How to Nail Your Account-Based Content Strategy
What is an account-based content strategy?
An account based marketing content strategy is a strategic approach to reach and engage with specific stakeholders within a target account. The basis of the strategy is to design content that is personalized and relevant to the pain points of the account receiving the content. The entirety of an account-based content strategy is formulated around creating content that speaks directly to specific accounts and stakeholders with messaging that is relevant to their position in the purchase journey.
What’s the difference?
Traditional marketing content strategies are broader in nature and are targeting much larger audience groups. This leads to content that is much more generic in nature, and doesn’t speak to the specific pain points of all the accounts within the audience. This content casts a wide net and most accounts slip through the cracks because of its lack of personalization and relevancy.
On the contrary, an account-based content strategy is much more fine tuned to the details of an account.
- An account-based content strategy groups together accounts with similar data points such as; size, industry, location, and pain points.
- The content created with this approach answers account specific pain points with relevant imagery, content, and offers that don’t feel random.
In summary, an account-based content strategy fosters a personalized approach to account engagement that feels relevant, while a traditional content strategy is much more focused around generic messaging to large audience groups.
There are a variety of pieces of content that go into creating a well-rounded strategy. In today’s market, having a nice variety of content covering various topics in multiple formats will help position your product or service in front of more in-market buyers. You may have strong blog content but no customer stories, or you might have a strong video strategy but no white papers or product comparison documentation. However, each piece of content serves its purpose throughout the buyer's journey, and you need a variety of content to optimize your content strategy. Below we will break down content into three categories; digital, live, and personalized, then we will discuss when to use each piece of content.
Nowadays, this is the largest category of content that prospects and customers consume. Digital content consist of but is not limited to the following:
- White papers
- Customer Stories
- Webinar Recordings
Live content still has its place in successful content strategy. Although the world has grown even more digital post-COVID, live events still drive leads and can fuel digital content via repurposing. Live content consist of but is not limited to the following:
- Trade Shows
Personalized content and vehicles of delivery
This category is a one-two-punch and acts as a vehicle of content delivery in addition to having its own personalized elements. This category consist of:
1:1 landing pages and email allow sales and marketing teams to promote digital and live content to recipients with a personalized touch, while website personalization allows you to tailor existing areas of your website experience for high value visitors.
Optimizing your content
You won’t get the most out of your ABM content marketing strategy without optimizing your delivery method. Each piece of content has its place within the progression of the buyer's journey. Generally we can categorize a particular piece of content on where it fits in the funnel. However, sometimes content does not have one specific use case and can be used throughout the funnel. Sales and marketing can use intent data to decipher which piece of content is the best piece of content to present to buyers at any given time. Below we’ll discuss general parameters that make a specific piece of content the best fit for a buyer's corresponding position in pipeline.
Top of funnel (awareness stage)
Top of funnel content consists of content that is broader and appeals to your target audience's pain points. This content doesn't try to sell your product but instead addresses pain points and answers questions of your target market. Sales and marketers are trying to build initial awareness during this stage of the purchase journey.
Common top of funnel content consist of:
- Blogs that address industry specific questions or topics are great top of funnel content pieces.
- FAQ documents are a great way to drive traffic to your site. Collect, analyze, and answer your industry’s most pressing questions.
- Video is eye-catching and a great educational delivery method to drive awareness.
- Social media posts that are educational, address FAQs, or promote other top of funnel content are a valuable mode of communication in the awareness stage.
Middle of funnel (trust building stage)
The middle of the funnel content is all about building trust with your audience. After bringing awareness to buyers, you need to provide reason or proof through your content on why prospects should partner with you. Having the right content positioned to build trust through use cases and thought leadership will help build trust and push buyers towards the decision stage.
Common middle of funnel content consist of:
- Customer testimonials through case studies are a tremendous way to build trust with prospects. This allows prospects to see a first hand account on what your product or service provided another company.
Thought leadership media
- A thought leader's whole brand is built on trust. If you have a legitimate thought leader to support your product or service, prospects will have a more promising outlook on your offers.
- Webinars are a good vehicle of delivery to communicate product knowledge and experience from a customer or thought leader.
Bottom of funnel (decision stage)
This is the decision stage. You are trying to sell your product or service and position your solution to buyers in the most appealing fashion. There is nothing more appealing than ROI. Decision makers want to know their return on investment and it’s much easier to partner with someone when you separate yourself from the competition.
Common bottom of the funnel content consist of:
- A great place to show where your product or service beats the competition to create favorable decisions from prospects.
- Web pages that provide high level overviews of all your product features are a great feature in the decision stage. If multiple decision makers are involved in a purchase journey, having easy to access product pages can be perfect for decision makers that want to learn about your product.
Product reviews / Social proof
- G2 and other product reviews are a great way to seal the deal and help decision makers close the deal. Consider this modern word-of-mouth marketing. If others rave about your product, decision makers will better see the value.
- Case studies also fall into this category because they can help prospects make the final decision. If a company of similar market size watches a relatable case study, it could be all a decision maker needs to see to finalize the deal.
An account-based content strategy and personalization are synonymous with success in the B2B market space. Personalization has become such an important industry standard that constantly evolves while marketers find new ways to incorporate personalization in their marketing strategies.
Why you need to adopt personalization for your ABM program
- Companies that use personalization in their ABM strategy see a 30% increase in sales results.
- A study conducted by Epsilon uncovered that 80% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase when offered a personalized experience.
- According to the Harvard Business Review, stakeholders who received content tailored to their needs were 40% more likely to make a purchase decision.
CRM data to foster a personalized experience
Sales and marketing can use CRM data to help deliver a personalized experience to buyers. Teams can take CRM data to create 1:1 air coverage campaigns for in pipeline accounts throughout the entire purchase journey, from top of funnel awareness to the bottom of the funnel decision stage. This often includes advertising, 1:1 personalized landing pages, web experiences, and email.
For more on this topic, check out 5 Ways to Better Leverage Your CRM Data for ABM.
Within your CRM, you will also find firmographic information such as industry, size, and location that can be used to add a personalized touch to your content. This information is valuable for audience segmentation and creating content that can be repurposed for multiple accounts in a target audience.
Personalization with personas
Using personas to fine tune your personalization can be a game changer for your content strategy. You will be more efficient and effective with your personalization efforts when grouping similar job titles together that share the same pain points.
For example, one of your personas may be marketing operations or marketing leadership. Let’s take a look at some of the criteria for breaking down this persona and how to best address this persona..
Job Titles: Marketing Ops, Revenue Ops, and RevOps.
Pain Points: Manual process, unstable data, and faulty systems.
Deliveries: Automated processes, actionable data insights, cross channel reporting.
Job Titles: CMO, SVP Marketing, and Head of Marketing
Pain Points: Reporting ROI, cross departmental buy-in, and skill gap.
Deliveries: Reporting that shows ROI, strong onboarding process, effective strategies.
Once you have your personas segmented into the proper audiences, you can build campaigns that deliver the most efficient content for audiences. This ensures more accounts are receiving information that is relevant, timely, and addresses the right pain points.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to content strategy. Your content library must be robust, strategic, and informative to deliver the best messaging to your audiences. Understanding what content performs best at any given stage of the purchase journey, who’s receiving the content, and how to deliver content in the most effective manner, are the three most important aspects of dialing in your content strategy.
Read more blogs in this series:
Designing B2B Pop Ups Like a Pro
1:1 Account-Based Landing Pages: Your Sales Team's Secret Weapon