Startups have a poor reputation for having few resources and fierce competition. While not ideal, it doesn’t mean they can’t succeed in gaining customers—even when competing with businesses with advertising and marketing budgets of a million dollars or more.
Even on a tight budget, you can create a great sales funnel for your company. All you require is diligence, commitment, and the appropriate marketing mix for your company.
A strong demand generation strategy is where it all begins. Everyone wants to create demand, but few are skilled at doing so. However, if you go back to the beginning of every successful SaaS company, you’ll see that their demand creation strategy was spot on from the start.
For a startup in its early stages, customer acquisition skills are crucial. Due to a lack of awareness, many excellent products have been wasted. However, a number of undesirable products continue to exist because the team worked out how to create and convert demand.
In this article, we’ll take you through
- Why you need to prioritize demand generation
- What a typical demand gen process looks like, and
- Tips you can leverage to generate demand for your business effectively.
Let’s get right in!
Table of Contents
What is demand generation?
Demand generation is the marketing strategy used to draw in and retain customers, spark interest in a good or service, and eventually increase revenue.
The goal of demand generation is to boost interest in a company’s goods or services and produce leads for the sales team to pursue. Numerous marketing strategies, including content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising, can be used to achieve this.
It is used to draw in and keep interested clients throughout the buying process, from awareness through consideration to purchase.
The ultimate objective is to provide qualified leads that the sales team can pursue and convert into paying customers.
Why should you prioritize demand generation?
Demand generation is crucial, especially for early-stage startups, for two main reasons.
1. It helps to build a sales pipeline
Demand generation assists in producing qualified leads for the top of the sales funnel by attracting and interacting with potential clients. This provides a consistent stream of prospects for the sales team to explore, which helps boost overall sales and income.
Various marketing strategies, including paid advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing are frequently used to achieve this.
For example, say you create a blog post or whitepaper that addresses a common problem or pain point that your target audience is experiencing.
You could then promote this content through social media or email marketing campaigns to attract potential customers who are interested in learning more about how you solve that problem.
When a prospective customer shows interest in the company’s goods or services, you can record their contact details (like name and email address) and add them to your lead database. Until they are prepared to make a purchase, these leads can be nurtured through the sales funnel with further information and targeted communication.
Businesses can create a sales pipeline full of quality leads that the sales team can follow up on and convert to customers by continually attracting and engaging prospective consumers through demand-generation activities.
2. It supports customer acquisition and retention
Demand generation works to attract new customers and keep existing ones by generating interest in a product or service. This is crucial because it might be difficult to stand out in marketplaces with intense competition.
You can increase customer loyalty and retention by continually delivering value to both existing and future consumers through demand-generation initiatives.
As an example, say you produced a number of informative blog posts or webinars to ensure that your clients are getting the most out of your goods or services. Your customers will become more trusting and committed to you if they believe that you actually care about their success.
Demand generation can help you attract new customers in addition to increasing customer loyalty. You can draw new clients who may not have been aware of your business or your services before by raising awareness and interest in a product or service.
For organizations that are just getting started or want to grow into new markets, this is particularly crucial.
What a typical demand generation process looks like
Typically, the demand generation process follows three key stages:
Attracting visitors and turning them into leads is the first step in the process. The prospects are then nurtured by your content or marketing platforms until they are knowledgeable enough to make a purchase. They develop into qualified leads at this point.
Although not all qualifying leads are prepared to buy just as yet, nurturing continues until you close the deal. However, once the sale is made, the relationship between the company and its customer is not over.
By soliciting their opinions, providing them with news regarding improvements to your goods or services, or providing discounts for future purchases, you can continue to develop that relationship.
If you break it down into smaller steps, this is what a demand generation process would look like.
- Step 1 – Defining your target audience
- Step 2 – Determining your demand generation goals
- Step 3 – Developing a demand generation plan
- Step 4 – Implementing your demand gen strategy
- Step 5 – Measuring and optimizing your demand gen efforts
Step 1 - Defining your target audience
The first step in demand generation is to identify your target audience. This includes understanding their demographics, needs, and pain points. You should also consider factors such as their budget and decision-making process.
Step 2 - Determining your demand generation goals
Next, you should determine what you want to achieve through your demand generation efforts. These goals could include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or converting leads into customers.
Step 3 - Developing a demand generation plan
Once you have defined your target audience and goals, you can create a demand generation plan that outlines the specific strategies you will use to reach your objectives.
This plan should include a mix of marketing channels and tactics such as content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.
Step 4 - Implementing your demand generation strategy
With your plan in place, you can begin implementing your demand generation strategy. This may involve creating and distributing marketing materials such as blog posts, whitepapers, or social media posts, as well as running paid campaigns and email marketing campaigns.
