Demand Gen

The Best Channels for your Demand Generation Strategy

Discover the top 8 demand generation channels and how they can help rocket success for your SaaS.
The Best Channels for your Demand Generation Strategy
Cristina Rojas Colloridi
by Cristina Rojas Colloridi

Demand generation today is paramount to getting the leads and customers your business truly deserves.

It’s all about figuring out which breadcrumbs drive the horse–your customer–to water–your product–and then make him drink.

—Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Maven & Moguls

The channels you use in your strategy can make or break your whole growth plan. Not all B2B products will use the same channels in the same way, nor will they work with all products. 

Choosing the right demand gen channel for your strategy is no easy task–no fret, we’re here to breadcrumb your journey. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why is demand generation marketing important?
  • How to create a winning demand generation strategy?
  • The top eight demand generation channels
  • Choosing the right demand generation channels for your business

Why is demand generation marketing important?

To properly understand what B2B demand generation is, we need to look at inbound marketing. Inbound marketing acknowledges the power that customers have over their own buyer’s journey. It’s the act of pulling customers to you, via a pathway that feels natural and familiar to them. 

Customers can find all the information they need to decide whether or not to make a purchase, even before ever speaking to a sales rep or being bombarded by ads. 

Today, up to 60% of buyers will buy without contacting a supplier or salesperson. It’s this empowering position that customers have that has changed the way brands advertise and make themselves stand out.

Marketing teams are now being challenged by self-taught customers, and by customer’s higher expectations on products–thanks to the wide variety available–and businesses’ higher-performance needs–thanks to all the metrics available. 

Marketing and sales teams need to work in sync and genuinely understand their customer and market in order to create a successful inbound marketing strategy.

Demand generation and lead generation marketing are the two strategies that make up inbound marketing. Although people use these terms interchangeably at times, they’re different.

What is demand generation marketing?

Demand generation marketing is the process that focuses on meeting possible customers at the very top of the sales funnel. Demand generation campaigns increase brand awareness, educate audiences, and generate trust.

What is lead generation marketing?

Lead generation marketing focuses much more on the bottom of the funnel. They care about nurturing what the customer already knows and helping them arrive at the final decision of making a purchase.

How to create a winning demand generation strategy?

Creating a winning demand generation strategy is risky business. Done well, there’s a potentially huge ROI. Done poorly, there’s wasted time and resources. 

To develop a successful demand generation strategy, you’ll need your sales and marketing teams to follow these eight demand gen best practices, which are:

  • Focusing on organic search
  • Becoming an authority brand
  • Conversion rate and user experience optimization
  • Co-marketing opportunities
  • Creating sales funnel-specific content
  • Using AI chatbots and marketing automation
  • Introducing integrations to your product
  • Making the most of free trial users

However, a fundamental part of any demand generation strategy are the channels you’ll use. Below we’ll tell you the best demand gen channels to get the high quality leads and conversion rates your business deserves.

There are many demand generation channels available, take a look at the example below, but here we’ll tell you about the top eight channels that marketers are using to guarantee results.

Top 8 demand generation channels

First let’s cover the top eight demand gen channels you need to know to get your business to a new level. After, we’ll show you how you can choose the one that best fits your business and market.

1. Thought leadership & SEO

Thought leadership content is authoritative, positioned at the top of the sales funnel and it’s designed to establish your company as an expert in your industry.

Since demand generation is all about increasing brand awareness and credibility, one of the best ways to do this is by providing thought leadership content. Showing that you’re an expert on the topic and that you really understand your customer’s pain points is the first step for customers to trust you and pay more attention to what you can offer them.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key tool to place your content where it deserves to be. By paying attention to keywords, length of content, linking structure, and other important SEO features you’ll make sure your expert knowledge is located where your potential customers are looking and clicking.

“SEO it’s all about providing information to the person who’s looking for it, thus it’s an amazing channel to drive high-quality and high-qualified leads to any business, since” —Arianna Lupi, SEO Manager at Skale.

