Account-Based Marketing Is Gaining Traction, But It’s Not New
Inbound marketing helps people who are looking for companies like yours. It ensures that when people start searching, they find your business. But, what if someone needs what you offer and isn’t looking yet? Don’t you want to be on their radar?
Yes, you do, and there is a set of inbound marketing tactics that you should be considering in order to get in front of your target companies and personas. Some people refer to this as account-based marketing, but it isn’t new. It’s been part of an integrated inbound campaign since we started our agency back in 2003.
Key tactics for account-based marketing include some of the following suggestions.
1. Social Media Outreach
This type of targeted campaign is usually the easiest to execute. You create your target company profile and your target personas. You find these individuals on social media sites, like LinkedIn and Twitter. You then create a piece of educational content and attempt to reach out via social media.
Don’t simply ask to connect. Don’t ask for a meeting. Don’t ask for a quick phone call. Don’t ask to send over anything sales-related, like pricing. Remember, these people don’t know you, and they don’t even know they have an issue that you can solve.
Instead, try to connect with them personally. Take the time to review their profile. Where did they go to college? What do they like to do for fun? Where do they live? The more personal your initial outreach, the more likely they’ll be to want to connect. Next, try to find a common pain point that might be worth talking about. If they’re having a challenge and willing to share it with you, you have an opportunity to become a helpful resource.
Follow up with educational information in context to your conversation. The more you can help them, the more they’ll bring you into their world and share more information with you. The more they tell you, the more helpful you can become and the faster you can establish yourself as a trusted advisor. Then you’re well on your way to starting a sales process that will end with a new customer.
2. LinkedIn PPC
Clearly, the campaign idea above is the most personal, and it's the one that takes the most time. You can also use social media (LinkedIn specifically) to target by company profile and individual persona. You can segment the entire community by almost any demographic or even some psychographic characteristics.
In this case, we’re not going to do the personal outreach that takes so much time. Instead, we’re going to craft a sponsored update with a compelling message and educational content that will resonate with someone who might not be looking for solutions immediately.
One of the advantages of this type of campaign is that we can deliver it every day, every week or at whatever frequency we think is going to be necessary to get the attention of a targeted prospect. It's automated and 100% quantifiable, so with oversight, monitoring and optimization, we quickly see which elements are working and which elements need adjustments. The program optimizes and the results improve, fast. Not every campaign is going to be a home run, but it’s worth using this approach as one of the pillars of your account-based marketing effort.
3. Targeted 3D Mailings
We’re not usually a fan of mailings, but that’s just because it's so hard to generate results with them. However, 3D mailings (while more expensive) are highly effective. What’s a 3D mailing? Here’s an example. When I was VP of Marketing at a software company, we got a list of everyone who was using our competitor’s product, and we mailed them a small trash can with an insert that simply said, “If your incentive compensation software is in the trash, let us know and we’ll fix it.”
Obviously, we knew those customers were dealing with implementation, maintenance and upgrade challenges, and we touched a pain point. The response was dramatic. Similar programs that are highly targeted with great messaging and quality creative can drive a lot of attention and a lot of highly qualified leads.
4. "Call, Send, Offer, Invite" Programs
Sometimes it’s necessary to integrate a number of marketing tactics into one campaign. This suggestion does just that. Take your 3D mailing, and start with a phone call to the targeted prospect. Let them know you’re sending them a package, even if it’s in a voicemail message. Then send the package and follow up a day or so later.
Make the nature of the call educational. Say that you’re hoping to share with them a new e-book or whitepaper your company is publishing and that if they provide their email address, you’d be happy to send it over. This enables you to add a new email to your marketing database – a highly qualified email at that. Then ask, “Is there anyone else at your company who would be interested in this e-book?” This enables you to add a couple of other contacts, too.
You also have a webinar coming up. So, would they be interested in attending? You’d be happy to sign them up. Anyone else in the firm? Finally, if you have them engaged and interested in your stories, you might want to find out if they’d like an appointment to talk more, maybe even share with you some of their current challenges to see if you can help. You got through the door and into the room – now you’re having an initial conversation about how you can help. That sounds like solid inbound marketing to me.
5. Email Marketing Campaigns
Finally, the last idea is the oldest one in the bunch. Everyone knows email marketing has been around for hundreds of years, but it’s still underutilized and utilized incorrectly today. You probably already have a database of prospects you’ve been collecting over the past few years, but these people never hear from you. Or, when they do, it’s a sales promotion email.
Restart your email marketing efforts by segmenting your list. Create highly segmented lists so you can develop highly personalized email messages and highly contextual educational content. Send personal emails to individuals, using educational information that helps them instead of trying to sell them anything. Run those indefinitely.
Track the results, make adjustments month over month and give all those prospects the opportunity to connect with you and your company in a way that helps them do their jobs better.
Each of these ideas gets your company in front of the perfect prospect. It then becomes your job – and the job of your marketing – to deliver the perfect message to get their attention. Remember, they’re not looking for you. The development of that message is critical.
First, disrupt their status quo. People don’t want to change or do things differently, so you’re going to have to move them out of their comfort zone, and quickly. Next, you have to connect with them emotionally by helping them see you’re able to understand their pains or challenges, solve those pains and do it in a remarkable way. They need a story in which they see themselves as having success.
Great marketing does this in 30 seconds or less. We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about how to do that, but if you’re not getting the results you expect, this might be one reason why. Regardless, the targeted account marketing ideas above are a great way to introduce your business to those people who could represent some amazing opportunities for your company.
Start Today Tip – Don’t try these all at once. Select one of the campaign ideas above, create your targeted account list and execute the campaign for 30 days. Get together and assess after the 30-day period. You should have set some quantitative goals. Did you hit your mark or fall short? Why? What adjustments make sense? Make the changes and run the campaign again for another 30 days. If you’re still not seeing results after that, consider pivoting to another campaign type. Work your key learnings into the creation of the second campaign in order to take advantage of the data from the first campaign.
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