Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: Comprehensive Comparison
Potential customers rarely grow on trees.
It takes intelligent targeting, a gentle approach, and calculated marketing strategies to embrace a new client into the sales funnel.
For that reason, marketing teams function not unlike expert fishermen with a hook and line in the earliest stages of appealing to potential customers, using techniques known as demand generation and lead generation.
It’s not uncommon for B2b marketers to conflate these two processes and definitions, which is an unfortunate lousy habit.
In this post, we hope to clearly define both practices and showcase how they can be used in tandem for the best possible effects.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand generation involves an array of techniques used to enhance the exposure of your brand. It’s geared towards increasing brand familiarity and brand storytelling, curating brand introductions to new potential customers, as well as highlighting why your service or product is essential and unique.
Demand generation efforts utilize sophisticated content marketing, conversation intelligence, and digital marketing techniques to build trust and confidence in your brand.
Demand generation is the first step on the journey towards building loyal customers and improving your brand’s reputation along the way.
At its best, demand generation is thoroughly relevant to the pressing needs of the market today. This includes looking for keywords to target when publishing content and monitoring the conversation on social media.
It also means using techniques such as targeted advertising to ensure your demand generation is smartly applied, rather than using a scattergun, indiscriminate approach (as was the norm in advertising for some time.)
What Is Lead Generation?
While lead generation may seem to share the same goals and aims as demand generation, the techniques utilized are different.
Lead generation is the art of acquiring actionable information from thriving demand and exposure.
These details may include contact details such as email addresses or telephone numbers or even encouraging a potential customer to enhance their B2c prospects by creating an account with your firm and modifying their website presences.
While demand generation is tasked with putting a step forward to cultivating that relationship and using value-added approaches to get noticed, lead generation makes it suitable on verified interest by gathering actionable data and transitioning that to your sales professionals.
From there, they may be developed into loyal customers.
Put simply, while demand generation is often geared towards a broad audience, lead generation is concerned with creating a meaningful buyer out of those that express interest. Thus, it takes market demand and converts it into actionable solutions.
If demand generation catches the fish, lead generation reels them in.
How Do I Find Keyword Opportunities?
As spoken of above, keyword opportunities can help you know how to target your audience with published content on a blog or through targeted social media advertisements.
Yet as fishing without the right line and bait will return dismal results, it’s essential to research what keywords are appropriate, to begin with.
This strategic approach is mindful of the battle for time in sourcing relevant and current keywords right now.
This present approach has a better chance of converting an audience into leads.
The best techniques include looking at Google-related searches. Dedicated tools like Ahrefs are key, but Google Analytics and Google Search Console can also help you define your approach.
Some of the most popular SEO tools also include Soovle which scraps keywords from multiple sources, and Moz keyword explorer.
Many SEO agencies also provide free keyword searching tools worth looking at before defining or booking a guest post.
Is Guest Posting Part Of Demand Or Lead Generation?
Guest posting is the art of creating a blog post for another popular and organically visited blog within your industry.
Using competitive keywords, you can generate demands and leads via ensuring more exposure (via hyperlinking an anchor text serving as a complete keyword servicing your brand), but it also builds up your backlink profile, which raises your authority and SEO strength web page.
These SEO techniques also create a positive cycle of adding a value-added component to your marketing.
For instance, a well-written blog post discussing advice surrounding a relevant topic that quietly links to your service does not only give you more organic platforms to generate demand.
A landing page link can ask for further contact details should someone visit your web page – perhaps with a timed call to action such as a temporary promotion.
For this reason, blogger outreach, niche edits (editing older published articles with anchor text, updated content, and links,) and content writing services are the bread and butter services offered by SEO firms.
What types of demand generation content can you generate?
Demand generation encompasses almost anything that gets you exposure and ensures you become a fixed and notable presence in the eyes of a prospective audience.
You may have seen brands spending millions of dollars simply to display their brand name on an electronic billboard or within the sidelines of a stadium-held sports game and wondered about the utility of that investment.
Demand generation means putting yourself first and foremost in front of an audience. Types of demand generation content will include:
- Social media posts or stories (sometimes sponsored)
- Resource and tutorial pages
- Podcasts and podcast sponsorships
- Influencer sponsorships and paid advertising
- Case studies delving into a topic
- Free tools, such as the above ‘keyword trackers’ provided by SEO services
- Visual presentations
… and more.
This content should be provided for free, enabling you to step into the potential relationship as seamlessly as possible.
Consumers dislike being aggressively marketed to, but if you immediately offer them value or help them with a solution to a problem?
They’ll work with that.
However, while this added-value approach using a nuanced content strategy and search campaigns to isolate your budding audience is important, don’t give everything away for free. Demand generation is nothing if it cannot create a pathway for lead generation.
Provide a funnel for getting the user’s email or signing up for your newsletter. Again, it’s about turning peaked interest into verified interest.
