Proprietary services and products in emerging markets like SaaS technology, manufacturing, and medical technologies are often met with the challenge to generate demand before sales can be made. This is true because the products and services won’t be searched by the consumer very often until they become aware of the new and improved solution you offer.
Demand generation marketing strategies serve to bring awareness to a new product, service, or business model that is outside of the normal spectrum consumers would typically be looking for. These types of industries have an incredible need to generate demand with a stiff requirement to educate audiences to be aware of the solution offered long before profit can be generated.
For this reason, Demand Generation can be challenging to do correctly as the audience can be tough to target in the digital landscape – or the audience you are trying to reach will overlap with other common (often more competitive) markets not directly on par to your own. This means that in the long run, you may need to compete in more competitive markets to have your voice heard. This can be a long journey of competing in well-established industries which don’t always allow you to know if your solution will be successful.
Did you know? According to a study conducted by BrightTALK in 2015,
“80% of marketers report their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective.”
To take this a step further… “53% of marketers say half or more of their budget is allocated to lead generation, while 34% say less than half of their budget is allocated to lead generation.”
So ask yourself this….do you know where your money is going?
Now I know that’s a lot to take in, but there’s good news… A scalable solution to test emerging markets. Inbound Marketing.
Why Inbound Marketing is Important for Demand Generation
Where inbound marketing strategies really shine is in its ability to attract audiences with tailored content, draw them in to educate them, and keep them engaged during a long sales cycle to maximize your outcome in sales generated.
So how do we as business owners build demand through inbound marketing?
Here is the breakdown of the key areas we will focus on to support this goal.
- Developing your target audience
- Crafting your marketing message
- Building traffic early on to build your starting audience
- Balancing SEO with Inbound Marketing
- Testing keywords in overlapping markets and standardized industry solutions
- Mitigating risk with controlled tests
Focusing on the Attract Stage
Inbound marketing has 4 core areas that serve to generate a healthy brand. These stages are Attract, Convert, Close, Delight.
Demand generation starts with a heavy emphasis on the Attract stage. Attracting audiences with a message that perks their curiosity or solves a challenge they are facing.
To know how to attract these audiences we need to structure a marketing message to reach them that addresses their goals, pain points, and challenges that your solution supports. To build this message you will want to start by clearly defining your target audience through the development of Buyer Personas. Through this process, you’ll have a clear idea of who you are speaking to which helps narrow down how to reach them online. You can use this process to establish your starting point.
- Brainstorm your ideal buyers & write them down – How To Target Your Ideal Buyers In 6 Steps
- Consider segmenting by ‘use case’ for the service or by product type to help define unique attributes. When in doubt, think about stereotypical buyer personality types and then scale it back to a realistic focus. Take account of real life experiences with customers and build these as your personas.
- Begin to craft your target buyers using buyer personas – How To Create Buyer Personas
- Map out what solutions and services your target buyers may be looking for due to a lack of knowledge in the better solution you offer.
Don’t be afraid to take a chance or adjust your personas over time. After all, demand generation marketing does require some measuring and testing and you should look to pivot accordingly. Fluidity in your strategy is warranted in demand generation as you acquire new data to refine your targeting over time. Expect to make mistakes and improve as the data becomes more readily available to you throughout the campaign.
Learning and Discovery is key and data is worth its weight in gold.
Casting a Wide Net Over the Short Term
With an understanding of your target buyers, you are able to move on to the messaging in your content. The content you want to create for emerging markets needs to cast a wide net to draw in awareness of the brand in the early stages. Start with generating a baseline of traffic and continue to get more granular and more product-focused in the messaging over time.
Let’s go through the process and I’ll share the steps with you below.
Long Tail Targeted Content For SEO
Start with SEO-friendly content to capitalize on low hanging fruit in traffic generation. To ensure your success over the short term… You’ll want to target content around industry known search terms with a heavy emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO) to optimize content. You’ll want to do this early in your campaign, even if the topics don’t speak directly to your product all the time.
The content can address common challenges your buyers have or support their goals instead. Focus on informational searches to determine a better understanding of what to write about.
If you’re not familiar with the long tail keyword concept, then this guide is highly recommended to get you started.
Write About Goals & Challenges, Not Products & Services
Not all the topics you develop need to, or even should speak about your product in demand generation marketing strategies. If you want to generate demand for something new, you’ll need to ‘follow the crowd’ (Withing reason) and draw them in on topics that interest them first and foremost. Put into the proper context as it relates to your business, targeting search engine searches in overlapping markets can draw in audiences that can be nurtured into a genuine business. You’ll find there’s a wide range of things to write about that can be valuable in acquiring a relevant audience.
