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Categories: Marketing,

Account-based marketing (ABM) is all the rage in the B2B world, and you don’t have to look far to find out why.

Apart from supercharging businesses’ lead generation capabilities, one of the great things about ABM is that it doesn’t require any major overhauls of your marketing ops or messaging — it simply sharpens and directs them.

Content marketing is no different; all of the fundamental rules for writing compelling, engaging content apply. However, there are a few important caveats — and one intriguing difference.

Leadspace hosted a webinar with Amanda Nelson, Manager of AppExchange Content and Community at Salesforce. Amanda shared her knowledge and experience of content marketing, with a specific focus for ABM. We’ve gathered some of the insights in this post. Check out the full webinar link at the end.

1. Flip the funnel

We all know about the sales funnel; but some marketing thought-leaders insist that when it comes to ABM, conventional wisdom needs to be turned on its head — or done away with entirely.

In a nutshell, ABM requires you to identify those accounts most likely to convert, and engage with them via key influencers and decision-makers within the company who are themselves most likely to buy. Often you’ll be initiating contact somewhere in the middle of the funnel, or, if you’ve really done your homework, towards the end.

There is no top of the funnel — if you’re trying to reel in unengaged audiences and convert them into potential leads, you’re not doing ABM.

With this principle in mind, we can move on to some more general content marketing tips:

2. Speak to your target audience’s problems and offer solutions (“What keeps them up at night?”)

Talking to your audience rather than at them is the cardinal rule of content writing.

This is particularly true in B2B marketing, where your audience consists largely of already-engaged, relatively informed professionals seeking business solutions.

For ABM in particular, this principle is truer still. ABM requires a doubly customized approach: you’re targeting specific accounts and tailoring your pitch towards them, while identifying key influencers within those accounts and personalizing your messaging to each of them as well.

Related: Why Audience-Centric Marketing is the Future of B2B

Yes, you are primarily focusing on key accounts, not individual leads; but ultimately you will still be talking to real people within those accounts.

Sometimes, it might all boil down to convincing one single, crucial decision-maker.

To engage with readers personally, begin by asking yourself this one question: “What keeps them up at night?”

This is not necessarily the same thing as their company’s most pressing problem. For example, a marketing department can be experiencing severe problems producing sales-qualified leads — but what keeps the VP Marketing awake at night is the much more human prospect of losing his job. “Here’s how we can save you time and make you more efficient” is more personal than “improve pipeline velocity and increase ROI.”

That’s not to say you shouldn’t use professional terms — just don’t overload on the jargon and forget your audience.

3. Quality over quantity

Of course more content is better than less — you need to establish a presence after all. But remember: ABM won’t be replacing your company’s existing marketing strategy, content marketing included. In fact, many companies will assign a separate marketing rep or even team to deal with ABM specifically, while others pursue different marketing tactics.

With this in mind, and considering what we’ve already established regarding the importance of customized messaging in ABM, you’ll need to take a patient, sniper’s approach to content marketing. Don’t shoot from the hip; take your time to carefully craft your message for maximum effect before pulling the trigger. Very often, you’ll only have one shot to snag the right lead.

4. Establish clear, hard metrics to gauge success

There are plenty of common, legitimate, “soft” metrics to gauge the success of a particular piece of content — increased traffic, social shares and engagement being the most obvious.

But ABM requires more direct, tangible metrics like accelerated pipeline velocity, increased lead generation, and more conversions. It goes back to our sniper analogy above: there’s no spray and pray in ABM, it’s about making every piece of content count.

5. Be engaging and creative

When all’s said and done, if you aren’t excited about what you have to say, the end result will be lukewarm and unengaging. You need to enjoy your writing for others to read it.

Have fun and be creative: offer handy tips, use stories, or, for the more artistically-gifted, use graphics to illustrate your point.

Hear more useful tips on how to adapt your content marketing to ABM from an industry expert in our free webinar below:

Amanda Nelson: Content Marketing for ABM_LinkedIn

Top image by Pete O’Shea from Flickr | CC by 2.0 | no changes

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