Many B2B advertisers have a highly specified target audience that they want to reach. In a world where 0.75% of leads actually generate closed revenue (Forrester), advertisers are increasingly demanding more targeted advertising solutions. Why pay to show ads to thousands of companies, if only a few dozen of them are even likely to purchase? This is the reality of the B2B marketspace. In an effort to make sure they’re reaching these highly specified audience segments, many B2B advertisers are effectively creating their own shortlists through a strategy known as account-based marketing (ABM).

Man browsing on his phone to represent account based marketing

Not only can ABM help target highly-qualified audiences, the strategies can be used across multiple platforms. Image via Pexels.

Let’s say you sell a tool targeted to CTOs at Fortune 1,000 companies. Your ads are only relevant to, at most, tens of thousands of people. Showing ads across the internet might help you attract some of these potential customers, but you’ll also pay for clicks from lots of unqualified searchers. With account-based marketing, you can target Social ads to executive-level employees at target companies. In addition, you can target Search ads to searchers at or near target company headquarters, while excluding everyone else.

ABM is an emerging B2B marketing strategy that consolidates advertising resources to a pre-defined set of target accounts within given markets. Once you have defined the list of targets, you determine what resources and content will be most resonant with the companies on the account list.

Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

ABM provides several benefits over less-targeted marketing strategies, including the following:

  • You can spend your ad dollars much more effectively by ensuring coverage on the most profitable potential leads. You will probably need to bid higher to show ads to these highly-targeted users, but even if CPCs are 50% higher for an ABM click, close rates will likely be much stronger since the leads are so highly qualified. After all, 84% of advertisers cite ABM as the marketing effort with the highest ROI (ITSMA).
  • Increase closed revenue and annual contract value by getting in front of the most qualified audience segments. Companies leveraging ABM have seen annual contract value increase 171% (TOPO).
  • ABM will also help to establish unity between your Sales and Marketing departments through increased quality of leads. 70% of ABM marketers report sales and marketing organizations to be mostly or completely aligned (Demand Metric). No more “marketing keeps sending us bad leads” vs “sales can’t close the leads we send them.”

Example

One of the benefits of paid search is that we’re able to market to prospects directly in the moment when they’re looking for a specific service or product. But what if we could layer that with the additional context that the potential lead would definitely be profitable for the business if she converted?

Strategies

There are several ways that you can leverage digital marketing to reach a highly-targeted set of potential customers. Here are our top suggestions.

  • Facebook Custom Audiences: upload a customer file to generate new leads from Facebook users with similar interests and habits to your existing customers. Then, advertise to this custom audience of users similar to your existing customers.
  • LinkedIn: upload a list of target accounts in order to serve ads to employees of specific companies
  • Customer Match for Google Search: upload a list of targets based on email address, and increase bids to show in top position when these targets are searching your keywords
  • Customer Match + Gmail ads: capture full share of voice by showing display ads directly in your targets’ inboxes
  • Google Radius Targeting: if you have a list of large companies whose addresses are public, or have large corporate campuses, you can target all users within a 1 mile radius of their location to ensure that you show in a strong position for these highly qualified searches
  • Persona-Based GDN Targeting: most members of your target audience will share a set of characteristics, which you can leverage to create custom audiences of users similar in behavior and interests to your customers. You can then target these users on the GDN and YouTube.

How to Use Account-Based Marketing

Let’s say you sell enterprise project management software that only services Fortune 500 companies. If you were to bid on “project management software”, you are going to bring in a lot of leads that fall well outside of your target market. By leveraging ABM strategies, you can cast a more targeted net. If Apple is one of your target accounts, you could use AdWords radius targeting to serve ads within 1 mile of Apple Park in Cupertino. At the same time, you could also serve LinkedIn ads to anyone with a VP-level title at Apple. This refined targeting will increase the likelihood that decision-makers at your target company see your ads, while excluding less-qualified potential leads. Ultimately, you’ll enhance your ad targeting and save money.