Is it challenging to find new customers for what you sell?
It’s a common issue for many small businesses.
Demand increases over time and then plateaus.
So, what can you do to increase demand for your offerings? This article reveals proven ways to do it. Read on to learn more.
Lead Generation Versus Demand Generation: The Difference
Many companies focus most of their promotional resources on lead generation. They spend a lot of their time and money trying to attract new customers who are already interested in their products and services, seeking out what they sell. Most lead generation happens in targeted campaigns, whether through Google Ads, social media, email, or digital advertising. Its purpose is to match people who show an interest in a particular product or service through their search, reading, watching, or shopping habits to a brand that meets their needs. Lead generation focuses on convincing consumers who are already interested in what you sell to buy from you.
The issue: Companies that do this promote themselves to a finite pool of consumers, which could become exhausted over time. For instance, if a company only makes red shoes, it could run out of buyers for them over time because a limited number of people may be interested in this fashion choice.
Demand generation is different. It’s based on creating a want or need for a product or service people don’t know they have. It helps develop a fresh pool of customers for what you sell. It can help you increase sales—and revenue—over time.
In the previous example, instead of merely seeking out people who are interested in red shoes by targeting those searching for them on Google or reading about them online, the company could produce, publish, and promote articles and videos that position red shoes as a hot fashion trend fashionistas can’t live without. This could result in a new group of buyers for red shoes. Instead of finding people who are in the middle of the buying funnel, as lead generation marketing does, demand marketing creates new consumers at the top of the funnel.
Demand Marketing: Best Practices
Creating demand is primarily done through content marketing. Businesses develop articles, videos, images, and other assets that get people interested in what they sell. Or they partner with influencers, bloggers, publications, experts, or institutions to develop and share content that creates demand. The second approach often provides more value because the endorsement helps convey a sense of trust that self-created content does not.
Some examples of content marketing being used to create demand include:
A medical practice partners with a local hospital to share news about a new plastic surgery procedure to make more people aware of it and create a desire for the surgery.
A handbag maker supplies a celebrity with a purse that gets photographed at a social event. The image is shared on the influencer’s Instagram. The picture creates demand for the bag among the influencer’s followers.
A gourmet food shop publishes recipes featuring its products to show buyers new ways to use them.
A contracting company promotes photos and videos of their recent kitchen renovations on their Instagram feed to get people thinking about improving their kitchens.
In all these examples, businesses leveraged content marketing to create desire in people for things they didn’t know they needed.
When you develop content or partner with a third party, ensure the content comes across as authentic. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to. They prefer to be educated so they can come to their own conclusion that they need what you sell.
Before launching any demand generation campaign, it’s a good idea to have a good customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. Demand generation marketing generally isn’t one and done. It often takes additional communication about a product or service to get people who don’t know they need it to actually purchase it. That nurturing process can be monitored and controlled through your CRM. Over time, it will allow you to monitor and refine your demand marketing and lead generation processes and help you move prospects through to a sale quickly and efficiently.
When targeting your demand generation efforts, consider a look-alike audience similar to your best customers. Or work with your team to come up with different groups of people you could reach out to. For instance, a local gourmet shop that already has relationships with most of the foodies in its area could create demand by positioning its offerings as fast and efficient meal starters for busy moms and dads who may not otherwise be interested in gourmet food.
Finally, make sure you have great tracking software in place to monitor your demand generation campaigns. This type of marketing typically takes longer, involves more effort, and costs more than standard lead generation efforts. You’ll want to monitor success to ensure you earn a reasonable return on your investment in demand marketing.
Generating Demand for Products and Services: The Final Word
If you find that your sales have plateaued, don’t give up. You may find that your prospect base isn’t as finite as you think. Leverage the tips in this guide to expand your prospective customer pool and find new markets to sell your products and services to.