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The 5 Stages of Demand Generation Marketing

Demand generation marketing can help you boost your conversion rate by turning more leads into paying customers. For this reason, it’s important to develop a good demand marketing strategy.

Before we talk about how to develop an effective strategy, let’s talk about exactly what demand generation marketing is.

What is demand generation marketing?

This is the process of converting potential customers into paying customers by identifying prospects, and guiding them through the sales funnel. In order for this process to be effective, you must give these prospects exactly what they need at each stage in the sales funnel. By doing this, you boost their interest and increase their confidence in your brand as they pass through the sales funnel.

In other words, demand generation marketing involves identifying prospects and nurturing them until they become paying customers.

Do you and your team need help to develop a good demand generation marketing strategy?

How is demand generation marketing different from lead generation and inbound marketing?

Many people make the mistake of assuming demand generation marketing, lead generation and inbound marketing are one and the same. However, they are three different things.

  • Demand generation is targeted marketing to convert a prospect into a paying customer.


  • Lead generation is creating interest in your brand, as well as its products and services.


  • Inbound marketing is the process of appealing to potential customers so that they get curious enough to visit your website and check out your core product or service. You appeal to these people using different types of content marketing, social media marketing, SEO and branding.
demand generation marketing

Lead generation and inbound marketing are actually two ways to accomplish demand generation marketing. In other words, demand generation marketing is what you want to do. Lead generation and inbound marketing are how you do it.

Priorities for a demand generation marketer

If you’re doing demand generation marketing, then you should focus on the following areas:

  • A visible and attractive website that converts

In order to build a visible and attractive website, you must prioritize both SEO and design. Optimizing the written content of your website will help it to be more visible in search engine result pages (SERPs). Designing a visually attractive website will help you to appeal to more people and generate more leads.

It’s not enough for your website to be visible and attractive. It must also offer opportunities for conversion. In simpler words, your website must have places that encourage visitors to give you their contact details in exchange for something else.

For example, you can offer someone a discount code or an eBook and ask them for their email address in order to claim these. After all, what use is it boosting your website traffic if you can’t keep in touch with your website visitors after they leave? Keeping in touch with these leads helps you to send information to them and encourage them to convert.

A poorly designed website which isn’t optimized and doesn’t have conversion opportunities results in churn. You don’t want to lose potential customers, so make sure you take time to invest in an effective website.

  • Buyer persona and buyer journey

In order to appeal to your leads, it’s important to first draw up a buyer persona. This will help you to understand your target audience as well as their pain points.

Taking time to sketch a buyer persona will also help you to understand what kind of content they enjoy consuming. This way, you can produce content which they will enjoy.

In addition to understanding buyer persona, you also need to understand the buyer journey. This will help you to offer your potential buyers the right content for each stage in their journey.

Once you understand both buyer persona and buyer journey, you will be better equipped to make memorable impression for your brand. If you can make a memorable impression, then you will remain top of mind among your target audience.

  • A strategy for retaining customers

Many brands make the mistake of assuming that once a lead turns into a paying customer, their work is done. On the contrary, abandoning someone as soon as they become a customer might result in that customer going to your competitor.

It is important to make sure this customer continues to feel valued long after they start buying your core product or service. Not only will this encourage brand loyalty, but it will also result in them recommending you to their family and friends. And, as we know, word of mouth advertising is more effective than any traditional advert you could put out.

How to do demand generation marketing

Effective demand generation marketing has 5 key stages:

1) Lead generation

2) Inbound marketing

3) Sales enablement

4) Customer retention

5) Evaluation

Let’s talk about each of these stages:

1) Lead generation

As we said before, lead generation is the creation of curiosity about your brand. In order to generate this curiosity, you must make brand awareness a priority. The more people hear about your brand, the more likely they are to come to your website for more information.

How do you use brand awareness to drive leads to your website?

  • Establishing thought leadership

People who recognize you as an industry thought leader trust you to educate them. Ultimately, people who trust you are more likely to turn into paying customers.

You can establish thought leadership by writing informative blog posts, producing valuable eBooks or hosting an engaging podcast. If you’re in the B2B industry, you can even consider writing a white paper to establish your reputation as a thought leader.

  • Maintaining an active social media presence

Never underestimate the power of social media for engaging with your target audience. Engaging with your social media followers helps them feel seen and heard. Once these people connect with you on social media, they are likely to head to your website to find out more about you.

