Creating Demand: The VSSL Guide to a Successful Demand Generation Strategy

Demand Generation

Building a business is no small feat. That’s why building continuous demand for your product or service is critical. Growing an audience for your brand can be a slow and tedious process at times, but when done correctly, it can have a tremendous impact on the longevity of your business.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to build the foundation of your demand generation strategy. Whether you’re approaching demand generation for the first time or need a refresher course on the subject, the templates, strategies, and principles in this guide are designed to help you build lasting demand in the market.

This blog is an abbreviated version of our full VSSL Guide to Demand Generation. Want to dig deeper with expert insights and interactive worksheets? Download the full report today!

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is a collection of marketing tactics that work together to capture the attention of your ideal customer profile. It’s the act of making your audience aware of your service or product. There are five stages of awareness: Unaware, Problem Aware, Solution Aware, Product Aware, and Most Aware. Demand generation helps create and drive awareness through each stage.

In order to successfully create and capture demand in the market, your strategy should focus on driving demand in three key areas: Organic SEO, Social Media, and Paid Media. We call this the 3 Pillars of Demand Generation.

Demand Generation Pre-Qualification Checklist

Before we break down each Pillar of Demand Generation (SEO, Social Media, and Paid Media), there are a few pre-qualifications you need to get out of the way before you take on any demand generation strategy.

  • Audience: Understanding your audience is paramount to your demand generation strategy. This will inform your messaging, the types of assets you build, and the overall marketing channels you’ll need to leverage in order to reach them. It’s important to lock down both your ideal customer profile and key buyer personas before you start building out a demand generation strategy.
  • Buyer’s Journey: Once you’ve identified the “WHO” from your audience research, you’ll need to understand the “HOW”. A clear understanding of your buyer’s journey will give insight into how your customers discover your product, how they make decisions about purchasing, and why they remain customers.
  • Content: A demand generation strategy is only as good as the content fueling it, so take an inventory of content assets and determine any gaps. Simply asking people to “Contact Us” without previously providing any sort of value is not enough for people to take action. You need to consistently create content that either educates, entertains, or intrigues your audience.
  • Direction: Remember that when you’re building demand, you’re building an audience or awareness around your brand. This is a long-term strategy that requires you to stay focused on the goal ahead. As technology, algorithms, or trends change, it’s important to be agile in your reaction to these changes, but be careful not to chase the shiny object. Make sure any new marketing tactic that you take on helps to support — not distract — from your demand generation efforts. Be sure to set SMART goals when it comes to your demand generation strategy that mature alongside your strategy.

The 3 Pillars of Demand Generation

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive deeper into the three pillars of Demand Generation. We call them the three pillars because if you solely focus on one, you risk a quick fall.

For example, you could be crushing it on social media, but if a platform changes its algorithm (or gets purchased by a new owner), it could impact how your content is shown to your audience on that channel or how your audience uses that channel. You may have a great paid media strategy, but when budgets are tight, this is usually one of the first items companies reduce. SEO is a great way to reduce paid media budgets, but it’s not a quick fix. SEO requires ongoing commitment in order for it to be effective.

A strategy that has an equal focus on all three pillars is a strategy that will hold strong.

Pillar 1 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) and organic search are important to your digital strategy because they direct traffic to your website (as opposed to other rented channels that aren’t designed to send traffic to external sites). SEO can provide one of the best returns on investment and drive traffic for years to come when done right. Securing a top position in the search rankings can lead to a free and flowing supply of traffic directly to your owned channels. When you create consistent SEO-powered content, it can positively impact the cost and effectiveness of all other channels. Not to mention, SEO is a great way to keep a pulse on market interest and trends.

Here’s a look at the top three things you need to keep your SEO pillar standing strong:

Keyword Gap Analysis

Keyword gap analysis is a process used in digital marketing and SEO to identify gaps and opportunities in keyword targeting between your website and the websites of your competitors. It compares the keywords competitor websites rank highly for in search engine results with the keywords that your website currently targets. The goal of keyword gap analysis is to uncover untapped keyword opportunities and improve your content and SEO strategy.

By performing a keyword gap analysis, you can uncover valuable opportunities to expand your keyword targeting and improve your organic search visibility. This is a good first step in understanding how to begin or adjust your SEO strategy for long-term competitiveness.

Content Strategy

After you’ve identified your keyword gaps, you’ll want to start building a content strategy that will help drive traffic to the site. A content strategy designed to fuel SEO requires your team to stay consistent and committed to the content that you create. Unlike some of the other content you may create to fuel your demand generation strategy (podcasts, downloadable content, etc.), an SEO content strategy is focused on web content (product pages, pillar pages, blogs, FAQs). This content will be used to execute your SEO strategy.

