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5 Paid Channels to Incorporate Into Your Demand Generation Strategy

By Annie ZelmAug 12, 2015

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If you're investing in inbound marketing, you've already put together a large portion of the demand generation puzzle. In this day and age, inbound activities like blogging, email and social media content drive about 70 percent of all demand, according to Sirius Decisions

Yet without paid advertising, you'll never realize the full potential of your inbound efforts. You'll miss important opportunities to reach buyers. 

But many marketers leave out this piece, especially in the early stages of promoting their company or starting a new campaign. Often it's because they either underestimate the time it will take for their content to gain visibility, or they don't know which channels they should be investing in. 

Rather than asking yourself what channel is best, consider:

  • Who are your primary personas
  • Where are they most likely to be? (For example, you might find human resources managers in your industry are more likely to use LinkedIn and Facebook, while CEOs tend to gravitate toward trade publications.) 
  • What are your primary goals? (Driving a high volume of traffic to your website? Driving more qualified leads rather than higher quantities? Improving conversions?) 

While there is no silver bullet approach that works for everyone, incorporating these five channels into your demand generation strategy is a great place to start. 

Google AdWords

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If you want to attract new visitors to your website with specific search terms and increase the visibility of your main webpage or service pages, Google AdWords can get things rolling.

As one of the most common forms of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it's easy to use and allows you to clearly see the returns on your investment, at least in terms of clicks. For at least some of your potential customers, this could represent a first step in the buyer's journey. 

You can set a daily budget and maximum cost-per-click bid, which can be easily adjusted anytime. 

Once you know what search terms perform best, you can tweak your strategy and spending. Google recently upgraded its platform by adding a Report Editor, a tool that gives users a more finely tuned way to sort, filter and visualize data from their PPC campaigns. Just be aware that like all paid channels, AdWords isn't something you can "fix and forget." You'll need to check it frequently and make adjustments as you go. 

One potential drawback to relying too heavily on AdWords could be results that favor quantity over quality. You may see a significant increase in traffic, but that doesn't always translate into qualified leads. 

GoChime

 

You're encouraged by the fact that 15 percent of the customers in your database opened your last marketing email, but what about the 85 percent who didn't?

With GoChime, you can re-engage those customers and attract new ones as long as they're among the nearly 1.5 billion people who actively use Facebook.

GoChime allows you to target your customers more directly by matching their email addresses with Facebook profiles. It helps you create a unique audience you can sync with your existing marketing automation efforts in HubSpot, Constant Contact, MailChimp or other platforms. This way, the next time you want to follow up with customers who opened your last email (or find another way to reach those who didn't), you can create ads that show up directly in their Facebook newsfeed or in the right rail. 

Using GoChime with another marketing platform, such as HubSpot, allows you to keep your ad spending in check by preventing ads from showing up to your existing customers.

Taboola and Outbrain

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Looking to build an audience for your content? Generate revenue from your website or app by sponsoring content through some of the most popular websites on the Internet, including Yahoo!, Business Insider and The Atlantic.

Taboola delivers content recommendations to more than 550 million unique visitors each month.

Outbrain reaches about the same number of visitors and essentially does the same thing on different websites, including CNN, Slate and Fox News.

By delivering insights on the number of impressions, click through rates, conversion rates and cost per click each piece yields, these platforms allow you to easily see what content is resonating with your buyers and what isn't. 

LinkedIn

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Like other social media advertising, LinkedIn ads and sponsored content allow you to increase the visibility of your content, whether it's a popular blog post or an eBook that drives conversions. 

The ability to target by job title, industry, company size and even seniority makes LinkedIn the top channel for reaching B2B audiences. You can assign a daily budget or a total budget to a campaign and run the sponsored content for any time period, giving you a lot of flexibility. 

When sponsoring content on LinkedIn, Kuno's content director Brianne Rush recommends asking these six questions:

  • Does it present new knowledge or assist in decision-making?
  • Will it spark conversation?
  • Would sharing it benefit your audience's professional network?
  • Would sharing it enhance their professional brand?
  • Does it feed their desire for professional accomplishment?
  • Is it formatted for mobile devices? 

The amount you choose to spend on LinkedIn will vary depending on your budget and industry, but keep in mind you could easily spend $25 on a few clicks. Assuming your users check LinkedIn a few times a week and you want to make sure they see your content, you'll want campaigns for at least a few days at a time and at multiple times during the month to get the best visibility.

That means you should plan to allot at least a few hundred dollars a month to see results. 

Perfect Audience

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The average website conversion rate across all industries is just 2 percent, according to HubSpot's 2014 State of Inbound report.  Fortunately, Perfect Audience has a solution for capturing the attention of the other 98 percent: retargeting ads.

By providing a tracking tag for your website, Perfect Audience places an anonymous cookie into the browser of everyone who visits and serves up an ad later to remind them they were looking for your product or services. 

Traditional banner ads have a conversion rate of about one in 1,000, while retargeting ads convert at rates that are 200-400 percent higher, according to Perfect Audience. That's because they're aimed at people who have already shown interest. 

You can use these retargeting ads on Facebook, Twitter, HubSpot or even other partners in their industry so if a potential customer is looking for a product related to what you sell, you can seek them out later. 

Perfect Audience even offers mobile retargeting and cross-device retargeting that allows you to re-engage with the 80 percent of users who quit using a mobile app after initially installing it. 

Advertising: A Piece of the Larger Puzzle

These paid channels aren't meant to be stand-alone solutions for bringing in customers, but complementary tools to make your overall demand generation strategy more efficient. They can work around the clock to draw visitors to your website, re-engage them and convert them long after you've gone home for the day. 

Keep in mind that each of these channels require a willingness to experiment and a budget based on your industry, sales and growth model. If you're in the early stages of building a brand in retail, SaaS or another fast-growing industry, you should plan to spend as much as 20 percent of sales on your marketing efforts,  according to the U.S Small Business Administration. 

Smaller businesses with revenues less than $5 million should be allocating 7-8 percent of revenues to marketing, including inbound activities, outbound promotion and paid advertising. 

Without a comprehensive demand generation strategy that includes content designed to speak to customers at every stage of the buyer's journey, relying on paid advertising alone is like standing on a busy street corner with a megaphone, shouting at anyone who will listen. On the flip side, investing in inbound marketing without any paid advertising is like addressing a roomful of potentially interested customers without a microphone.

Make sure you're speaking to the right people first. Then use advertising to amplify your voice. For more tips on how to continue building a relationship with buyers after they've  found you, check out our lead nurturing guide

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The Author

Annie Zelm

As the content manager, Annie manages a team of brand journalists and is the driving force behind the content strategy for companies in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology and professional services. Relying on interviewing skills she developed in her seven years as a journalist, she uncovers insights about what motivates buyers in these industries and uses that knowledge to shape client websites and editorial calendars.
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