An account-based marketing (ABM) strategy enables marketing and sales teams to direct their efforts toward the highest-value accounts with a highly-targeted approach. Needless to say, ‘personalization’ is ABM’s biggest strength – an attribute that sets it apart from other marketing activities. And therefore, it is highly imperative that companies get hyper-personalization right while designing the content strategy in order to reap the benefits of ABM.
Generating meaningful exchanges with prospective buyers throughout the purchase cycle with the help of ABM content can be a challenging process. More so, when you are trying to convert these prospects into sales leads. What complicates this process even further is that nearly 6 to 10 decision-makers are involved in the B2B buying journey. In addition, the journey isn’t linear, is mostly hidden and the decision-makers are completing their respective purchasing-related jobs simultaneously.
Effective content for ABM would not only be personalized but also be able to capture the attention of the decision-makers at all touchpoints.
Here are the five steps that can help you create personalized content for running an ABM campaign.
Step 1 – Identify Buyer Personas
ABM’s primary focus is dedicated to high priority accounts. Once you identify the key accounts and slot them into tiers, it is time to identify key decision-makers and study their personas. This will help you decide what kind of content should be pitched to whom and what kind of language/tone has to be used. Make use of data and other contact building tools to discover target buyers.
For instance, the approach to messaging can’t be the same for a sales manager and VP of sales. If you know their roles and build their personas, the marketing messages can be personalized to suit their needs and personality, which is critical for ABM’s success.
Step 2 – Develop Account Insights
Which target buyer at the target account is most likely to attend an event? Who prefers webinars? Who is great at engaging over emails? And who is more responsive on calls? These are just a few of the many questions that would provide account insights. Use data analytics, technology, and personal skills to gather crucial information about your target accounts and work on insight-driven personalization.
Step 3 – Create A Content Plan
With buyer personas and account insights strategically laid out on the whiteboard, the next step is to create a personalized content plan based on the nature of your business, stage of the buyer’s journey, and buyer’s goal. As we mentioned earlier, more than one decision-maker is involved in the B2B buying journey and each has been assigned a specific job related to the final purchase. The aim of an ABM marketer is to produce content tailored for each stage.
Here’s a general content map for each stage and goal that works best according to our team of marketing experts. If a buyer is at:
- Problem identification stage – Events, ebooks, blog posts, targeted ads, webinars, third-party media & news sites, infographics, podcasts, social media posts, surveys, quizzes
- Solution exploration stage – Third-party analysts/Industry Experts’ reports, case studies, field events, video testimonials, white papers, email marketing
- Requirements building stage – Demos, on-site workshops, product video
- Supplier selection stage – Case studies, business assessments, free trial offers, ROI calculators
- Validation & Consensus creation stage – One-to-one, face-to-face meetings, direct mail
- Adoption stage – Online tutorials, workshops, How-to guides
- Upsell stage – Product webinars, case studies, testimonials
- Advocacy stage – Special previews, early access to new products/features
An important thing to remember is that the purpose of personalized ABM content is to connect with the buyers in the most personal and organic manner. Instead of hard-sell, engage with the buyer on an emotional and intellectual level by digging deep into account insights and buyer personas.
Step 4 – Measure the Effectiveness Of Your Plan
A hyper-personalized strategy like ABM can be altered in real-time as per the performance metrics. For instance, consider A/B split testing the messaging for the prospects and running the A/B test until you land on the perfect messaging for the target accounts/members. SEO is also a great tool to measure the effectiveness of ABM content. Use analytics and tracking solutions to measure engagement at each touch-point.
Step 5 – Personalize At Scale With Tweaks
Meaningful ABM content is one that scales with the overall strategy and supports it optimally. The ability to produce personalized content for each key account, decision-makers, buying stage and scale is what every company would desire. But it is not practical.
The rules of content change from company to company, account to account. Therefore, personalized content can be simplified and repurposed with minor tweaks.
For instance, content created from email campaigns can be tweaked and used for LinkedIn campaigns. A blog-post that addresses the challenges a prospect might face along with the solutions to resolve it can be broken down into nuggets and used in various ad campaigns and email outreach initiatives.
A broad piece of content can be turned into relevant content for target accounts by including features like:
- targeted title or subtitle
- target industry-specific imagery
- target market-specific case studies
- customized introduction and conclusion
- targeted landing page and email
These minor tweaks would allow you to scale up your content personalization efforts without investing a lot of time and resources at the initial stage or while targeting tier 2 and 3 accounts.
Audit your existing content bank and find out which ones can be useful in ABM. Published content that is a good fit can be repurposed with some changes in formats, types, and platforms. Then identify the content gaps and start creating a hyper-personalized plan.