- Account-based marketing (ABM) helps build a personal bond with your target audience, assuring them that you understand their unique wants and needs
- ABM is considered the most financially successful marketing approach by 97 percent of businesses
- ABM can be used in conjunction with inbound marketing for maximum effectiveness, which ties into an effective SEO strategy
- Use SEO keywords to learn what your target audience is looking for and attract interest from all levels of a business
- SEO analytics – especially insights into consumer interests, behavior, and preferences – aid the construction of an effective account-based marketing strategy
Priorities in business marketing have drastically shifted in the online age. Throwing enough mud at the wall, hoping that at least some of it will stick, is now an outdated approach. Consumers are savvy, seeking to be wooed by products and services that meet their unique needs.
Naturally, this means that an effective marketing campaign will fish in shallow waters instead of casting a wide net into the ocean. Any business with serious intentions to capture a captive and loyal audience should take the account-based marketing (ABM) approach – and SEO can be essential to such a strategy.
What is account-based marketing (ABM)?
With so many different types of marketing packages available to businesses in 2022, it can be tricky to keep on top of all the different terminology. However, one of the most essential and successful modern approaches is account-based marketing (ABM).
ABM revolves around pinpointing a precise marketing target, such as a unique business – or even a department within a major company – and tailoring a promotional campaign, especially to them. In many cases, that involves breaking down your campaign step-by-step.
Let’s imagine that your business revolves around manufacturing protective cellphone covers. You may sell these covers to high street stores as generic items, but you feel that your business would be taken to the next level by teaming with a cellphone manufacturer. If you could get a contract with Samsung, for example, maybe your cellphone cover will be pushed as a must-have accessory to accompany the latest Galaxy handset.
In this instance, you would need to tailor a unique approach to exactly what Samsung are looking for in a collaborator. You cannot just send the same pitch that you would to Target, asking them to sell the item – a supermarket is just interested in whether they can buy cheap and sell higher, turning a profit on a product that is always in demand.
If you’re going to forge a long-term and successful relationship with Samsung, you’ll need to prove to them why your cellphone cover is the best on the market – better than your competitors, better than any other product the business currently uses, and how you’ll meet expectations going forward. All of this needs to be achieved through a marketing campaign that is impossible to ignore for your targeted account.
How does ABM benefit a business?
There are countless reasons to adopt an account-based marketing approach for your business. These include:
- Building a substantial profile of your target audience through extensive research, providing an invaluable platform
- Rapidly earning the trust of a client base, enhancing your chances of loyalty and a long-term working relationship
- Reducing wasted time spent on managing inappropriate or inefficient marketing leads
- A simple analysis of the performance and ROI of any campaign – the results will be comparatively black and white
- Keeping sales funnels tight – there will be no need to continually cajole and encourage consumers to complete their conversion as they are in the bag
- Enhanced reputation within your industry – you’ll earn a standing as a business that knows exactly what your audience wants
Notably, ABM is often very effective when aimed at global businesses that employ teams in multiple countries. These companies are often dealing with more complex supply chain issues, and are looking for a supplier who understands their needs and can be relied upon to meet them regularly. Prove your worth to such clients, and you’ll reap substantial financial rewards.
Is ABM the same as inbound marketing?
Account-based marketing is not quite the same as inbound marketing, but it could be considered a companion approach. If you’re going to make the most of ABM, keep at least one eye on your inbound marketing strategy.
For the uninitiated, inbound marketing involves laying bait for your potential consumers and waiting for them to come to you. We’ll shortly discuss how SEO aids ABM in greater detail, and inbound marketing will factor heavily into this. The online presence of your business, most notably blogs and social media accounts, will frequently be discovered through organic internet searches.
However, the core difference is that ABM is active whereas inbound marketing is passive. Both approaches involve appealing to the core interests of your target audience, but with ABM, you’ll be approaching the consumers in question. Let’s return to our example of creating cellphone protectors for Samsung products.
You could create content that will potentially attract their attention – blogs with titles like ‘This is the perfect protective barrier for a Galaxy S22’ and infographics on how and why your product will benefit users. This will take a long time to see results, though – and even then, you’ll need to ensure that the right employee from the right department at the right company gets in touch. ABM means reaching that employee yourself.
