A few months from now, you and your ABM team will sit around a table and try to decide whether your work was a success. Having specific goals is a great start to making that future meeting a success, but being able to measure your results is how you can close the loop.
For more information on measuring your ABM work, see our eBook, How to Profit from Account-Based Marketing.
4. Define your buyer personas, and how they will move through the buyer’s journey.
Take all those content strategies and goals, then map out how you’ll get your prospects to them. Each step along the way needs to be defined, and then have a piece of content attached to it. Each different contact within an account may have different paths to the close. And even if they have the same path, you might need to tweak each piece of content so it’s tailored to their specific needs and interests. The CTO may want a new Widget for different reasons from the CIO; the CFO’s criteria may be different from the department manager whose staff will be hands-on.
Sound like a big job? It is. But it’s definitely not impossible, and it’s really critical for success. Big whiteboards can be helpful for the mapping part. Or just a few big blank pages of paper might do.
As always, make sure you have input from your sales team for this. Their input now can save you a lot of time later.
You’re getting warmer… you’ve got the goals and the strategy and measurements to achieve them. You know how you’re going to move prospects through to becoming clients, step by step.
Let’s try to save you a little bit of work. You’ve probably actually got most of the content you’ll need already. It’s time to just catalog what you have, find the gaps and see which pieces need to be re-tooled for a different audience.
Download this content worksheet COMING to help get the process started.
Once all that is done, bust out your editorial calendar. Spell out a plan to revise or update those assets for each target account.
6. Don’t get caught in just one content format.
You’ll need to think beyond text if you want ABM to really work. It’s a multi-channel strategy, and that means content optimized for each of those channels.
For social media:
Once you’ve identified your list of targets,
- Start following them on social media, if you haven’t done so already.
- Consider setting up a listening station (https://www.act-on.com/products/platform/inbound/social-media/), to track both what they’re talking about online and what their customers are talking about online.
- Consider making a private Twitter list of key contacts for each account.
- Sign up for the LinkedIn groups they’re on.
- Notice which third party content they share. You might get a clue about where your earned or paid media budget could best be spent.
For social media advertising:
- You know Facebook advertising has killer targeting abilities. Now’s the time to use them.
- Don’t overlook Twitter. It has a tracking pixel. LinkedIn advertising does not.
Follow your target accounts off social:
- Sign up for their blogs and email lists.
- Start sharing their content in your social feeds. Mention them in your public-facing content. For instance, if you’re analyzing a particular tactic on your blog, use their work as an example. Just be careful about being too critical – often that doesn’t go over so well.
For earned media:
- One of the best ways to attract earned media in the business press is to do a major research report. Original data is valuable. The key is to make it valuable to your target clients. So include them in your research. This gives you an “in” from several angles:
- You can reach out to them while you’re doing the research.
- You can mention them in the research (making it more likely they’ll read it and share it).
- You make recommendations for their company in your analysis of the research results. This shows off your expertise and is a subtle sales letter for why they should hire you.
- You can break up this research into profiles of each company, and publish the profiles as blog posts on your site, or share them as “snackable” content on social media. This re-uses the content, but it also lays out a few more breadcrumbs for your target accounts to find.
For paid media:
- If you know which websites your target accounts are visiting, or which conferences they’re going to, it might be a good idea to spend some ad budget there.
- Don’t forget retargeting! All your work to get people to look at your messages deserves to be backed up with strategic use of retargeting messages.
For email marketing:
- Marketing automation plays a massive role in account-based marketing. And while marketing automation is much more than email marketing, it manages this tactic better than any other technology.
- Plan out the different buyers’ paths through your content. Use email to sew them together, and as a nudge to move people along through the process. Or simply as a way to stay in touch and top of mind. ABM is where your marketing automation investments can really start to pay off.
For your website:
- Personalize your landing pages so the contacts inside your target accounts feel like you know who they are.
7. Measure and refine as you go.
Here’s the thing with content marketing: You’re never really done. The happier side of that is: you’re always improving. This year’s work should make last year’s work look stodgy. So spend some time every month or so to review your content (according to those goals and metrics you defined before) and assess if your strategy needs any changes.
Content can be, and should be, a core element of account-based marketing. It can warm up targets before sales steps in, and it can help existing clients use your products and services better. Used properly, content can shorten the sales cycle, too.
It can even free up some time for your already-taxed sales team. Just be sure to bring them in early, and keep them involved throughout the content development process. In ABM, the sales team’s expertise matters most.
What do you think?
Are you using account-based marketing yet? Is your content supporting your ABM goals? Tell us how it’s going for you in the comments.