When contemplating your next SaaS PPC strategy, there is much to consider. For example, are you going to focus on a lead generation campaign, or a demand generation campaign?
If you’re not familiar with the latter, you need to get acquainted with it because it plays a fundamental role within the marketing funnel – and it comes before your lead-gen campaign.
If you’ve yet to dabble in this area of marketing, we teach you all about what demand generation is, why it’s important, and how to build the perfect strategy.
SaaS Demand Generation Explained
With demand generation, the clue is in the title. It plays a role in heightening brand awareness and increases product/service demand, and if correctly executed, is often very successful.
There is a common misconception that lead generation and demand generation are the same thing; and while there are certainly nuances and overlaps, there are fundamental differences; and in order to correctly assert a marketing strategy focusing on one or the other, it is important to understand these differences.
When it comes to demand generation, the goal is to generate audience engagement to then (later down the line) focus on lead generation. So while the two often go hand-in-hand, it is important to note that demand generation comes first and is the first stepping stone towards lead generation.
With demand generation, you’re focusing on broadening your brand’s visibility to show potential leads what you do/sell and why they should be engaged. This is often achieved via a digital campaign that aims to drive potential leads to a brand’s website.
The most noteworthy difference between demand generation and lead generation is the former will go first in your marketing strategy, and then you can create a lead generation campaign that focuses on capturing lead data from your website to then use to create a targeted audience-focused lead-gen campaign. The key takeaway here is that data capturing comes with lead generation – not demand generation.
To sum up: demand generation focuses on brand awareness and lead generation focuses on future conversion. As a SaaS PPC agency, we look at how you can implement demand generation into your strategy – and how to execute your campaign effectively.
Understanding the Nuances Between Lead-Gen & Demand-Gen
Let’s go into further detail regarding why the two differ. Key focuses in a nutshell:
Lead generation: Identifying, recruiting, and information for a sales launch. An example of a lead-gen campaign would be an ad that entices a lead to go to the brand’s website to then hit the call-to-action (CTA), which could be purchasing an item, downloading an eBook, filling in a lead-gen form, and so on.
Demand generation: Addresses challenges for a potential problem, educating leads on what your brand does/how it can help, puts your brand in the eyeline of the customer as a potential solution for their pain points.
Another important difference between lead generation and demand generation is the content in which you display when focusing on one or the other. For example, the ad formats, tone, and, of course, the CTA will be different.
Also, your demand generation campaign can focus on closing sales with prospective customers – so again, content should mirror that goal.
|Lead Generation||Demand Generation|
Why Demand Generation Matters
If you’re still unsure of the purpose of a demand generation campaign and why you can’t just go straight in with a lead-gen campaign, here is why you need to consider a demand generation campaign first and foremost:
- Reaching the right audiences. Identifying who your audience is by understanding the groups of people whose problems will be solved by using your products/services. Demand generation marketing campaigns enable you to hone in on these problems to create the right content that appeals to those audiences.
- Solution identifying. Once you understand what your audiences’ pain points are, you can select the right product/service to focus your campaign’s content on. Doing this is a surefire way to drive in the most profitable leads. The right content coupled with a good SEO strategy will set your campaign on a path to success.
- Brand establishment. By successfully executing a well-devised demand generation campaign, you affirm your SaaS brand as a superior and reliable option for your audience to invest in. Do this by demonstrating that you understand the qualms of your audience and that you hold the key in addressing and solving them. This is also a good way to affirm customer loyalty.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Your campaigns hold the potential to generate brand awareness, and later on in the marketing funnel, they can then be nurtured and converted as (hopefully) lifelong customers. When your leads reach this level, they are considered as MQLs and are then ready to be passed off to the sales team, as they have a higher likelihood to convert. The sales team will then work their magic in nurturing the lead.
So, as you can see, a demand generation campaign plays a pivotal role in ushering opportunities along the marketing funnel.
Demand-Gen & the Marketing Funnel: 6 Stages
When you begin to strategise your demand generation marketing campaign, you will come to understand that there are six stages to the marketing funnel, and they look like this:
STAGE ONE: AWARENESS
This is effectively how you introduce yourself to future leads. Your prospective audience has a pain point they need solving and you can do just that – so this is your way of saying ‘help is at hand’.
They may not even be aware that they need your product/service, and this campaign is there to remind them that they actually do. So, use this stage to boost your brand’s presence and get it on the radar of potentially lucrative clients.
But don’t give all your secrets away just yet – it’s still just the first stage of the funnel.
STAGE TWO: CONSIDERATION
During this part, you will then engage your audience to consider how to combat this (potentially newly discovered) problem. You can do this by using a lead magnet.
For those not in the know, a lead magnet is a value prospect that entices the lead’s appetite (you’ve heard the term ‘dangling a carrot’ – this is just that). It comes across as a free gift, as such – although it’s not free. It is something (this could be a free eBook, quote, consultation, tester product, and so on) that you offer in exchange for their contact information (sometimes this is just an email).
Once this exchange has been made, you can now directly market your brand to them.
STAGE THREE: DECISION
This is the part where you can start alerting your lead of the product/service you feel will be their problem-solving solution.
By this stage, they are aware of who you are and that they have a problem that can be remedied by you. And if you’ve used a lead magnet, you can communicate directly with them via email (for example) and via your personalised marketing campaign.
You will need to treat this stage with care and be mindful of what you are marketing to them and how often. They shouldn’t feel bamboozled by your brand (or they will just head straight to that ‘unsubscribe’ button). You need to be firm without being too pushy. If your campaign isn’t enticing or strong enough (or they can’t see/identify the call-to-action), they won’t be inclined to follow through. So it’s important to find a balance.