A well-defined content strategy helps businesses effectively reach their target audience, build brand authority, foster engagement, drive website traffic, and ultimately achieve their marketing objectives. It ensures that content creation efforts are purposeful, cohesive, and aligned with the overall demand generation goals.

Backlink Strategy

A backlink strategy, also known as a link-building strategy, is an approach used in search engine optimization (SEO) to acquire high-quality and relevant backlinks from external websites. Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your website. They send signals to search engines that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. Backlinks are an important ranking factor in search engine algorithms, and a strong backlink profile can significantly improve a website’s visibility and search engine rankings.

Remember, the key to a successful backlinking strategy is to prioritize quality over quantity. Focus on acquiring backlinks from reputable, authoritative, and relevant websites that can genuinely benefit your SEO efforts. Building a strong backlink profile takes time, effort, and a consistent approach, but the rewards can significantly enhance your website’s visibility and search engine rankings.

Pillar 2 – Paid Media

When it comes to driving demand, nothing has more of an immediate impact than paid media. Ads have always been an effective way to increase your reach and generate demand in the market. However, without a calculated paid media strategy, your ads can quickly go from effective to expensive. Here’s a look at how to keep your paid media pillar standing strong.


In order for your paid media campaigns to be effective, you need to ensure that you have both messaging and branding alignment throughout each step of the journey. An effective way to ensure that your paid media campaign is aligned at every interaction point is to work backward from the target audience.

Alignment often comes down to alignment across your team. A full paid media campaign may take involvement from multiple stakeholders, including a demand generation leader, campaign marketing manager, content marketing manager, lifecycle marketing manager, and the sales team.

Budget Comprehension

Your paid media budget will likely make up a large majority of your marketing budget. This is why having a clear and realistic comprehension of all the components that go into a paid media budget will prevent you from wasting time and money on your ads.

Pipeline Quality

To properly assess how paid media is contributing to company goals (a.k.a. revenue), you need insight into which campaigns are driving conversions. Whether it’s an awareness campaign where the conversion is as simple as how many of the right people see the ad, or a lead generation campaign where conversion occurs after a form fill, knowing what’s working and, more importantly, what isn’t is a critical part of your paid media strategy. It’s important to know how leads are progressing through the pipeline to inform your spending.

A paid media strategy isn’t one-and-done. It’s constantly evolving based on market trends, budgets, competition, or anything else that can lead to a shift in conversions. Make sure you have the right tools in place to regularly monitor the pipeline your paid media campaigns are generating activity for.

Pillar 3 – Social Media

The Role of Social Media in B2B

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience on channels they already spend time on. One of the biggest mistakes B2B companies make is thinking social media is designed to bring them leads or signups. The role of social media is to build an audience, engage with your followers, and provide value to your audience. Anything more than that is an added benefit but not an expectation.

The quickest way to lose followers and kill engagement is to fill your feed with sales pitches. Your job is to show value with the goal of supporting your ICP in an effort to build brand loyalty and affinity. So when a prospect is finally ready to buy, your brand will be top of mind.

Gone are the days when social media channels were run by interns. Social media is one of the best demand generation tools a marketing team has at its disposal. Make sure you’re investing appropriately in its success.

Building Community

If you want to build effective demand for your brand, you have to build a strong audience. You have to build a community. Building a community can look different for different brands, but at the core, a community is a place where a group of people who are interested in a concept or set of concepts can share ideas, ask questions, and give advice.

Communities, although often sponsored or built by many companies, are not focused on selling. They’re focused on sharing ideas and providing value to people who join. These communities can be held on a Slack channel, a LinkedIn group, Reddit forums, community blogs, a website, or any other channel where people can easily interact.

Whether your company wants to build its own community or join a community where your audience is, being part of a community is a great way to expand your social efforts by engaging with your audience and learning more about the problems your buyers are facing.

Strengthening Your Demand Generation 3-Pillar Strategy

If you want to create efficient and lasting demand for your business, this 3-pillar strategy (SEO, paid media, and social media) is a great foundational starting point. But to really strengthen your demand generation efforts, you’ll need to add supporting strategies to each pillar. This means expanding your marketing strategy to include things like events, webinars, increased content production, PR, sponsorships, and anything else that can help drive demand for your brand. To truly drive demand and, ultimately, revenue, you have to continue to adapt and update your efforts as your audience grows.

A strong demand generation strategy is one of the best ways to reliably add to your revenue pipeline. Approaching demand generation with these three pillars in mind can help you set the foundation for all marketing efforts to come.

This blog is an abbreviated version of our full VSSL Guide to Demand Generation. Want to dig deeper with expert insights and interactive worksheets? Download the full report today!

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