Are you wondering what makes so many people excited about account-based marketing (ABM) while you still try to figure out what it’s all about?
Do you seek ideas for simple ABM campaigns that you could run for your MSP?
So was I.
Not long ago, I’d hear everyone around me talking excitedly about account-based marketing. My colleagues would discuss relevant research excitedly, and cite statistics showing the amazing results this strategy can deliver.
But I couldn’t even understand how ABM works. Not to mention, realizing how to use it to promote an MSP company.
Intrigued, I set off to find out. And in this post, I want to share some of what I’ve discovered with you.
Specifically, I’ll show you three ABM campaigns I found ideal for any MSP company wishing to engage their dream accounts finally.
Before we go there though…
A Quick Recap: What is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing, or ABM for short, is a lead generation strategy with a twist. Unlike your other lead generation activities – advertising, for example – ABM does not focus on driving larger traffic and converting it into inquiries. Instead, in an ABM campaign, you select potential customers you’d like to engage with first. Then, you use personalized marketing strategies to connect with those people directly and capture their attention.
Unfortunately, many MSPs find this unique approach to lead generation confusing.
And I’m not surprised.
Most of us consider lead generation as a process of reaching out and engaging the widest audience possible, after all, with the hope of capturing the attention of at least some of those people.
Take SEO, for example. You use it to connect with everyone searching for MSP or IT related information, bring them to your site, engage and finally, convert into a lead.
You use PPC, and other paid advertising strategies for the same effect too.
And you publish content to build brand authority and attract potential customers.
In short, you typically generate leads by driving as many potential buyers to your site or brand. And then, convert some of them into potential business inquiries.
An ABM campaign works the other way around.
You first identify specific people with whom you’d like to connect. These could be particular businesses you’ve always dreamt of having as clients. Or companies in your target industry, for example.
And with that list at hand, launch a campaign to grab their attention and start the conversation.
Let me explain it further with a real-life example from the digital agency, Convince and Convert.
The company wished to connect with McDonald’s executives responsible for buying the services they offer. The company knew that none of those people would respond to traditional sales or marketing messages.
They wouldn’t read blog posts and sign up for a newsletter. They, most likely, wouldn’t download a white paper either.
Knowing this, the company turned to ABM. They sent a personalized gift to the 100 execs they wanted to connect with – A burger kit with each ingredient showcasing a different aspect of the company’s offering.
Here’s how it looked like:
The result? As the company reveals: “the personalized targeting ultimately helped us secure a meeting with the relevant decision-makers at McDonald’s.”
Why did it work? Because the campaign uniquely engaged the target audience. Instead of receiving cold emails (which, I am sure these people would have ignored right away), McDonald’s executives received something relating closely to their brand.
Of course, the above is an extreme example. One requiring significant resources to implement – budget, design skills, production…
Luckily, there are other and simpler ways to connect your MSP with target buyers through ABM.
Let’s go through them now.
3 Simple Account-Based Marketing Strategies for Your MSP
Strategy #1 (Simple): Referencing Target Accounts in Your Content
One of the goals behind ABM is capturing the attention of specific people, dream accounts with whom you’d like to connect.
And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Before you engage those people in a business conversation, you’d like them to know who you are.
The more aware your target customers would be about you or your brand, the more likely they would be to respond to any other communications, after all.
And this strategy helps you achieve that goal specifically.
Here’s how it works.
Step 1. With your list of target accounts at hand, look for any recent news or developments in their organizations.
Google their brand and filter results by news items specifically. See if you can find anything you could reference – A new version of their product, a conference talk they’ve given, a report or opinion they have published…
Step 2. Write content that references the item you’ve found. It could be a simple blog post on a similar topic that mentions the news item. It will work as long as you include a direct reference to the news item you’ve discovered, ideally with a quote and a picture.
Step 3. Share the post on social media, tagged with the target person’s name or company name to attract their attention.
I admit that not all prospects will respond to the above. But at least, you’ll ensure they’ll notice you and your brand. From then on, you could use any of the other strategies to continue the conversation.
Strategy #2 (Intermediate): Send a Personalized Report
This strategy aims to initiate a direct conversation with target prospects.
First, identify a common problem of your target accounts that relate to what your MSP offers.
Next, create a report or white paper, showing how your solution could address the issue.
Customize each report to the individual target prospect’s scenario. It could be their business size, industry or anything else that’s unique to them.
(Note, you don’t actually have to edit much of the document’s copy. But perhaps ensure that you reference their scenario on the cover or the publication’s title. Because you can output the document in PDF, customizing the cover for each recipient won’t be a problem.)
Finally, send personalized emails offering the report to your target accounts. And then, of course, send the report to those who responded to the offer.
Strategy #3. (Difficult): Send a Personalized Direct Mail Piece
This strategy requires the most effort to execute.
However, if done well, it can help you start a conversation with many organizations you wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.
The strategy – Sending a personalized direct mail asset – a letter, postcard or any physical format that’s capable of carrying the message – directly to your target buyer.
Now, you could be a bit self-promotional in the piece. However, I wouldn’t recommend just sending your latest flyer with a discount code. It’s not what this strategy is for.
Write a short letter to your prospect, for example. Explain that you understand they’re struggling with a specific problem. And that you would love to show them how your MSP could help eliminate it.
You can even add a small, relevant gift. Like this company, that sent a letter along with a coffee mug (and referenced it in the copy.) See:
Quick note: I’d recommend you use this strategy after revealing your MSP to the prospect using the option no. 1 above. This way, they’ll, at least, be familiar with you when your letter arrives.
And there you have it…
Three account-based marketing strategies to get your MSP on the target prospects radar, connect with them and start the conversation.