Inbound Demand Generation 101

With the prevalence of free information on the Internet, most buyers know what they want before they land on your website. In fact, nearly 70% of B2B buyers conduct independent research on products and services before exploring specific brands.

A more informed audience requires a strategy shift from the more typical mass marketing to inbound demand generation , which concentrates on already-interested prospects – that is, people who are further down the digital marketing funnel.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to use inbound demand generation to convert more leads by:

  • Listing the best channels for generating inbound demand
  • Sharing KPIs and benchmarks for measuring the success of an inbound demand generation campaign

But first, let’s define the term.

Defining Inbound Demand Generation

Inbound demand generation is defined as:

A form of marketing focused on well-informed prospects that find a company through online research

B2B inbound demand generation, more specifically, is the set of strategies focused on visitors already interested in the general product your B2B firm offers. It contrasts with outbound, or “push-oriented,” demand generation, which involves aggressively seeking target customers who aren’t necessarily interested in the product your company sells.

The highest-ROI demand generation tactics in 2023 are:

  1. In-Person Public Speaking
  2. Thought Leadership SEO
  3. Networking
  4. Webinars
  5. LinkedIn

We elaborate on each in the next section.

The Best Channels for Inbound Demand Generation, Ranked

There are many channels available for filling your sales funnel, but the 5 highest-ROI are:

Channels ROI* Time to Break Even How to Optimize
1 Public Speaking 856% 6 months A PR firm can secure targeted speaking engagements. Have an experienced speaker deliver the talk. Give objective value, but include case studies that highlight your product.
2 Thought Leadership SEO 748% 9 months Target transactional keywords . Tailor content to search intent . Use a Hub & Spoke planning model.
3 Networking 691% 12 months Send salespeople to networking events with the intention of building genuine, personal connections with potential customers.
4 Podcasts 527% 12 months Invest in high quality production and retain a charismatic host. Interview experienced subject matter experts.
5 LinkedIn 229% 10 months Recast your best thought leadership content as LinkedIn articles, introducing each one with a pithy, interesting post.

*3-year average based on our agency’s internal data.

While ROI is typically the most important measurement of success, there are many KPIs that define the performance of an inbound demand generation campaign. In the next section, we list them.

KPIs and Benchmarks for Measuring Success

Here are the seven best KPIs for gauging inbound demand generation success:

Inbound Demand Generation KPIs

KPI Significance Benchmark
1 ROI Provides a high-level view of net profit versus marketing campaign costs. 748% (Thought Leadership SEO)

36% (PPC)

2 Total # of MQLs Number of leads who indicate interest in your brand. +40% YOY
3 Visitor to Lead Conversion Rate How many of your website visitors convert to leads 2.2%
4 Lead to MQL Conversion Rate How well visitors travel through the conversion funnel. 35%
5 Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) Total marketing cost divided by the number of new customers acquired. $942 (Average Organic)
6 LTV to CAC Ratio Total revenue a customer generates divided by the total marketing costs to acquire that customer. 4:1
7 Website Traffic Number of people who visit your website. +45% YOY

Designing Your Inbound Demand Generation Strategy

Inbound demand generation is a powerful long-term marketing approach. However, it requires expertise in many lead generation channels , each of which is its own ecosystem. It’s rare for a marketing team to be experienced in all of them.

If you’re looking to create an effective inbound demand generation program, our firm has a track record of delivering a high ROI while essentially automating demand generation for clients. If you’d like to talk about collaborating, feel free to contact us .

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