By: Gurdeep Dhillon
Our previous blog post looked at how important strategic content is for your demand generation campaign. But it’s vital to remember that if you don’t get it in front of the right set of eyes, your content is useless.
That’s why we’re going to focus on another essential part of your campaign: distribution.
Every successful demand gen campaign starts with a final goal in mind. But a lot of marketers don’t think about distribution until the very end. And though it’s often overlooked, distribution is a critical component of your strategy—it’s how people are going to see your message.
To make sure you’re reaching the right people, you need to think about distribution in the earliest planning stages of your demand generation strategy.
More specifically, you have to consider which digital marketing channels you should be prioritizing. While there are many to choose from, they can all be divided into four categories:
1. Search—The front door to your content
Continually stocking your website with standout content is certainly a priority, but people need to get there to find it. Search engines can be one of the best routes for getting your content is seen—not to mention, one of the cheapest.
Over 90% of Google traffic happens on the first page of results, but getting your content to the top can often be an uphill battle. With search engine optimization (SEO), you can tailor your content to perform better and get closer to the prized first-page position.
The process can be as simple as including certain keywords throughout your content. Or it can be more complex, like learning the intent of organic search visitors and ensuring your content addresses their needs.
Of course, SEO isn’t an overnight process. For faster results that give you more control over where your content appears, paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC), is more effective.
PPC allows you to increase and decrease your distribution volume depending on your budget, as well as tailor what search terms trigger your content to appear—resulting in highly targeted ads.
It’s also a great method for demand capture, as people are more prone to click on search ads when actively looking for a solution.
2. Social—Keep up with the times
Like search, there are organic and paid approaches to social distribution. Organic social won’t often be the starting point for a lead, but if you approach it with realistic expectations, it can have a significant effect on the buyer journey.
Maintaining a consistent stream of high-quality content on social media—including things like special offers, polls, surveys, and discount codes—can have a strong impact on your brand image. Even through small interactions, such as comments and retweeting, customers can feel like they’re connecting with your brand.
Alternatively, paid social content can be a great way to amplify your organic posts and engage your followers. It does, however, require a fine balance between offering content that benefits your brand positioning, provides thought leadership, and is fun and shareable.
But most importantly, paid social must have a strong call to action that asks the reader to do something. Otherwise, there’s not much point in promoting it.
3. Advertising—A reinvented classic
We’ve come a long way from billboard advertising and TV commercials. Today, advertising can look entirely different.
Display advertisements can be placed on almost any online media, including text, images, video, flash, and more. These give you a lot of control over where your messages are seen, and they can be used to target individuals across multiple channels and specific websites.
To make an even stronger impression, you can use retargeting ads to reach your audience beyond their first interaction. These ads follow people through different channels to help maintain your brand’s presence.
But you don’t want to be overbearing—so you should set a frequency cap that limits the number of times people will encounter your ads.
4. Email—Old, but gold
Some people argue that email is dead, but according to MarketingSherpa research, nearly 70% of people aged 18–34 prefer companies to communicate with them through email. That being said, click-through rates are often 8% or less—so your email content has to stand out.
For email distribution to succeed, you need to offer genuinely valuable content. This could include newsletters with highly relevant articles, segmented email streams based on subscriber behavior, promotions relevant to your readers’ interests, or even content that’s likely to be shared with colleagues.
Email is one of the few channels where you can have a one-to-one interaction with your audience, which means if it’s used right, it can create huge results. In fact, Adestra, in partnership with Econsultancy, recently found that 73% of email marketers considered the performance of their campaigns to be either “excellent” or “good.”
Many digital marketing channels, one message
Spreading your content across a range of channels is an effective way of getting it seen—but it needs to be a unified communication.
Wherever your audience interacts with your brand, they should encounter the same message. And it’s much easier to create coherent content when you consider distribution early in the demand generation process and think in a holistic, cross-channel way.
That means you should be planning far in advance which audience segments will encounter which messages at which times. Even that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have complete control over all brand touchpoints—there will always be unanticipated audience interactions.
But by carefully planning your distribution strategy up front, you’ll ensure your key campaign messages get delivered successfully.