Benefits of thought leadership content marketing and SEO:

2. Webinars

Webinars are a great way to directly engage with your target audience. They allow you to show your expertise, while putting a face behind the logo. 

Webinars are not an hour-long sales pitch. A webinar is to showcase your knowledge, and interact with potential users.

Choosing the topic for the webinar is super important. One way you can find what your potential customers are interested in is by looking at your other channels. For example, if a post on social media, or on your blog, had really high engagement or even a lot of questions and comments from users, this might be a great indicator that you can build a webinar on the topic.

If you’re ever unsure on topics, just ask your audience! Use a tool like 123FormBuilder to automate your customer feedback, and build your topics for the webinars.  

Keep in mind the person or people that will present the webinar. You want to choose someone who is approachable, knowledgeable, with charisma, and that represents your brand’s voice.

Benefits of webinars for demand generation:

3. Emails

Emails are still great ways to engage with customers. However, it needs to be with people that already know your brand and the content of the emails needs to be genuinely valuable. People love emails–53% of marketers say it’s the most effective channel for demand gen–but they hate spam–keep that in mind.

When creating your email campaigns you’ll need to keep three principles in mind: 

  • Frequency
  • Segmentation
  • CTAs

Frequency: it doesn’t matter how valuable your content is, if you keep bombarding your clients with too many emails they will start seeing them as spam. In the same breath, if you start emailing too sparingly, customers will forget about you and your email marketing will lose its momentum.

Segmentation: helps keep your emails relevant. If you target each email to a specific type of customer, by industry, position, interaction, or any other demographic, it will help you deliver tailored, valuable content.

Implementing clear calls-to-action and next steps in your emails allows your potential customer to get the most out of the email. Make it easy for them to find out more about your brand or your products.

Benefits of email marketing:

4. Podcasts

Podcasts have become one of the primary ways for people to learn new things. In fact, 74% of podcast users listen to them to learn something new. Podcasts have become a popular way to look for entertainment and knowledge. 

More than half of Americans do chores while listening to podcasts, and users spend an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes listening to podcasts every week.

With all of this engagement and popularity, it’s a big miss to pass on being part of the podcasting ecosystem.

However, it’s important to point out that podcasts are not easy. On one hand, users can listen to podcasts wherever and whenever, which is great because you won’t be competing with other channels that require the user to be fully present and engaged. On the other hand, you’ll be competing against the thousands–if not millions–of other podcasts out there in the selection process.  

Benefits of podcasts:

  • Build credibility, trust, and connection with listeners
  • Possibility to interact with other podcasts or welcome experts: grow your network
  • A way to show your human side
  • A way to better show your brand voice, values, attitudes
  • A way to reach new, relevant audiences: guest hosting 
  • It takes 12-18 months to see results
  • It has a ROI of 307%

5. Social media

More than half of the world uses social media, that’s about 4.62 billion people at your fingertips. Being where your customers are is a fundamental part of all demand generation strategies.

There are plenty of social media platforms for you to choose and which one will be best for you will depend on your target market. It’s not the same to advertise or communicate through LinkedIn than it is to do so on Facebook or Instagram. Age, interests of your audience, and whether you’re aiming for B2C or B2B will have a huge impact on how you use social media in your demand generation campaign.

Benefits of social media:

6. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the most recently used demand generation tactics. It’s a simple way to generate demand in a seemingly organic way. Although you will be in touch with influencers, your audience sees influencers as ‘extended-friends’ and, most importantly, as experts in their niche. Just like referrals are one of the best ways to reach people, influencer marketing is like a wider-reach referral.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to find the channels that your influencers are on–influencer marketing isn’t just on Instagram or TikTok. 

Source

Benefits of influencer marketing:

7. PPC/SEM

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two of the most-used channels by B2B SaaS companies.

