Andy Crestodina, co-founder of Orbit Media and an expert in SEO and content marketing, keynoted the recent B2B Marketing Exchange: Next Level ABM event. He shared how his web design and development agency adopted an 8-step content-driven ABM (Account Based Marketing) strategy to drive revenues.
Orbit Media focuses on enterprise-level accounts. According to Crestodina, their marketing efforts generate 900 leads per year, and they do 50 projects per year. That’s a lot of leads for the number of projects they do. The Orbit Media website also gets 1.5 million visits a year. Crestodina said that an ABM strategy would enable them to be more targeted.
A low-budget approach to ABM
Many mid-sized to enterprise companies have dedicated teams and budgets for ABM strategies. But not all. Orbit Media had little to no marketing budget, said Crestodina. They did have an active presence on LinkedIn and a content marketing program that created original research, product videos, webinars, and published long-form articles. And if you follow Crestodina on LinkedIn or subscribe to the Orbit Media newsletter, you know that content is high quality. He pointed out that you didn’t need a huge budget if you had those other things.
Like all ABM programs, it starts with a solid understanding of your ICP (ideal customer profile). How a company determines that is different. For Orbit Media, they identified prospects in several ways, including by industry and company revenues. But it’s not their approach to identifying prospects that was interesting; it was what came next.
The content hook
There is plenty of research available that tells us that original research is one of the best types of content to bring people onto your site. And Orbit Media produces a lot of original research. For this ABM program, they decided to do customer research around specific industries. So to start, they researched what top financial firms put on their websites.
They could have put out a survey and sent it to contacts on their ICP list. But that takes time and a lot of effort to ensure you get enough responses to produce a good survey. In this case, they put 100 financial websites on a spreadsheet and had an intern research those sites identifying if certain features were there. That research produced a highly targeted report on financial company websites that they would then share in a webinar targeted at their ICP list.
Crestodina took some time to talk about promotion and how to attract the right people to attend the webinar. He said that promo videos were the best type of content you could create, and that’s what they did. That video was placed on a landing page, used in various outreach methods, and LinkedIn advertising.
One important point that Crestodina made was that it is not about how many people clicked or viewed your video, landing page, or ad, but rather about “who” did something. Particularly in ABM, you need to focus on your ICP list and pay attention to who is engaging with you so you know where to focus your additional attention.
What they did was track who was registering and engaging from their list. They then continued to engage with those people manually. If your ICP list is massive, then the manual engagement might be challenging, but it makes sense to work with smaller lists to provide a more personalized experience.
Crestodina outlined the webinar and identified key elements to include aside from sharing the results of the research. He said to share the main message at the beginning and provide one impactful takeaway before you dive into the details. He also said to leave the last fifteen minutes to answer questions, and, in this case, they also did some live website reviews. To end, promise more value in follow-up communication.
The follow-up is personal
You know the drill with the post-webinar follow-up: send out the mass emails that say “thanks for attending, here’s the replay,” or “sorry you couldn’t attend, here’s the replay.” This approach won’t cut it for an ABM program. Crestodina said they flipped the original landing page to provide the webinar replay and added some additional content to share, including a copy of the report.
Personal emails were sent to everyone who registered based on their engagement (including referencing any questions the person asked or reviews they did). The emails included a consultation offer. They also put attendees in Sales Navigator to keep the relationship going (Crestodina referred to this as micro-engagement). He also suggested sending a high-value printed copy (or a relevant book).
The investment and return
The program Crestodina described is one they can repeatedly use, with the same industry (different accounts) or new industries. The company invested 30 hours from start to finish for this particular program, including researching and developing the research report. The result was 18 one-to-one connections, six qualified leads, three proposals, and one won project (at the time of his presentation). Considering they only do 50 projects a year, those are very good stats.
There are a few things I took away from this keynote. First, your ABM program doesn’t have to be huge to work. If you start small, you can adapt more quickly to find the approach that works best for your company. Too often with ABM, we think we have to do everything at once - programs for all three tiers, lots of personalized outreach, or lots of semi-personalized outreach that doesn’t quite work.
Second, the right type of content is key to getting the right people’s attention. I think research is a great approach but also a lot of work. The research approach described by Crestodina makes a lot of sense and can work well in many situations.
Finally, promotion before and engagement after the event is critical. Not just doing it, but how you do it. Content-driven experiences are essential to successful ABM. How you reach out and connect with your ICP list, how you engage with them when they connect, and the experience you provide all include content, and that content should be personalized to that account as much as possible.