By John Rampton
A central component of your Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy is content. Regardless of the account, content is one of those needs and wants that crosses all industries, niches, and demographics. That’s because content is a tool that helps businesses find solutions to some of their most critical business problems. The thought-leadership they can find from other companies also shapes their purchase decisions to invest in a brand’s products or services. Content is a way to convince them you are the right choice.
The challenge is to craft the content in such a way to build awareness, drive engagement and perceived value, and support your overall ABM efforts to deliver personalized messaging. There are some specific ways to generate scalable content that will achieve these goals throughout the customer lifecycle.
Spend Considerable Time on Research
So often research is the most rushed stage of the ABM marketing effort, despite the need to focus on specific information about each account. Marketers think that what they can find during initial research endeavors is good enough. However, when you think you have looked enough and collected substantial data, start again to see what else is still out there.
Your content will be that much better for the more comprehensive and methodical approach you take to the marketing research effort. The research you need should focus on anything that will help you understand your accounts and what is important to them. What you discover essentially gives you the framework for your content.
When delving into these accounts, also find out more about the environment and factors that impact those pain points and the opportunities they are looking to leverage. Directly ask your audience about where they consume information and what type of format they enjoy. After collecting more research than you think you’ll ever need, start identifying patterns. Also, consult with sales to get more intelligence.
Some of the insights may call out differences between your accounts to inform how to improve personalization. Additionally, there may be signs as to where similar content can assist more than one account.
These are the details that will improve your content and illustrate why it’s worthwhile to spend the majority of your time on this part of the content process.
Inventory Available Content
You may already have existing content that was developed prior to developing your ABM strategy. Some of your previously published content could be repurposed and used effectively now that you are following an accounts-based focus. Look for any specific topics in your content library that would resonate with your accounts. While you may need to update certain aspects of it, this is a good way to use available assets and get more mileage out of them.
As you go through your existing content library, this is a good time to organize it with dates, information, and notes on how various articles or other content formats can be used in future ABM campaigns. This will help you quickly locate it when you are ready to start a new marketing effort, giving you more time to spend on personalizing it for each account.
Create a Content Matrix
From there, use the existing information to develop a content matrix. This provides a more succinct way to stay on top of the content you have and the content you still need to create. Plus, it keeps the information you need to develop focused on each account’s needs and interests.
Your matrix should have a column that lists out each account. From there, map out content that builds on each objective you want to achieve with that account. For example, one content campaign can raise awareness while another can inspire a call to action. From there, the matrix provides you with space to personalize the content while staying relevant and aligned with your overall ABM objectives.
Test and Re-Test Your Content Efforts
Marketers often skip the testing phase that is so vital to content success. They either believe they don’t have the time or that testing doesn’t yield any results. In reality, testing can be as valuable as the initial research. Testing is a way to experiment with different content, visuals, formats, and messages. This only involves a small segment, but it provides insight on how the larger audience will react.
If some aspect doesn’t work out, you can change out that part, revise, and re-test until you get an overwhelming response. That’s when you take it to the audience, knowing your content now supports your ABM strategy.
Design Parallel Paths with Content Marketing Program
Your ABM strategy and the content developed for your content marketing program should be complementary. By putting these on parallel paths, you may discover ways to derive additional value from each. This includes sharing that information and repurposing it along the way just as you have done with older content.
Consider creating a microsite that serves as a content hub for content, research, and testing insights. This site then becomes a resource for the entire organization, including sales. This maximizes the value of the research and testing efforts plus encourages deeper collaboration among departments.
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