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Content development tips for Account Based Marketing

Most B2B marketers are already executing, or are thinking about implementing, an Account Based Marketing strategy. Today, B2B marketing is not about generating a huge volume of leads, but rather is focused on reaching specific individuals at specific target accounts. Have you thought about the content requirements associated with ABM? Here are four tips to ensure that your content development plan supports your Account Based Marketing approach.

Marketing to an account vs. an individual prospect

Shifting your focus from lead-centric to account-centric marketing starts with recognizing that you are marketing to a group of people at a specific company, not a huge pool of unrelated prospects. This is where personalized content comes in. By delivering unique, relevant content to each target account, you enhance the customer experience and improve your overall marketing results. Let’s look at content development needs based on personas, roles, website visitors, and your lead nurturing program.

Build personas for each buyer role/tier

Start by building three to five personas that represent your target account tiers (or roles) and thinking about their job needs and content requirements.  For example:

  • Tier 1: buyers within your target accounts. These are your primary decision makers. Think about the challenges and opportunities associated with their job. What problems are they trying to solve? How do they make decisions? Where do they consume information?
  • Tier 2: influencers within your target accounts. These people may not have purchasing authority, but they do influence the vendor selection and buying process. What do you know about the influencer’s job? What is their role relative to the buyer? What specific challenges are they addressing? How might they inform the process?
  • Tier 3: known experts in your target industries. How do these people establish themselves as industry leaders? What are they talking/writing about? Where do they share ideas? How can you increase their influence?

Develop content for each persona

Engage each persona by providing specific content, delivered in a desirable format. Make sure that the content resonates with this particular role based on their unique needs, challenges and success goals.

“You need to create stories that the right people in your targeted companies would actually like to read and share.”  – Johan Sundstrand, Freya News

Content examples by persona:

  • Tier I buyers, especially those in the evaluation and selection phase, are often looking for product comparisons.  This type of information can easily be delivered in a simple chart or infographic form.
  • Tier II influencers might appreciate a short podcast or video focusing on their particular challenges and needs related to this solution.
  • Tier III industry experts tend to gravitate to in-depth research studies such as a downloadable eBook.

Personalize content based on persona

When developing content, think in terms of appealing to both broad groups and individual people:

  • Create content that is relevant to people in a specific industry
  • Create content designed for all personas at a target account
  • Create content for individual people within a high-priority account

Industry-oriented content. The broadest from of ABM appeals to an industry. Using industry-specific eBooks in conjunction with web personalization presents relevant content and messaging to all prospects within this target industry.

Content for buyers and influencers. The connection at the target account must be made with multiple personas at the buyer and influencer level. The content created around the personas should resonate with where the person is in the buying-cycle.

  • In the awareness stage, informational content and messaging can be used.
  • Moving to the interest and evaluation stage, perhaps personalize a case study or eBook by adding more examples relevant to the target account.

Individualized content. A highly personalized piece of content using a one-to-one communication method targets one or two key individuals within your highest priority ABM accounts. Specific content, such hyper-focused messaging for invitation-only events and direct mailers addressed to the individual person is key.

78% of B2B marketers report higher-quality content creation resulted in increased overall marketing success.2018 Content Marketing Institute survey

Personalize your website for target accounts

Don’t forget about website visitors! I urge marketers to utilize tools such as Marketo Real-Time Personalization or Optimizely which allow you to identify the company and industry of a website visitor and serve unique, relevant content. Here are two ideas:

  • Many marketers display different versions of the homepage based on visitor insights. For example, when a person in the financial services sector visits your home page, they see messaging, images and content specifically related to their industry.
  • Create account-specific content to feature when people from high-priority target accounts visit your site. For example, messaging, images and content are personalized with the company name and logo.

It’s not always ‘download this’.  You don’t always want to take people to gated content. We find that case study pages with some kind of demo call-to-action work really well in ABM.”Sangram Vajre, Terminus

Implement account nurturing with a human-touch

ABM doesn’t end with your digital efforts. Prospects at target accounts need to be engaged and nurtured over time. Old-school direct mail items can help to build relationships with leads and move them forward in the sales pipeline.

Here are three (non-digital) marketing ideas to support your ABM efforts:

  • Send a recent business report or news article to your high-priority ABM contacts.
  • Handwritten letters never go out of style.
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to send personal invitations to local events.

Align your content strategy with ABM success

Make sure your content strategy is aligned with your buyer personas and addresses their top challenges/needs. Ensure that content is truly helpful at each phase of the customer journey and delivered in a desirable format. Customize and personalize content whenever possible, and don’t forget to utilize non-digital channels.

We’re all familiar with the popular phrase: “content is king.” This adage has never been truer than with a  highly-targeted, personalized, account-based approach to marketing.

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