Let’s face it: You’re never going to reach all of the people, especially if you’re only marketing to people who already know you. Luckily there are ways to touch audiences you haven’t previously tapped. A demand generation strategy aims to spark interest in a company’s product or service using paid media. The goal is to increase the quality and quantity of leads interacting with your marketing materials in meaningful ways.
If you’re waiting for the magic to happen organically, there’s a good chance you’re going to be waiting a long time. Demand generation programs often leverage multiple paid media platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn, to generate targeted traffic for your campaigns right away, often leading to increased conversion rates.
So, what’s the difference between inbound marketing and demand gen? It’s simple: Inbound marketing is one type of demand generation, and they often go hand-in-hand. You’re likely already producing content as part of your marketing strategy that would make for successful demand generation campaigns, including eBooks, webinars, blog posts and weekly newsletter campaigns. Demand generation bridges the gap between the marketing, sales and revenue teams using those content touchpoints.
(For the record, bad examples of demand gen include a single email blast, a call-a-thon at a call center or a thrown-together banner ad, to name a few.)
As demand gen continues to evolve, we asked our team to share five tricks the pros are using to find success.
To do this, upload your customer lists into social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to create lookalike audiences. These audiences are similar to customers you already have, and on Facebook, they’re the most effective way to target your ideal customer. This method often gets overlooked, but custom audience targeting is beneficial if you are trying to reach a niche audience that you are unable to target through the demographic options.
If you’re not using HTML5 rich media in your ads, you run the risk of blending in with everything else. HTML5 allows your ads to play video, animation or music without additional plugins. Dynamic ads are attention-grabbers. They drive engagement and provide an alternative to the rules of some websites, like Facebook, that limit the number of characters you can use in a static image ad. HubSpot ran a few different tests comparing the click-through rate (CTR) of video ads and static images, and, while it depended on what they were advertising, the videos tended to perform better.
Additionally, rich media ads can be easily designed to scale well to different platforms, including tablets and smartphones. This is important because users are spending at least four to five hours on their phone each day.
We see interactive ads result in a higher CTR compared to static image ads. Google display ads using HTML5 have a 0.57 percent CTR on average, which is above the industry average of 0.46 percent. Facebook video ads have a 1.5 percent CTR on average vs. 0.90 percent across all industries.
This one is pretty simple. If someone comments on your ad on social media (we primarily use Facebook and LinkedIn), don’t ignore them! Our experts recommend you turn on notifications on these platforms so you can respond in a timely manner. You’re the expert on your product, and being helpful can only improve the buying process.
It’s best to assign an employee who stays on top of responding to social media inquiries because it’s essential for companies to have a quick response rate. Facebook will show if a company is "Very Responsive to Messages," which is achieved by having an average response time of 5 minutes over the past seven days. This only goes into effect for messages, not comments on posts.
To garner conversions on ads, content offers need to be meaty enough to pull out snippets that have revenue-generating potential. Think: blogs, webinars, eBooks, case studies, guides, videos and more.
Think: What content are you willing to give your email address for? If you’re having trouble getting your content to resonate with your audience, maybe your marketing programs aren’t hitting the right people at the right time. Instead, try creating buyer personas to really home in on who it is you’re trying to reach. This exercise will allow you to create meaningful content and offer insights your audience can’t get anywhere else.
For example, we created a downloadable checklist for a client that helps their consumers decide whether they need a new services partner. This type of content performs well because it’s consumable, quick and provides clear value.
It sounds counterintuitive, but this works. Native ads are posted on third-party websites and are designed to look like they’re a part of that site, rather than a standalone ad. Our demand gen team then retargets visitors that come through a native ad with another ad on Facebook or Google that generally leads to a gated piece of content. Gated content allows your sales team to collect contact information for these visitors and possibly turn them into customers.
In one case, Kuno client iCONN saw a 1,065 percent boost in blog views using native ads. Kuno worked with iCONN to identify buyer personas through an extensive interview process, then built an editorial calendar to cover each persona’s pain points at each level of the sales funnel (awareness, consideration, decision, delight). Each blog post was created after conducting thorough keyword and topic research using sophisticated tools to optimize the post’s success.
iCONN’s main audience is engineers, so we created native ads segmented by profession based on the types of content they consume. Segmentation was also broken down by those who are connected to manufacturing or engineering companies. Third-party audience segmentation was also used to target audiences in the United States in relevant industries and areas of responsibility. Using this marketing tactic, we started to see positive results.
Whether you’re just getting started or are further along in your efforts, these demand generation tactics will help you get results. Demand generation marketing is always changing, so it’s important to stay current on the latest trends.
It also helps if you have a team of experts who live and breathe demand gen on a daily basis (we do!). Learn more about using paid media to deliver the right content to your audience at the right time in this free guide.