Demand Generation Best Practices: 2022 Guide

B2B demand generation programs live and die by thoughtful planning. Particularly in crowded markets, a campaign crafted by an experienced marketer can easily beat out one that has many more resources dedicated to it.

Our own demand generation agency has run many campaigns that beat expectations in CACs and ROI; and we have five best practices that guide our demand generation campaigns. They are:

  • Create detailed customer personas
  • Use SEO as the foundation of your demand generation strategy
  • Supplement long-term lead generation with strategic one-off campaigns
  • Create thought leadership content for each stage of the demand generation funnel
  • Measure KPIs and adjust accordingly

Below we explain each demand generation best practice and offer guidance on how to integrate it into your 2022 marketing efforts.

Create Detailed Customer Personas

The first step in creating a demand generation program is understanding who your customers are and creating profiles (or personas) that encapsulate them. Personas help determine potential client pain points and long-term goals, and are particularly helpful when attempting to expand into a new market or target high ROI customer types.

These personas consist of a complete description of your customer, including:

  • Their official title and job description
  • The aspects of their job make them feel valuable day-to-day
  • KPIs their superiors use to measure their performance
  • Challenges that make their job more difficult

The more accurate and detailed the character profile, the better you’ll be able to adjust your marketing plan to fit your target audience.

Use SEO as the Core of Your Demand Generation Strategy

Demand generation takes place across multiple channels and multiple touchpoints, but one of these channels is particularly suited to serve as the core of your strategy: SEO. Not only does SEO have a high ROI and low CACs, but when implemented correctly, it bolsters your other demand generation channels as well.

This is because SEO strategies involve the production ofhigh-quality content  (which we discuss later in this article) to provide meaningful value. This content serves as an excellent launching-off point for your other demand generation channels, whether they be social media blurbs or e-mail communications. You can transfer SEO material to other marketing platforms like LinkedIn, webinars, and e-mail campaigns, resulting in a much more efficient demand generation campaign than if you were to run entirely separate campaigns.

The SEO component of your demand generation also serves as a way to organize your efforts. We typically organize an SEO strategy around an Editorial Calendar, which ranks content pages by their value for demand generation.

Sample Editorial Calendar Format for Demand Generation

Value Rank SEO “Hub” Keyword SEO Keyword Page Type Audience Content Plan
#1 lead generation lead generation benefits Blog Article Marketing managers, business owners, and other senior personnel A comprehensive definition of lead generation and subsections listing its advantages.
#2 lead generation lead generation roi White Paper Experienced marketers seeking authoritative data on lead generation Quantitative report on the best lead generation strategies for the coming year and what users should expect moving forward.
#3 lead generation lead generation campaign challenges Blog Article Business owners, experienced managers Lists familiar challenges to lead generation programs and analyzes how modern B2B companies are handling them.
#4 lead generation lead generation for smbs Landing Page SMB owners, buyers, researchers, new customers An analysis of lead generation implementation for SMBs and why the right strategy can attract new customers.

Your Editorial Calendar employs a keyword strategy that outlines keyword “hubs,” or broad groupings of phrases that prospects are most likely to look up. These hubs serve as a link between visitors and your website. They work in tandem with “spokes,” which are pages that focus on long-tail, transactional keywords related to specific products or services.

After you’ve developed thishub and spoke strategy, you must link each to the search intent of their respective personas. This connection will lay the groundwork for developing valuable and exciting content.

Supplement Long-Term Lead Generation with One-Time Campaigns

As effective as SEO is for demand generation—and as helpful as it is in forcing a more organized campaign—it has an important drawback: it’s relatively slow when compared to paid channels. Most high-ROI demand generation channels share this drawback, in that they require significant investment before they begin to produce a return.

To supplement these slower channels, your company should use strategic, one-time investments in faster (but lower long-term ROI) campaigns. Here are three examples of how such an investment can pave the way for long-term success.

Strategic One-Time Campaigns

One-Time Campaign Scenario Duration
1 Targeted PPC Campaign Your product applications are diverse and spread out across many industries, and there’s no clear highest-priority keywords to target for organic campaigns. 60 days
2 Industry Conference Exhibition or Sponsorship You are testing a product in an untapped market with a marginal overlap with your current customers. 90 days
3 CRO-Focused Website Redesign You are not producing leads via your website or converting site visitors. 120 days

However, while the potential payoffs might be substantial, remember that these campaigns should be limited-time engagements. If they become a standard method for generating leads, your CAC will continue increasing as you pay for each new lead in an environment where inflation might cause PPC prices to rise.

Create Thought Leadership Content for Each Stage of the Demand Generation Funnel

Content is a key element of demand generation, but most online content is cookie-cutter material that customers have read countless times. You’ll need to focus on genuine thought leadership and personalized content at each level of the digital marketing funnel if you want to convert visitors to leads. Here’s how to do it:

Include a Captivating Introduction

You must provide clear and concise textual navigation to keep visitors’ attention when clicking on your content. This journey should include a direct destination route and an explanation of how and why you got there.

Clearing this path begins with the introduction, which is critical for piquing the visitors’ interest and persuading them to read further. We strongly suggest you start with a unique insight that relates directly to the pain points and objectives you identified during the customer persona process and explain the following to the reader:

  • Why you wrote the article
  • The article’s main point and conclusion
  • Your objectives for this article and how you will accomplish them

You could also include a bulleted list of the article’s main points and a reading time estimate at the start. These stats provide the reader an idea of the blog’s purpose and the amount of time it will take to read it.

Avoid Run-of-the-Mill Language

When communicating, people often employ timeworn vocabulary, resulting in way-too-familiar content that bores readers. The audience thinks they’ll learn very little (if anything) from the article, prompting them to move on to other content.

To address the challenge of over-familiarity, you might consider advanced tactics such as the following:

  • Skimmable content. Highlight the most relevant information to help readers easily locate the answers they need.
  • Specific and intriguing data. Including internal analyses and statistics specific to the topic helps legitimize your conclusion.
  • Easy-to-understand visuals. Simple graphics, such as charts and tables, communicate this data to readers in a visually pleasing way, keeping their attention.

Provide Concrete Next Steps

When readers have a problem, they want to find a clear and straightforward solution. Your content should point them to a precise answer—not offer inconclusive, wishy-washy text.

This same concept applies to your call to action. If your visitor is still interested after reading the information, they’ll want to know two things: (1) where they can learn more about the topic; and (2) exactly what their next steps should be. Make sure the prospect has clear and explicit directions for both.

Measure KPIs and Adjust Accordingly

Lastly, you’ll need to track conversions across channels and measure the results of your marketing efforts. The following are the best KPIs for tracking demand generation:

Demand Generation KPIs

KPI Description
1 Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) Total marketing costs divided by the number of new clients.
2 LTV-to-CAC Ratio Customer lifetime gross profit divided by the marketing dollars invested in acquiring that customer.
3 Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate Tracks how users progress through the conversion funnel after they arrive on your site.
4 Annual Churn Demonstrates if your campaign is reaching the appropriate people and providing the right value.
5 Campaign ROI A high-level view that compares net profit to the costs of your marketing effort. ROI shows whether your demand generation campaign provides value for your company.

You can use these data in conjunction with your website’s visitor tracking tools to discover flaws and make necessary changes to your approach.

Executing on Demand Generation Best Practices

As simple as it is for us to lay out these demand gen best practices with 12+ years of practice, it’s a much tougher ask to execute on them in-house. That may be where your company is ultimately going, but in the meantime, it probably makes sense to work with a firm that is experienced in crafting and implementing these strategies. If you’d like to discuss a partnership with us, reach out here.

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