Many companies achieve business success by targeting a broad list of prospects and winnowing them down through their marketing and sales funnel to potential qualified leads. But for business-to-business (B2B) companies with a complex sale and long sales cycles, it's only practical to get focused and tactical. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) encourages B2B marketers to begin with their end goals in mind. Rather than casting a wide net, they focus their marketing efforts on a set of ideal clients and develop buyer personas that align to the major clients they'd like to acquire.
At least two things make account-based marketing a successful approach for B2B companies. First, by defining your ideal customer profiles on your past successes with existing clients, you grow a little more adept at finding and delighting the most qualified possible leads. Second, focusing on large accounts that you absolutely want to land often has spill-over benefits. Medium and smaller accounts who have similar needs find your targeted marketing and sign up — especially if they see an impressive customer list featured on your website.
To find and impress your key potential clients, you'll want to frame your advertising and marketing campaigns to be tailored to the exact needs of your ideal client. Here are just a few of the many ways to make that happen.
Key Tactics for ABM Campaigns
1. LinkedIn Sponsored Content and Message Ads
Because LinkedIn ads can be targeted and customized based on industry, job title, job function, seniority, region, and more, they can help you reach a distinct audience who are most likely to be interested in your offering and convert. Message Ads (formerly known as InMail) are another way to send personalized messages to the actual stakeholders at the client company who might have the power to make a purchasing choice. Finding these individuals and sending personalized Message Ads fits right in with the concepts of account-based marketing. Any response at all gives you valuable information, from information on who you need to contact next to the cycle on which they purchase a competing product so that you can reach out just before their agreement lapses.
2. Google CRM Remarketing
Google offers two ways to "remarket" to audiences already familiar with your company: you can remarket to prior website visitors (or visitors to specific pages), or to a list of contacts in your CRM database by uploading a list of email addresses.
Display ads are most frequently used to re-engage website visitors or segments of your known contacts with ads promoting your product or service. When a particular lead has already been checking your website, serving them with clear, targeted ads that promote "giving your company another look" or that showcase a recently-added feature or deal can be the personalized touch that causes them to make a buying decision.
3. Facebook CRM Remarketing
Similarly to Google Ads, Facebook Ads features a robust advertising platform. It allows you to target your sponsored posts to a particular set of contacts, like prior website visitors or a particular set of email addresses, helping you narrow down who sees your posts based on their buyer journey stage or other segmentation criteria of your choosing. Facebook can be a particularly good platform for remarketing because of its lower cost-per-click rates (CPCs) and overall impression costs compared to LinkedIn.
4. LinkedIn CRM Remarketing
LinkedIn, like Facebook and Google, allows you to not only remarket to website visitors and a list of uploaded email addresses from your CRM database, but you can also remarket to an audience based on a specific company list. This is a terrific option to warm up your target account list by uploading your list of target companies, and then narrowing the audience down based on geography, job functions, seniority, or other relevant factors to your company strategy.
Just like CRM remarketing audiences on Google and Facebook, you'll only be able to serve ads to email addresses or company names that it can "match" to known emails and companies in its database. Match-rates for email addresses in all platforms will vary, but we typically see that between 50% and 80% of your email addresses will match known contacts in LinkedIn. Your overall matched audience size must be over 300 people for your ads to serve, so keep this in mind when employing this tactic on LinkedIn.
5. Targeted Email Campaigns Based on Personas
Great modern email marketing aims to solve a problem or relieve a "pain point" for a potential client. Once you have extensive ABM buyer personas related to the dream clients you'd most like to land, you can write emails that are focused on what problems your product or service can solve. Great email campaigns will offer multiple ways for your readership to engage with them, allowing you to monitor click-through rates and revise your strategy as you go forward.
6. Targeted Content Development Based on Personas
Useful content, from how-to articles to industry updates, is the cornerstone of any ABM strategy. Because each of the personas you are targeting will be hooked by your product or service in a different way, your content should reflect these differences. Then, when you leverage it in paid social campaigns, email, or other efforts, you know it will be highly relevant to the target audience. They will feel like you understand their needs and concerns and will be impressed by your knowledge and expertise in their industry. Different types of content will work best at each stage of the journey. For awareness, blogs, guides, and infographics are an excellent way to inform and share helpful information. At the middle of the funnel, case studies, white papers, and webinars help prospects dig a little deeper. And when it's time for the buying decision, demo videos, sales, or product information sheets and content that highlights your product features and benefits are effective tools at the bottom of the funnel. Bottom line: Targeted content builds trust, feels personal, and is critical for nurturing leads as part of your ABM strategy.
7. Optimized and Personalized Campaign Landing Pages
If you know through your market research that your client is likely to be most impressed by a particular feature or aspect of your business model, you can direct ads to personalized and optimized landing pages within your website that will impress them even further. Creating two options for a personalized landing page and then monitoring traffic and bounce rate can help you A/B test and discover what kinds of information and page structure make your ideal leads receptive to your message. Taking your strategy to even another level, some content management systems allow for real-time personalization, like with HubSpot's Smart Content feature. From custom CTAs to more personalized blog content, you can adjust what each user sees based on their location, device, language, demographic, buyer stage, and more to home in even further on your target accounts.
Modern chatbots on your website allow you to answer a variety of frequently asked questions instantaneously through a series of bot scripts. At the same time, they connect your leads to live sales representatives if they have more complex questions. By having the sales team monitor who is asking questions through the chatbot, they get unprecedented access to key decision-makers at companies where you'd like to make a B2B sale. Some chatbots work during your off-hours by scheduling phone calls with sales representatives directly into their calendars, so that they arrive at work and see a call with a qualified lead already slotted into their available time. These connections allow leads to feel like they are getting highly-personal service while allowing sales teams to spend more of their time on the most qualified prospects.
9. Direct Mail/Special Event Invitations
While it can feel "old school," direct mail and special event invitations allow your high-value dream clients to feel like they are part of an elite group and that they are going to get unusually high quality when it comes to customer service at your company. Having high-profile events and creating personalized mailers may take some time, but landing your target accounts with account-based marketing can start the process of a long-term successful marketing strategy, so it is in everyone's best interest to make those clients feel as special and wanted as possible.
10. Leveraging Intent Signals
When you're ready to fine-tune your ABM approach, adding in an intent platform like TechTarget, ZoomInfo, Demandbase, or Bombora can be the added boost you're looking for. Intent platforms are intended to provide you with intelligence on which of your target accounts might be in market for your solution at an given time by using extensive content networks and direct outreach to companies to survey their team on existing projects. When looking for an intent platform, its important to find a partner that focuses on your particular industry and ensure you have a robust enough sales team that can take advantage of the data that is provided, because this can be a more significant investment.
The guiding principle for all your ABM communications is to know your buyer personas better than you know yourself. Interested in learning more about how to approach account based marketing? Find out about our approach at Beacon Digital Marketing.
William oversees all of Beacon Digital's marketing automation work, as well as all paid media (social and search). He is an experienced digital marketing director with over 9 years of experience leading, developing, and implementing digital marketing solutions for B2B clients. He has worked with a variety of clients from large multinational corporations with multiple business units to local, small businesses. He works hard to ensure that all digital marketing strategies are tailored to the client’s goals, needs, and, ultimately, deliver the results they are hoping for. He is passionate about developing successful marketing automation strategies as well as utilizing data to not only demonstrate not just what happened, but to gain vital insight into how to improve performance.