Great marketers know a quality customer lifecycle does not stop once a prospect converts to a customer.
In fact, that part of the sales funnel is really just the beginning. With demand generation budgets on the rise, more and more companies understand the value and importance of long-term, content-driven nurturing campaigns as a means of stimulating growth from both new leads and your existing customers.
Despite demand generation’s meteoric rise, many marketers are at a loss for the most effective strategies that can have the highest, most immediate impact on their business.
Here, then, are four of the most creative, innovative demand generation strategies for smart B2B marketers.
#1. Make Influencer Marketing a Top Priority
Just as your average restaurant-goer would not dare try out a new spot in town without first scouring Yelp reviews, business buying behaviors have evolved in the Internet age to involve a tremendous amount of research and validation from trusted sources.
Studies show 94% of B2B buyers conduct some online research before signing a contract.
There is plenty you can do to ensure you have a positive brand presence online, but the most sure-fire marketing method for building and maintaining brand awareness is influencer marketing.
The ReachForce blog recently shared some great methods for leveraging brand champions
, but here are a few favorites below:
- Interviews and videos that address common customer pain points and show how the influencer overcomes those challenges using your product/service.
- Webinars that align the influencer’s industry thought leadership with your business.
- Cross-promotion through email newsletters as a means of gaining exposure to the influencer’s audience, while also promoting the relationship with the influencer to your audience.
Overall, the goal should be to increase exposure to your target audience through the channels they trust and upon which they rely.
#2. Personalize Everything
Tailoring interactions with your brand through personalized content allows smart B2B marketers the opportunity to speak directly with their audience about what is most important to them in that very moment.
By combining real-time data enrichment with quality content, great marketers are able to convert web visitors at a higher rate. Here are two simple ways to improve personalization:
- Know your customers, their voice and their journey. When you understand how your target clients operate, their pain points and buying behaviors, adopting their voice should feel like second nature. If you can talk the talk, you build trust and a positive reputation as an industry resource.
- One-to-one social interactions. Ways to increase your lead generation strategy through social media have been discussed in previous blogs, but interactions for demand generation purposes take things a step further. It is not just about sharing new blog content on Facebook; it is about proactively sourcing opportunities to engage directly with your target audience. For example, instead of tweeting a link to your followers about an upcoming webinar, it is about running keyword searches to find people who would be interested in your webinar’s content and tweeting at them directly.
- Personalize your product offerings. Whether by sending discount offers through email or leading visitors to specific products on your site based on the content with which they have engaged, personalizing the offerings to your visitor’s persona and interests ensures a higher conversion.
#3. Use Automation to Customize Based on User Interests
Staying top-of-mind with your target audience requires a constant flow of quality content and interactions, both of which can be extremely time-consuming and costly. That is where a successful automation strategy comes in handy.
Not only does marketing automation provide you with valuable insights into your customers, it also allows you to actively engage with potential and existing customers based on what is most important to them.
This means, of course, better ad targeting and drip campaigns, but it also can mean major improvements for your content strategy and even customer service. Insights gleaned from marketing automation efforts can drive you toward more efficiency in your outreach, leading to more cost savings and better engagement with your audience.
#4. Optimize Emails for Your Target Audience
Email remains a key component of any demand generation strategy, but the days of generic, templated messages are long gone. Successful marketing emails now rely heavily on data to ensure your target audience actually clicks through and takes action.
SmartForms recently made changes to email strategy and saw some nearly immediate, positive results.
Here are some things to pay attention to when looking at how your own email strategy could be improved:
- Open rates by day/time. Do not send every marketing email on Tuesdays at 4:00pm, even if you read somewhere that is when the highest click-throughs happen. Try different days and times and let your data dictate when your audience is most engaged.
- Calls to action. Instead of a generic “Click Here” button at the bottom of every email, customize your calls to action based on perceived value. You may want someone to attend your webinar, but think about why your audience would be interested in the webinar (e.g. to learn how to increase inbound marketing leads) and then create your call to action based on that value.
- Remember the mobile experience. Chances are, the recipient of your email is reading your message from a smartphone. With that in mind, everything from length to simplicity of your call to action starts to matter more. Mobile users do not take the time to read lengthy messages or complete complex inquiry forms. Optimize your emails to work for the mobile user first.
Demand generation plays a huge role in the marketing efforts of successful companies, but it is important you are focused on the right areas of your customer’s journey and interests to ensure you are getting the return you expect.