My turn to answer the questions I get asked almost every day. (But you have to imagine the TikTok video).
- What’s the biggest mistake you see folks make in demand gen? Not setting an objective. If you don’t know what you want to do, you’ll never do it. And “thought leadership” and “keep in touch” are not objectives. Objectives are a number like meetings, opportunities or closed business.
- How do you get response? 80% of success is the right audience and the right offers. So, which target is that is most likely to buy from you and make your company money? And what does that audience need to hear to respond? If you don’t have the right content or offers, create educational, promotional or timely content that will work. But don’t get caught up on the format – the right offer in a blog is a better choice than the wrong offer in a meaty whitepaper.
- Now how do you put that into an effective email? You know what you want the recipient to do and have content to get them there. Now write the copy to make it crystal clear what the benefit is if a prospect responds. Write emails so they are 1:1 – personal to the prospect experience and with every bit of copy focused on the prospect benefit – the “what’s in it for me?”. If your copy talks a lot about your company and what YOU want, either fix it or don’t burn a precious touch. (And tip – “personal” is not their first name in the copy, it’s relevant messaging to their needs and experience).
- How long should an email be? As long as it needs to be. Meaning enough copy to get the prospect’s interest, present the benefit of your offer and get them to respond. Meeting those goals is much more critical than the number of words or sentences. That being said, people are busy so remove any words that aren’t meaningful to the recipient. And for the subject line, it should first get the open by being attention getting and ideally, short enough to fit into a preview pane. But, if most of it shows and you need a few more characters to make a great point, use them!
- Can you have more than one CTA? I don’t recommend it. Adding choices reduces the chance your prospect will do what you want and usually means the marketer hasn’t really nailed down their objective or offer. Plus, for email, too many links set off SPAM filters. So, one email or ad, one CTA, one action. And fun fact – promoting a webinar or conference in your signature counts as a second offer, so don’t try to slip that in.
- Do you need a lot of expensive technology to do quality demand gen? Yes and no. If you send email, you need to house your database, set emails up and manage unsubscribes. If you post content, you need to be able to build landing pages and manage lead flow. And most importantly, you need a way to track results. But before you get a platform with fancy functionality, spec out your needs for the first year. Maybe your CRM will work or you just need a simple ESP. Whatever you pick, I highly recommend getting a professional to set it up. The right firm can save you weeks of work by providing basic templates and reporting. Then your team just has to copy what they’ve done and are effective much faster. You’ll be glad you made the investment.
- Do you really need to test? Yes. Otherwise you won’t refine your programs to meet objectives. Plus, that’s the fun part of demand generation. Plan to test every time you do a campaign. Just make sure there is enough volume for a statistical read and then test audience and offers and for email, subject lines. And when you test, set reporting up ahead of time and read the results! Pick the winner or eliminate the loser. Then do it again. Test, track, rinse, repeat.
- Where do you find leads? Think like your prospect. What websites, subscriptions, events and newsletters are they are engaging with? Often inspiration comes from your own inbox – what newsletters, content and events do you already know? Take a look at your press list for inspiration too. If you want coverage, you probably want sponsorships or an ad presence. And you know all those emails where people are trying to sell you programs? Look at them. They did some research and think they can bring you leads. Are they right?
- What makes good demand gen? Anything that works. If a program meets or exceeds the objective you set, that’s success. If it doesn’t, but gets closer than the campaign before, that’s progress. Ideally, your objectives are tied to revenue like closed business or meetings so you can demonstrate the ROI on campaigns and prove that your efforts make money for your company.
- Worst demand generation executions? Christmas cards. The definition of not making money or having a recipient benefit. I’m not anti-holiday, but unless you know someone personally and have a warm relationship with them, filling their inbox with cutesy time wasters at a time when they’re super busy may just earn you an unsubscribe. Newsletters can be a strong second. Especially if they are full of internal company news and things your prospect doesn’t care about. Don’t burn a touch or risk an unsubscribe on either of these. If there isn’t a “what’s in it for me” for the recipient, why waste time, resources and your prospect’s patience?
Did these spur more questions? Do you disagree? Let me know.