How to Create a Demand Generation Funnel - Strategy+Examples
The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to make the buyer’s journey and the demand generation funnel smooth. But, what is demand generation and how do you create a funnel that converts maximum prospects into paying customers? Well, we are going to discuss all these concepts step by step in this blog. So, read up!
The demand generation process is spread into different marketing funnel stages based on where your prospect is, aiming to convert them into paying customers. Thus, different strategies are employed to escalate the demand process. Such strategies include inbound marketing, lead nurturing, cross-selling, and upselling.
Sounds like a lot? Here’s a hack! Optimizing the demand generation strategy gets easier when you have robust demand marketing software at your disposal. Why not try it?
But, you’d ask, what actually happens in the funnel? That’s what we are here for. This blog will take you on a ride down the funnel. Let’s get started?
What Is a Demand Generation Funnel?
In case you are new to this, let’s first walk you through the demand generation definition.
Demand generation is any marketing activity that makes use of technology to generate awareness and induce interest in your products and services. It’s all about adding value to the customer and making sure that you generate a need for your product.
Persona Development & Buyer's Journey Alignment
In order to make someone want your product/service, it’s important to know their needs. Would you offer cheese to a lactose intolerant person? Obviously not. You should rather target someone who loves or atleast likes cheese. You need to know your prospect before you offer something to them.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer. Create a fictional persona that embodies the characteristics of someone who’d want to buy your product. Consult your sales and marketing team to create a mirror-image of your customer. Having a persona before entering the funnel makes the buyer’s journey smooth.
And, once you know what your prospect wants, you can define your content strategy. Offer the right content to the right customer to induce demand at the right time. Use your buyer persona to optimize your demand generation throughout the buyer’s journey.
Different Stages of the Demand Generation Funnel Along With Buyer’s Journey
Building Awareness - Prospect
The top of the funnel or the awareness stage targets telling the prospects that you exist. Your prospective customers are facing problems but they are unaware of what you have in store for them. You need to identify these prospects and make them aware that their problems can be solved.
At this stage, you need to generate the demand for your product or service by just educating them on the solution rather than pitching your product. This can be done by using interactive content types like quizzes, calculators, assessments, ebooks, and emails. Your content should focus on reflecting your company values and offering maximum upfront value.
This SaaS quiz can be used by a SaaS company to reach out to prospective customers at an early stage.
Generating Interest - Lead
Well, since you’ve already told the world about your existence, it’s time to charm them. While your prospects want their problems solved, you need to be the one who solves them. This is where generating interest comes in.
At this stage, the prospects are going to make inquiries about you and your business. You need to swiftly enter in and solve their doubts. And no, you aren’t allowed to be salesy. Good informative emails, blogs, and social media presence will do the job for you.
For example, this paid advertising calculator can be used by an advertising agency to convert those prospective customers into leads. Take note of the lead generation form attached right at the beginning of the calculator. This ensures you don’t just collect leads, but relevant leads. The best part: you can embed this calculator anywhere you want!
Providing Consideration - MQL
Now’s the time when those marketing qualified leads (MQL) are gonna want to know more about you. They want customized advice. And, you need to tell them why they should use you without telling them how great you are.
We use this ROI calculator to help our prospects determine their return from using Outgrow. It’s simple to use and definitely adds value. Moreover, this interactive content is how we know which leads are the most qualified ones, thus helping us segment the leads quite efficiently.
Fulfilling Intent - SAL
Once you realize that your MQLs are finally interested in making a purchase, they convert into SALs, i.e., Sales Accepted Leads or HQLs, i.e., High-Quality Leads. So, it’s time to hand over your beloved leads to the sales department.
However, you need to make sure that their intent is consistently fulfilled by your services. At this stage, make them feel like the king of the world. Honestly, make them feel like that at every stage. :p
We suggest offering everything customized to your prospects from here on. For example, at this stage, our SALs can use this idea generator to get personalized ideas for their industry.
Acknowledging Evaluation - SQL
It’s time to make a call. This is the final decision stage where the prospects choose whether or not to make a purchase. They are now Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). Now’s the time to tell them how you are better than your competitors. Offer them custom plans and tell them how they can save more with you.
