Demand generation is the practice of driving qualified traffic to your websites and digital properties. The more qualified traffic coming to your digital properties the more can be converted into customers. There are many ways to generate demand digitally. In this piece we explore the various digital demand generation techniques most commonly used by companies today.
SEO – The Foundation of Demand Generation
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting a companies’ digital properties to place high on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), ideally on the first page closest to the top as possible. Most traffic to digital properties comes from organic search. Even though the vast majority of traffic comes from organic search, SEO is typically under invested in by companies because the ROI can be difficult to understand. Many other factors contribute to this, understanding the google algorithm can contribute to success. Most companies invest in Paid search because the ROI is easily measuable. I recently wrote a piece on SEO where I discussed the topic at length, which you can read here.
Most fortune 500 companies have SEO as a focus of their long-term demand generation programs. Take the example of a major credit card company. They wanted to be at the top of the SERP for all core keywords in a short period of time. They had the basic SEO foundation in place and were having a positive impact on SERP. Even though they were doing well, they were able to find opportunity to do better. In this case off page factors were holding the company back from hitting the goals they really wanted. With a focus on their backlink profile they disavowed millions of links over a six-month period. By doing this, they improved their keyword footprint by more than 50%, which resulted in millions in increased revenue.
Content Marketing is the practice of creating, publishing and distributing online materials such as videos, or blogs for the various stages of the customer journey. Creating relevant content for people to become aware of your offerings and services. Creating content is crucial to many digital demand generation channels including SEO, social and paid channels. In order to have an effective content strategy you must start with the planning, development and management of relevant content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving customer action.
The first step for any customer is understanding that a product or service exists, and that they have a need for it. A customer may have a pain point that you have the solution for, but if they are not aware that a solution even exists, how can you solve that for them? You must also create more content for people to consider and investigate this offering. Whether its social, tv, websites, radio, you must create content that describes your offerings. It is also essential to create content that aids in comparison to the competitors of your services.
The customer must understand how your product is more effective or useful to them. Purchase is another essential stage to create meaningful and relevant content. If a customer is ready to buy, creating content, whether that is a video, posts, display ads, this final push can help fill in any drop off in the customer journey.
This focus on content throughout the customer journey ensures customer engagement from the first click through the purchase and beyond. You can also create meaningful content meant to inspire retention, sales of new product or offerings and cross sell of your products.
Affiliate Marketing is a type of performance-based marketing. In affiliate marketing a company rewards another business for each visitor or customer brought by the first businesses’ marketing. This type of marketing is often overlooked within the digital marketing landscape. This allows companies to sell products via vendors or partners who target similar audiences. This in turn allows the vendor to make money off of a product or service that they themselves do not provide.
Most companies have active organic social campaigns. It is often the first step a company takes into the digital world. This can be Facebook, Instagram, twitter, LinkedIn or various other social, professional and community networks. Organic social campaigns and pages create a community for prospects and people who fit your customer profile. This connection keeps them engaged and informed of your products and services. This gives a company visibility across social networks, uses content to spread brand awareness, increases traffic and conversion on your digital properties.
Paid Social is a common digital marketing tactic in which advertisers pay for ad placement on social media. Facebook and Instagram ads, promoted tweets, LinkedIn sponsored Updates are the most common examples. These gets visitors to engage and share with others without having to pay for the click like in paid search results.
Cost Per Click Advertising and Demand Generation
Paid search is advertising within the sponsored listings of a search engine or partner site, by paying each time your ad is clicked. It operates as a type of cost per click (CPC) or pay per click (PPC) advertising. This is an effective and easy to understand tool in the digital marketing space.
This is often one of the first channels of approach by companies as its ROI is easily trackable. The majority of traffic to digital properties comes from search results, so being at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is crucial. This top result significantly impacts the possible revenue a digital property can generate for a company. Depending on the industry and keywords, the difference between page one and page two can be millions of dollars in untapped revenue.
This is another common type of cost per click ad (CPC). These are known as Banner ads, which are Paid ads on an image. These ads can be text or image based and appear in a banner space on the page. These can appear on website and social media pages. Viewers click image to be taken to corresponding promotion page. Display ads function differently than text ads, not found in search results. They can be seen on websites, apps and social media. They often are interactive or feature a type of animation to engage the user. These are effective in spreading brand messaging and can be effective in matching the intention of visitors.
A retargeting ad is an online ad (CPC) targeted to consumers on websites and apps based on previous interactions with sites visited by the customer. When somebody visits a website a ‘cookie’ is placed in the visitor’s browser. Once a company has placed a cookie in a person’s browser, they are then able to advertise to that user directly when the person is visiting other sites. The purpose of these ads is to sell products and spread brand awareness to targeted audiences. A more advanced form of targeting can use specific products viewed by a visitor and target this user with the products they viewed. These techniques increase brand awareness and can increase sales of specific products to viewers who have already shown an interest in these products.
Shopping Product Listing Ads
Sponsored link format offered by google Ad words platform. Companies purchase these ads through Google AdWords. When people are searching for a product, an ad with price, image and company name appears at Cost Per Click (CPC) basis. This means that each time a customer clicks the ad, the company pays a predetermined amount. This method can directly increase revenue to a company and is understandable from a return on investment standpoint.
While digital marketing is a constantly evolving space, generating demand will remain a constant. Demand generation is marketing with the goal of driving awareness or interest in a companies’ goods and services. Within the digital world it is about driving qualified visitors to your digital properties. These techniques are the most prevalent within demand generation and if effectively utilized can drive superior performance for your business in the long term.