Curated Content in B2B ABM
If you want your account-based marketing (ABM) strategies to be successful and truly connect with prospects, content is a vital element of that success.
Content curation is particularly important because you don't merely want to talk about yourself and your product or service offerings.
A good content curation strategy brings credibility to your business because it supports your messaging and further establishes you as an industry leader.
Why You Need Curated Content in an ABM or Social Selling Program
ABM requires marketing and sales teams to target very specific segments and accounts, which entails a lot of focus on content creation and marketing.
However, traditional content marketing methods can be changed to be more compatible with ABM, which is where content curation comes in.
A lot of the ABM process has moved almost entirely to digital. A lot of us are finding ourselves trying to rethink how we approach those target accounts and step back for a moment to think about ABM and the reasons behind our approaches.
One aspect to consider is the specific challenges associated with ABM, which can be difficult to overcome without the right content strategy.
Some challenges that people experience in ABM, which content curation can help with, include:
Based on a report from Gartner talking about the importance of ABM, the number of decision-makers now in selecting your service or product has increased from around five people in 2015 to around ten people.
How do you convince all of those people to be on the same page when it's hard enough to convince one person?
Not only do you need to connect with a larger group of people, but each one of those people relies on around five pieces of content to help them make that decision.
As the person who makes that decision, you are rarely involved in helping them select those five content pieces. Most of the time they're making their mind up before they even talk to you.
A lot of people feel that the use of content written by other people is more of a filler approach, or you're trying to appeal to the masses by pushing a popular piece of content.
However, what it really is doing is taking advantage of the finite amount of resources you have. Instead of creating a new piece of content for each decision-maker, you can find and use great pieces of existing content that talk about the same problems.
Subsequently, you can drive everyone back to the original piece that convinces everyone that you're providing the right solution.
Showing That You Understand the Specific Problems That Your Customers Are Facing
Whether it's original or curated content, the topic shouldn't be entirely about your product or service.
For example, if you're trying to sell rubber fittings for pipes, there likely isn't a lot of relevant content out there around that topic that's created on a regular basis.
The people you're trying to sell to are also most likely interested in articles about this topic and the kind of problems that your company can solve.
People want to know that you understand the specific issues that their industry is facing, which you can then help solve with the solution you offer.
The third big challenge that companies face is figuring out how to re-engage people. While curation used to involve social media alone, it takes a lot more than social media to stimulate prospects who may have dropped out of the sales funnel.
Over the last several months, we've seen third-party articles do a lot of good in email campaigns. You can use this content to re-engage people in your email lists and help keep people moving down the sales funnel.
Many people experience challenges in these areas because they don't effectively use content, including curated content.
How to Use Curated Content the Right Way for B2B ABM
Use Content for Internal Listening
Many marketers focus on using content externally, but you can also use it internally for business intelligence, which can help inspire outreach.
For example, you might contact a colleague about an article they wrote and want to initiate a conversation with them about future opportunities.
You can also monitor an account's competitors to gain a better understanding of their environment.
Depending on where you are in your relationship with that prospect, you can also use that insight to begin a conversation around what's going on within their industry.
Engaging with prospects this way can help show that you empathize with them and aren't simply interested in pushing your products or services.
You can also go beyond social media, posting articles internally via Slack or Microsoft Teams to alert everyone within your marketing and sales teams. In the process, your teams will feel more informed and prepared when executing their plans.
Prove Expertise in Outbound Campaigns
Another way to use curated content to help attract prospects is to convince them that you truly are an expert in their industry.
For instance, in an email campaign, you may send an email that serves to convince prospects that you understand their pain points and the challenges they're facing.
If that email makes it past the spam folder and the prospect actually reads it, they will likely want to learn more about the name behind the email.
As the prospect searches for you in Google, they'll likely find your social media profiles, which should be consistent with the content of the email you sent.
People may see past content that you've shared on your profiles, which helps prove that you're an industry expert and build trust among your audience as they do their own research.
Connect with Specific Industries Through Microsites
If you have clients in different industries and want your content to reflect that on your website, you can develop microsites that each focus on an industry you target and helps reassure the prospect that you are an expert.
Microsites could highlight industry-relevant areas of expertise, testimonials from clients in that industry, or even certain interests such as industry magazines that you read, all of which prove to the prospect that you know what you're doing and truly have what they need.
Developing microsites can also give you insight into analytics and other elements that you wouldn't be able to see with a simple LinkedIn profile.
Use Curated Content in Newsletters
In an effort to further show that you have a good understanding of your prospects, newsletters with rich curated content can go a long way in helping convince people that you know them well.
A well-constructed newsletter can show that you're a good resource for information about a problem or a variety of problems that prospects face.
At the same time, while pushing content, the prospect may not find every article useful. However, consistently pushing content that you think will be valuable to them could encourage them to remain subscribed as they encounter content that they enjoy.
These are simply some of the many ways you can use curated content to your advantage when developing a solid ABM or social selling strategy.
Technology That You Can Use for Curated Content
To get the most from campaigns using curated content, there are certain tools that are invaluable to utilize. While there isn't any one-size-fits-all solution to use for curated content, the following have helped us achieve success with our campaigns.
One tool that we've found to be one of the best for pushing curated content is rasa.io.
What we really like about this tool is that we can approve content that we believe will be valuable to our audiences, but at the same time we can avoid the process of specifying which segment we think will find the content valuable.
It allows for a personalized experience based on your past interests, which makes it much simpler to approve articles that your audience will enjoy.
Instead, it sits at the bottom of the screen as an unobtrusive overlay conveniently advising the reader to perform the desired action. Each overlay is also customizable depending on the type of article you're sharing.
This combination of tools has helped us tremendously with ABM strategies, but you can also use other tools such as HubSpot and Mailchimp to find out what works for you.
With a small team, you may discover that you don't need to use a lot of tools beyond what you're using. In lieu of adding tools, you might simply create good policy and use the tools you already utilize such as Slack and Hootsuite.
In fact, if you have too many tools, you could lose track of them and make your operations more disorganized as opposed to automating the process and increasing efficiency.
Tools for Creating and Monitoring Microsites
For those microsites that you might want to build and keep track of for curated content campaigns, we recommend using:
- Unbounce — Makes it easy to set up great-looking landing pages and look at analytics using the same tool
- Webflow — If you want to do something a little deeper, this tool might be even better to use than Unbounce
Remember, it's less about the tools that you're using and more about determining what you should have that you wish other companies had provided for you.
Use Curated Content to Improve Performance
Through the use of curated content and the right strategies and tools, you'll be able to give your marketing and sales teams what they need to execute their strategies, while also empathizing with prospects and proving that you understand their experience.
Properly using curated content can go a long way in boosting both the efficiency and performance of your ABM and social selling strategies.