STAGE FOUR: ACTIVATION
This part is essentially where you nurture the lead to then take the next steps towards being converted. You won’t have a lot of time with this, so don’t dilly-dally!
STAGE FIVE: EXPANSION
This area is when you can start to expand your product/service variety to the lead and let them know what else is up for grabs.
By doing this, you can let them know you’re a reliable brand with plenty of solutions and useful resources that they can then invest in – securing them as a lifelong, loyal customer.
STAGE 6: PROMOTION
Finally, you can get the lead into a position where they’re thrilled about your product/service and will promote it to other people, which can only be done if you meet and exceed their desires and expectations, so it’s important that your product/service is exactly what they need (which harkens back to earlier stages and being sure you know/understand your audience) and that the campaign’s content is on-point.
This funnel and its six stages are crucial for success, so they must be adhered to – in order – and with no steps skipped.
Demand Generation Channels
So now that you’re aware of the funnel and how a demand generation campaign fits into it, you’re ready to start looking into channels to get started.
There are several different options to consider here, and it can be challenging finding the right ones to choose. Let’s look at the channels available.
SEO-Led Content Marketing
This can be a lucrative option for all SaaS brands when it comes to demand generation marketing, because you can create tailored, high-quality content that draws audiences to your website. This is essentially healthy, organic traffic.
You will need to conduct keyword research to find the right phrases to boost the traffic, as well as optimising your content towards your search engine/s of choice. By doing this research, you will be able to identify the most relevant, high-quality keywords that are being pinged into the engines by your audience and organically incorporate them into your content.
Not only does this channel offer high-quality SEO-driven traffic to your site, but it also puts you on the radar of industry influencers and publications by earning backlinks and social shares, which will also improve your website’s ranking, as well as further driving traffic to your site.
Advertising on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the B2B advertiser’s best friend – or one of them, anyway. As a SaaS brand, you can utilise this platform to generate demand. This is owing to the platform’s prowess in allowing users to advertise and target to extremely marginalised audiences with its ad groups (industries, job title, seniority, etc.).
Because LinkedIn is a professional-focused platform, many B2B marketers appreciate it because you can target company decision-makers, which are more often than not, the most lucrative type of leads.
LinkedIn also offers several different types of advertising methods (e.g.: InMail, text ads, carousel ads, and so on), which provides autonomy for advertising in a way that caters to your audience and your objectives.
It’s also extremely on the ball with targeting and retargeting, and it provides in-depth, easy to understand analytics, which enable you to understand how your campaign is performing and where it needs optimising (if necessary). It allows you to focus on demand generation campaigns by targeting the right users with the right message.
We touched on email marketing earlier when we discussed the six stages of the marketing funnel. A SaaS brand can use it as a powerful tool in their toolbelt, because it is cost-effective and extremely measurable.
You can use it to build a robust list of potential clients and then engage with them via a number of marketing options, such as offers, updates, deals, newsletters, and other relevant information. And it allows you to do so in a direct and personalised way for optimal effect.
You can utilise email automation software to further boost your email campaigns, which provide that extra tool to ensure your ads are successful and that they generate the demand you wish to achieve.
As with most other channels, email campaigns can be analysed in order to track engagement and pinpoint any areas within your campaign that could use sprucing or tweaking. This includes providing click-through data, conversion rates, and other useful insights that you can leverage for this and future campaigns.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Many brands love PPC because it is ideal for creating targeted ads tailored to web-users who are searching for what you have to offer. And not only does it provide useful metrics, it also lets you track the return-on-investment (ROI) and provides data in which you can make informed decisions regarding your budget spend.
One of the reasons advertisers like PPC so much is because it is ideal for both lead conversion and brand awareness, so it can be bolstered for both lead-gen and demand-gen campaigns. Also, it can work even if a user doesn’t click on your ad, because their data is still available for you to target with PPC ads in the future.
As with your SEO-led content marketing, you will need to bid on relevant, high-quality keywords, as well as narrow down the appropriate targeting options in order to engage with the best audiences. It also allows you to use various tools to optimise your campaign’s content to make it more visually-engaging via ad formats and extensions.
Safety in numbers, right? Enlisting partners can help you expand your outreach and target new audiences and boost your demand. This gives you the opportunity to build liaisons with other relevant and like-minded brands in order to build a relationship that allows you to share target audiences and cash in on each other’s networks and build from that.
This can be especially beneficial for SaaS brands to build a powerful network, boost their credibility, and yes – generate more demand in a sustainable, mutually-beneficial way.
Last but not least is our old pal, the webinar. Webinars work wonders for SaaS brands because they allow them to demonstrate their skills and capabilities within a particular area. This provides insightful information to potential customers by proving to them that your brand is an expert within your field – and that your products are extremely beneficial to them.
Not only that, they are great for unveiling a new product, because they let you demonstrate everything the customer would need to know about it – all in one engaging, easy-to-digest sitting.
Measuring the Success of Your Demand-Gen Campaign
As with all other digital marketing, once you’ve launched your campaign, you need to keep an eye on your key performance indicators (KPIs) to see how it is engaging with users and if it is meeting your performance expectations.
There are multiple ways to. For example:
- Total number of leads generated
- Lead conversion rate
- Cost per lead
- Customer lifetime value
- Lead conversion rate
- Customer churn rate
Oftentimes, you’ll find the process of demand generation more complex than a lead generation campaign, so it is extra important to keep an eye on your metrics and thoroughly measure your campaign’s success throughout its life. This will ensure you’re making the most of your digital resources, and of course, seeing a valuable return on your hard work.
Now that you understand the difference between lead generation campaigns and demand generation campaigns, you can execute both perfectly and appreciate why the two have their own important place within the marketing funnel.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through paid advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with someone on our team.
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