Lead magnets are an increasingly popular method of balancing this relationship.
For instance, a fitness supplement company may offer a free PDF detailing an excellent bodybuilding or newbie workout guide, downloadable when you enter your email address in a simple lead magnet form.
This kind of exchange allows for providing value to both sides, engaging both lead and demand generation while serving as a win-win, symbiotic benefit.
This process also creates further demand because of how you have already engaged in exchanging with them, creating a positive feedback loop.
How Can I Get More Traffic?
One of the best ways to cultivate immediate and extremely effective demand and lead generation is to bring visitors to your website.
So that’s part of why you’ve created one, right?
Your website should be the de facto resource for all information regarding your business, your biggest proponent, and the place where the most interactivity with your business is possible.
A visitor simply registering interest is a win for your lead generation strategy.
The number one way to create user engagement is to deliver great content. For instance, running a blog from which you post insightful articles can define your firm as a thought leader and your website as a place search engines refer to despite visitors not knowing your brand.
Traffic can also be aided via running time-limited promotions via sponsored posts on social media or through influencer sponsorships.
Increasing the utility of your website is also important, such as stocking an entire product catalog with order forms and account management options.
You’ll find that running display ads, purchasing sponsored email slots from industry blogs, and investing in sponsored posts that relate to your audience can make a massive difference.
If hoping to increase the backlink authority of your page, investing in niche edits or blogger outreach services can also be helpful.
Remember that your website is not the sole resource for generating organic traffic to your page.
Running a YouTube channel with product tutorials or keeping up an active social media posting habit can be helpful, too.
The most straightforward decision you can make is to purchase a business domain name that is easy to remember and ends in a popular extension such as ‘.com’ or ‘.net.’
Of course, it’s important to remember that website functionality counts for everything, too. For example, a search box that can quickly identify any piece of content through relevant search terms should be integral, no matter what page a visitor lands upon.
Just as utilities like this can help, ‘hacks’ or ‘cheats’ designed to subvert good practice can hinder your approach.
Don’t engage in keyword stuffing of your content to gain SEO benefits, as search engine algorithms actively punish this.
Proper keyword usage is essential and can be applied with basic keyword analysis before content is written and published.
Think of your website just like courting a potential relationship. Sure, your good looks and charming approach might score you that first date, but it’s the content of your character that will genuinely solidify a relationship with that special someone.
Your sales funnel pipeline shouldn’t be that different (of course, less wine may be involved).
What is a Viral Contest?
Viral contests are known as shrewd, nuanced yet highly effective demand and lead generation vehicles. They provide high value to a broad audience and ensure you get more from your lead generation.
Consider a free, time-sensitive giveaway your business is partaking in. For this example, let’s say it’s a Macbook Pro.
This is a highly sought-after device, meaning that you’re much more likely to not only curate demand but ensure a high volume of lead generation thanks to how many people this could appeal to.
Through that process, you’re also generating demand.
Through this effort and interaction with the eligibility process, you can promote your products and be seen as a valuable entity within your market space.
To ensure verified eligibility for a giveaway, you can use gated content to ensure you create demand for your products.
You could create a survey asking just what a potential customer looks for in a fitness supplement and then curate a recommendation page just for them showing how your products are up to that standard.
This means you not only generate leads, but demand, too.
But why only opt for one lead if you’re giving away such a great item?
You might help a customer enhance the chances of winning the competition by giving them a greater number of entries if they refer people to your website, giving you potentially more email marketing and email subscription opportunities to work with thanks to the sign-up verification process.
This could grow exponentially.
Where Can I Find More Lead And Demand Generation Ideas?
Of course, the insights laid out in this post indeed provide a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of methods for pursuing demand and lead generation.
There’s an amazing irony to be found here.
It’s in the best interest of other companies, such as Wordstream or Hubspot, to provide natural insight that serves as its own form of demand generation.
That’s not to say that the insights are invalid or only marketing speaks, far from it.
You are keeping up with thought leaders in your industry like this can help you practice the most cutting edge, subtle and competent demand and lead generation efforts possible.
It’s also true that techniques laid out above, like viral contests, can become exceedingly popular when necessary.
For instance, every year, student accommodation companies will run competitions for a free year of live-in rent if students sign up to express their property, let in interest, or attend two-property viewings before the academic year starts.
As you can see, retrofitting these techniques to your particular industry or market and catering them to what your industry needs can be tremendously helpful.
To conclude, it’s important to state that one of the new frontiers of creative marketing habits involves demand and lead generation.
They can help you optimize campaigns and connect you with a relevant audience like nothing else.
Yet it’s also crucial to understand that this process is continually changing. This is not a new process; only with our technological reach, it’s becoming more refined and necessarily more subtle.
With care, attention, market research, and always being willing to take that first step, both demand and lead generation can ensure you remain the most productive, expanding business you can be.