Demand and lead generation are both marketing strategies that often go hand-in-hand to advertise a company’s products and services, and to generate qualified leads that kickstart the sales process.
You might be asking yourself, which one’s more useful? Well, that’s a trick question, because both are essential in building an audience to attend your virtual events or webinars.
You can’t have leads without generating interest first. And your leads won’t be qualified unless you’re providing them with the most valuable content you can produce.
So don’t think in terms of demand generation vs. lead generation. Instead, think of demand generation plus lead generation as a way to advertise your brand and attract buyers into your sales funnel.
Understanding the Difference Between Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
Demand generation and lead generation are terms mistakenly used interchangeably, however they are two distinctly different techniques for marketing your products or services. Below, we’ll explain the key difference between these techniques, and dive deeper into demand generation vs. lead generation with examples of when it’s appropriate to choose one over the other.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is a long-term marketing strategy that businesses use to raise awareness and drive interest for their brand, products, or services.
The point of demand generation is to generate free useful content, such as blog posts, checklists, free guides, videos, etc., that will attract prospective buyers, gain their trust, and ultimately turn them into loyal customers down the funnel.
When a potential customer searches for answers online and stumbles upon your blog post, social media channel, podcast, YouTube channel, etc., you have the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in that field, position yourself above the competition, establish brand recognition, and make the user more receptive to future interactions with your company.
Unlike lead generation, demand generation content doesn’t require an email address to download or view. It’s meant to be as accessible and shareable as possible. Demand generation is a more passive way to attract buyers — you’re not specifically asking for their content information, but you’re constantly delivering content to keep them aware of and interested in your company.
If you’ve ever Googled a question and found a helpful blog post or guide offering solutions to your problems (like this one!) then you’re familiar with demand generation content, and how useful it can be to get your company’s name out there.
Let your demand generation efforts work for you by learning How To Create and Transform Webinars Into an Always-on Demand Generation Strategy
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation content is similar to demand generation content, but there’s one key difference: the user has to enter their contact information to download or view the content. This is also known as gated content.
Whereas demand generation creates content that’s highly accessible and shareable, lead generation creates more specific, more substantial content that people are more likely to share their personal information to receive.
Content that is meant for lead generation includes eBooks, free trials, webinars, events, email subscriptions, and product demos.
Lead generation is a more active form of attracting and adding potential buyers, because you’re specifically asking for their contact information, which will then be entered into your CRM and be used to start nurturing those leads right away.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: How Are They Different?
Demand generation and lead generation techniques are pretty similar. They both use free online content as a way to attract traffic to and interest in your products or services. Lead generation, however, takes efforts a step further with the goal of gathering information from leads who are on their way to becoming customers.
Where demand generation is used to establish authority and brand recognition, lead generation is specifically meant to generate qualified leads, so sales teams can begin the sales process right away.
There are instances where it’s more appropriate to create demand generation content, where the aim is to increase brand exposure. In this instance, you don’t want to risk turning people away from your content by pushing them to share their information before they’re ready.
However, if your goal is to create highly qualified leads, then you can produce more in-depth content pieces that offer true value to potential buyers. Because your content is more specialized, prospective buyers are more willing to give up personal contact information to access your content. This in turn, creates a more highly qualified lead, because you can understand where your buyer’s sales-readiness is, based on what content they’re willing to receive.
How Demand Generation and Lead Generation Are Going to Enhance the Effectiveness of Your Next Virtual Events or Webinars
Hosting virtual events or webinars can be strategic, incorporating demand and lead generation tactics to enhance their purpose and make them an effective tool for you to engage potential customers.
5 Ideas to Increase Demand Generation
1. Create a YouTube Channel
Start by setting up a YouTube channel for your company. Then begin producing helpful and valuable videos that will solve your audience’s problems and build trust.
YouTube is the world’s second most used search engine, right after Google. So consider recording and uploading your best webinars to YouTube to create evergreen content, incorporating keywords, terms and questions your audience is searching.
2. Generate Organic Website Traffic Through SEO and Blog Posts
This is probably the most common type of demand generation content out there. Use keyword research to understand what your audience is searching for. Based on what you learn, write blogs using up-to-date SEO practices to position your event or webinar above your competitors in Google’s search results.
3. Post Thoughtful and Engaging Stories on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Other Social Media
You’ve often seen posts on Facebook or LinkedIn that have thousands of likes and tons of comments. Study what makes these posts so popular and emulate them.
Begin sharing highly valuable, conscientious content on social media pages and watch the likes, comments, shares, and retweets increase. Be sure to create a hashtag for your event and post useful info before, during, and after your event for increased exposure.
4. Generate Paid Website Traffic Through AdWords, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads
Consider creating paid ads on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These services offer sophisticated tracking features, such as creating retargeting ads, and setting up lookalike audiences. Retargeting ads, for example, will show your event’s ad on the social media pages of people who visited your website but left before registering for your event.
5. Creating Shareable Infographics
Your virtual event should contain a mixture of written content, videos, and attractive infographics. These infographics should be branded with your company’s name, logo, and colors, so that once it gets shared online, there’s no question who or where this helpful content came from. And remember to include your URL too!
5 Ideas to Increase Lead Generation
1. Give Away Free Downloadable Content
Find out what pages or content on your virtual event are performing best, and then summarize that info into downloadable, free eBooks, PDFs, or checklist guides. This gated content can be inserted into paid ad landing pages, or incorporated into demand generation content, such as putting links in YouTube descriptions, or creating content upgrades (see idea #3 below).
2. Educate Potential Leads Through a Webinar
Hosting webinars is one of the greatest ways to generate qualified leads. Be sure to ask qualifying questions on your webinar’s registration page to gauge buyer’s interest and understand where your potential buyers are in the sales process.
If your budget allows, recruit industry thought leaders and influencers to speak at your webinar for maximum exposure.
Looking for the right platform to host your webinars and virtual events? Check out the 15 best webinar platforms for your business in 2021.
3. Offer a Content Upgrade
Asking for contact info in order to read a blog post can turn many people away before they get a chance to browse your content. It’s better to give them full access to a blog but also offer a content upgrade.
Have them sign up for an in-depth webinar that answers their specific questions and includes a takeaway such as a summarized one-pager or infographic to add value.
4. Offer a Free Course
Film a short video course (or upload exclusive past webinars) and then publish them privately on YouTube.
Once a lead comes in, share that private link with them. Remember, the more value you can offer your audience, the more likely they are to move through your sales funnel.
5. Free Trial
For hands-on learners, nothing is better than a free trial to allow them to try your product, services, or software. Offering this after your webinar is a no-brainer when it comes to marketing software, because the hard part of getting your buyer to download the software is already completed.
Ready to Start Gaining Leads and Igniting a Demand Generation Inferno With Virtual Events?
SpotMe offers all the tools necessary for hosting your greatest webinar or virtual event, especially those enhanced by demand and lead generation.
Now that you understand the demand generation vs. lead generation dilemma and have some strategies in mind? It’s time to talk promotion. Check out these helpful blog articles to get started: