Building Customer Relationships and Driving Leads Through Demand Generation

To grow your sales and revenue, your business needs to build prospect and customer relationships and generate high-quality sales leads. Achieving this requires a strategic and comprehensive approach to demand generation.

Demand generation encompasses all of the marketing strategies, programs, and channels you use to build relationships and generate sales leads. The goal of demand generation is to help your company reach new and existing markets, promote your products and services, build your brand, and nurture lasting customer relationships that result in long-term sales success.

Ultimately, demand generation can take many different forms, and you may need to engage in a comprehensive set of marketing activities to achieve your goals. Here are a few strategic ways you can generate demand through your marketing.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing might include blogging on your website or via social media channels, sharing videos and podcasts, as well as offering webinars, e-books, and other content.

The goal of inbound marketing is to attract and engage prospects with your marketing content and drive them to landing pages and sign-up forms where they can access valuable content or offers by sharing their contact information.

To sign up, your audience follows a link to a landing page on your website where you capture that person’s contact information in exchange for delivering the content. That contact becomes a lead that can be forwarded to your sales team or added to your prospect list for nurturing email campaigns or perhaps a weekly newsletter.

Digital Advertising

Creating and launching pay-per-click advertising campaigns through Google AdWords or other online ad networks is another way to generate demand. Digital advertising offers one of the fastest ways to drive new traffic to your website and landing pages, but it may require a significant budget depending on the level of competition for the keywords and content you might target through your chosen network.

Depending on your targeted industry, there may be ad networks and websites that offer opportunities to deliver digital display ads to your industry-specific audience. Social media also offers ways to reach a targeted audience by criteria including demographics, industry, and even job title and job function.

Well-crafted ads with the right messaging, along with the right website content or landing pages, can generate clicks-throughs that provide many opportunities to drive new prospects into your sales funnel.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fundamental component of marketing, particularly when it comes to your website and blog. By researching and understanding the keywords your ideal customers use when searching online, you can include these keywords in your website and blog content.

It is also critical to optimize the design of your site and the presentation of your pages and content according to SEO best practices and guidelines published by major search engines such as Google.

With optimized web content, you can potentially increase your ranking in search results and attract more traffic to your site. In turn, you gain more opportunities to drive demand through your signups and offers.

Even if the competition for some of your relevant keywords is fierce, you can micro-target keywords and phrases that have less volume and competition but can still be extremely valuable in delivering highly qualified traffic to your site.

Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is another potential part of a successful demand generation program. Prospects and customers may already be interacting with your company and brand through social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Or you may develop a strategy for building a social presence and attracting likes and followers.

Using social media channels, you can answer questions, provide customer service, and share product news, updates, and other content. Maintaining a meaningful social media presence can keep those prospects and customers engaged with your brand and allow you to have social conversations to foster long-term relationships that generate demand and increase your sales.

Guest blogging is another way to use social media to your advantage. Guest blogging on other websites is a way to establish your expertise as a thought leader in your industry, share useful insights with your target audience, and drive demand by including inbound links and references to your business, products, or services within your article or blogging profile.

Public Relations
Public relations can also play a pivotal role in successful demand generation. A press release that gets published online or a PR pitch that inspires an article in online or print media can lead to exposure for your brand and products. This can ultimately lead to visits to your website, sales inquiries, and new customers.

There are many channels and opportunities for distributing your press release to online and traditional media. Pitching stories is another way to get writers and editors interested in writing a blog post or article that generates ideal exposure for your business.

Have you created a new product or service that would be of immediate interest to readers or viewers? Are you doing something innovative that is having an impact on your local community or your industry?

Think in terms of stories that would be captivating or immediately interesting to the audience that a blog, website, or publication attracts. A well-crafted, thoughtfully-placed PR pitch on an engaging topic could land you the exposure that builds awareness of your products and services and boosts your sales.

Demand Generation for Your Business

While these strategies and tactics are often the core components of demand generation, our list here is not exhaustive, and the best options for your business may vary.

To identify and plan the right choices for your company, you will need to understand your target audience as well as the channels customers use to engage brands and find information on the types of products and services you offer. You will also need to assess your goals and budget, determine how much demand you need to generate, and identify the ideal strategies and tactics to make your vision a reality.

At Marketing2Connect, we can guide you through this process, help you plan a winning demand generation strategy, and help you execute your vision with a full complement of marketing services.

Contact our team today or learn more about our B2B marketing services and how they can help you build lasting customer relationships and drive sales growth for your company.

Inbound Marketing: Cost-Effective Lead Generation to Grow Your Sales

In recent years, inbound marketing has emerged as a critical customer acquisition strategy for companies eager to grow. Inbound marketing involves creating and sharing content online through blogging, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). This helps your company be “found” by potential customers who are already learning about and shopping for the kinds of products or services you sell.

Inbound marketing is often contrasted with outbound marketing, which may include paid advertising, cold calling, telemarketing, sending email blasts to purchased lists, and attending tradeshows. Outbound marketing is an effort to get your message out to as many prospects as possible, in the hope that it will resonate with them and generate leads.

While this approach can still be effective and useful, your prospects are already inundated with countless outbound marketing messages every day, so it can be difficult to get your message through. Also, many potential customers are not receptive to unsolicited marketing, may not have a need for your product or service, may not be shopping for a solution, or may not be at the right phase in their buying cycle.

To address these inefficiencies and obstacles, inbound marketing takes a different approach. It aims to engage and build trust with potential customers who are already seeking information and shopping online for solutions relevant to your offering.