To put this angle of overlapping markets into perspective, I’ll share an example:
If you’re a company that has developed a proprietary technology, you may need to target content and searches for other similar technologies consumers are already researching to generate any traffic. This is true because consumers don’t know to search for the solution your technology offers but may be falling back on common solutions in the market.
In this example, you can target similar technologies in your content and write about the problems your technology solves in addition to industry standard solutions to maximize your visibility by potential audiences.
The process starts with attracting the user with content that encourages their self-education around subject matter that relates to the product or service you offer.
- Conduct keyword research to determine high volume searches in your industry or overlapping industries. – Learn more about how to do keyword research.
- Target content around these highly sought after searches and put it into a proper context that supports your product and educates them to know about the solution you offer. – Create an editorial calendar to plan out your content.
When developing these topics ask yourself the following questions:
- What challenges do my target buyers face that I can openly address through content?
- What other topics can I become an expert in and write about that draw in the interest of my target audience?
- What are my target buyers currently searching for and interested in that I can write about?
- What solutions do my target buyers flock to when they don’t know about the solution you offer?
Building content for traffic generation first might seem like a tough pill to swallow for many business owners. Especially not writing about the product outright all the time in the content that is generated.
The end goal in this process is building a base layer of relevant traffic to grow an audience that can be nurtured into brand advocates. This will happen with educational and informational content that will make the reader feel empowered by the value you offer.
This all adds up to build their confidence in your brand and puts you at the forefront of their mind.
As time progresses, you can earn the audience that will enjoy those targeted topics and engage to become a client. But first, you need to build a starting audience to get there and get the word out. Let them know you’re out there and demonstrate your expertise in the challenges they face.
Make some sacrifices, take some chances, and get creative with pairing off your offer in the proper context to the keywords in associated markets.
Don’t Throw All Your Eggs into One Basket
Demand generation requires fluidity and adjustments to your strategy. “Don’t throw all your eggs into one basket.”
Test Keywords. It’s important to not focus on one area too heavily at the start and try to cast a wide net early on in your campaign to acquire visibility and refine. This is one of the fundamental reasons you want to tap into overlapping markets or standard solutions comparable to yours through keyword targeting early on.
To accelerate your knowledge of how well consumers are adopting your brand you can leverage Google Adwords to test keyword selections in desired markets. This is a perfect opportunity when your solution is new, but your audience doesn’t know about you yet. You may need to target keywords for the standard industry adopted solutions to have an audience to educate on your alternative.
For example: You offer a new form of medical technology never before seen. No one knows about your solution so you need to target existing solutions or the ailment that is solved by the medical technology itself through keyword targeting.
Accelerate your keyword testing with Adwords. As many business owners are aware, SEO and optimization takes time to see the fruits of your labor. Using Adwords to test these areas early on is an excellent way to acquire data and determine traffic and difficulty for keywords you may be exploring. The big emphasis here is reducing risk by testing markets you predict might have some merits without investing heavily in SEO and content development over the long term. You can do this by thinking about acquiring data of your own to weigh the pros and cons. While not an exact science, this can help give valuable insights when no data is available.
When there are no clearly defined consumer searches for your product or service, this might be the only solution. It does not have to be a scary solution if done correctly.
Here are strategies you can deploy to test overlapping markets that house audiences that can generate sales for your business:
- Launch an Adwords campaign with target keywords you wish to test
- Target overlapping markets by using industry defined keywords
- Target standard industry solutions where you can educate on a better solution (The common services people search for, where you offer a superior solution)
- Ensure your Ads and target landing pages put these keywords into the proper context as it relates to your business.
- Test, test, test! Give it 30 days and a healthy budget, be mindful of seasonal trends related to your industry when testing.
- Measure and review the response to your landing pages.
- Try to have a feedback system in place with proper customer attribution for new products and services to maximize your understanding of the adoption into the industry.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race
It can be easy to lose focus and want to write about your new product or service to share with the world. It’s important to do this to generate sales, but a contingency plan needs to be in place to generate the audience which will support the demand for your new brand. After all, would you expect to go very far without fuel in your car? Give your new product or service some gas and let the awe of the new solution drive in the audiences.
Testing overlapping markets does not have to be a long-term focus of the campaign, but should be a focus over the first 1-3 months. Aggregate data will only go so far as to help forecast your results, the best outcomes come from a well-oiled plan that serves to test opportunities & measure results in a controlled setting. For this, you’ll need patience and a lot of persistence to stick the plan through to the end.
The ability to scale your testing of varying audiences, receive feedback, and adapt is truly one of the reasons why Inbound Marketing is the Perfect Demand Generation Tool in Emerging Markets (And thriving ones too!)…