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Every time I meet someone who works in the question generation, I ask them, “Which tactics work best for you? Or do you have to do everything before it works?” They almost always chuckle and say, “Actually, you have to do everything.”
“Demand generation” is a broad term used for any marketing tactic that generates awareness and interest in purchasing your product or service. It’s rare for one tactic to produce the desired results, but “everything” can feel overwhelming.
Your demand generation strategy doesn’t have to cover everything, although. It just needs something for each stage of the buying journey. Here’s what that looks like:
Related: 6 Questions to Create Your First Marketing Strategy
1. Answer the top 5 questions on your website
Shake the bottom of your funnel up first. Otherwise, whatever you pour into the top will leak out. That means answering these five questions every buyer asks:
Tell people exactly what you offer, who you usually work with, and how much it costs (or at least what questions you ask to determine the price). Show them what it looks like and share customer reviews or testimonials. Then take the next step to buy – fill out a form, create an account or schedule an appointment – super easy and straightforward. Make sure of that before moving on to the rest of your strategy.
2. Create blog content for searches with informational intent
Searches with “informational intent” typically include “what,” “how,” and “why” questions that are relevant to your industry or target customer. Create content on a branded platform — your website’s blog, YouTube channel, or a community forum — that answers these questions and gives buyers another point to consider. Over time, this will bring potential buyers to you organically.
For example, “this is how that thing works, and we can do it for you if you’re interested.This helps you create awareness for your brand by answering their questions and gives you a chance to spark interest in what you offer by showing what life can be like when they work with you.
3. Run search ads for purchase intent searches
Searches with “purchase intent” typically include keywords such as “best,” “top,” “prices,” “reviews,” “near me,” and the category you’re in: “HVAC companies” or “business text messaging.” service’ for example. These people want to compare services and probably buy one.
You should try to rank organically for these terms, but there will be at least one ad at the top of those search results and you want it to be yours, not a competitor’s.
Related: This company thrived when it made blog content a cornerstone of its marketing strategy
4. Earn reviews on third-party platforms
Buyers seek reviews from existing customers before buying, and they’re looking for unfiltered opinions. So ask customers to share their experiences on third-party platforms like G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google My Business.
It doesn’t matter if there are negative reviews in the mix. It makes you look more authentic and gives you the chance to address issues publicly, which actually earns you points in your favor and helps with conversions.
Find the platform where your ideal customers spend their time, and be present. The goal here is to build relationships and educate your audience. By doing this, you can create loyalty and also turn your customers and followers into people who spread your message. Every like, comment and share introduces your brand to new people.
An easy option is to take your blog content and reuse it to fit this platform. Turn an article into a series of posts (one for each point in the article), or turn it into a short video or image. Building here takes time, but it becomes a powerful and self-sustaining machine.
Related: 5 Content Marketing Tips To Achieve All Your Goals
All your connections will not see every post you post. That’s why it can be useful to retarget your followers (and lookalike audiences) with ads on that platform. Promote your best content and create a mix of relevant ads to broadcast. As you increase engagement, you reach new people – and get the added bonus of social proof, as these posts show who else has liked and commented. It also ensures that you stay top of mind with your ideal customers.
7. Use email and text to nurture people who have already interacted with you
A buyer can – and often does – show interest in your brand without buying. That’s fine. But you want to stay top-of-mind, and by sending relevant emails and text messages every now and then, you can share valuable information while always being available.
For example, if someone downloads an ebook and hasn’t interacted with you in a week, you can text them to ask if they have any questions you can help with. It’s personal, keeps the conversation going and by intentional not by being pushy, you create space for more sales calls.
Related: 5 Ways to Use Texting to Grow Your Sales and Marketing
Bonus: Use Automation to Create Human Interactions
Everyone prefers to hear from a person rather than a brand, and we all prefer a personal (friendly) experience to being treated like a number. Throughout your demand generation efforts, look for opportunities to create those face-to-face interactions. That’s the part that separates decent demand-gene strategies from the ones that get off the ground.