The main advantage they offer is that the results are seen immediately. Additionally, PPC spending is easy to track and gives straight results and ROI. However, because you have to pay for each click on your Google Ads, this means that the customer acquisition cost is typically high.

Benefits of PPC/SEM:

  • Immediate results
  • Provides great in-depth data
  • Easy to track cost and ROI
  • It has a ROI of 36%

8. Account based marketing (ABM)

Demand generation aims to increase awareness and reach in order to increase high-quality leads that will then be turned into customers by the lead gen strategy. Account based marketing is one of the best ways to ensure demand, leads, and customer acquisition. Why? Because it focuses so much on a specific account and it personalizes all marketing efforts to perfectly match the account targeted.

Benefits of account based marketing:

  • High risk, high CAC, but high reward, high ROI
  • High ROI when done properly
  • It takes 4-8 months to see results
  • Great insights into target accounts

There are plenty more channels to consider, but these are the main channels that we know will help you generate the demand of your dreams!

Choosing the right demand generation channel for your business

Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager at PhotoAid, points out: “there are a variety of demand generation channels that businesses can use to reach their target audiences. The most effective channels will vary depending on the type of business, product or service being offered, and the target market.

It’s true that finding the right channel for your specific situation in terms of products, target audience, and industry is no easy task. In fact, Kevin Barry, co-founder at Right Percent, says that the first thing to note when it comes to demand generation is that “finding product-channel fit is hard!

We’ve been warned of how hard it really is, yet we must still do it and be meticulous when trying to choose the right channel. When it comes to demand generation, it really is the crux of the matter.

Things to keep in mind when choosing your demand gen channels

Understand your market and their channels:

The first thing you need to do is deeply understand your market. Use all the data collected, and that you can find from other companies, to really narrow down who your audience is. What do they like, where are they, what their pain points are?

“When you analyze your market, you determine whether you can go for blogging, direct mailing, social media, PR campaigns, or influencer marketing. You may also create webinars, videos or podcasts, write e-books, or organize live events. […] Just remember to balance your scale and personalization in the right way.” – Nina Pączka, Community Manager at Zety.

Source: Provided by Kevin Barry

Think about your long-term goal:

Of course, your aim is to generate demand, however, think about the greater purpose. If you want to increase your sales fast, improve your brand reputation and credibility, or establish a solid community, your go-to channel will change.

Analyze and adjust:

Once your demand generation strategy is up and running, you’ll need to constantly check how it’s going. There are plenty of demand gen metrics available for you to use and analyze, but here are some of the most used:

  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
  • Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Overall Return of Investment (ROI)

Lastly, don’t forget that you aren’t constrained to using only one channel. Metric charts analyzed the B2B market shares by number of sales channels used and the results is what you would expect: the more channels that were used, the better. 

However, not all companies will have unlimited time and financial resources to use as many channels as they wish, but this is a great reminder to not narrowly focus on only one channel.

Let us know how you get on with these demand gen channels and thanks for reading!

Source

Demand Gen FAQs

What are demand generation channels?

Demand generation channels are the platforms and channels that marketing teams focus on to reach the target audience. Although demand gen is located towards the top of the funnel, the different channels available will target a specific area in the funnel, which is why it is paramount to know why each channel is used. 

What are examples of demand generation channels?

Examples of demand gen channels include: PPC/SEM, social media, webinars, thought leadership, and content marketing. 

What is demand gen content?

Depending on the channel that you implement for your demand generation strategy the content will vary. Brand awareness content will be different from thought leadership content, or a PPC piece of content. 

How do you create a demand generation plan?

To create a winning demand generation plan you need to understand your target audience, your industry and market, and how each demand generation channel plays a role. 
Once you figure this out you’ll need to align your goals, with your budget, and start creating a strategy. Once the strategy is up and running you’ll need to constantly check on it and analyze the data you’re obtaining to see where changes need to be made.

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