6 Expert Level Demand Generation Best Practices

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Product-market fit is the biggest reason most businesses fail. Their products and services do not fit the market around them. In the online world, one can sell products and services to anyone. So product-market fit has become less relevant, and finding your market has become more critical.

In this article, you will discover how you can generate more demand using each one of these strategies and tactics. Since it is easy to forget some of these highly nuanced tips, make sure to bookmark this post before we get started.

1. Get Comfortable with Disowning the Irrelevant People

When you try to create demand, you have to aim for visibility. You cannot target qualified customers, and that's why qualification is a part of the sales process.

When you market, your visibility has to be slightly broader than your ideal customer. That means irrelevant people will see your content, ads, and marketing messages. They will not be responsive to your marketing assets, which might feel like a failure of your content. In reality, it is just a part of the process.

Do not chase the approval of people who are not your target customers. Let your content do the qualification for you.

2. Observe Competitor Criticism

Your competitors have public pages on Google and Facebook. This can be a marketing opportunity that you're not currently leveraging. By observing your competitors' feedback, you can see market demand. Often, a small set of customers is constantly ignored because a giant corporation cannot afford to cater to their needs.

A great example is TV networks that cancel shows because of low viewer interest. When the show "Community" got canceled, it had a very loyal following of a few hundred thousand. This is a significant number, but not by TV network standards.

So what happened? Community was picked up by "Yahoo! Screen" because what may not be worth it for NBC can be worth it for Yahoo!. The same applies to every market. In the energy drink market, the demand for higher caffeine concentration was ignored because Red Bull wanted to stay mass-market-friendly. The caffeine junkies found an alternative in Monster Energy, which has more caffeine and even larger cans available for gym-goers.

If you can spot demand that is "not worth serving" by your larger competitors, you will be able to present products with inherent demand.

3. Position Yourself as an Authority with Content

We aspire to be like those we admire and listen to those in positions of authority. Leveraging likability will inspire imitation and attention, but if you also become an authority in your space, you will boost transactions.

Look at the Kardashian/Jenners, for instance. They have positioned themselves as authorities in the beauty and fashion niches. Without being among the first high-profile influencers to start her own beauty line, Kylie Jenner would still have people who would like to look like her. But she wouldn't be the billionaire that she is.

There are a few ways to position yourself as an authority:

  • Use the media. If you are covered in the news, you are seen as someone worth paying attention to. Subscribing to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) can help you contribute your thoughts to several pieces.
  • Write a book. When you write a book on a subject, people automatically assume that you are an expert. The reason behind this assumption is the fact that people have read books written by experts since they were in school.
  • Start a podcast. Podcasts can be a great way to build authority because you can take the position of a talk radio host and build a relationship with an audience pool.
  • Give a TED Talk. Finally, you can apply to give TED or TEDx talk. This can set you up as the definitive authority, especially if your competitors have not given such talks. A version of this can happen at industry-specific events where you can also sponsor some stage time and give a talk.

4. Leverage Social Proof to Maximum Effect

If you have success, show it. The eyes are directly wired into the brain, so humans think with their eyes. What they see is what they assume is real. So you have to leverage social proof by making it visible.

In e-commerce, you can show purchase statistics. Collect testimonials and make them as visual as possible. Use video testimonials if possible. If social proof leans in favor of a product, there will be demand for it. But be mindful of the status and connotations of said social proof. Certain collectors don't like "pedestrian" art in the art world. That means they dislike art that the masses love and want to feel special by having a unique taste.

Social proof that you display reflects the type of buyers who like your products. And if you can make your customers feel special, like they can become a part of the "cool crowd" by purchasing your products, you can drive up your sales.

5. Get Intentional about the Top and the Middle of your Funnel

Too many marketers have become too sales-oriented. It would be a nice thing if it worked. But the more you chase a sale, the more you chase away the customer. Being sales oriented is good in the strategy-setting stage, not in the initial marketing stage. Actual marketing can be pictured like a funnel where customers initially become aware of your product's existence. Then they become interested.

Towards the middle of the funnel, they start considering the product, and towards the end, they buy. If you understand the funnel and start creating marketing messages that target different stages of the funnel, you will see the middle of the funnel thicken. That's demand generation.

Here is how content can vary according to the funnel stage:

  • Awareness. Helpful content that solves the customers' problems but incorporates your products.
  • Interest. Content that shows social proof of the success and value of your product.
  • Consideration. Marketing messages and offer-describing content.
  • Purchase/Post-purchase. Direct conversation and customer service.

6. Aim for the Second Customer

The best thing you can do for consistent demand generation is to shift your aim from closing the sale to generating a second customer per customer acquired.

Viral thinking is when you aim for one viewer to make at least one more viewer aware of a specific piece of content's existence. Pandemic thinking is when you aim to get one customer to convert at least two customers to a brand.

Whether you're thinking of viral levels of contagiousness or pandemic levels, what matters is that you aren't satisfied with one customer converting. A shift in thinking will help your brand have higher demand over the long term.

Final Thoughts

Demand generation is a skill that helps you populate the top of your marketing funnel. But you can grow your product and service demand by using content that drives customer awareness, builds social proof, and helps the potential customer make an informed decision.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!