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Have you been trying to grow revenue with content marketing but feel like your current efforts aren’t delivering results? It might be time to follow account-based marketing best practices.
Today, many B2B marketers measure their content marketing success by the number of leads they generate. Sounds great, right? Well, the downside is – if you optimize to volume of leads, you may end up generating a whole lot of leads that will never buy from you. Not only does this waste your time, but it can hurt your credibility with the sales team and leadership. They might start to think that you don’t understand the target market or aren’t capable of delivering viable leads.
Enter account-based marketing, or ABM. Many B2B companies have a national accounts sales strategy focused on targeting, landing and growing large prospects. This offers a perfect opportunity for marketers to leverage their content marketing chops in a way that’s directly beneficial to the sales team’s efforts.
Account-based marketing is all about drilling down to the right audience. Instead of producing content to reach as many prospects as possible, ABM marketers identify precisely targeted audiences (down to the company and perhaps even the exact prospect) who are most likely to buy their product or service – and then nurture them with more personalized touch points. Wooing this smaller, select group of contacts may take more time and reduce the relevancy of traditional marketing metrics like impressions and click counts. But, that small, focused pool of audience members has a much higher likelihood of becoming customers.
Here are three things to consider when following account-based marketing best practices:
An account-based marketing campaign should start with an understanding of the common characteristics of your most desirable prospects. What industries do they represent? On average, how big are their companies? Are they typically located in a certain geography? Account-based marketing best practices are particularly useful in helping companies break into a specific industry or geography or chasing after high-value prospects, where investing a bit more in wooing them will pay off substantially if you win their business.
Work with your organization’s sales team to determine your current top prospects and identify similar organizations to target (Hint: they may already have a list of target prospects you can use as a starting point). Sales also should be able to help you identify the decision-makers at your customer organizations along with their job roles. Chances are, people in comparable job roles at similar companies would also be your best targets. Do a little research to find out who holds those responsibilities at your prospect companies. These people should become the focus of your account-based marketing outreach.
Targeted prospects deserve targeted content. Taking your existing, off-the-shelf content and blasting it to the target list is unlikely to net the results you’re after.
Having a narrow list gives you the opportunity to really target your contacts and have a bigger impact. Personalized content catches attention and gives you the opportunity to show that you deeply understand your prospects and their needs.
Simply including the person’s name in your email is not enough personalization to garner attention.
B2B companies that are doing account-based marketing start by researching their targets carefully to understand the current climate of their company and industry. Reviewing recent media coverage, earnings reports and annual reports all offer insights into where an organization may be struggling or where an opportunity to grow exists. Find those areas where your own company can support them and make these the core themes of your outreach.
The next step is to get their attention. Account-based marketing strategies include multiple personalized touches that focus on your target’s pain points and how you might be able to help. Some B2B marketers create customer content specific to their business, like intelligence reports that provide insights on how the prospect’s industry is dealing with new trends. Others drop digital ads over their office building or send personal video messages or unique swag to their targets. Whatever content you choose, it should be relevant to the prospect and address a need that he or she has. While this is definitely more time-consuming than sending a generic blog post to thousands of people, it is also more likely to resonate with your prospect and result in further conversations, getting you closer to that sale.
Even though you start with a smaller pool, nurturing prospects ABM-style can be a time-consuming endeavor. Map your touch point plan and prepare your content in advance so it is easy to “turn on” the nurture path as soon as you get that initial bite. Software like HubSpot can be a huge help in automating multiple touches with multiple prospects, or you can set up a calendar to guide manual communications.
Keep in mind that even the best laid plans may need tweaking. Pilot your ABM outreach and adjust your touch point flow based on what performs best.
Shifting to an account-based marketing strategy can initially feel uncomfortable compared to your traditional content marketing approach, but it can also have a huge impact. In fact, 84% of marketers say account-based marketing strategies outperform their other marketing investments (ITSMA). Investing the extra time in identifying the right prospect, understanding their pain and personalizing your outreach to them pays off in the end.
Interested in starting your own account-based marketing campaign? Download our account-based marketing cheat sheet to get started.