Overall, there is definitely a place for inbound and account-based marketing under the same umbrella – often working side by side. Both approaches will show potential consumers that you understand, and care about their interests. Just know that an ABM strategy is likelier to yield an immediate investment return. 97 percent of businesses claim to see greater results from ABM than any other marketing approach.
How to use SEO as part of an ABM strategy
We’ve buried the lede for long enough. It’s time to discuss how SEO can work in perfect harmony with ABM to create optimum campaigns that will yield business results. SEO and ABM share five fundamental links that should be embraced to see success. These learnings can be applied to any ABM campaign, no matter how large or small the client may be.
SEO performance reveals the core interests of your target audience
SEO and keywords are intrinsically linked – there is no getting away from that. This can benefit your ABM strategy, though. By focusing on the crux of your SEO strategy, you’ll gain an ever-greater insight into what your potential clients value most.
Understanding what keywords are performing best is critical to making the most of your SEO strategy – and, by extension, understanding who to target for an ABM campaign. Using Google Analytics, you can investigate how visitors to your site respond to keywords. If you’ve paid for a plum keyword, you’ll be expecting a conversion after a user interacts with it. Watch to see if users bounce from the page that is connected to the keyword or stick around and interact. Keep an eye on your Google Quality Score too, as this should be steadily improving with effective use of keywords.
If your keywords are failing to generate traction, this suggests they’re not as important to your target audience as you suspected. This suggests that your choice of keywords – and by extension, your macro and micro-copy – is not resonating with the specific needs of your target audience.
It’s better to learn this before you attempt to build an ABM campaign around inefficient keywords. You only get one chance to make a first impression, after all, and a reputation as an irrelevant offering is anathema to successful account-based marketing. Use SEO to practice and road test your use of keywords to perfect your choices – short- and long-tail alike – before approaching a potential ABM client.
If your keywords are performing, however, it’s all good news. You now have an idea of what seems to matter most to your audience. You can then bring these features into your ABM approach. If ‘free trial’ is performing well, you can write to a business offering an exclusive trial of a software package that lasts a month rather than the standard two weeks. Alternatively, if a particular adjective that describes your product or service gains traction, focus heavily on this when marketing.
Social media marketing is particularly effective once you have a core understanding of keyword performance. Once you know what keywords are likeliest to yield success, you can head to Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and start applying PPC campaigns to business pages. This will go hand in hand with ABM, as social media campaigns will allow you to tailor your target audience and do all you can reach only the most receptive of eyes.
SEO opens doors to your target audience
It can sometimes be challenging to decide where to pitch a marketing campaign, especially in a B2B setting. It makes sense that you’ll try to win over the hearts and minds of decision-makers, as these are people that will ultimately control the purse strings of a company account.
Before building your ABM strategy around occupants of the C-Suite, remember that CEOs and financial controllers lack time to pore over the value proposition of a product or service. They’ll ultimately sign off on a purchase based on the recommendation of their staffing teams. Each of these employees will have different priorities based on their unique roles. This is where SEO comes into play.
Promises of free or discounted services will attract the interest of financial departments, who will welcome any opportunity to improve the bottom line of a business. Support and administrative staff will be more concerned with how the product or service will resolve any common pain points, especially if they’re labor-saving. Managers are likeliest to respond well to any promises of improved performance and higher productivity levels from their subordinates.
By addressing these varied priorities in your SEO strategy, you’ll attract the attention of a wide array of business employees. Launching an ABM strategy aimed straight at the head of a company after laying these foundations means that you’re much likelier to see success. If a business leader asks their team if they are familiar with your offering, they’ll respond positively.
If you can use SEO to pinpoint a particular individual or business interested in your offering, the world of ABM is your oyster. Imagine that you notice significant traffic from a local business, and their offering is aligned with what you are looking to market. Clearly, you are attracting the attention of this business. You need to reel in the catch, now that you have successfully baited the hook.
