ABM, or account-based marketing, is an extremely useful tool for IT consultants. If inbound marketing is represented by a magnet, sucking in leads through content, ABM is more like ax-throwing. You identify a target, throw your ax, hit the bullseye, and land a sale. While they both rely on great content and an effective strategy, inbound marketing doesn’t give you as much control over who you pull into your funnel. ABM is all about identifying the biggest most-coveted targets and going after them with everything you’ve got.
If you’re a large IT company that has two or three large clients you’ve been chasing down for years, ABM for IT consultants could be the strategy you’ve been missing.
1. Design Your Strategy
Whether it’s inbound or account-based, no marketing campaign is effective without goals, tactics, and an overarching strategy. You can’t expect to pick a target or two, throw some social ads and remarketing tactics at them, and expect to make a sale. First, create your goals. Identify the personas you’re targeting, find the companies and roles within those companies you want to market to, and develop the tactics that you think will be most likely to succeed.
If you have it, it’s important to analyze data from previous attempts in order to identify which tactics were most successful and which were a complete flop. There’s no point in wasting good money on bad tactics.
2. Create Content
Your content can make or break your ABM for IT consultants. One typo, blurry picture, or poorly worded tagline can leave a poor impression and quickly turn your ABM campaign from helpful to spam. Remember those commercials that get stuck in your head purely because they’re annoying? Don’t let your ABM campaign turn into one of those.
Craft content for each specific channel that you’re using. Imagery and message should stay consistent, but not identical. Your goal is to create cohesive overarching “waves” each with one message. For example, the first wave may focus on reliable internet. You’re reaching out with social ads, direct mail, and an email campaign that all have to do with reliable internet. Again, same message, but not identical. Your goal is to create an ABM campaign that delights, not bores.
3. Decide on the Number of “Waves”
How many waves do you need in your ABM campaign? What are your unique selling propositions? This becomes tricky. You need to find the balance to be repetitive enough to be memorable, without becoming boring or annoying. If your company has ten USPs, (first of all, I doubt that’s true. If it is—change it) you don’t want to send out ten waves. That becomes boring and annoying. Typically, I would say three to four waves is a good range to stay at.
During this phase of ABM for IT consultants planning, look at the ads that you see repeatedly online and in the mail. Which ads do you remember the most? Which ones do you engage with? How often are you seeing an ad from the same company and with the same message? Use the data you collect from your own experiences to guide you through this section.
4. Coordinate Channel Pace
One of the hardest parts of ABM for IT consultants is also one of the simplest. All you have to do is coordinate each one of your waves to match up across channels without bleeding into the next wave. This sounds simple until you throw in the unpredictability of the mail service, the 24 to 48-hour delay that comes with the creative review for a social campaign, and the one-and-done nature of email sends.
Communication across your team is essential. You need everyone on the same page and clear on what they need to do in order to create a cohesive campaign. Unless you have the budget for overnight mail delivery, I would suggest sending out direct mail five to seven days ahead of the launch of the social media campaign and email send. This will ensure that it arrives in the mailbox on the early end of the campaign and not bleed into the next wave.
5. Launch Each Content Piece
Now that you have an overall strategy, coordinated waves, and amazing content pieces, it’s time to launch the first wave. Follow your strategy for sending out direct mail to a ‘t’ and avoid any deviations from the plan. It’s a good idea to have your social media creative approved ahead of time to avoid the delay in reviewing. The most important part of this section of ABM for IT consultants is communication. Good communication will keep your team on the same page and prevent mistakes from happening.
6. Analyze and Adapt
As you go throughout your ABM for IT consultants’ campaign, be sure you’re continuously checking in on the data and adapting accordingly. If a social media advertisement isn’t performing well, stop wasting your money. Switch to a backup that is primed and ready to go; see if it performs better.
The hardest thing to get good feedback on is direct mail. You may feel as though you’re shouting into the void. After all, how can you track something that isn’t online? Create a separate URL that redirects to the appropriate landing page for all of your direct mail recipients. See how many people take the time to sit down on their computer and type in that URL. You can also put phone tracking to good use and use a different number for the direct mailer.
There’s a lot of moving parts to coordinate in an ABM for IT consultants’ campaign. If you haven’t run an ABM marketing campaign before, it can be overwhelming. Reap the rewards of the most targeted marketing approach on the planet with the help of New North’s digital marketing team. We can offer you design, implementation, strategy creation, and identification of appropriate targets.
Learn more about our ABM services for IT consultants here.
Veronica is a University of Maryland graduate and passionate equestrian. She focuses on creating audiences on social media and on maximizing the value of public relations to make New North clients famous.