.

Providing helpful information to potential customers adds extra value and builds a more meaningful connection.

Types of demand generation content include:

  • Blog posts
  • News articles
  • Resource pages
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Interviews
  • Explanatory videos
  • Social media posts

Though you can include calls to action drawing attention to your products and services, demand generation content should always be completely free.

That means no paywalls or access requirements to capture visitor data at this stage.

Positioning yourself as an authoritative provider of solutions without any stipulations builds trust with the target audience.

 

How does demand generation work?

Ultimately, demand generation answers questions that potential customers are asking and develops interest in your brand by offering the solutions they’re looking for.

To do this, you need to identify:

  • Relevant questions to answer
  • The most suitable format to answer them
  • How to distribute your content to the right audience

This requires carrying out some market research to identify the pain points of your target audience before you can address them.

Google search keyword analysis is one way of doing this.

If you want to gather information directly from consumers, surveys are the most-used research tactic.

Once you know which information you need to provide, you can create content that generates demand for your business.

Blog content

Creating a website blog and frequently posting quality content on it is one of the best methods of demand generation.

Blog posts offer an excellent opportunity to familiarise the audience with your brand voice and what you do, and make them trust you as an expert in your field.

Blogging allows you to build up an ever-growing cache of content to attract more and more people towards your business over time.

Two significant ways to generate demand through blog posts is to publish industry expertise roundups and utilise guest posts.

Gather quotes and statistics from experts to create informative roundups commenting and advising on industry practices.

These are great for connecting to larger discussions about industry trends and getting people to share your content with others.

When building your authority, take advantage of larger platforms by writing guest posts for other blogs with larger followings.

Contributing guest posts helps you to build industry relationships and demonstrate your expertise to new audiences.

Multimedia content

The more accessible your content is, the more likely it is to generate demand.

Present your information in visually engaging bite-sized chunks through infographics or videos rather than just relying on blog text all the time.

Infographics are immediately shareable and easy to post across many site formats.

Videos are overtaking blogs as the number one media format in content marketing, with up to 90% of customers stating that videos help them to make buying decisions so they’re more likely to buy.

Creating video content that’s also accessible for mobile users ensures that your offerings reach a wider audience across all ages and backgrounds.

It’s a contemporary way to explain industry news or offer visual demonstrations of a product or service you offer.

Podcasts are also a popular alternative to standard blogging, if you have the time and resources to dedicate to hosting one.

Social media

Social media offers a platform for content posting and targeted advertising in one.

Posting organic content to your brand’s social media profiles is vital to gain people’s attention and increase engagement.

Ways to do this include running opinion polls and promotional contests.

‘Viral contests’ in particular raise awareness of your brand by encouraging participants to enter multiple times and increase their chance of winning through sharing the contest and referring other people to enter it as well.

You can also get your content in front of more people by partnering with influencers who have a large and dedicated social media following.

It does take a lot of effort and engagement, so you could end up wasting time without any results to show for it if you don’t plan your social media use carefully.

Sometimes it’s easier to outsource social media marketing to stay on top of these fast-moving modern platforms.

Press releases

Is there an industry shift happening? Has something important happened within your business?

Let the world know what’s going on with your brand and how things are changing.

For example, if your business just expanded into a new area, explain the different products or services your audience can expect to see from you now.

Or take the chance to reassure people concerning issues they might worry about, like updated laws, by explaining how you’ll maintain the quality of what you offer and the customer experience.

If you have a newsletter, you can also send out press releases in this form.

Free tools

Free resources that help potential customers to work through their pain points and show them how your brand can resolve these issues are ideal for generating demand.

Self-service features or digital tools encourage users to share them.

These could be anything from a cost-saving calculator or audit estimation to a service walkthrough or free trial of a product.

It’s also an opportunity to entice people towards becoming leads if you limit the free tool and only offer access to the premium version if they sign up for it.

Appropriate distribution

For demand generation to work, content needs to be shareable, with no barriers prohibiting access.

It needs to be regularly updated to keep people informed and prove your brand’s reliability.

You also need to publish it in the right place – for example, short-form content on social media and long-form content on your website blog.

Don’t just put your content out there and then sit back to wait for it to generate demand, though.

Demand generation content is automatically available and free, but promoting it is still necessary to make sure more people know it’s there.

This means things like targeted ads on social media or third-party sites, sponsored posts, or even guesting in a video or podcast.

Use performance tracking tools to keep checking how people are responding to your demand generation tactics and adjust them to whichever works best.

When to use demand generation

If you’re concerned about the quality of potential leads, focus on demand generation.

Building brand authority and trust makes lead generation easier later on, once you’ve got an audience with genuine interest in your services.

Use demand generation techniques when you want to grow brand awareness and customer relationships, rather than running one-off campaigns for collecting leads.

Building an audience over time as an expert on a topic creates value by amplifying the people you reach through shareable content and offering insight into where you should aim your marketing efforts.

Demand generation is extremely diverse, so it’s beneficial to have a dedicated demand generation team maintaining the presentation of branded information and testing new channels.

This means everything from blogging to guest speaking, creating ever-popular video content, and selective paid advertising.

Social media is pushing demand generation to evolve because it requires brands to not only manage their informational content, but also the way they publicly communicate with their audience.

If you’ve got official social media profiles for your business, consistent positive interactions with your following will help to generate more demand by attracting others who view them.

However, remember that demand generation is a long-term game.

Don’t underestimate how long it might take for your demand generation efforts to gain significant momentum.

If you offer more expensive products or services with a longer sales cycle, you’ll need to spend more time on nurturing leads.

Need help getting more demand for your business?

If you need help creating content that can generate more demand for your business, product or service, get in touch and one of our content marketing consultants will be able to help you.

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