SEO generates new ABM leads
In an ideal world, you will identify your ABM targets early on and enjoy roaring success with every campaign. Sadly, none of us do business in a perfect world. It’s unlikely you’ll hit the bullseye every time, especially when starting with ABM. You’ll always need to keep at least one eye on your next campaign target.
If your business has a solid SEO strategy, you’ll be tracking a great deal of data – most notably, who is visiting your website and how they’re behaving once they arrive. This is where ABM and inbound marketing start to co-exist. If your content is piquing the curiosity of consumers or other businesses, build a profile of these visitors.
Is this aligned with what you consider your existing target audience to be? If not, you have a new stream of potential clients to aim an ABM approach to. Something about what you have to offer is attracting attention. Use Google Analytics to dig a little deeper into this – sign into your dimensions and metrics summaries, and review reports that summarize page views, bounce rates, and sessions durations. Use these analytics to learn what is attracting the greatest attention.
Once you have this data, you can identify where these visits are coming from (more on that anon) and start approaching potential leads for an ABM campaign. Your content marketing has already done most of the heavy lifting, and these SEO-generated leads are low-hanging fruit. Pluck them with your ABM approach, and turn this potential client into a returning, long-term client.
SEO reveals the buyer journey of your target audience
As discussed, SEO and ABM combine to identify the perfect buyer persona. However, getting in touch with the right person is only half the battle. You also need to understand how this individual prefers to complete a transaction. The average B2B purchase encompasses four stages.
|Awareness||Your product or service is discovered through SEO marketing, typically a Google search based on relevant keywords. This discovery could be organic or based on a pay-per-click campaign|
|Exploration||Interest piqued by your SEO content, the potential customer will look further into your offering – ideally sharing any blogs, videos, and infographics over social media|
|Comparison||Users will conduct further research into your product or service, comparing it to competitors. This is where you should strike with an effective ABM campaign – use what you have learned through SEO to convince the buyer that your business will meet their needs best|
|Conversion||Content that you understand their unique needs and desires, the customer completes a conversion – hopefully, the first of many in a long and fruitful working relationship|
Use SEO to learn how you can appeal to your target audience through these steps, reinforcing promises of trust, value for money, and exemplary performance throughout. That means reviewing where your core web traffic is coming from and building a profile of who is visiting. Is your site more popular with local searches, or do you appear to have an international audience? Is your traffic spread across the globe, or do you appear to be particularly popular in certain regions, such as Eastern Europe or Western Asia? What pages are attracting more clicks than others, and does this mean that you should shift your primary SEO focus and use different keywords? Take each of these learnings and apply them to your conversion funnel, tailoring the experience to what appears to be an increasingly promising set of leads.
SEO analytics provide insight into ABM campaigns
Above all, you should use the results of your Google Analytics to build a tailored, account-based marketing campaign that ticks every box for your potential buyer. This will offer the greatest chance of success for a conversion.
Now, your mileage will vary on what metrics merit the most significant investigation. Every business will have varying priorities, while disparate industries will also attract unique customer behaviors. Examples of analytics to embrace include:
- Does the user visit your website through a desktop computer or a mobile appliance? Should you develop an app and push this as part of your marketing approach, declaring it the most convenient way to do business?
- Which channel does the potential customer use most to visit and interact with you? Do they come to your site via Google, or are they spending more time on a particular social media platform? Focus your ABM energy on whichever channel appears to delight the user most
- Study user behavior once they are on your website. If they are spending prolonged periods on Page A and bouncing from Page B, you should tailor your ABM around the former – though consider adjusting the content of the latter (one more note)
Of course, knowing is only half the battle here. You’ll also need to take these educational opportunities and put them into practice. The first step of this creating audience clusters in Google Analytics and targeting different groups for different stages of the sales funnel.
In an ideal world, you’ll be able to use Google Analytics to identify regular visitors from a particular business. Sign into your Analytics account and select Audience, Technology then Network. From here, you can see the ISPs of who has been visiting your site – and with the aid of a little detective work (and, if we’re being realistic, a paid tool like Leadfeeder or something that suits your business best) you’ll uncover who has been visiting your site.
