Both approaches have their pluses and minuses, but if you’re considering making the move too, be aware that some plays in the demand generation playbook might be missing from your inbound marketing playbook.
These aren’t campaign plays but rather optimization plays, meaning the small tweaks you make to your execution that drive improved performance.
If you want to drive more significant results, make sure you’re doing these demand generation optimization activities every month.
1) Content Optimization On LinkedIn
Once you ungate your content and agree to get it out to everyone who’s interested in it, you should be using LinkedIn as one of your more significant channels.
If you have the right people following you and your company, sharing new content via LinkedIn keeps your followers tuned into your ideas, thought leadership and new content opportunities.
But there is a little more to it than just posting.
You should be using your LinkedIn network to gauge the quality of your content. Do people comment? Are they engaged with your content? Do they share it? Do they DM you as a result of your posts?
These are all good metrics around the effectiveness of your content. If you’re not getting any engagement, comments or shares, your content isn’t getting any significant attention.
This channel specifically should be about quality over quantity. There is so much mediocre content on LinkedIn that you should be doing more to help your content stand out.
Ask questions. Start with a controversial perspective and ask for your followers to comment. Engagement is one of the most important aspects of LinkedIn, and you need to use your content to drive as much engagement as possible.
2) Late-Stage Buyer Journey Offers
Most software companies use demos as their late-stage buyer journey offers. The thinking here is that when people are done with their research and ready to buy, they like to see the software. The request to schedule a demo is usually a signal that people are late in their buyer journey and getting ready to buy.
But what if you’re not in the software business? You still need late-stage buyer journey offers that allow your prospects to signal their buying intent.
Coming up with these should be a regular activity, and it might take some time to develop ideas that are solid enough to drive sales-qualified leads.
Finding the right pages on your website is another task associated with optimizing offers. You’ll also need to optimize the landing pages. Since these have to be gated, you’ll be able to work on the headlines, page copy, page imagery and form length.
Optimizing the conversion rates on these pages is key to driving sales-qualified leads and sales opportunities when the rest of your content is ungated.
If you want to read more about this type of offer specifically, we have an article, 3 Tips For Creating Late-Stage Buyer Journey Offers That Drive Revenue, that goes into great detail on these special offers.
3) Website Visitor Optimization (All Sources)
Some of you might argue that this is an inbound marketing tactic, and I’d agree. I think working to get visitors to your website is inbound and demand generation — it’s just good, solid marketing.
It’s also something that should get regular attention. Weekly for sure, but maybe even doing something small every day. We recently went through our own site at Square 2 and I described it this way: If you do something small every day, then you’re never looking at a big redo project because you’ve been keeping up with the small tasks.
It’s like taking care of your house. If you neglect it, you’re soon looking at a big renovation instead of a small handyman project.
The key to the team here at Square 2 is optimizing all of the sources.
This means making sure your organic visitors are going up and your email marketing is still driving people back to the site. It means looking at the visitors that come to the site from social media networks. If you’re running paid social or paid search ads, these would need to be driving traffic too. Last but not least, any backlinks or referral sites need to be kicking in visitors too.
All of these sources need constant care and feeding to produce results, and they all should be part of your demand generation optimization efforts.
4) Video Content Optimization
Every marketing program needs to have video as one of the content marketing strategy pillars. Today, video is outpacing all other types of content by a wide margin. Many people prefer to watch videos, people like to share videos and video is easier to consume on various devices.
Once the videos are produced, they need to be optimized, shared and leveraged as part of your content plan.
They need to be loaded up on your YouTube channel and tagged properly for search optimization. They need to be loaded up to other video-sharing sites as well, like Metacafe and Vimeo.
They need to be cut up and shorter snippets created for sharing on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
They need to find their way to your website. Some of the videos go on a special page, other videos go on specific website pages and still more videos go in the resources section of your website.
Just like any piece of content, you’ll want to keep track of the videos and their performance. While views are important, make sure you know how long each person is viewing the video. Are they making it to the end? A viewer that bales after just 15 seconds isn’t nearly as good as a viewer who stays and watches your entire video.
Finally, make sure you’re leveraging the videos to drive people back to your website, offer them specific action steps to take next and use your late-stage buyer journey offers to turn viewers into sales leads.
