It’s funny—B2B companies have been using account-based marketing for years, but it has just recently become the buzzword of the year for digital marketers. When I attended HubSpot’s Inbound conference at the end of September, the phrase was visible all over the place in the sessions, in the vendor line-up and as a discussion point in the networking events.
The reason we are seeing the phrase rise from the ashes is because as technology has progressed, so has our capability to know and reach our customer. It helps that they give us every detail of their interests, life events, location and day-to-day happenings on social media.
Let’s talk about how we can leverage it at a high level in digital marketing.
What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is the concept of identifying your target before you take a shot. It’s using customer data, your annual goals and industry benchmarks to truly know who you should be targeting—from the type of business all the way to the job title.
B2B companies have used this practice for years, but with digital, we can take targeting your ideal customer to the next level.
How Can I Use Account-Based Marketing in My Digital Marketing Campaigns?
Digital marketing has disrupted the B2B market in how effectively we can target a consumer. It’s not only disrupted it on the marketing side, but it’s also influenced what consumers expect from brands:
- Your marketing should be personalized, your message clear and your page better load real d*** fast.
- You should be present, but not annoying.
- And, when they are ready to engage, you need to be ready to meet them in whatever channel they’re engaging with.
But, I digress. Here are some tips for how to implement account-based marketing into your digital strategy.
Tip #1: Identify Your Personas and Add in Digital Behaviors
If you’ve been using account-based marketing in other areas of your business, you probably already know your priority buyer personas. Now, take the time to build out the digital characteristics of each one.
- Where are your personas engaging online?
- Where do they spend most of their time when they’re online?
- Where do they NOT spend time online?
- What behaviors do they exhibit when they’re engaging in certain channels? For example, do they tend to engage in work-related behaviors while they’re catching up on Facebook, or do they tend to silo the two behaviors?
Tip #2: Create Content that Speaks to Each Persona
Taking the time to create content that speaks to each persona is vital to the account-based marketing process. Whether you’re leveraging a lead generation marketing agency or engaging with a vendor that does this at scale, they’re all going to ask you for great content. The content should:
- Address pain points for your personas
- Offer the user something they wouldn’t be able to figure out themselves
- Pass your own personal quality test: Would you give up your precious email address to get the content you’re offering? If the answer is no, you’re only going to frustrate the user.
Tip #3: Test, Test and Test Your Digital Strategy
Now that you know where your audience is and you have great content in-hand, it’s time to start testing. And I said “testing” on purpose there. Any agency that promises results right out of the gate is lying to you. Unless they’ve run a campaign with one of your competitors, the first step will be some testing. Tests should include:
- Testing different offers. People interact with channels differently. I have a different mindset when I check my Facebook vs. my LinkedIn. Build test campaigns around your top-, middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel offers and test your messaging across your marketing channels.
- Test different CTAs. You never know which CTAs are going to entice users to click. Test different ones, and make sure your CTA matches your headlines and content on your landing page.
- Test different channels. Paid social channels are a great place to start. You can roll out a test and know in 3-4 weeks if it’s working and worth the investment to optimize. But don’t neglect organic search. The user intent in organic is much more research-focused. They may be more apt to download your offer if you can get it in front of them.
Where is Account-Based Marketing Going in the Future?
It’s tough to predict! But I’m willing to bet it’s going to continue to get more personalized. Keep your eye on how user behaviors are changing over time (and I promise you they will). Your marketing strategy should change year-to-year to adapt to an evolving digital world.