Content Strategies For Account-Based Marketing
“Don’t count the people you reach; reach the people that count.” – David Ogilvy
If you are a B2B marketer focused on driving qualified leads for your sales team, chances are that you have been hearing a lot about Account-Based Marketing (ABM) in the past few months.
Account-based marketing is designed to reach a specific set of potential prospects within a target company. Rather than marketing to an individual, campaigns are designed to reach a group of stakeholders and decisions-makers within an organization in an orchestrated manner. ABM relies on close coordination between sales and marketing in order to execute a unified approach to winning new business and expanding existing business in key accounts.
Account-based marketing certainly isn’t a new discipline, but it is having a bit of a renewed interest from marketers, largely driven by an emphasis on targeting quality prospects & customers with content. The combination of content and account-based marketing can produce a powerful result.
With almost 75% of marketers saying they will produce more content in the coming year, you probably already have tons of content. But, what’s the point of sending generic content and messages to your target accounts? Anyone in your marketing universe can, and does, receive those messages. When you market to an account, rather than an individual, it’s got to be with highly specific content—perhaps based on industry, org size, roles and functions, market, or any other unique characteristics you can bring to bear.
Most marketers who are ready to dip their toe in the water with account-based marketing know they are going to need to leverage some targeted content. But that’s where the knowledge stops and the gap opens up. What type of target content? How should it be delivered? What’s the overall content experience desired, and business outcomes to strive for? Answers aren’t always readily apparent. So, let’s get into some real-world types of content you can use to target key accounts.
1. Personalize for the organization.
If you send emails with calls to action driving to content, make sure the page they land on when they click your call to action incorporates their company name. “We’ve got solutions for Oracle…”, “Improve efficiency at Oracle…” are better than the generic alternatives. People respond well to personalization, and according to research from Aberdeen, 75% of customers prefer personalized content.
2. Use account-specific subdomains.
This one is a no-brainer, but often overlooked. For any pages you drive ABM traffic to, use an account-specific subdomain to add a further personalized touch. When your prospects can see that you went the extra mile to personalize their experience, by doing something that inherently feels crafted, like a special domain, they will be more likely to engage with you (it’s the principle of reciprocity at work!).
3. Create a content-rich microsite.
Pull together all relevant content, resources, links to third-party data, and anything else available to you that will be meaningful for that account. A single “hub” of information is a useful resource for your target account. Plus, their engagement with the microsite content will be highly measurable so you can see which content and resources are most accessed, how many different visitors are checking out the content, etc (and you can even share that insight with sales to help give them a leg up when reaching out). The content in the microsite can be targeted based on industry, maturity, revenue or other relevant ways.
4. Send a web-based presentation.
A microsite is fantastic because your prospects can self-navigate through the content & resources you’ve curated for them, selecting what interests them most. But a web-based presentation is your ‘virtual salesperson’, and can share your pitch in a linear, storytelling fashion, allowing you to control more of the message and the pacing of how you introduce your concepts. Create a compelling web-based ‘presentation-style’ experience that includes modern, responsive design and micro-interactions to increase engagement.
5. Arm your sales team with helpful tools.
When sales makes a connection with a prospect from a target account (enabled by all your fantastic campaigning to increase response rates, of course!), help them succeed by providing them with interactive tools they can use in guided conversations with their prospects. Sales can use these tools as value-driven offers to get their prospects to respond to them—“I’d love to walk you through an assessment and show you some of the best practices you may be able to capitalize on”. They can then guide their prospect through these interactive experiences, providing narrative and adding commentary as they also gather critical data that will help them speak to pain, needs and goals. The outcomes of these experiences can be easily shared with other stakeholders within the target account, helping to expand your footprint and gain exposure across the account.
6. Give your account prospects useful experiences.
When sales can get an account prospect on the phone and guide them through a customized digital experience, it’s heaven. But prospect-to-salesperson connections don’t always happen, and sometimes more support is needed before the prospect is willing to talk. With so much of the buyer’s journey happening online before sales engagement, it’s important to arm your prospective buyers with tools to support their own exploration and consideration. Interactive white papers, quizzes, assessments (especially assessments) can provide valuable interactions before the sales engagement and accelerate the prospect’s consideration phase.
These are just a few of the ways to get started with highly targeted content for your account-based marketing & sales. What’s important is that you simply not target accounts with generic content, but rather you take an approach that crafts and curates content specifically to be compelling to your highest value prospects and customers.
While this can feel overwhelming, keep in mind that ABM isn’t about reaching the masses, it’s about reaching your dream customers, so the effort required to create and curate is well worth the potential return of landing a key account and expanding your footprint in your existing key accounts. How worth it? Data from the account-based sales company Engagio shows that 75% of marketers cite an increase in close rates with account-based marketing. And, according to a recent survey by ITSMA Online Survey, ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.
Highest ROI? Run…don’t walk!