Let’s consider an ideal case scenario here, returning to our previous ABM business example. Imagine that you have clustered a group that spends several minutes at a time browsing your website, including the product pages, but never attempt to make a conversion. Research informs you that they all appear to be hailing from Samsung HQ in your country.
That sounds like you have the perfect lead-in for a targeted ABM campaign. You know that a number of people at Samsung know who you are, and what you do. This provides the ideal opportunity to introduce yourself as a business contact and seek to open a dialogue about how your two companies could work together.
Ultimately, SEO analytics are a goldmine for all marketing opportunities – including ABM. If effective SEO is the foundation of a successful business, consider account-based marketing the flair and finesse that helps you build and expand a business empire.
7 Ways To Improve Local SEO & Attract New Business
Not only is searcher intent likely different, the algorithms Google uses to show the map pack differs from the main organic algorithms.
In this article, I’ll be taking you through the ways you can win new customers and improve your visibility through local SEO.
Top Ways To Improve Your Local SEO
1. Keep An Eye On Your Competitors’ Google Business Profile Q&As
Google Business Profile (GBP) has a great function that can do wonders for growing new business – the questions and answers feature.
If you use it well for your own organization, it can help convert customers who are otherwise on the fence.
But don’t stop there. Spend time researching your competitors’ Q&As, too. See what your potential customers are asking others in your industry.
How GBP Q&A Works
On your Google Business Profile, you may notice an “Ask a Question” button. Once clicked, users are taken through to a screen that allows them to submit a question.
This next bit is key. The question does not get submitted to the owner of the profile. It gets submitted to the profile. That means it is visible to anyone who sees a Google Business Profile listing.
Once a question has been posted to your competitors’ Google Business Profile listing, you will be able to see it.
And once the question is answered, that information – and the engagement – is there for all in the future to see.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
These questions are a great way to encourage new business from local searchers. Questions are likely to be asked by people who have never visited that business before but are in your target market.
They are already engaging with the brand but need a bit more information before they commit to a visit.
For Your Own Listing
On your own GBP, you can use this opportunity to converse with a potential local consumer who is far down the conversion funnel.
If they are at the stage where they have found you and are considering you enough to ask some questions, a thoughtful response may be all it takes to see them walk through your doors.
On A Competitor’s Listing
Look at what questions your competitors’ customers and potential customers are asking. Use this to better fill out the information on your own profile and website.
If you are noticing a lot of questions being asked about the availability of gluten-free pizza from other pizza restaurants in your area, for example, you want to make sure you highlight your gluten-free products on your site and listing.
This type of research can keep you one step ahead of local competitors, especially if the questions they have been asked are slightly negative in tone.
Consider this question: “Do you still play loud music?”
If a potential restaurant-goer sees that question asked of another business, it immediately makes them consider the environment they will be eating their meal in.
It may make them wonder if they will really be able to enjoy the catch-up with their friends over a meal as they have planned.
Answer the questions being asked of your competitors on your own website and GBP before anyone asks. State in your description that customers will enjoy a meal accompanied by relaxing, ambient music.
This can put you at a significant advantage over your competitors for winning new business in your geography.
When you proactively answer a potential customer’s question before they even have to ask it, you demonstrate that you understand their needs and wants.
2. Tweak A Google Product Listing To Get More Exposure
Google allows businesses with GBP to upload details of the products they offer. This can be viewed by potential customers on both mobile and desktop search results.
The listings appear in the GBP in a carousel format on Maps and in both a carousel and under the Products tab in Search.
Both formats allow users to click on the product cards for more detail, to call, or visit the website.
How GBP Product Listings Work
Uploading your products to a Google Business Profile has gotten simpler. Google has released a new way of doing this called “Pointy.” Pointy is a device that is plugged in between the barcode scanner and the point-of-sale device. As products are scanned in, Pointy adds them to Google.
This is a quick way of uploading your product inventory to your Google Business Profile. There are restrictions around this, however, as Pointy is only available in some countries and also isn’t suitable for products without barcodes (bunches of flowers, for instance).
It is still possible to upload products manually. Simply sign in to your profile and click Edit Profile > Products > Add Product.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
You may be looking to showcase some products over others for a variety of reasons. You may have a surplus of stock in one of your locations, for example.