For example, check out this custom savings plan calculator for Tesla. It provides the users with an estimated amount for how much they can save with a Tesla. Such custom plans help you decide the worth of the lead and whether they are actually sales-qualified or not.
Converting and Retaining Leads - Customer
This stage is the best. Well, obviously because you finally see your seeds bearing fruits. Your leads are finally paying customers. Demand generation is important at this step to make sure that the customer doesn’t lose interest in your product. The strategy here is to be consistent with your value proposition. Make sure that your product/service actually helps them improve.
Moreover, one of the best ways to retain customers is getting feedback from them on how they like your service. Try out this interactive “Restaurant Feedback Survey Bot” to get their feedback and valuable suggestions in the most engaging way. This not only helps brands improve, but also makes the users feel heard and valued.
The process of demand generation never stops as you should always have something more to offer your customers. There’s always a scope for growth and it’s important to keep your customers engaged and loyal to your brand.
5 Steps You Need to Make the Demand Generation Funnel Smoother
While knowing the buyer’s journey is extremely important, it’s also important to understand the steps you need to take to make the journey smooth. A marketer needs to understand the following stages to make the demand generation funnel successful:
You need to know what you aim to achieve. You need to know what you want the prospect to do. So, set realistic goals for the marketing timeline based on the marketing conditions. Try to make these goals specific instead of generic. Specific goals help you understand your progress better. Thus, the demand generation process starts with formulating your plan of action by setting goals.
Want to know what success metrics you need to measure? Click on this detailed blog below.
Determining the Audience
Yes, we know we have already told you how building a persona helps. But, reiterating it makes sense because it’s such an important step. It’s important to recognize the right target audience for your campaigns to keep the bottom of the funnel as wide as possible. Only when your audience selection is right will it turn into leads which you can then nurture to convert into buyers.
Thinking about how to build buyer personas? Use tools like HubSpot’s ‘Make My Persona Tool’ to create a persona that helps optimize your demand marketing.
If your audience wants to buy chocolates, would you give them chocolates or toothpaste? Obviously the former. Similarly, offer content that your audience actually wants. Use your content to answer their questions. Give them real-time value.
How? Use interactive content. For example, this calculator answers the user’s question about whether they should get a PPC agency or go in-house.
Communicating With Prospects
It doesn’t make sense to offer the content if you aren’t offering it on the right platform. You need to decide the right channels for sharing your content. While emails might work for some, social media is a killer strategy for others. It’s your place to choose from the various available options. Make the right choice, friend. It matters!
Remember, different platforms can be right for different stages of the funnel. For example, blogs can be used to educate the audience, ads might be good for retargeting them, and interactive content types like quizzes can attract, engage and add value to them.
Tracking and Measuring Data
You need to have a track of what works and what needs to be changed. Measuring your performance is an important part of the demand generation process. Different metrics can be used to measure the success of a demand generation campaign such as traffic, engagement, feedback, etc.
Measure the success of your demand generation process by following the success metrics given in this blog.
Outgrow’s analytics dashboard makes analytics easy. You can analyze the performance of all the content you create in one place and receive personalized reports and suggestions on how to improve.
Why Should One Have a Structured Demand Funnel?
A B2B marketer’s efforts can be successful only when they have a structured demand strategy. And, a well-defined demand generation funnel helps in tracking the success and failure of a demand strategy at every stage of the funnel. The funnel helps you determine where a prospect stands and what needs to be done to move them down the funnel.
Additionally, a funnel allows demand generators to identify “leaky” stages where people are getting stuck or dropping out without converting. This helps in optimizing the strategies in order to improve the conversion rate.
Remember that it’s important to develop a funnel model that is specific to your business goals. You need to understand your target audience and create strategies for every step along the way.
Measure your progress simultaneously. Use accurate demand generation metrics to track the success of your campaign. A good demand generation process is one that allows you to see through the buyer’s journey.
And you know who’s your best friend in this demand generation journey - interactive content. We showed you several actionable examples of how you can do it. So, it’s time to sign up and create your first interactive content for free! You got it!
Tapsi is a full-time digital marketer at Outgrow. When she is not discussing the latest marketing hacks, you can find her clicking pictures of her adorable labrador, Captain.