One of the first lessons in good marketing is, trying to reach everyone puts you at risk of connecting with no one. It pays to get specific when picturing your audience. And for many B2B brands, going a step further with account-based marketing and actually identifying specific businesses and contacts to reach is proven to get big results.
About 80 percent of marketers doing ABM say it outperforms their other marketing tactics in terms of ROI. But as with any marketing tactic, getting good results requires doing ABM well. If you’re considering ABM, here are 10 account-based marketing tactics to craft your strategy around.
How much of your current marketing strategy is based around getting new leads? Marketers tend to prioritize finding and cultivating new prospects, when often the best source for increasing your sales is looking to the customers you already have.
Keeping your current customers coming back can increase profits by anywhere from 25 to 95 percent. And your probability of converting a new lead to a sale is between five percent and 20 percent, whereas for a current customer that goes up to 60 to 70 percent.
The first step to accomplish just about any account-based marketing tactic is identifying the specific businesses to target. Some of your most valuable targets are also those most easily reached and converted because they already like you, and you already have a lot of information about them. Don’t waste that.
Use the information you have on your customers to create highly useful content that will help them get more out of your product. Highlight new products, provide upgrade recommendations, and craft special offers based on their product use in emails and targeted ads (Yes! Ads for customers). And you can further nurture your relationship with your top customers by partnering with them for case studies, webinars or conference presentations.
2. Use lookalike modeling.
In addition to becoming some of your most valuable targets in an ABM strategy, your customer base is also a useful tool for helping you identify the best new leads to focus on. To perform lookalike modeling, first analyze your current customers. Which of them are the most valuable to your business?
Look at which bring the highest ROI and which have sent the most referrals. If working with a certain customer has raised the profile of your business and helped you get more clients by association, consider that as well.
Once you have a list of top customers, many online advertising channels will allow you to load the list then automatically target similar audiences for you. For your internal uses, you can also use the list to better define which companies to seek out based on the main attributes your top customers have in common. You can research companies by factors like company size, industry and number of customers on LinkedIn. For more detailed company information like average yearly revenue, paid databases like Hoovers and Factiva can fill in the gaps. Your HubSpot platform (or similar CRM) can also provide this information.
3. Follow and engage with target accounts on social media.
Social media provides marketers with direct access to your audience. Once you’ve developed a list of prime ABM target accounts and pinpointed some of the main contacts (via their website or LinkedIn), you want to find all the associated accounts you can on Twitter, LinkedIn and other relevant industry platforms.
Follow and connect with your target contacts and start paying attention to what they say. It’s crucial your first step be listening. You want to become familiar with how your prospects use social media before you start interacting more directly.
Over time though, you can begin strategically interacting with them on social media sites. Some good tactics to consider are:
Email marketing works better when it’s personal. Emails with a personalized subject line get opened 26 percent more often, and companies that use segmented lists to increase relevancy for their recipients have seen a 760 percent increase in revenue from email marketing.
Customizing your email messaging for the particular recipients is easier when you know exactly who’s receiving the email, what their role in their company is, and where they are in the buyer’s journey. All of that is information you should have on your targets in an ABM campaign.
Use all the research you’ve done to make sure you send the right messaging to each ABM contact based on the particular concerns and responsibilities of their job. And use all the data you have on your past interactions with them to deliver the content and CTAs relevant to what they’re interested in and where they are in the buying process.
5. Create highly valuable custom content.
Free content on the web abounds, but content that’s created specifically for one business—not just for people in a specific job title in an industry, but for one specific business—that’s rare. And it can be a good way to set your company apart from other businesses vying for your prospect’s attention.
For example, a business that offers an SEO analytics tool could produce a multi-page report for a target prospect that includes valuable data on their current rankings, competitor analysis, and some of the best topic areas to target moving forward. That’s a piece of content your prospects are likely to open and appreciate, and it would show them your value (without giving away everything your product has to offer).
Figure out something valuable you can provide with information about the company already accessible to you, and put some time into creating a customized report that looks great and provides real value. It takes time, but when you’re focusing on a small list of potential high-value contacts, creating something truly unique and useful that stands out for each of them is likely to pay off well enough to be worth it.
6. Highlight target accounts in your content.
When you’re creating new content, look for opportunities to give a positive mention to your target prospects. Consider if one of the high-level contacts at a business you hope to work with would make a good source for an upcoming blog post. Or use them as a good example of how to do a tactic you’re covering in your piece.
Sources and examples are good ways to make a piece of content stronger. Using them as part of an ABM strategy brings a couple of additional benefits:
Most social media platforms allow you to upload a list of email addresses you want a specific campaign to target. While they usually won’t let you create ads that target one particular individual, being able to tailor ads to a specific category of people—say, the CMOs of software companies that employ 100-200 people—gives you a lot of power to create ads that speak to your target audience’s concerns.
Use what you know about the main target accounts and individuals on your ABM list to create ads that are highly relevant to their needs, and use the targeting options on social media and PPC platforms to get those ads in front of them. A targeted ad can be one of the best ways to introduce your business to your target contact for the first time with information that will be relevant and useful to them.
8. Strategically use retargeting.
One of the big benefits of using PPC marketing is the retargeting feature. For B2B marketing, you often need six to eight touchpoints before a sale. All the account-based marketing tactics on this list should help you accomplish your first few touchpoints, but you may well need some additional reminders to stay top of mind for your target contacts until they’re ready to buy.
Retargeting can do the trick. Google allows you to serve up ads to people who have already visited your site and interacted with your brand before. And you can tailor the ads based on what they did on your site, so you can keep your messaging relevant to their interests and where they are in the buyer’s journey
9. Send creative gifts.
Most account-based marketing tactics happen online because that’s where you have the most control over tracking and incorporating relevant data. But that means finding a way to make your mark offline can be a good way to stand out and make a real impression on the accounts you’re targeting.
Your standard branded items like pens or notebooks might be appreciated, but you’ll go further here if you think of something that’s more unusual and directly related to your product. Influitive, a company that helps businesses identify and better connect with their best customers, put together piñata review packages for their ABM targets.
The piñatas were filled with positive reviews the company found on third-party websites, along with candy (because a piñata without candy would be half the fun) and came with a testimonial from one of the company’s top customer advocates.
They saw a 36 percent response rate, one of the best returns on any of their marketing tactics. If you can figure out a memorable and useful (or fun) gift to send your ABM targets, the cost can be well worth the impression it makes.
10. Invite or seek them out at in-person events.
Inbound marketers may be all about the power of digital, but we still know nothing is quite like the power of meeting someone in person. One of the best account-based marketing tactics is therefore to find a way to meet with your target contacts in person.
That could mean attending events in their city you know they’ll be at, or putting on your own event that you know provides value and extending a special invitation. It could mean hosting a special dinner for your ABM contacts when you attend the big industry conference everyone attends.
Strategize how best to establish an in-person relationship so you can show them the humans behind the brand and develop a genuine connection.
Many of these ABM tactics require devoting resources to every contact on your list. That can be hard to stomach when you’re used to trying to make your budget stretch your reach to as many leads as possible. But if the accounts you target are highly valuable, then shifting your mindset to embrace account-based marketing can pay off in better leads that convert at higher rates and bring in more money.