Demand generation and brand awareness
If you read our previous blog posts (Segmentation, Marketing personas, and Buyer’s journey), you know what type of customers you are going for. You also know what their problems are and how you can solve them. You have defined the key communication messages regarding each pain point. Now we are going to discuss a more tactical level.
Inbound and outbound methods
In theory, there are two methods for getting traction from customers – inbound and outbound.
The outbound method has been used for years and you know it by its most popular tactic – cold calling. In essence, the outbound method depends on your sales team reaching out to customers and checking if they need a solution that you provide. It started with direct mailing to customers. It continued with door-to-door sales, and ended in multiple different variations, all ending up with low conversion and high costs.
Don’t get us wrong – this is a great approach for many different lines of business and industries. SaaS is often not one of them.
The inbound has grown quite a bit and is now used widely even by people not knowing what it is.
By definition inbound is a method where you place a lot of content at the customer’s disposal and do your best to be present – but the first contact mostly comes from the customer side. You “wait” for them to read your blog post, download an eBook and then reach out to you to solve their problem.
You might have noticed that if you chose the self-service model for your strategy, the inbound method is the best fit. Inbound also applies to other, before explained, strategies as it generates a demand without wasting too many resources on 1 particular lead. It rather disperses the costs over thousands of potential leads.
We will focus on inbound marketing and generating demand. As the name says, demand generation has one simple goal – create demand/leads for sales.
Important point you should take into account – here we are not creating a need, we already understand the need of our target audience. We are now simply addressing the need. Of course, some customers-to-be do not even perceive their need for our product. But, they will recognise the symptoms and start being aware of the problem.
To generate demand, you will use a wide spread of tactics – from content to advertising on social media channels – trying to place that same content in front of your ideal customer. Which ever tactic you use – make sure it fits in the overall strategy and ends up feeding the same lead generating machine.
Demand generation funnel for SaaS
To make it easier to understand demand generation funnels, let’s create a light one for your SaaS.
1. Social media / awareness / branding
Awareness is an important part of your strategy. Awareness is tightly connected to branding – establishing your position on the market. Here you will create your social media accounts, a social posts plan and engaging with your audience.
2. Blog posts
You will create couple of blog posts related to your product. This will include the issue you are addressing with the product and the problems being solved. Think about what customers might seek out / search for and try to help them. This can include checklists (for implementation), how-to articles, and comparison of different products that solve the same problems. When writing, mind the SEO. (More about how to write a blog post on HubSpot).
Write more comprehensive content that customers would want to read. Do in-depth research about your industry and create a detailed guide to solve the problem. You will hide this eBook behind a “gate” where customers need to leave their name, surname, and email address. It’s an exchange of values – their personal details for the content. You will use their details later.
Now you know who your leads are. Here you can read more about creating an eBook.“ This type of content is also called gated content or lead magnets, search the terms to find more examples you can use.
Based on the (known) leads from the previous step, you have a way of reaching out. If you are selling a more complicated solution, this is your chance to educate your potential leads. Give them more details about your product/service, and more reasons to buy from you rather than the competition.
At this point, you can also share with them cost calculators. Make sure you are not overloading the customers. 2-3 emails are more than enough, keeping them a few days apart.
To enforce your message, you can create ads to follow your customers once they leave your website. This can mean using Facebook to showcase the product on their social media or using Google Display Network to reach them on different news portals where customers go after visiting your site.
This tactic is called re-marketing. It helps you go the extra mile to make sure your customers have you in mind even after leaving your site.
This is a simple funnel. Ideally, at the end of this stream you will have up to 5% of customers clicking “buy” via your online shop.
Even more complex solutions (like Marketo) can track every action a certain customer makes, evaluate it, and award points for those actions. Once customers reach a specific threshold, those solutions can forward them to your Sales CRM as leads. After, your sales team can do a direct follow-up based on their activity.