Account-based marketing has been making waves in the marketing industry right now. It can increase ROI, improve trust with customers, and help organizations build long-term relationships with their clients.
However, account-based marketing, or ABM, still isn’t widely understood. It’s a fairly new concept, which means many companies who try and implement the strategy may get it wrong––ultimately costing their organization to waste their investment.
To help you create an ABM strategy that delivers powerful results, we’ve created this ultimate guide to outline what account-based marketing is, how it should be used, and steps to implement a strategy of your own.
What is account-based marketing?
ABM focuses on each customer or individual prospect independently. Rather than targeting all leads and customers with the same marketing campaign, account-based marketing tells marketing departments to create unique events, content, and messaging for each potential buyer.
ABM is often used in B2B marketing, especially for enterprise-level organizations.
What are the benefits of account-based marketing?
The biggest benefit of ABM is that it allows for extreme personalization. Because each campaign is tailored to meet the needs of the individual, account-based marketers can answer specific questions and solve unique problems that makes the customer ultimately want to buy.
This kind of personalization can lead to more sales, and therefore more returns on your marketing investment. It also means that your marketing campaigns are much more impactful, meaning less wasted time and money on campaigns that don’t deliver the results you need.
Finally, account-based marketing improves the relationships you have with your customers. Creating unique marketing campaigns shows you’re listening to that client’s unique needs or challenges and doing your best to address them, ultimately improving trust and facilitating long-term relationships.
What are the drawbacks of using account-based marketing?
While ABM is extremely beneficial, it isn’t without its drawbacks. Because each campaign is uniquely tailored, it means you need to invest more time and sometimes more money in the creation and development stages of your marketing.
It is also only beneficial to targeted customers, so you can’t use ABM to attract dozens of new leads. In order to be efficiently applied, you need to already have a solid connection or understanding with a lead, prospect, or customer before you can create your ABM campaign.
5 Account-Based Marketing Tactics for Launching a Campaign
Account-based marketing can come in many different forms. Here are five popular ABM tactics you should consider when launching your first campaign.
Social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, make it easy to target unique audiences with your ads. You can even upload a list of email addresses that you want to target across their associated social media profiles.
While you probably can’t create an individual ad for each lead or customer, you can individualize your social media ads to meet each different group or demographic that you want to target. This can be a great way to build brand awareness or to retarget past customers.
2. Create high-quality custom content.
When creating content for your website, such as blog posts or ebooks, focus on one individual market. For example, instead of creating content for anyone who might visit your site, narrow in on a specific industry or job title that you want to attract.
Showing your value in these unique areas can make your content more relatable, and therefore more memorable. Focused content can also help you attract more high-value customers that might spend more money.
3. Personalize your email campaigns.
Your customers get dozens, if not hundreds, of emails every day. In order to stand out, your marketing emails need to be unique and personalized. Using segmentation and lists, you can apply ABM to your email campaigns.
In order to properly segment your emails, you need to know who you’re connecting with. Use surveys, forms, and tags to properly identify who each audience member is and what content they might be most interested in receiving.
4. Use lookalike modeling.
Lookalike modeling helps you identify audiences who may be similar to yours. By looking at competitors or other providers in your space, you can find potential leads that might be interested in what you’re offering.
You can also use your own customers as a lookalike model. Take a look at who your customers are and what value they bring you. You can then use ABM to target similar audiences to bring in new clients.
Social media platforms are a great way to get to know your target audience and gather information that makes your ABM strategies better. Find, follow, and engage with customers and your lookalike audiences to start building connections.
Commenting on statuses, liking shared content, or starting conversations are all great ways to build awareness and trust with potential clients. As you become more familiar with each individual, you can provide personalized content and recommendations that fit their unique needs.
6 Steps to Effectively Implement Account-Based Marketing
Now that you have some ideas on ABM tactics you can run in your new campaign, let’s layout the steps you should follow to get started.
Here is the six step process you should follow.
1. Identify your audience.
The first step of any ABM campaign is to identify the audience you’re trying to target. Go beyond just the market you want to reach. Identify factors like the industry, company size, and location of your target audience.
2. Get familiar with that market and account.
If you have a specific account in mind that you’d like to target, spend some time getting to know them. What challenges do they face? What have they accomplished? What goals are they still looking to reach?