Step 5 - Measuring and optimizing your demand generation efforts
As you implement your demand generation tactics, it’s important to track and measure your progress to see what’s working and what’s not.
Use tools like Google Analytics and marketing automation software to track key metrics such as website traffic, lead generation, and conversions. Based on this data, you can adjust your strategy as needed to optimize your demand generation efforts.
11 solid tips to develop a killer demand generation strategy
A demand generation strategy is a plan that details the particular strategies and methods a business will employ to pique potential customers’ interest in its goods or services. An effective demand generation plan seeks to raise brand recognition in the market so more potential customers can relate to the solution and contact you.
In the end, it all comes down to producing qualified leads, boosting revenue, and enhancing client retention.
Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done, so here are a few tips you can incorporate into your demand generation strategy to scale your startup to your desired footing in a competitive market.
Here are 11 tips to keep in mind.
- Create high-quality content
- Leverage SEO
- Offer free trials
- Online presence is a must
- Design targeted landing pages
- Build lead magnets
- Leverage targeted ads
- Reward people
- Run referral and affiliate programs
- Host an event
- Combine demand gen strategies with conventional marketing strategies
Let’s look at each tip in more detail.
1. Do not go easy on content
Without valuable content, no demand generation plan is comprehensive or long-lasting. However, this does not imply that you should start producing generic weekly content merely because you have to.
Adapt your content marketing plan to the goals of your audience and provide them with genuine value.
Here are some great content marketing tips to use so you can increase brand recognition and produce high-quality leads:
- Avoid choosing themes at random. Instead, conduct research to comprehend customer pain areas and identify a solution through informative blogging on pertinent subjects.
- Engage the audience of an established brand by using guest blogging. Select websites with high domain authority that are often frequented by your target market.
- Create gated material such as reports, infographics, whitepapers, e-books, and PowerPoint slides.
- Avoid focusing all of your inbound marketing efforts on blogs. Instead, make quick, educational movies that outline the features of your product or current industry trends.
Remember, the keywords here are valuable, high-quality content.
2. Leverage SEO to the fullest
Search Engine Optimization is paramount to boosting website traffic and, well, optimizing your digital assets. By choosing the right keywords and taking the searcher’s intent into account, your business will align with the thinking of your audience when you heavily invest in SEO.
Additionally, you increase the visibility of your company, which broadens your audience and raises awareness.
For each piece of content you create, undertake keyword research, carry out on-page SEO, and add internal links that are pertinent to your material.
3. Offer free trials to show value
Customers want to have the choice of a free trial before deciding to buy when it comes to particular goods or services.
It makes sense to want customers to pay for the things they use, but try to come up with a more sustainable strategy that will demonstrate your concern and attention to detail right away.
You can restrict the functionality of your product’s free edition, which will enhance the likelihood that users will upgrade to a paid plan.
As an alternative, provide the audience access to use the entire product for 30, 14, or 7 days for free. If they decide the service is worthwhile after the free trial, users can extend their subscriptions.
You can even use this opportunity to promote your mobile app to give your users easy access to your products and services.
Regardless of how impressive your claims are, showing the product is significantly more effective than simply talking about it. Bear that in mind and provide the audience with a fair opportunity to make a knowledgeable decision.
4. Your online presence matters
For a company to be seen online, social media accounts are a must. Already, new companies are shelling out a lot of cash to hire social media influencers to help them in their early phases.
Online product and service announcements can be made more quickly and easily by growing the number of followers. When posting anything, keep in mind to:
- Use appropriate images, graphics, movies, GIFs, and infographics. An online post can benefit greatly from it.
- Create posts that are optimized to include a CTA or link to a sales page for your blog, Linkedin, Facebook, Medium, Twitter, or Instagram.
Additionally, having a social media presence and interacting with followers of your brand build credibility. Success in a market that will soon be entirely virtual requires having a strong social media presence.
This doesn’t stand for just social media. This tip goes for every ounce of online presence you have.
Make sure the website is of top-notch quality. Make sure the emails are grammatically correct, with a great signature and a good LinkedIn profile.
It is absolutely necessary to make sure that every ounce of digital presence is trustworthy. In such a quick-moving world, it’s all about how fast the word spreads, and the only way to do that is to give customers a chance to talk about it.
5. Craft and design targeted landing pages
When converting qualified leads, your website should do the work. To make your website do just that, optimize it to the best version it can be.
- Improve the rating of your website by using ethical SEO techniques. If your hard work is buried far down in the search results, your prospects will just skip over it.