5) Podcast Audience Growth
Creating content at scale is the secret to demand generation and, honestly, lead generation. Today, production tools make it easy to add a podcast to your content marketing strategy.
But the key is to blend your videocast and podcast together into a single show that produces two streams of content. This is exactly what Joe Rogan does for his podcast by recording the video and audio.
The video stream is broadcast live, recorded and posted on his YouTube channel. The audio stream is broadcast live, recorded and provided on all of the podcast platforms.
You should consider setting up your content in a similar way. Once you do, tracking the growth of your podcast audience is a solid way to ensure your show content is connecting with your target market.
Managing a weekly video/podcast program is going to take some energy. It’s going to take some planning, especially if you’re thinking about including guests. It’s also going to take some post-production resources. Make sure you’ve thought through all of the work associated, you’ve assigned the work and you’re ready to go all in.
To truly get the benefit from this type of content strategy, you should plan on running a weekly show for at least six months.
6) Paid Facebook Ad Optimization
Facebook has become a staple for many of the demand generation campaigns we run for clients. Yes, these are B2B clients. Today’s Facebook platform works just as well for B2B targeting as it does for B2C.
One of the reasons we like Facebook is the cost per impression or cost per click is more reasonable than LinkedIn. While most B2B marketers shy away from Facebook and lean in on LinkedIn, this is causing the cost to increase on LinkedIn.
In addition, the targeting technology and AI optimization platform on Facebook is effective at creating a highly efficient paid ad campaign.
However, that doesn’t mean you turn it on and let it run. You will have to regularly look at campaign creativity, campaign messaging and the campaign offers. You’ll even need to hone the targeting over time to ensure you’re getting your story in front of the right people.
Since your content isn’t gated, it also requires regularly reviewing the performance of that ungated content. How many people are landing on that page, how many people are working their way down the entire page (use heat map tools to uncover this info) and where are those people clicking next after they’ve consumed your content?
7) Messaging And Story Optimization
This technique gets very little attention, and it might be one of the more important elements in any demand generation campaign.
What story is your marketing telling about your company? What story are your sales reps using when they talk about your company? How are you clearly differentiating your company from your top two competitors?
If this story isn’t emotional, compelling and able to be shared in 30 seconds, your marketing is going to be stuck in neutral.
At Square 2, we’re the fastest revenue growth agency on the planet, delivering six months of work in just 30 days.
No one else can claim it, it speaks to our prospects’ pains and it’s easy to remember and share. This is a tight, emotional and compelling story for our industry.
Honestly, most of the prospects that start with us don’t have the story they need. We help them build it. But very rarely does that story stay static for a year or two. It takes constant refining, adjusting and polishing based on market feedback and their competitors.
This messaging then makes its way into campaigns, in ads, on their website, in emails and maybe even in content and social media. This campaign messaging needs ongoing tweaks and adjustments.
The ongoing optimization of your company messaging, story and downstream campaign messaging is a big part of what helps demand generation programs drive improved performance. If you stick with a mediocre message, you’ll get mediocre campaign performance.
But if you upgrade your messaging, story and campaign copy, you’ll also upgrade your campaign performance.
7.5) Ongoing Optimization Methodology
OK, everyone wants to know about the half tip promoted in the title, so here it is. Sometimes it’s not what you do but how you do it, and here’s what I mean.
There are so many marketing tactics under consideration to drive demand. I noted seven here, but I could come up with 17 more. Sometimes the question is not what to do but in what order to do it.
Most of us have limited time, limited budget and limited resources, so we just can’t do everything we want to do. The key is to prioritize what comes first, second and third.
Our half tip is to use this prioritization methodology: What task is going to provide the greatest impact or lift to results for the least amount of effort? The answer to that question determines which tasks to start with.
Here’s a quick example. Should you optimize three landing pages with high numbers of visitors for conversion or start planning for a video/podcast content program?
Both are important, but which is going to take the least amount of time and have the biggest impact on results? Yes, the page optimization work might take you an hour, while the other project might take you five hours or more.
Our recommendation is to start with the landing page work. Get that done, reap the rewards in terms of more leads and then work on your video/podcast content program. It’s that simple.
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