Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Joana Inch

  • Co-founder and head of digital, Hat Media Australia
Joana Inch has dedicated 15 years to the digital marketing space, 10 of which have been spent as a founder of digital marketing agency, Hat Media Australia, based in Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia. Her true passion lies in the tech and SaaS space, helping enterprise clients and startups alike cut through, scale and grow through new and innovative digital strategies. Joana runs regular events and webinars on Selling SaaS and Marketing Automation for Microsoft for Start-ups and has launched an online learning course to help early day start-ups gear up to go to market. She’s just authored the book, Go to Market, focused on the three fundamental foundation building blocks – nailing your niche, clarifying your message and mapping your buyer journey.

ABM has been the buzzword in digital marketing for a while now, but I feel many companies are yet to really harness its power. The most important elements of ABM are to:

  • Identify the right accounts
  • Listen to these tracked accounts
  • Hyper-personalise your content to these accounts to truly engage them.

It’s this third step where most companies struggle. They are still creating content for the masses as opposed to getting hyper focused and truly hyper-personalising their content.

In addition, in today’s competitive market, it’s difficult to capture the attention of consumers with intent. Using ABM techniques like hyper-personalisation can assist in the acquisition of high-quality leads, which translate into higher conversion rates and an increase in company revenue.

Hyper-personalised content and ABM


We know using an ABM content strategy can help you reach your targets faster, and that the key to ABM is building and nurturing relationships with your individual prospects and contacts. This is especially powerful when you don’t just state plain facts and data about why they should partner with you, but weave those facts into a larger narrative that’s easy for your audience to follow.

Case studies are the most obvious examples of storytelling in B2B. They take hypothetical benefits and make them come to life through real-world application examples. But case studies are far from your only storytelling opportunity in this medium.

As you personalise your content, consider how you can give it the traditional story arc:

  • The problem – the moment when the audience realises they have a problem and tries to find a solution;
  • The struggle – the time when the audience tries to solve its problems but faces significant adversity that it has to overcome;
  • The resolution – the climax, when the audience finds that crucial thing that makes the story come to a happy end.

Through this structure, you can capture your audience’s attention and keep it through to the final resolution – which is, of course, your company. Case studies can follow that concept, but so can anything from an email to a single post on LinkedIn. Building a story means engaging your prospects’ emotions, which makes them more likely to pay attention and ultimately become your customers.

Implementing hyper-personalised content

This starts with the narrowing down the above-mentioned pain points to the specific situation in which your prospects would benefit from your software. Build content, from individual nurturing messages to entire case studies and whitepapers, specifically addressed towards these.

According to Gartner, organisations who personalise their digital marketing outsell those who don’t by more than 30 per cent. But it’s not just about inserting some dynamic content or substituting in a prospect’s first name in an email. Hyper-personalisation is:

  • Data-driven, based on visitor and account data to deliver content specifically designed for that audience;
  • Predictive, based on data points that suggest and predict intent to increase relevance to the customer;
  • Interactive, allowing the recipient to customise their experience to their liking.


It’s not easy to hit on all three of these points, but it’s far from impossible. Put simply, it requires a unique marketing strategy for every account, and even every lead you’re trying to target.

That starts with data. Learn as much as possible about every lead in your database, from their professional background to the nuances of their current position and how they would be involved in a potential partnership with your company. Connect that lead data back to the larger account data to build context and to see the bigger picture.

From there, the process is similar to that of creating buyer personas. Except, in this case, you are building profiles of actual human beings. These profiles become your content guides. They offer a foundation for brainstorming potential topics, and a resource to ensure you create your content specifically for the outlined needs and wants. Your hyper-personalised content pieces can then be distributed via your lead nurturing channels.

Consider the power of multi-origin messaging

You will likely encounter your prospects on more than one channel, and the more channels you can reach them through, the better. But you might not be aware the sender of the message is just as powerful as the message itself.

Switching senders can give out a powerful message to your prospects. If ABM is true one-to-one marketing, chances are your prospects won’t react well to a message coming from a faceless corporate account. The same is true if their only point of contact is a salesperson.

ABM provides an opportunity to vary the sender and build a complex nurturing stream. In the course of that stream, your prospects may receive messages from the sales team, a customer success specialist, and a member of the c-suite relevant to them. That will increase trust and build a feeling of being wanted on your contacts’ side.

Of course, and once again, this type of strategy is complex and requires significant time to both plan and execute. You’ll need to answer a few core questions:

  • Who would your prospects most like to hear from?
  • What types of messages might be relevant from those specific senders?
  • Can you guarantee that, should a lead seek out the sender via a reply or indirectly, that sender would be both responsive and consistent in their messaging?

The answers to these questions will make a multi-sender campaign extremely powerful. They’ll also allow you to stay within reason, incorporating only individuals within your company that are actually relevant to your prospects. The result is a more comprehensive, more sweeping campaign designed to capture, and keep, your prospects’ attention. 

A final point to keep in mind is that data is king.

It’s then important to measure the results of your content. How effective is it? Analyse the engagement, downloads, and clicks. Retarget your top accounts with additional, more finely tuned content to move them closer to conversion.

And hyper-personalise, measure, repeat.

- This excerpt comes from Joana Inch’s upcoming new book, Go to Market

 

 

Tags: content marketing, B2B marketing, account-based marketing, marketing strategy

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