If you’re looking to target new clients, get familiar with the market or lookalike accounts. Answer the same questions as above using a bit of market research or your experience with similar companies in the past.
3. Choose where you’re going to run your campaign.
Knowing how you’re going to target your audience is important for choosing the content you’re going to share. After you’ve identified your audience, you need to choose the platform where you’re going to run your campaign.
Take a look at the platforms where your target audience is spending their time. You want to make your campaigns easy to find, meaning you shouldn’t promote on a platform that your audience doesn’t use frequently.
You can always use multiple platforms for your campaign. However, narrow in on the ones you’d like to target. Avoid trying to use each platform in your campaign as you might stretch yourself too thin.
4. Develop focused content.
Now that you know who your target audience is and you’re familiar with their needs and challenges, you’re ready to create your content. Each piece of content you create should be written with that audience in mind.
Make your content as useful as possible. Answer questions that your target audience may be struggling to answer and provide unique value they can’t get elsewhere.
Your content should also fit with the platform you’re choosing to run your campaign on. For example, an Instagram ad would most likely look extremely different than an email campaign. Make sure your content is conducive for the platform you’ve selected.
5. Let your campaign run.
Once your content is ready to go, you’re all set to run your campaign. This stage will look dramatically different depending on the platform you’ve chosen.
However, while running your campaign, you want to have certain factors in mind, such as time limits for how long your campaign will run and how much you’ll spend promoting your campaign. You should also have some goals in mind of what you’d like to achieve.
Keep an eye on the campaign while it’s running. See if you’re getting traction or if your targeting seems to be off. Be ready to make changes to keep your campaign moving in the right direction if need be.
6. Collect data and measure your results.
The final step of your campaign is to collect the associated data and measure your results. This will help you identify the ROI of your campaign and whether or not it was successful.
Look beyond just outright sales related to your ABM campaign. Instead, look at the connections you’ve made, the leads you’ve gathered, or the interest you’ve gotten in your brand. Remember, it takes more than just one interaction for a lead to convert into a customer, so some leads just might need some more time.
You should also have a plan for what’s next. Your ABM campaign should feed into your other marketing or set you up to create a new campaign to keep your new leads and prospects engaged.
Let’s look deeper at how you can collect data and measure your results.
How to Measure, Analyze, and Optimize your Account-Based Marketing
Measuring your ABM is important because it lets you see whether or not your strategy was appropriate for what you were trying to achieve.
Here’s a few tips for measuring, analyzing, and optimizing your account-based marketing.
1. Know what KPIs you want to measure
Key performance indicators are different metrics that help you evaluate the effectiveness of a campaign. Knowing what KPIs you want to measure before you start your campaign can make it easier to tell if your campaign was successful or not.
Some popular KPIs related to ABM are engagement rate, pipeline velocity, reach within an account, and in-funnel conversion rates.
2. Use analytics
It just isn’t possible to efficiently collect and track data by hand. In order to truly get the insights you need, you need to implement analytics.
Analytics can dramatically cut down on your time measuring and analyzing your campaigns. Google Analytics is a great place to start, but consider other platforms depending on where your campaigns are running. For example, most social media platforms have analytics built in that you should consider.
3. Follow what works, cut what doesn’t
Using your analytics and KPIs, you can identify what part of your plan worked and what didn’t. If you didn’t reach your KPI goals, you’ll know that your ABM strategy needs some adjusting. If you did, you can identify what worked and use it again in future campaigns.
This kind of evaluation ensures you’re always creating content that meets your audience’s needs. When you create ABM content that fits what they enjoy engaging with, you can make stronger connections and continuously move your company forward.
Account-based marketing is a great way to bring in new high-quality clients, as well as convert the customers you already have over and over again. By treating each individual account as its own market, you can create customized content that truly makes a connection and encourages customers to come back for more.
Account-based marketing will look differently depending on the audience you’re targeting, the industry you serve, or customer that you’re trying to reach. However, with some trial and error and a bit of experimenting, you can create account-based marketing strategies that allows your business to truly take off.
Get started by getting to know your target audience. Create content that gets them engaged and interested in what you can offer. Continue to listen to what they need, what problems they’re trying to solve, and what questions they have. When you’re able to develop a marketing strategy that fits exactly what that individual is looking for, you can see the results you’re after.
Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to Account-based Marketing to Increase Leads", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.