How Would Content, Ads, and Email Strategy Work Together in ABM?

Vigil Viswanathan
February 3, 2022

B2B markets are one of the driving forces behind the surging adoptability of account-based marketing among marketers in the last few years. ABM is a highly-targeted marketing approach that focuses on targeting particular accounts and the relevant stakeholders who can influence the purchase decision. More than 46% of B2B marketers have started to increase their budget allocation  for ABM campaigns compared to the year before. 

Highly customized content is often associated with inbound marketing, but it has considerable significance in ABM strategies as well. In inbound marketing, the whole focus is based on attracting leads as the first step in the funnel. However, when it comes to ABM, it is even more targeted and entails nurturing pre-targeted prospects.

With businesses targeting highly-specific prospects first and delivering personalised content on a multi-tier basis, businesses have been provided with a shorter sales cycle than traditional marketing. The sophisticated marketing strategy entails certain channels to deliver account-specific content. This includes content, advertisements, and email campaigns.

The basic definition of ABM

ABM, or account-based marketing, is a B2B marketing approach that entails a unified approach by the marketing and sales teams of a company that focuses solely on highly-targeted accounts. Unlike traditional marketing, which is generally focused on approaching a wide range of prospective audiences, ABM targets a definite set of specific accounts. The marketing department supports the sales team by directly putting the budget, resources, and campaigns targeted for these specific usually high-value  accounts.

Using content in an ABM strategy

When it comes to using content as a medium to engage and convert high-value prospects, it is recommended to aim for quality and relevancy rather than quantity. Creating a large amount of content doesn’t necessarily guarantee client engagement and conversion. Since in ABM, it all comes down to prioritising personalization, it is also applicable to delivering content. Creating a relevant, personalized, and scalable content strategy involves the following ABM process.

  • Conducting proper research

During the process of account mapping and profiling, the research and established awareness will be useful to generate content, especially when you are in the mid to late stages of the sales funnel. Conducting account-specific research and understanding the importance of persona targeting are important in order to map the content and personalise it accordingly. 

Adequate documentation of these particular personas of the target accounts is necessary for evaluating the current and emerging trends across the accounts. While the marketing team is typically in charge of content initiatives, you may want to consider sales input in order to determine which content is performing best in terms of converting prospects especially when it comes to later stages of sales cycle.

  • Assessing existing content

Generating new and relevant content requires resources like adequate time and effort. Prior to establishing original content from scratch, it is recommended to understand and evaluate the content that already exists. When you create new content, take into consideration certain factors like the content creation date, the targeted audience/accounts, and most importantly, the performance of the content. Understanding the performance of each piece of content will help you analyse the content gaps, which in turn will assist you in getting better at the content game.

  • Personalized content

Personalization is an essential part of any ABM strategy to address each account according to their specific pain points and interests. For example you might want to target a customer in the financial sector using a report focussed on the financial sector specifically built for the target customers segment within the sector.

Blogs and case studies that directly cater to the target customer might have to be created to speed up decision making process at the later stages of the sales cycle. The level of personalisation in content required may vary based on the customer lifecycle stage but when implementing ABM it becomes necessary irrespective of the target accounts. 

Having a well-thought content strategy in place is beneficial for accelerating the relationship-building procedure in order to convert high-quality accounts. However, only a content-focused approach won’t deliver the results that a successful ABM strategy can. To get the most out of your ABM approach, you need to incorporate targeted advertisements and personalised email campaigns into your strategy.

Incorporating targeted advertisements into ABM strategy

ABM relies on both marketing and sales to achieve the company goals but it also means ABM has to take a proactive approach when trying to target customers, this usually involves advertising, event and emails to name a few.

Advertisements along with content is usually recommended for an effective ABM strategy. With advertising, businesses can reach key stakeholders more efficiently and can scale their overall output faster than just using content.

  • Following a proactive retargetting approach

Common online advertising approaches like Google ads, retargeting, and CRM retargeting are reactive by nature, which differs from account-based advertising. In traditional advertising based retargeting, marketers usually run an ad campaign based on the user behaviour which means website vistis, link clicks of specific intent in  a search query. Although this approach is still viable and effective, it tends to leave a significant segment of the prospective market by not targeting the entire buying network.

ABM, on the other hand, is more of a proactive approach that targets the whole buying committee along irrespective of wheter they have engaged with your business.

