Demand Generation: The Force of Your Sales Funnelby Sean ODonnell
You’ve heard this term before, and you know it has something to do with the hundreds of things required to create the ultimate online experience for your future customers. Inbound marketing is just the beginning, as it is merely a subset of a wider terrain of tools and strategies that guide the makeup of your sales funnel – the essence of all online revenue streams. Your job as a marketer is really to craft an online haven for followers in order to create true Demand Generation, a system that uses web content and lead engagement to move your prospects through a series of stages from awareness to conversion and then to repeat business.
Inbound Marketing Essentials
In order to build your online field of dreams you must develop content and inbound marketing channels that allow people to check out your metaphorical ball park. Those channels are the avenues in which fans can gain entry to the game, such as pay-per-click ads, social media, email, and telemarketing. Referrals from satisfied customers also play into the process.
The main thing to remember with email marketing is to give people reasons to open and read your content and stay engaged. By interacting with social media followers, influencers, and even your regular blog readers you actively take part in shaping purchase decisions.
The object is to generate ongoing love from existing fans so that they’ll become even bigger fans and cheer louder for you in the stands, which can create waves of contagious referrals. But unlike classic stadium scenarios of faceless crowds, today’s inbound marketing requires that you develop a personalized relationship with each fan so that you can build a lifelong connection.
The Connection between Content, Leads, and Sales
Your web content is the treasure that attracts followers. By sharing important knowledge about not just your products, but your industry, you can gain the trust of people who cannot readily find this information elsewhere. One way to expand the value of, say, your White Paper research is by repurposing the content across various media, and then re-promoting with each incarnation coupled with links to relevant pages to create an archive of interconnected learning. As long as you’re not trying to outsmart the search engines and you truly are sharing real data and building stories out of the data, you will be creating more and more opportunities to engage your leads wherever they may be along the funnel.
Each follower who interacts with you through social media, email and other forms of communication becomes a lead that you can generally score as hot, warm or cold. The purpose of lead scoring is so that you can make strategic decisions about how to engage each – should you work on converting them, or do they require more nurturing? Each lead occupies a certain position in the sales funnel and you simply concentrate your efforts on treating them accordingly.
But I just started Inbounding! There’s more?
Inbound Marketing is a vital subset of Demand Generation, which covers the process from capturing to nurturing to converting leads and then repeating the cycle. But Inbound itself is not the whole shebang. The full process includes feeding knowledge to followers through campaign management, lead management, marketing analysis, and data management (yes if you’re doing it right your demand generation strategy is data driven!). Ultimately, your web assets should also lead prospects to your landing pages where they can make purchases. Demand Generation doesn’t leave off there – it also requires continued follow up with phone calls, in person visits, and solid ongoing customer service.
The concepts all sound great, right? But if you’re struggling to put it all together into a cohesive program consult with our marketing experts here about how to enhance your lead nurturing process for better ROI.
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