Bringing that stock to the forefront of that location’s GBP listing will help alert local customers to it. It will allow you to target specific products more to relevant audiences, dependent on their location.
For instance, seasonal products may be better served first. Perhaps the geographic location of your car repair shop is set for an unseasonal snow flurry. Edit your snow tire listings to bring them to the beginning of the carousel.
This could enhance the visibility of your product at just the right time for a new customer in your target location to see them.
3. Use Google’s Business Messages While You Can
Google Business Profile can include functionality that allows businesses to correspond with customers straight from the SERPs.
When activated, GBP will display a Message button that users can click on to start direct messaging with the business.
How GBP Business Messages Work
This functionality has existed since 2017 in Google Business Profile and since 2018 in Google Maps. It has only recently made it onto the desktop, however.
If you are an owner of a GBP, you should see the option in your desktop dashboard to Turn on messaging under the Messages tab.
You can then set items like an initial auto-responder to be sent out when a visitor first messages you are using this service.
To make sure the service is a timely one, Google recommends you reply to all messages within 24 hours.
If you don’t, Google may deactivate the messaging service on your account. Your response times can also show in Google Search and Maps.
Google may display ‘Usually responds in a few minutes,’ ‘Usually responds in a few hours,’ ‘Usually responds in a day,’ or ‘Usually responds in a few days,’ depending on your average reply time.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
Not everyone has the time (or inclination) to call up a business they have yet to engage with. Allowing potential local customers to message you straight from your GBP is an excellent way of streamlining conversations with them.
If you respond quickly, your chances of that potential customer converting are greatly increased.
This is of particular use to local businesses that perhaps don’t use centralized call centers or messaging. It can be another touch point that shows the personalization of the business based on the location that the consumer is in.
Consider the offers, services, and tone of voice that might be most appropriate to your customers in that particular geography. This is your opportunity to highlight again how well you know your customers.
Make use of the local name for the area your business is in. Talk about the specific events and charities you support in the area.
Any additional indication that your business serves the local population specifically can help to reinforce your relevance to the potential customer who has contacted you.
Now that the functionality is available in such a wide range of places on the web, it would be a wasted opportunity not to engage with your potential customers in this way.
4. Update Your GBP With All Relevant Newly Available Attributes
Google keeps updating the features available through its Google Business Profile property. Make sure you keep your listing fully populated with the relevant attributes as they become available.
How Do New Attributes Work
Google frequently adds functionality to Google Business Profile that your business might be eligible to use. Not every new feature is available to all types of businesses, however.
Whether you can access new updates depends on what category is set as your primary in GBP.
To keep up to date with what new features are becoming available and who is eligible for them, visit Google’s GBP announcements page.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
With any new change to Google Business Profile, early adoption will put you ahead of the pack. Although these attributes will not necessarily affect your rankings in the map pack, they can make your business more attractive to prospective local customers.
For instance, attributes can include details of the business’s ownership. For example, it’s possible to include attributes like “women-owned” and “black-owned” to your Business profile.
Google also introduced the option to denote a business’s support for the LGBTQ+ community through “LGBTQ+ friendly” attributes.
A business showing that it is inclusive and supportive of minority groups can help members of those groups to feel welcomed. For some people, knowing they will be welcomed at a business can be the difference between them visiting there instead of a competitor whose support isn’t guaranteed.
5. Join Local Marketplaces And Forums
The key to marketing your local business well is understanding what your audience is looking for. A great way of understanding your target market is by spending time where they are.
This includes online.
Make sure you register your business in local directories and forums. This is not so much for the traditional citation benefit. It’s so you can be amongst your prospective customers, hearing what they are talking about.
How Local Marketplaces & Forums Work
Look on platforms like Facebook for marketplaces relevant to your location and products. You don’t necessarily need to be engaging with the audience to learn more about who they are and what they respond to.
For instance, if you sell locally created craft products in your store, you can get a feel for how much your audience is willing to pay for products by seeing what similar items are being sold for in your town’s Facebook Marketplace.
By watching what your local audience is saying about prices, quality, shipping, and sourcing of products, you can begin to understand more about your audience’s preferences.
