When it comes to driving traffic and converting visitors to your site, there are two ways to do this: through lead generation and demand generation. These marketing funnels have been around for a while now and are part of your bigger content marketing strategy.

Content is crucial in today’s marketing world and plays a vital role in both, lead and demand generation. Because, at the end of the day, if you want to attract organic traffic, you have to offer some kind of value to your visitors in return.

And this is where your content comes into play.

Before you even reach out to potential leads or share your article on social media - make sure your piece of content is well written, and ideally, SEO friendly as well. For example, if you’re trying to sell online your product, make sure your landing page is optimized with strong copy, is easy to navigate through and has all the necessary information your leads might need.

Regardless of the approach you take, it’s important to see things from your client’s perspective. So, start there.

But with all that said, if you want to know how to utilize lead and demand generation and learn what’s the difference between them - read on.

How to utilize lead generation?

Simply put, lead generation, as the name implies, is a method of collecting specific information (usually contact information) about your potential clients and ideally, turning them into sales leads.

So, essentially, you want to push them one step through the buyer’s journey.

Once you have their emails and contact information, you can reach out to them (cold emails, etc.) to convince them to opt in.

The way you go about generating leads depends entirely on your industry and niche. Some methods might work for you and some might not, so, feel free to experiment until you find what works best.

But generally speaking, the most common funnels for generating leads include:

  • Content and copy: whitepapers, eBooks, any form of content and/or landing pages that offer value and has a sign-up link at the end.
  • Paid and targeted advertising: social media ads, Google AdWords, email advertising, and more. This way, you’re focusing on your target market and offering them some form of value in exchange for their email.
  • Webinars and live events: this is the classic form of networking. Though promoting and advertising your services to a wide net of people live might seem challenging, it’s still one of the most effective ways of networking.

To be successful at lead generation, you have to be in tune with your audience and carefully listen to (analytics are a great way to do this). Ideally, you should also have some form of a lead management tool to help make things easier.

When you’re choosing your lead generation tool, make sure it targets people who are interested in the type of products you offer, and that it gives you some way to connect with and nurture the leads who don’t sign up with you right away.

If you want to capture your visitors and have them opt in, you need to track what they’re doing and what influences their decision-making process.

Driving traffic to your website is only the first step of your content marketing strategy. The next step is making sure your content meets your audience’s expectations and if it doesn’t - optimizing it until it does.

How to utilize demand generation?

The other side of the coin, demand generation, is a tactic for increasing or creating a need for your product or service. It’s all about getting your foot in the door and raising awareness about your product.

To do that, you want to remove any and all barriers standing between your target market and your product. You want to create a want for them and remove any of their worries holding them back from making a decision.

Like with lead generation, your demand generation approach might also vary largely.

For example, depending on your industry or product - a lot of different things might be holding your clients back (price, lack of information, not a strong call-to-action, etc.).

With that said though, if done well, demand generation can be key to driving sales and ensuring a close and a loyal relationship with your clients.

So, how do you utilize demand generation successfully?

  • Through inbound and website marketing: raising brand awareness is an essential step in demand generation. This helps with your brand positioning and how your customers see you.
  • Content marketing: you can use content to generate demand as well. It builds trust and influence over time, especially if the piece of content is directly talking about your product.
  • Building and segmenting your relationship with your clients: in short, demand generation is all about how your customers see you. Email lists, social media and other channels where you interact with them are all great ways to build and develop a relationship.

Once you have a list of interest customers, you can start sending out regular updates (newsletter, for example) and start keeping them in the loop.

You can then see how that goes, do A/B testing, and experiment with your demand generation tactics. The goal here is to separate potential clients into groups, based on geography, behavior, demography, etc. and customize your message to each segment of your consumers.

Once you really focus on each segment in-depth, you can then segregate their needs and custom tailor your messages according to the different audience. This allows you to focus on their needs based on the segment, and gain a deeper understanding of your product.

Choosing between lead generation and demand generation

Though lead generation and demand generation are different sides of a coin, they aren’t mutually exclusive. If anything, there can be an overlap depending on your approach. So, you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two. Instead, you can always utilize both as part of your content marketing strategy.

The main difference here is that lead generation focuses solely on obtaining some form of contact information for your target market.

Demand generation, meanwhile, focuses on supporting your brand’s objective, increasing awareness and building a reputation.

In short, they’re both parts of your bigger content marketing strategy. Though they can overlap and even have the same approach, the intent is what’s different.

So, which one should you choose?

If you absolutely had to choose between the two, you need to take a step back and think about your goals and objectives. If you’re unsure about this, take your approach to social media - how does it contribute to your overall business goals?

If it’s focused on building brand awareness and a relationship with your customers - stick to demand generation.

On the other hand, if you see it as a sales tool that will help you put your product in front of your customers - stick to lead generation.

Try Albacross

Uwe Dreissigacker

Uwe Dreissigacker

Founder of invoicing software InvoiceBerry

Uwe is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry. InvoiceBerry helps small business owners to create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes in minutes.