Content remains one of the strongest pillars for a successful B2B marketing strategy today. Even though it takes time and resources to excel with inbound content, it shouldn’t be the only thing holding up your strategy.
So consider other marketing concepts that would be good complements to the work you’re already doing on the content side. Account-based marketing is one powerful tool a company can use as a second pillar holding up your overall strategy.
How ABM Works—And Why It’s Such a Potent Partner for Content
Outbound vs. Inbound
First, some definitions are in order. Outbound marketing involves reaching out to an audience. Some of its more common forms are email blasts, cold calls, trade shows, and advertising. Many outbound marketing initiatives involve getting your message in front of the widest possible audience, but the key trait is the outward direction. Your message goes from your company to the potential customers.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, involves work that make it easier for potential clients to find you. These efforts might include search engine optimization (SEO), creating an industry resource, or social media. The direction here is inward, with the audience seeking out your company, services, or expertise.
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How to Use Content Marketing
Content marketing, traditionally, is part of the inbound umbrella. Here at Kapost, we’re big believers in the content approach to building your online presence. Whether you use a blog, videos, white papers, infographics, social media, or all of the above, content marketing works to create a comprehensive picture of your company and what you do. It might position your top brass as thought leaders in your industry, or show the character of your team members.
Although your marketing team likely works hard on making and distributing this content, it’s still casting a wide open net. You may have a demographic that you’re hoping to hit, or that will be most likely to seek out your materials, but the audience for content is usually broad. The philosophy here is more in the vein of “if you build it, they will come.”
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How to Use Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing, despite its narrow focus, is actually a form of outbound marketing. It’s about delivering a targeted version of your message to a very small audience. The appeal here is that by focusing your efforts specifically on one potential account and its specific needs, you’ll have a better chance of securing them as a client.
Whereas content marketing establishes authority and helps to net potential leads that are actively seeking you out, ABM actively reaches outward to the dream client. You don’t want to just hope that your ideal customer sees your Twitter account or finds your informative blog posts. If a perfect client is out there, you need to go get them.
How to Combine the ABM and Content
If your business has decided to pursue account-based marketing, then think of the approach as the star while content marketing takes an essential, supporting role. Your ABM pitches will be targeted directly to a potential customer. Accordingly, each pitch should be supported by high-quality content that answers the questions, concerns, and needs of your prospects. Because in the age of the digitally empowered customer, marketing content can shape the customer experience.
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Think about the actions you’d take before considering a new business partner. First you’d Google them, maybe poke around their website. Next you’d probably check out their main social channels and see how they interact with customers, both happy and unhappy. Then you’d probably look for customer success stories or reviews to get a look behind the scenes at how they are to work with.
And that’s where the content marketing can help seal the deal. Before you launch a major ABM campaign, consider laying some groundwork within your content. If you’ll be pitching a financial institution, maybe write a blog post about how your service can be used by that industry. If your target is in education, set a precedent of engaging with leaders from that field on Twitter.
A healthy and holistic marketing strategy will include both inbound and outbound campaigns—both offer immense benefits in reaching the right audience. But when it comes to outbound, ABM is an incredibly effective way for your business to make new and different connections with a highly-qualified audience that’s slipping through the cracks.
Consider account-based marketing as a counterpart to your content strategy. You may uncover a new audience that’s been looking for you all along.