Content Marketing: A shift to demand generation from leads generation
Marketers today are generating demands from the unknown audience using Content Marketing- not just clutching on the obvious leads. What about you?
No matter what you do, every piece of content nurtured by a business is always aimed at generating revenue for the trade. Directly or indirectly, every piece leads the prospects from top to the bottom of the conversion funnel.
It’s a long journey into the conversion funnel, and customers go through a series of reconstructed, optimized, and relevant paths. No doubt, marketers try their best to lead their customers’ path down the stream, but despite all the efforts, a significant amount of leads just bounce off the funnel.
What could go wrong here, if prospects are already deep down the path? What makes them quit the journey right before reaching the conversion point?
The noticeable reason could be the lack of focus on the long term objectives. Most of the efforts though align with lead generation, there is quite an ignorance of the long term prospects. Some marketers focus on single acquisitions and flout their audience’s potentials beyond being treated as a new lead.
A lead is not just a chance to generate a sale, but the beginning of a strong case that results in repeat sales, building customer loyalty, and retaining customers for an extended period.
It’s simple. Craft a content marketing strategy that lets you interact with your prospects as well as current customers at all stages. It starts all the way from the top-of-the-funnel, and let me tell you, it’s not lead generation; it’s demand generation.
In short, following an existing lead could be an option, but creating new groups of new potential customers, which did not exist before is a must.
How difficult is it to generate new demands?
I know, it feels so overwhelming. Reaching out to new prospects will increase your revenue by folds, but customers today have gone so complex. Moreover, the market today has also gone highly competitive than it was ever before.
So, how can you align your content marketing for generating demands in such a scenario? Wouldn’t it be risky?
Actually, demand does not only depend on marketing. For example, content marketing does what it has been doing since the beginning- informing and educating customers. The major task is done by altering your existing business model.
Let’s take mobile phone manufacturers for instance. Each year, companies come up with new versions of their existing products and still get good sales. We know that everyone today is already using some phone, so there should be no market for selling new phones, at least not every other year or quarter.
However, we also know that the reality on ground zero says something else. Companies do make good sales every year because they do not let the market go saturated by introducing innovation and new features in the latest models. They create new demands for their new line of innovations, and most of the time the purchase come directly from the existing customers as an upgrade. So they create a demand for upgrades.
Content marketing also goes the same way. Companies are focusing more on aligned strategies, measurement plans, and technologies that can help them not only expand the target base, but also give existing customers new reasons to say “Hey! I am interested in your new product/service”
Why businesses use content marketing for demand generation?
Content Marketing Institute (CMI) launched a survey in 2018 asking different businesses about the top reasons to use content marketing. The following are the top responses that were persistent:
Nearly 87% of the respondents admitted using content marketing for generating leads on the top of the funnel, while 82% acknowledged also using the same to create brand awareness. In contrast, only 60-70% reported their content marketing is focused on middle and late stages of the funnel; i.e. generating short term leads for immediate sales.
This confirms that most of the businesses are focusing on content marketing strategies aligning to the long term goals. Moving in the same direction, marketers are experimenting with new content formats and various types of other channels.
Types of content focused on demand generation
The most persistent is blog posting, which plays an important role at the top of the funnel. Business post different types of content aligned towards, brand awareness, product education, and problem-solving. In addition to this, they use the formats such as whitepapers, videos, eBooks, webinars, etc. to entertain the prospects at different stages down the funnel.
CMI also gave a breakdown of the types of content proven effective in demand generation at different stages. Here is a screenshot from the same report:
How companies measure demand through content marketing?
The top three metrics that most of the companies employ to measure the success of demand generation through content marketing are Website traffic, Audience Engagement, and Quality of leads. Better the results on top of the funnel, better is the success in content marketing and demand generation.
It also means that the content meant for generating the demands are reaching the new audience and also generating new leads from them. It’s also worth noticing that only 38% of the companies treat immediate growth in revenue as a key metric. It’s understandable as demand generation is linked to long term effects, the immediate revenue should not be marked as a key metric to judge demand sloping content marketing efforts.
Top Channels for Content Distribution in 2019
There is no point creating any content for your business if it does not reach the audience you are trying to connect. Unless it is properly distributed, it’s not content marketing. Moreover, even if your content reaches the masses but cannot convert, it’s not content marketing either.
Content marketing is the creation of engaging content, delivering it to the right audience, engaging them, and convincing them for the conversion. This is why companies should not only focus on creating the content but also to adopt better channels for distribution.
Mailmunch did a survey on 297 marketers for finding out the best content distribution channels they use in 2019, and this is what they found.
There is no doubt that the above channels have done a great job. Most of them are new and innovative such as social media and influencer marketing, but surprisingly email marketing is still one of the highest.
It surprised me for two reasons:
- Email marketing these days fall prey to Spam Filters. Hardly a few emails actually get into users’ inboxes. There is strong proof that marketing emails do not get even the CTR beyond 3-4%.
- Why there is no mention for push notification services or Push Marketing, which is a prominent marketing channel in 2019?
I don’t deny the results of their survey, but I think there could have been a more updated study if the stats for push notifications marketing were also included. I also do not deny that email marketing is still a prominent channel and push notifications cannot replace them, at least for now.
However, I do acknowledge the fact that push notifications have become the favorite channel for a lot of marketers and they are using them to distribute content more precisely. In fact, Localytics found that push notifications can get an Open Rate of up to 8.8%.
If you are using content marketing for updated objectives, there is a need to use updated channels for their distribution as well. For example, while not all of your email newsletters might reach your subscribers, web push notifications for new posts made can drive immediate traffic, and in greater number.
A simple notification can let you instantly connect with your subscribers. In fact, you don’t even need a mobile app to use push notifications. One can simply get a self-hosted push notifications tool or a SaaS-based push notification service to integrate web push notifications right in the website or blog.
The best part is, the same tool can be used to not only send blog post alerts but also a lot of other customer engagement communications such as the announcement of a flash sale, news alerts, shipping update, notification to fill a survey form, etc.
When you are talking about generating demand through content marketing, you have to care about everything that entices your prospects. To do this, you need a more reliable communication channel that does not die in the spam filters. You need a more real-time channel to increase your prospects and generate new leads.
Hence, I think, adding push notifications to the above-given list will definitely be a prospective approach towards demand generation through content marketing. What do you think? Which are the other content distribution channels you think we should leverage in 2019?
Marry Ann is a branding consultant for PushMaze, a service that lets you send track able push notifications for users. She mainly passionate about building brands in all aspect of online marketing.