The aim of most marketing campaigns is to reach people far and wide. High numbers are the name of the game, and the more eyeballs you get on your content the better.
But, with account based marketing (ABM), the focus is shifted from as many people as possible to specific “accounts” (this might be people in specific roles or a specific team in an organization) that are an exact match for your business and what you offer.
Traditional Content Marketing VS ABM Content Marketing
Content that has been created as part of a traditional content marketing strategy can be shared between anyone and everyone. The precise aim of it is to attract as many readers as possible, generate shares, and hopefully get some conversions.
But, while the content that’s created in these more generic campaigns can be used as part of an ABM content strategy and vice versa, the main aim of the content for ABM is completely different. Its purpose isn’t to increase brand visibility and awareness. Instead, it’s used to create a personal experience that speaks directly to one specific account.
Think of it this way:
Regular content is used to target a person, while ABM content is used to target specific individuals inside a specific account. Regular content is a one-to-many situation, while content created for AMB is one-to-one or one-to-few.
It’s important for B2B marketers to combine both traditional content marketing and ABM as this will make reaching their goals far easier. And, though the aims of content marketing and ABM are different, the values are the same – to make your customer’s life easier.
So, how do you approach content creation in ABM?
The answer is simple: build out personas for each team or “buyer tier” and then create content specifically for them. The three things you need are personalization, personas, and a plan for engagement.
The key thing to remember is that ABM targets one, two, or a few people. This makes it easy enough to personalize content (although it might seem like an overwhelming thought if you plan on targeting many accounts).
This might include hyper-focused content like personalized messages for invite-only events or direct mailers that are addressed directly to the individual you’re trying to connect with.
Rather than quantity, you’re really looking for quality here.
It might seem like a lot of effort, but the payoff is worth it. In fact, 78% of B2B marketers reported that they saw a massive increase in marketing success when they focused on creating high-quality content.
Now, we’re not saying you should personalize every single piece of content, but you can start by running your content through some simple personalization techniques, like:
- Using different titles or subtitles depending on who you’re targeting
- Imagery that’s associated with the industry the individuals you’re targeting are in
- Incorporating case studies from that particular industry
- Make tweaks to the introduction and conclusion to better fit the individuals you’re trying to reach
- Creating a targeted landing page and email that speaks directly to your chosen individuals
Simple personalization makes your efforts scalable but, if you really want to create content that is hyper-focused, you might create a report specifically about your target account and send personalized emails or direct mail to the right people.
This is when ABM content really works its magic. By creating and distributing unique content that’s incredibly relevant to each account, you’re drastically improving the customer experience which will, overall, boost your results.
Take advocacy software provider, Influitive, for example. They ran a campaign sending out personalized review notes to potential clients. They found reviews that were about the prospects on third-party review sites and used them to spark a conversation about how Influitive could help them generate more reviews.
They bundled up these reviews with other offers and sent them to prospects alongside a handwritten note from a sales rep and an ebook. In one of these campaigns they sent the positive online reviews inside a pinata filled with candy. The “pinata-gram” approach resulted in a 36% response rate along with a 3.4% sales-qualified opportunity rate.
Develop Content Personas
Every piece of content marketing advice will tell you that you need to create personas. This will help you send out the right message and know what type of content to create in the first place.
While this is still true in ABM content creation, you ideally want to shift your thinking from targeting a huge pool of people who might be interested in, say, marketing automation, and instead focus on a particular group of people at a specific company.
Start by building out three to five personas that relate to your target account and the roles that are within that account. Then you can start thinking about each roles’ specific needs and requirements.
- Buyers in your target account are likely to be the primary decision makers, so think about the challenges they face when it comes to deciding what product or service is the best fit.
- Influencers in your target account might not have the authority to actually make purchases, but they are able to influence the buying decisions of other people. Think about their role in the buying process and the opportunities they might have to inform that process. This will help you consider the resources and content that might be useful to them.
- Known experts that are a part of your industry also have a major influence over decision makers. Think about what these people are talking about and consider how you can provide them with information to help them increase their influence.
Engage and Nurture
The journey doesn’t end once you’ve created and distributed your content.
In fact, some might say this is just when things are getting started.
B2B buyers tend to have a longer purchase cycle than B2C customers, which is why it’s important that they are engaged and nurtured over time.
You could try going old-school and sending out direct mail items to build relationships or continue to create a connection through personalized emails. It’s also a good idea to continue working closely with your sales team so you can keep addressing the biggest struggles and issues your customers are facing. This lets you tackle objections head-on and keep creating content that’s useful.
Create and Deepen Connections
ABM content creation is all about establishing new relationships with potential targets and deepening the connections you already have with existing customers.
By tapping into the individual needs and struggles each person in an account faces, you’re providing a personalized experience that speaks directly to them – and that’s a truly winning combination.