There are a few core strategies and tactics that inbound marketers typically use to accomplish this:

  • Increase brand awareness by creating content, participating in social media and online discussions, and conducting search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Capture leads with useful, informative content, attractive offers, and effective landing pages
  • Convert leads with content marketing, nurturing campaigns, and sales force automation
  • Analyze results, adjust strategies and content, and apply lessons learned

At its core, inbound marketing is all about generating and converting qualified sales leads. Once you have been discovered through your marketing content, SEO, and social media, you capture qualified leads by offering prospects something of value—such as free products or services, discounts, or access to useful content such as newsletters, webinars, or white papers—in exchange for signing up and sharing their contact information. Once registered, your leads can be nurtured to move them through your sales funnel through follow-up sales calls, emails, demos, and additional content.

Some of these efforts can even be combined with elements of outbound marketing, such as paid search advertising to create highly-targeted inbound marketing campaigns that focus on the people actively searching for keywords and content relevant to your business. Or they can be combined with sponsored blog posts on LinkedIn to reach a very specific audience according to industry and job title criteria.

An Ongoing Investment with Phenomenal ROI
As opposed to outbound marketing, which often involves a temporary or short-term campaign, inbound marketing is a continual process. It requires an ongoing commitment and the talent and resources to build your brand online, create content, conduct successful campaigns, and continuously refine and improve your efforts.

However, this does not mean that inbound marketing is more expensive or less effective than traditional outbound marketing. In fact, inbound marketing is much more cost effective than outbound marketing.

In recent surveys conducted by HubSpot, businesses consistently reported that the cost per lead for inbound marketing is at least 60% lower than the cost per lead for outbound marketing.  In fact, regardless of company size or marketing spend, inbound efforts achieve higher ROI than outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is even more cost effective for smaller businesses, with a savings of 64% in cost per lead for companies with 1-25 employees and 68% for those with 51-200 employees.

This phenomenal edge in ROI is one of the main reasons why inbound marketing has become the marketing approach of choice. More than 75% of B2B, B2C, and non-profit organizations now favor inbound over outbound marketing.

Understanding and Exploring Inbound Marketing for Your Business
From building brand awareness to generating and converting leads, managing your brand reputation, and retaining customers, inbound marketing is a vital strategy that no company can afford to ignore. Executed properly, it will not only drive new business but also continue to pay dividends as you build your brand and audience, maintain an active presence on social media, and continue to share content and engage in conversations with prospects and current customers online.

However, the key to understanding inbound marketing and using it to grow your sales is to gain a deeper awareness of how it works, the steps and strategies required to implement it, and the resources required.

Thankfully, our team has assembled a Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing, which offers a quick guide to inbound marketing, best practices and strategies, and an outline for how to build a successful program for your business.

Or, to learn more about inbound marketing and how you can use it to grow your sales, contact our team of experts to request more information and to schedule a free consultation.

Account Based Marketing: The Perfect Strategy for Landing Key Accounts

You may or may not have heard about one of the fastest-growing trends in B2B marketing. However, if you are a business that wants to land large, key accounts, or if you specialize in delivering products or services to a very specific industry, then you need to know about account-based marketing.

Account-based marketing focuses your sales and marketing on a defined set of target accounts, using personalized marketing campaigns to engage the key contacts at those accounts and drive sales for your business.

By targeting your highest-potential accounts and the customer segments that are the best fit for your products and services, account-based marketing is more strategic and efficient. Instead of conducting broad-based inbound marketing, which is designed to reach the largest possible number of prospects, account-based marketing narrows the focus to more effectively connect to specific top-priority clients.

Using this approach, marketers develop personalized campaigns and messages, not just for those accounts, but for the individuals who are instrumental to opening doors and landing the target account as customers. These include the decision-makers, end users, and influencers who may all play a crucial role in securing business at a given account.

Account-based marketing (ABM) takes into account the individuals involved, their roles and responsibilities, and the needs of their organization in crafting personalized communications and touch points to drive engagement.

Think of it as identifying the exact accounts you want to win, the people you need to speak with, and the conversations you need to have to make it happen. ABM involves examining the key issues and pain points facing each target, mapping those issues to the individuals involved or affected, and tailoring marketing campaigns to engage key stakeholders by addressing the issues they care most about.

If this sounds like nothing new, you are partly right. ABM has its roots in traditional sales, and the core concept of targeting key accounts and contacts while focusing on their biggest issues has been around for decades. The difference today is that ABM presents a way to align your sales and marketing resources according to a very specific target, and automation allows you to engage the right contacts and have the right conversations in a highly personalized, yet efficient way.

ABM is also crucial to maintaining your existing key accounts, particularly if you rely on a select few customers for a large portion of your business. Maintaining personalized engagement with those customers and cultivating lasting business relationships is critical to avoiding a disastrous loss of an important account. The right marketing and sales communications can make all the difference, and automation makes establishing and nurturing lasting relationships easier than ever before.

What are some of the best tactics for account-based marketing, and how can you get started?

The first step is to build a target account list, identifying the companies you want as customers, along with the existing customers who are critical to the future health and growth of your business. You can use a list of your existing accounts as a basis for identifying the characteristics your ideal customers have in common. You can look to industry trends and projections for insights, or you can simply ask your sales team for input.

Once you have your targets in mind, it is time to develop the ABM strategies, tactics, and programs that will engage those targets and drive sales success.

For an overview of some of the best account-based marketing strategies, check out our free Quick Guide to Account-Based Marketing. This is a free PDF download offering quick tips on the best and most effective tactics for landing and maintaining top-priority accounts.

To learn more about ABM and what it can do for your business, contact our team today for more information and a free consultation.