Maximizing the efforts, efficiency and ROI of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) campaigns is every marketer’s goal. An inbound marketing hack that can assist companies in achieving this goal is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In the age of digital transformation, the highly targeted ABM combined with SEO’s targeted traffic mechanism is a perfect strategic combination to maximize marketing efforts.
From providing insights into target accounts’ research patterns to revealing valuable information about the performance of ABM campaigns, marketers have discovered the many benefits of incorporating SEO into the Account-Based Marketing strategy.
Let’s dive into the top 4 benefits of making SEO a part of your ABM efforts.
Expand Outreach Of Your ABM With SEO
The B2B sales cycle is not only longer, but also involves multiple decision-makers compared to a B2C sales cycle. Executives as well as individual contributors, both are invested in the B2B purchase research exercise.
“The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group. At the same time, the set of options and solutions buying groups can consider is expanding as new technologies, products, suppliers and services emerge,” explained Gartner about the new B2B buying journey
Therefore, the primary objective of a successful Account-Based Marketing strategy is to connect with the decision-makers at all levels involved in B2B purchase decisions.
SEO’s targeted outreach will help marketers to amplify their ABM efforts by providing information about the kind of content that would get the attention of the key players at target accounts. With the help of keyword and user intent research, you can create personalized content that addresses the needs of decision-makers and answers their questions.
Gartner identified 6 buying tasks that B2B buyers explore before making the final purchasing decision. These are the research tasks that a B2B buyer completes before making a purchase:
- Problem identification – Discovering a problem that needs to be solved
- Solution exploration – Finding what are the tools, solutions, services available to solve the problem
- Requirements building – Setting up the key expectations and considerations from the purchase
- Supplier selection – Scrutinizing if the supplier can truly deliver what they need
- Validation – Reaffirming if the selected supplier is the right fit
- Consensus creation – Getting everyone to agree on the decision
Marketers can guide customers to manoeuvre through the complex B2B purchase process by addressing the six ‘buying tasks’ through personalized ABM content with the help of SEO.
Optimal Channel To Meet Decision Makers
While there are many channels through which personalized ABM content is delivered to the target accounts, most of the content discovery happens at SERP. This Google study highlights how ‘90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. And 71% of research starts with a generic search. The young and tech-savvy B2B customers conduct 12 online searches on average before engaging directly with a brand’s website.
As SEO is the most effective tool that companies use to dominate the first page of search engine results, it can also help marketers to improve the visibility of their ABM campaigns. By optimizing campaign content and landing pages for search and focusing on technical SEO best practices, marketers can improve the organic rankings of their ABM campaigns.
Create A User Journey Map
The keyword and user intent research conducted at that initial stage of the ABM campaign continues to prove beneficial, even beyond establishing the first connection with the decision-makers.
SEO insights can help marketers to create a visual map that elucidates the different stages of the buying journey and the type of content decision-makers are looking for at each stage. Start by compiling a list of relevant keywords for your campaign and perform a search for those keywords. By reverse-engineering organic search results, ABM marketers can gain insight into the audience, user intent and the stage of the b2b sales cycle.
For instance, results for tutorials and how-to guides indicate that the buyer is at the ‘exploring solutions’ stage. Similarly, results that list pricing and sales information indicate that a C-suite buyer might be the one performing the research and that the user is in the final stage of the buyer decision process. By studying these SEO insights, marketers will be able to produce personalized content and convert prospects into customers.
Measure The Effectiveness of ABM
When it comes to measuring ABM tactics’ success, traditional metrics have to be replaced by modern metrics that focus on quality rather than quantity. We have observed that SEO analytics can provide invaluable data and track the effectiveness of your ABM campaigns.
With the help of SEO analytics, marketers can discover which content channel attracted the most visits, measure the performance of targeted ABM email and social campaigns, find out how long visitors engaged with the site, and track what other pages the visitors viewed and review bounce rates.
For instance, Google Analytics allows ABM marketers to gather data about the overall effectiveness of their campaigns by adding campaign parameters to the destination URLs. With custom URLs, marketers can discover which version of their ABM campaign (video ad, email, in-app ads, social apps or other platforms) are generating the most traffic.
Based on these metrics, marketers can identify channels that are performing well, eliminate the channels that are not producing desired results for specific target accounts and fix the gaps in their Account-Based Marketing strategy.
SEO Is Pivotal To The Future Of ABM
In principle, account-based marketing has always focused on personalized marketing efforts. As a result, it emerged as an effective Account-Based Marketing strategy in a sea of traditional methods over the last few years. By infusing the strengths of search engine optimization into ABM, marketers can expand outreach, improve visibility and promote meaningful engagement even further.
The new B2B buying journey driven by young users comes with its own set of challenges and complexities. Most of the purchase decisions are complete even before interacting with a supplier. Gartner’s research revealed that B2B buyers spend only 17% of their purchase research time meeting with potential suppliers. And while interacting with multiple suppliers‚ the one-on-one time with each sales representative drops down to 5% or 6%. Therefore, the most effective way to simplify the purchase process for customers and capture their attention during the research process is by optimizing your ABM content with SEO.