  • Using a lead magnet

A lead magnet is anything that requires your audience to opt in or provide contact details in exchange for something of value to them. We’ve already talked about how you can do this with discount codes and eBooks. You can apply the same principle to other forms of your content marketing to reel in people who are interested in your brand.

2) Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing focuses on using various types of content marketing to get people curious about your brand and draw them to your website. Let’s talk about how you can do this.

  • Blogging

Blogging is a great way to share valuable content with your target audience and position yourself as a thought leader. If people read quality content from you, then they will get curious about what you do. And when someone gets curious about your brand, where is the first place they will go? Your website.

One way to increase the visibility of your blog posts is to write for SEO. By optimizing your content, you are increasing the likelihood that your blog will be visible in search engines. With a highly-optimized blog, when someone types a topic related to your blog posts in a search engine, your content will pop up in the SERPs.

Another way to boost the visibility of your blog content is by guest blogging. When you partner with another thought leader to write blog posts on their site, you can include quality backlinks to your website. This way, you will earn traffic from their site back to yours.

  • Gated content

Gated content is like a lead magnet. However, gated content offers your audience a preview of the rest of the content. Then, if your readers want to access the rest of the content, they need to make some form of payment.

demand generation marketing

Believe it or not, people usually pay for gated content without money. For example, we’ve talked about how you can ask for contact information in return for your eBook.

You may think your gated content is an opportunity to earn money. Even so, gated content works as well as it does because it’s free. If you decide to turn a blind eye to our advice and charge for your gated content anyway, chances are high that one of your competitors has similar content for free. If this is the case, you will most certainly lose prospective customers to this competitor.

In order to reach people with this gated content, you can use a CTA or pop-up message on your social media or on your website. If you can offer genuine value in the preview, then curiosity will drive your audience to give you their contact details so they can access the rest of your content.

  • Paid advertisements

Paid advertisements are the most traditional inbound marketing tool. These are quite simple to use. All you need to do is decide where you want to advertise. Some brands love Google Ads, while others prefer to use social media ads. Either way, your advertisement should drive people to your website.

With a good advertisement, you can pique the curiosity of your target audience and draw them to your website for more information.

3) Sales enablement

Eventually a prospect who you have reeled in using inbound marketing will land on your website. When this happens, you need to encourage them to buy your core product or service. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Testimonials

Testimonials or reviews from clients you’ve worked with in the past are a good way to encourage someone who’s still on the fence about your brand. For this reason, it’s important to feature these prominently on your website.

  • Case Studies

Case studies are a great B2B content marketing strategy because they give your brand social proof. Once you work with a client, you can get their permission to produce a case study. This is an effective way to show a potential client how you’ve helped previous clients to solve their business problems.

  • White Papers

Just like case studies, white papers showcase how your business solution works. However, white papers focus on the more technical aspects of your product or service as well as the problem it solves.

4) Customer retention

It’s important to make the sale, but it’s even more important to retain your customers. Happy customers will gain a sense of brand loyalty and be your best brand ambassadors. Here’s how to keep your customers happy:

  • Customer appreciation programs

Offering your customers freebies like branded gifts, discount coupons or invitations to brand events shows them that you value their business. A customer who feels appreciated is more likely to stay with you instead of going to check out the competition.

  • Email marketing

Email marketing is an effective way to keep in touch with leads after they convert into customers. You can use your email marketing to share how different parts of your product or service work. This would give a new customer the confidence to use your product. You can also send emails to keep customers up to date on new developments or special offers which you are running.

  • Feedback

Soliciting feedback from your current customers is very important. Not only does it show that you value their opinion, but it also gives you an opportunity to address issues they are having with your product. Feedback can help you improve this product, thus ensuring your customers are happier.

5) Evaluation

Evaluating your demand generation marketing strategy is just as important as implementing it. In order to evaluate your results, you need to establish your KPIs beforehand. You can use the following as KPIs:

  • Website traffic

Has your website traffic increased since you launched your demand generation marketing?

  • Downloads

How many people have downloaded your lead magnet?

  • Signups

How many people have signed up for your email newsletter?

Demand generation marketing can be tricky. Finding a formula that works involves some level of trial and error. Evaluating your strategy will tell you what has worked in the past and what needs tweaking next time.

Demand generation marketing can seem complicated at first. Even so, if you follow the 5 steps outlined above, you will be developing an effective strategy in no time.


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