8 Demand Generation Best Practices
You heard it here first: the top demand generation best practices the experts are using right now
This article will dive straight into proven demand gen strategies to try for your SaaS product. This is not your run-of-the-mill, overview, fluff that you’ll skim over and never use. This article gets deep into the nitty-gritty of three demand generation strategies you’ll actually use.
These three strategies have been tried and tested with successful SaaS brands and can be tweaked to fit your demand generation goals and metrics.
The three demand generation strategies we’ll cover are:
You’ll walk away from this article with a better idea of how you can generate high-quality leads for your next demand gen campaign or ongoing strategy.
Right, before we get into our three proven demand generation strategies, let’s bust a few demand generation marketing myths. We’re about to answer how to create a demand generation strategy and how not to create one.
A demand generation strategy is not one marketing method. There is no one thing you can do to create demand for your business. There’s no secret hack hidden behind the words demand gen. Instead, the best demand generation strategies are a collection of sales and marketing micro-strategies that have notoriously helped businesses to generate demand.
To create a successful demand generation strategy you’ll need to unite your sales and marketing teams. Plus, combine various sales strategies and marketing efforts to formulate the many moving parts to the larger demand gen strategy. Eventually, winning demand from those high-quality leads every SaaS brand is looking for.
Bust a myth? Demand Gen and Lead Generation are the same things, right? Wrong. There’s been a lot of “uhming” and “ahhing” around demand generation vs. lead generation, so let’s put these two to bed—separately.
When a business focuses on building demand, they focus on generating interest and awareness for their product. This can focus on numerous touchpoints within the customer lifecycle.
On the other hand, lead generation focuses on building a list of people interested in buying your product. Lead generation can literally mean the act of collecting an email—you generate leads. However, their demand was already there. Asking for an email on its own wouldn’t suffice.
The largest difference between the two strategies? The user intent. Demand generation aims to keep a user thirsty for more, whether they’re a lead, a website visitor, or even a customer. With lead gen, they have a genuine interest in paying for your product and are ready to talk to sales reps.
With that now covered, let’s get into the thick of it, with our three demand gen strategies to try.
Content marketing is a fickle beast. It comes with a sharp tongue and works in many ways. The point being, content works differently for different niches. It depends on your audience, your ICP, your product, your tech, your resources, and so much more.
However, when it comes to your demand generation efforts, there are a few content types that repeatedly prove useful.
Video efforts often lead demand generation campaigns. A study from Wyzowl found that 86% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their product website, and 94% of businesses that use video say it’s helped to increase understanding of their product or service. These are two KPIs of a successful demand gen strategy.
Whitepapers are a tried and tested form of content that generate demand for your product or service. A good whitepaper should be backed up with an array of content like webinars and questionnaires. A white paper is shareable, gives your brand topical authority, and can potentially be gated, which means you can win an email signup if you play your cards right—lead gen.
We love free things. Correction. We love free, useful, things. If you know what your target audience needs, then a calculator or free tool is a fantastic piece of content that can build brand awareness, aid your inbound marketing strategy, and prove you’re a valuable resource for ICPs.
Of all of the demand generation tactics out there, content hubs are rarely utilized to their fullest potential. However, they’re a useful resource for your sales team and can prove to be an extremely useful demand generation marketing method.
With the help of the Skale team, Maze, the remote testing platform for SaaS products, does a fantastic job of utilizing a content hub to generate demand.
As well as hosting topical guides relevant to their users; for example, https://maze.co/guides/usability-testing/,
Maze has also built an entire collection: https://maze.co/collections/ux-ui-design/.
This compiles guides and blogs into one useful resource content hub. They provide relevant content in a way that’s equal parts usable and searchable.
Webinars are a key player in increasing your brand reputation, reach, and product demand. They should be seriously considered for and successful demand generation campaign.
Although a podcast may not be a key player in your sales funnel or sales cycle, let’s remember our demand generation is also there to increase product awareness, our lead gen efforts come in other forms.
Podcasts are fantastic tools for brand awareness. In a world where content is often battling for pride of place at the top of news feeds and inboxes, the right podcast can guarantee 30 minutes to an hour of your listener’s time and is a great inbound marketing tool.
If you really want to level up your demand generation content and inbound marketing success, then work with your marketing and sales teams to create a mini-course for your niche.
What is your brand in a unique position to teach? LinkedIn has done this incredibly well with LinkedIn learning. What started as a demand generation marketing tactic quickly pivoted into a new business model for the platform and has helped LinkedIn garner authority as the go-to resource to improve your career opportunities.
Case studies can be a fantastic content type to generate highly relevant demand. Why? They don’t just answer potential users’ needs, they demonstrate how to solve them while placing your product front and center in the process.
Take a look at a case study we built here at Skale for Piktochart, for example. By securing backlinks on high-quality & topically relevant domains, we increased organic link clicks by 995% and signups by 860%.
This case study answers our ICPs’ problem or “job-to-be-done,” showcases the solution, and places our SEO services as the must-have answer to achieve the goal.
EBooks are a tricky piece of content to master, but if you find the hack that resonates with your buyers and their pain points, then you’re on to a winning recipe.
EBooks are essentially hyper-long pieces of content. Usually, they’re a combination of research, case studies, content hubs, and courses that tie together succinctly into one piece of content that users can walk away with.
Like a podcast, users make the time to read an Ebook. Plus, with it typically being a piece of content that someone can access offline, you’re more likely to hold someone’s attention than if they were to stumble across your blog post on their social media feeds.
Remember, quality content takes quality resources. Utilize the quantitative and qualitative data you have available to build content that you know people need. Ask your sales team for their input; there’s a high chance every sales team has a wealth of content they’d love to see supporting their sales cycle. All you need to do is tweak those angles to greet people at the top of the funnel instead.