Audience is usually targeted at 3 different levels,

  • Retargetting the used who engaged with your product, website or sales 
  • Retargetting the buying committee of the account which has engaged with you irrespective of the specific contacts have engaged with you before
  • Direct targeting potential high-value accounts via ads 

Helps distribute content effectively

In a B2B setting, companies rely on different paid content distribution channels that primarily involve pay-per-click, or PPC, paid social advertising, and paid influencer content. PPC falls under the SEM category of marketing where advertisers need to pay when users interact with the specific ad, either through impressions or clicks. Although PPC is primarily used in search engine result pages, marketers can also run PPC campaigns on social media channels. When done right and integrated with your SEO strategy, PPC can be a core element of your inbound marketing strategy.

Similar to PPC, paid social ads are another means of paid content distribution that includes sharing marketing campaigns and messages on different social media platforms. Social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and others enable marketers to approach a specific targeted audience for better conversion. In paid social ads, different platforms use specific tools to create and run the ads.

Complements email outreaches

When it comes to building a long-term relationship with customers, combining paid social ads with email marketing can prove to be highly effective. While paid social ads are best for driving additional traffic to your business, email marketing helps in building a long-term meaningful relationship with potential and current customers. These two channels together establish a streamlined funnel in order to enhance the customer lifetime value. Make sure to use similar copy, consistent content materials, and keep modifying the strategies to get better results. Incorporating social media ads with email marketing is regarded often as a winning combination.

Role of Email Personalization into existing ABM approach  

Delivering the most relevant emails to your subscribers at the most appropriate moment is what email personalization is all about. Account-based marketing, on the other hand, focuses on promoting your business to the most targeted audiences. Email is one of the most effective marketing platforms, and by integrating personalised emails with an ABM approach, you can increase engagement and achieve your goals.

ABM focuses on developing and executing highly focused and tailored campaigns to meet the demands of each group of accounts and their stakeholders. When combined with ABM, email marketing can help you achieve greater outcomes. By incorporating ABM into your email marketing, you will be able to evaluate each target account’s goals and requirements, as well as bring value to their business.

  • Provide hyper-personalised content to your clients 

Personalisation is one of the core aspects of an ABM strategy that many businesses leverage in order to connect with their customers. Where standard email outreaches tend to adhere to a certain level of personalisation, ABM takes that to the next level by not restricting itself to basic personalisation techniques. In ABM, personalising emails involves researching and analysing the purchasing behaviour and online activity of the accounts. This way, the marketing sales teams can determine what content can perform better in terms of engagement. 

When incorporating email personalisation into your existing ABM strategy, first establish a customer profile according to their interests, purchasing history, and other information. Curate content based on the information available that your targeted accounts may find interesting. Here you may go beyond the usual types of content as well, including industry reports, interviews, and more. In order to maintain consistency in delivering the content, you can also adhere to a content plan made for every client group. 

  • Establish a strong relationship with customers 

For both B2C and B2B businesses, communicating with the clients in a meaningful way is a common factor between the two. Regardless of the type of company, it is essential to build a valuable relationship with the clients that may happen by conducting email marketing automation, researching the target market and more. However, according to market surveys, there is a huge gap in delivery that can be seen where a majority of the companies believe that they are providing a better proposition, but only a small percentage of the clients agree with this. The primary reason behind such a drastic gap is the lack of long-term and good relationships with the clients. 

Many companies struggle to understand the pain points and preferences of their target clients, resulting in a delivery gap in the market. However, because ABM addresses hyper-personalization, it aids in influencing the quality of relationship building. In short, instead of addressing the broader market and industries, focusing on particular accounts can help you have a deep understanding of what your clients want as well as form the foundation of your overall content strategy.

  • Get greater ROI in email marketing 

Standard email marketing itself, when done right, adds a fair share to the overall ROI of the business compared to other communication forms. When companies merge email marketing with a sophisticated approach like ABM, the potential to maximise the ROI increases drastically. Many businesses are noticing higher ROI after implementing ABM with email marketing than with other marketing activities. 

Conclusion

A multi-channel approach helps businesses engage with prospects by using multiple different channels in order to interact with the target accounts or leads. In B2B marketing, adopting a sophisticated multi-channel approach like ABM enables you to focus on highly-targeted accounts and shorten the sales cycle. While using content, ads, and emails may be individually useful to convert prospects, combining them together proves to be more effective and rewarding in the long run.

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