@Alex_Sessoms, https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-sessoms-mba-57351b9

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By now, you know that Account Based Marketing (ABM) is all about getting to know your accounts and using data to create account-relevant content. After you have generated content based on your findings, it’s time to connect with your accounts in timely, relevant and personal ways. In this blog, I’ll get specific about the most effective way to interact with your accounts to help you answer the following questions:

  • Which methods will appeal most to which account personas?
  • How will you keep differing tactics consistent to your message?
  • How will one form of interaction help fill in the blanks which other ways of interacting may leave out?

These are all important questions to ask yourself when creating an overall ABM strategy. Account-based marketing requires a commitment to doing things differently and being open to continuous change, especially when cultivating account-specific interactions.

With all this in mind, here are 7 highly effective, account-specific interactions to get you started:

1. Web Personalization

Personalizing your website is as important as creating unique messaging and communications to specific accounts. To speak to each prospect in a personalized way, try using the lens of their persona, customer pain-points and specific roles. Your website landing page should fit the story these accounts have been interacting with. To do this, use an ABM tool to identify the company and industry a visitor belongs to, then display images, case studies and offers which target that specific account or industry.

Here are four ABM tools to help you personalize your web experience:

2. Online Advertising

The key to effective online advertising is identifying your buyers. Know who they are and appeal to their pain-points. Using IP-lookup, CRM retargeting and personalized search, you can laser target your ads for greater conversion. Be sure your advertising spans across mobile, social, display and video platforms. You can also proactively retarget by leveraging third party data.

Most importantly, you need to be where your contacts are. Social media advertising often allows you to set your regions and demographics. Artists and creatives have used demographic targeting so well, they’ll even pin-point advertising to one, specific contact, making them think that artist/creative is EVERYWHERE. If they think you’re everywhere, they’re going to need to know what the hype is all about, nearly forcing them to ask for more information.

3. Live Events

Even in a digital world, events remain a powerful tactic for B2B marketers. After all, the best way to initiate a discussion or accelerate a deal will always be face-to-face interaction. Using live events in your account-based marketing strategy will help you create awareness of your brand and solutions, enable opportunities for attendees to make other meaningful connections (making you even more resourceful to your accounts) and engage important decision makers within your accounts. You can run events yourself or leverage other companies’ events as an attendee.

The first step for events you run yourself is making sure the right people, from the right accounts, attend your event. You should use the number and percentage of invitations which engaged in a meaningful interaction with your company as your key metric for ABM events.

The best ABM events are always focused around a timely, relevant topic or specific trend. Third party participation and a balanced content mix are also key. It’s important to curate your audience so that you’re not only inviting the account executives you want to talk to, but other people who those targeted personas will view as a valuable connection (adding extra value for attendees).

Zak Pierce, a Modern Marketing Strategy consultant with Grant Thornton shared some insight with me about his two ABM event plays that he recommends. The first he calls “ABM micro-events” which are intimate, topic-driven, invite-only events for specific geographies. The second are “big event account experiences” where he suggests “you proactively develop creative experiences for engaging key accounts at industry events”.

Remember, your events are not a sales pitch. Use a softer sell at your events so that the key focus is on relationship building and awareness, rather than pushing sales decks to a captive audience.

4. Webinars

To be successful, ABM webinars must be timely and relevant. It’s important to leverage the insights you’ve discovered to ensure relevance to your tier 1 accounts. They should also be validated by a third party to prove credibility.

Get creative with your webinars: use infographics, animations, and interactive methods like surveys and polls to keep your viewers engaged and excited to sign up for the next one. Webinars are also useful to use later as content for social media and your website. A great tip is to include your sales executives in your webinars to help establish their knowledge and expertise before ever being in direct contact with your targeted accounts.

Finally, make your webinars pop; don’t lecture your audience like a university professor. Make the information digestible, interesting and relevant. Think about what topics and pain points are plaguing the decision makers at the customers you are targeting. Make sure your webinar is titled appropriately to pull them in then give the audience tangible takeaways and calls-to-action to provide value.

5. Highly Targeted Direct Mail

The shift to digital has caused direct mail to go out of style. Surprisingly, this can work to your advantage. As Henry Schuck, founder and CEO of DiscoverOrg, has said, “There’s a resurgence in direct mail for ABM. I get (only) one or two (physical) mailings a day, compared with hundreds of emails. (Therefore) I notice a good piece of DM.”

For many companies, high-value and highly-personalized dimensional mail can break through a noisy marketing landscape for senior executives. Make your direct mail inviting, engaging and colorful to grab the attention of your target contacts and make your brand memorable.

6. Well-Planned Email

For your top-tier accounts, email in ABM needs to be viewed as a one-to-one human interaction. With each email carrying a distinct, personal message to the prospect, you can rise above the noise. To stand out, do the following:

  • Make the subject clear and enticing.
  • Be brief and personal in the body of the email.
  • Include a call-to-action.
  • Remove tier 1 contacts from the broader lead-gen and generic nurture mailing programs, so they can be treated in a more personalized way.
  • Targeting tier 1 accounts on LinkedIn is also a great way to give them a more targeted, personalized experience.

7. Account Development

Account development combines email, phone calls and social media interactions to coordinate engagements which develop and deepen account relationships. ABM is all about focusing efforts across teams in a coordinated way. Sales reps are mostly focused locking down a meeting, while a marketer’s job is to nurture that relationship to help the sales team coax a prospect into showing up for that meeting. Making the first point of contact can help expedite your pipeline exponentially. Show your interest and attentiveness by inviting your prospect to an event, sending them relevant content, helping them solve a problem or commenting on their online activity.

Once you’ve got that original purchase, it’s important to then focus on retention. As Heidi Bullock, from Marketo, discussed with me, it’s important to stay engaged with your accounts across all channels even after they’ve become a customer. Here, you may need to do further research into your existing accounts and recent wins to find the gaps in your content which targets existing customers. Consider supplemental information which could be valuable to them, or provide information on how upgrades and additional features specifically tackle their pain-points. Creating brand loyalty and continuing to show value to existing customers will also help with word-of-mouth marketing.

In conclusion, these platforms, resources and tactics will help you use digital marketing to further your account-based marketing success. Not only that, but taking the time and effort to personalize your tactics will set you apart and make your value clear to prospects.

For more information on ABM, start at the beginning of this series here and go through the steps of account based marketing success. I look forward to sharing the last step in successful account-based marketing campaigns with you shortly.

Alex S sig

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