Marketing, product, and customer success teams can also provide valuable input for content ideas. They can all help you source potential customers and up conversion rates.
Don’t forget to ask your current users the content they would like to see, or content they wish they had seen when they were considering your product. Perhaps there’s even some user-generated content out there to inspire your own.
Lastly, use a combination of keyword research, competitor analysis, and user research to build out content pillars that will serve your brand and demand generation process.
We’ll say it louder for the people at the back: SEO is so much more than keywords! Google got smart(er), and you’ll need a 360 SEO strategy today if you want to generate demand on the popular search engine.
To give you a better idea of how far Google has come, the platform has over 200 ranking factors to help its algorithm. There’s a high chance we’ll barely graze the surface in this chapter. However, we’ll do what we can with the word count and highly recommend you check out our SaaS SEO hub for more methods.
Let’s break SEO down a little with our Head of Tech & Content SEO, Ben Major:
Brand Signals: Search engines consider high-quality external brand signals when deciding whether or not you are seen as a trusted (or authoritative) source in your niche. Some examples of brand signals are:
Those are a few brand signals to consider, and here are some top methods to improve them:
Ivana Drakulevska, Search Engine Optimization Specialist at Sales.Rocks, expands on how they use brand signals to inform their SEO strategy.
“At Sales.Rocks, we follow closely B2B SaaS industry trends and statistics, like:
We act on these findings. Therefore, our demand gen strategy relies heavily on SEO and building meaningful backlinks.
We know that those who are looking for a solution to their business pains – will find the right solution by themselves. The stats prove that. That’s why we chose NOT to invest a large sum of money in targeted Ads and invite people to buy from us, but instead, we transfer that same amount of money into offering our customers a fair price for the quality of our product.
In short: The money invested into paid Ads enters into Customer Acquisition Cost.
CAC then aims to balance the ROI (Return on Investment) = “I invested this much money on attracting customers, now I need to get that money back and to make a profit.”
How? By increasing the price of the SaaS subscription.
Fair? I don’t think so.
That’s why we reduce the monthly price of our SaaS platform for that same amount of money that would be otherwise spent on Ads. This keeps our CAC at a minimum
Our DG strategy has proved to be a huge success for us.
Thanks to this demand gen strategy, Sales.Rocks have been officially recognized as having the best ROI of any Sales Intelligence software in the market by the most trusted peer-to-peer review community in the world of SaaS-based on user ratings and social data – G2.
Our customers are getting their money back from what they are paying to be subscribed and use our software. This builds brand awareness, increases our traffic, and brings new quality leads straight to us.”
Generating demand for your SaaS using SEO doesn’t need to be done alone. There are some fantastic SEO marketing automation tools to help guide your processes, and of all things, you’re going to outsource for your SaaS marketing a SaaS SEO agency should be top of your list.
Our last demand gen strategy is collaborations. These come in many different forms but can truly help to put your brand in front of new eyes in a way that feels natural for viewers. It’s also a great way to align your brand with influential leaders and rock-solid technology.
If you can find a way to collaborate with other brands, it can technically and sentimentally help to lift your brand, build demand, and win more qualified leads.
Katheriin Liibert, Head of Marketing at OutFunnel, talked us through how they use co-marketing partnerships to reach more prospective customers and increase demand for the tool.
“For Outfunnel, it’s been all about App marketplaces and co-marketing with partners.
From day one, Outfunnel has been most relevant to users of specific sales and marketing tools (as we build integrations between them), so acing our presence in App marketplaces and building good relationships with the partners has proved the best way to build demand.
The number one metric we have to show for it? Outfunnel is the #1 top rated app in Pipedrive’s app marketplace (and has been for quite some time now).”
Chameleon is also a great example of using co-marketing efforts in creating demand for their tool. The demand gen team at Chameleon frequently aligns with brands that have similar audiences to their buyer personas and create valuable webinar and blog content that promotes both tools as a must-have for any SaaS business.
You can measure the success of your demand gen strategy by using a bundle of marketing automation tools, and manual tracking methods. Set KPIs, benchmark goals, and check-in with your efforts regularly to see if you’re on track.
A few tools to consider to help you measure your DG efforts are:
There are a few recurring elements of a successful demand generation program that you’ll want to keep in mind as you flesh out your own strategy.
Highly quality content leads the pack, no matter what your strategy. There’s a massive chance you’re going to need some form of content, be it photos, videos, copy, VR, or something else. So, you must have the right talent on board or are sourcing it out-of-house. Don’t put in all of the work in strategizing only to fall short on the delivery.
Another successful element recurring in a DG strategy is automation. DG is complicated in its nature. It’s prone to human error if you’re conducting and reporting on it manually, and introduce smart tools can help to combat this. Plus, if you’re hoping to scale your DG efforts you’ll need a tool to scale with you.
Third on our list is optimization. Optimizing your strategy cannot be stressed enough. For as much research and thought as you put into your DG build, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and we don’t see the results we’d previously bet on.
That’s okay; it’s all a learning curb. So, remain transparent in your reports, let management know if you hit under goal, and find ways to do better next time around.
A demand generation strategy should include your entire plan on how you intend to build interest, awareness, and desire for your brand, product, or service. It should include some core methods you’ll use, along with some benchmark goals and KPIs to showcase you’re on the right track.
A few demand generation best practices include creating a strong demand and scarcity funnel for your product or service, integrating a CRM and campaign automation tool, maximizing your social media efforts. Looking for more on demand gen best practices? Read this article.
Demand generation results are measured via DG tools and apps. These can include Google Analytics, Mayple, and other notable reporting tools. Benchmark your results against previous quarters, or public results of your competitors.
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