In an environment where there is so much noise that your marketing and sales efforts are competing with, it's hard to stand out. Account-based marketing (ABM) can give you that edge with hyper-targeted campaigns that really resonate with your intended audience."
However, for that personalized, tailored content to make an impact, it needs to first get in front of your audience. Paid advertising can be super effective for making initial contact and bring prospects into your funnel.
How to Incorporate ABM into Your Paid Advertising Strategies
Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t pure ABM platforms, but they do offer ‘ABM-light’ targeting options. A true ABM strategy will require some more advanced tools layered on, like DemandBase, Terminus or Madison Logic, but if you’re getting started, you can use Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn for ABM.
Of those three, LinkedIn offers the best targeting options for a first touch within a B2B ABM strategy. The two primary targeting factors you need are company name and job title so you can go after a specific company and the decision-makers who work there.
Ideally, you’d want an audience built with a single company that you can tailor ad copy and landing page messaging around to create a very personalized and branded experience for the viewer. However, if the companies you’re targeting don’t have thousands of employees, the smaller size of your prospective audience can cause targeting issues.
Instead, you might need to segment by industry or an aggregation of companies with a common pain point and forgo the individualized aspect of your advertising to position your assets more around the persona pain point.
Use your LinkedIn campaign to drive users to a specific landing page that has remarketing pixels for the other ad platforms. Then when people visit those pages, they can be added to audiences in Facebook and Google Ads for retargeting.
From there, you can continue to nurture prospects with tailored ads across multiple channels and guide them through the buyer’s journey.
How Do ABM Ads Differ from Standard Paid Ads?
For a standard paid advertising strategy, the majority of the decisions you make when creating and promoting assets are based on keyword research. The assets you create for ABM ads require a lot more company-specific research. ABM ads should be account-centric as opposed to evergreen, one-size-fits-all. So, instead of asking “Are people searching for this?” you need to ask “Are people at the company we want to target searching this?”
Advanced targeting and sales intelligence tools can help you determine that intent in addition to deep company research. You need to have a better understanding of your audience’s pain points than what you include in your general persona documentation.
However, when it comes to where in the buyer’s journey you should target, some best practices are the same for both types of ads: bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns aren’t effective as first touchpoints. Unless the search query is super specific, awareness and middle-of-the-funnel content will outperform through paid channels.
With ABM ads, it can be advantageous to lead with a case study that you know addresses the target’s pain points or relates to their industry as opposed to a generic ToFu offer. But, while you’re starting lower in the funnel than you might with an evergreen campaign, you’re still not leading with booking a meeting.
ABM isn’t necessarily a quick win; it still requires building trust continuously over time.
An effective ABM strategy includes multiple touchpoints from multiple mediums throughout the entire buyer’s journey. Paid search and paid social can be super effective entry points to that journey.
Your ABM strategy needs to include more than just serving a prospect an ad, seeing engagement from it and then putting the prospect in touch with your sales team.
Once you’ve brought a target account into your funnel with tailored paid ads, you can then supplement that personalized content with more evergreen inbound content through organic channels.
While personalized content is a huge component of an ABM strategy, in addition to showing targets that you understand them specifically, you also need to instill trust in your company. To do that most effectively you should have an ABM strategy and an inbound strategy working hand-in-hand to create value.
Rider Gordon is the Lead Search and Paid Social Advertising Strategist at New Breed. In his free time, he likes to ski, fly fish and brew beer.