- Make customized landing pages with an industry focus. It raises conversion rates and puts valuable information front and center.
- Create landing pages that have concise language, lots of white space, and pertinent imagery. It can be tempting to put everything on that one page, but the consumer can become overwhelmed with information quickly.
- Add references and testimonials. It increases the credibility of your assertions.
- Make sure that all of the crucial details are displayed above the fold.
6. Build good-quality lead magnets
You need to persuade visitors to share their information in order to receive instructional materials after they land on a landing page.
A lead magnet is essentially any resource (such as ebooks or whitepapers) that tempts users to trade their contact details, including their name, phone number, email address, or address.
For every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to consideration to decision, lead magnets can be created.
Additionally, after your landing pages with lead magnets are in place to grow your prospect database, create targeted adverts to direct people to the lead magnet. And that brings us to the next point…
7. Set aside a budget for targeted ads
There is a common view that ads are budget-guzzlers. That is true – only if not done right.
To make the most of your limited resources, start slow and thoughtfully.
Ration your budget and use promising platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to run ads. Posting ads where your target audience can see them is a sure-shot way to get you traffic and generate demand.
Use PPC or pay-per-click on popular websites where you expect your niche audience to visit.
And most importantly, do not take it easy on the ad copy. Your copy needs to be sleek and precise and must make a lasting impression on your audience.
8. Reward the people that promote you
More advantages come from customer loyalty than merely the money they bring in.
Customers will recommend you to their friends and family if they have faith in your business and services. In this situation, you could implement a rewards program to express your love and gratitude for those recommendations. It could be early access to a feature, an additional discount, a time-limited promotion, or even free merchandise.
Make sure you only give away the best merchandise when it comes to merch giveaways, regardless of whether you want to offer content downloads or any promotional materials. Offering freebies of high quality frequently provides several benefits, despite the fact that it looks counterproductive.
It builds trust between your business and your audience, increasing the likelihood that they will visit your website again. It also portrays a favorable image of your brand, to the point where some of your prospects may go further and promote your business.
9. Promote yourself with referral and affiliate programs
Affiliate marketing and referral schemes are other approaches to advertising your services. They are important to a lot of startups and independent business owners.
A lot of influencers enjoy advertising the goods and services they use and enjoy. Therefore, you can profit from that and design a referral bonus or affiliate program that pays anyone who increases your sales.
You can approach influencers who will promote your product within their connections with followers and will be compensated for each purchase their followers make. This is great because you have access to a niche-specific audience that would be difficult to find in one location otherwise.
In keeping with the prior idea, it pays to offer incentives to encourage word-of-mouth brand promotion rather than investing heavily in advertising. A recommendation from a reliable source has the same credibility as an advertisement in the eyes of devoted followers.
10. Organize and conduct an event
Startups frequently host webinars or podcasts to draw customers and investors into the fold.
For those who don’t want to read a lot of information, video webinars and podcasts are very popular formats. Videos tend to be more engaging for the general public.
Attendees experience what they are likely to purchase, which facilitates quicker decision-making. Additionally, offering a free guide or an early bird discount to fresh prospects can significantly improve webinar attendance.
11. Combine your demand gen strategy with conventional marketing strategies
These suggestions shouldn’t be used in place of your current conventional marketing tactics. These are meant to support your present plan, not replace it.
With that said, there is always room to improve your current digital marketing strategy by making some creative adjustments.
- Leverage more than the typical social media channels. There is so much untapped potential in sites such as Reddit or Quora. Use one of these sites with the most daily visitors, and leverage that activity by posting responses to your industry-related queries.
- Use different outlets for your material. Use excerpts from your webinar, for instance, and publish them on social media later.
- Increase the amount of graphic data you use in your content strategy. To draw in viewers, formats like infographics, GIFs, and photographs perform effectively.
- Personalize your email marketing by using unique content. Keeping readers interested and increasing brand exposure is another common goal of newsletters.
- To increase your organic exposure, ask your clients to leave reviews for you on social media.
Nail your demand generation strategy with Scale It Right
If you’re an early-stage startup looking to find your place in the market, we agree that it can all seem daunting, given the work you need to put in and the sheer competition that exists. The real problem today is finding the right strategies to make you stand out from the rest.
That’s where Scale It Right comes in. With hyper-focused demand generation being our forte, we can help you develop a robust and effective demand generation strategy from scratch to finish.
Our dedicated team of marketing professionals will hit every single aspect of strategy in order to create elaborate, executable plans that will directly impact the demand you generate and the kind of brand you want to be known for.
Want professional assistance? Get in touch with us and we’ll be sure to sit with you, every step of the way, to get you to where you want to be.