As more companies come into the knowledge of account based marketing (ABM), they begin to run into the same challenge: content. Moving into the ABM space allows a business to pinpoint its targets quite specifically. Without the content to reach out, however, the company has a nice, long list with nowhere to call.
The second step after creating an ABM initiative is to decide on a content strategy. Here are some best practices to consider.
It is essential to know who your content is for as you dive headlong into content development. The target that you pinpoint within a prospect company will likely become targets, and you have to convince them with a variety of perspectives.
Standardizing your buyer personas gives your content a purpose. It also focuses the efforts of the content team towards a specific and shared goal. You will market to a 35 year old SMB CMO much differently from a 50 year old Fortune 500 CEO.
Your content strategy also changes depending on where your prospect is in the sales funnel. There are three big categories of content stage to consider:
- Awareness – People who are just becoming aware of their problems should get your awareness content. This is informational content that focuses on defining the problem and how to initially address it. Awareness content does not focus on the brand, but rather on the solution directly. It is also thought leadership content that aims to place the company as an expert in the field.
- Consideration – These prospects know they have a problem, and they are searching actively for a solution to it. They may not be looking for you, but they are close enough. The content you produce here may compare your wares to those of others. One great strategy is to try to disqualify yourself from less qualified prospects, a tactic that many prospects view as confident.
- Decision – Any prospect that is ready to make a buying decision is in the third phase at the bottom of the sales funnel. However, they may not be prepared to purchase from you. Now is the time for your harder sales tactics, because your prospect has his wallet out and is making an immediate decision.
In general, content means words and multimedia. Understanding the gentle differences between content types will determine your success or failure.
- Awareness Content types – Blog post, infographic, offline direct mail, white paper
- Consideration Content types – White paper, one sheet, case study
- Decision Content types – Case study, product documentation, demos & trials
What to Expect from the Workflow
Just because you have properly identified the content type and matched it to your buyer personas does not mean instant results. ABM is not a short term type of marketing! Finding the right audience and the right content requires patience as its last ingredient. The modern prospect may lurk for months before you ever see any direct engagement. Watch your web analytics and make changes from data, not from hunches.
Have the ability to pivot if you see that your content is not connecting with your target audience. Try different content types; sometimes, simply changing the type can bring you a new level of engagement. You will find the right match before long, and once you do, you will begin to see long term results that you can count on.