If you are a local pizza restaurant, you would do well to join Reddit subreddits for your city and read the threads that talk about restaurants in your area.
What is your local audience saying about your competition? Are they sick of pizza restaurants and really want someone to bring something new to the area?
Perhaps they are enthusiastic about local independent shops and want to support them more.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
This kind of information can help you to tailor your search marketing strategy, tone of voice, and more.
Go to places where your target audience members are talking freely about your local area. Find out what they want from their local businesses.
If you are feeling brave, you can even interact with your audience on these platforms. This has to be done sensitively and authentically.
Most people don’t want to be mined for information without their consent. Be open and honest when reaching out for feedback on these sites.
The more you can watch and learn from your audience, the more likely you are to be able to offer products and services they will respond well to.
6. Don’t Neglect Bing, DuckDuckGo, And Others
Google is not the only search engine you need to be concerned with. There are others, too, that might be the first port of call for users looking for information on local businesses.
How Other Search Engines Work
You may see the vast majority of the organic traffic going to your site coming from Google. Don’t forget that you might not be tracking all of the ways customers discover you through search.
Your profile showing in the SERPs might not generate a click. As a result, it will not show up in your web analytics program.
So, unless you are measuring impressions across different search engines, you will not know that your business has been seen on the likes of Bing or DuckDuckGo.
DuckDuckGo’s maps are powered by Apple Maps. Therefore, if you want your business to appear in the DuckDuckGo local map pack, you will need to have your business set up with an Apple Maps Connect profile.
Similarly, Bing uses Bing Places to power their local map functionality. Setting up and optimizing a Google Business Profile listing will not help you with increasing organic visibility on Bing.
We are seeing an increase in the popularity of other search engines over time, and for some locations, Google is not the primary search engine used.
If you have physical stores or business locations outside of the U.S., you should look at which search engines are also popular in those regions.
Make sure you utilize the local map functionality of these other search engines.
How Does This Help Build New Business?
Yet again, being where your competitors are not will put you in good stead.
If your competitors are not appearing in the Apple Maps results in DuckDuckGo, you are going to be far more likely to win the business of local searchers using that platform.
7. Keep An Eye On Your Reputation
You may be keeping a close eye on the reviews left on sites like TripAdvisor. You even check your own Google Business Profile listing regularly.
But are you keeping on top of some of the other places in the SERPs which might be giving potential customers an outsider’s view of your business?
How Reputation Monitoring Works
Top and middle-of-the-funnel local search queries, such as [car mechanic telford], can bring back a variety of features in the SERPs.
Prominently Featured Review And Directory Sites
Take a look at this SERP result:
The top carousel lists large directories, social media sites, and niche directories. This gives potential customers access to information about your company – and potentially even reviews – on sites you may not even be checking.
Aside from the inaccurate data about your company that these sites may contain, what have customers, former employees, or even competitors said about you?
Given that links to these sites appear as the first feature in the Google SERPs for this query, it would stand to reason they may get a lot of visibility from your potential customers.
People Also Ask
If customers are in the process of narrowing down their choice of business, they might start searching for specific information about those businesses. That can often trigger a “People Also Ask” feature to appear.
When searching for [is (name of a mechanic) in Telford any good], the following PAA box appeared, talking specifically about that brand.
That first “People Also Ask” question is, “why is [brand] so expensive?” That does not inspire much confidence in the value for money of this particular mechanic.
Although there is not much you can do to control what questions appear in the “People Also Ask” section, it is important to try to influence the perception of those who may click on this question.
Write a page addressing this question and try to get it ranking. That way, when someone interested in your local business clicks on this question, they at least will see your response around “the quality service,” “not compromising by using cheap parts,” and “highly-skilled technicians who you pay well for their expertise.”
How Does This Help Build New Business?
It is crucial to remember that what a potential customer sees about you may not just be the information you are writing on your website or Google Business Profile listings.
It might not even be the reviews left on sites you are closely monitoring and responding to.
A potential customer will be influenced heavily by others’ opinions and experiences of your business. Local businesses tend to attract a lot of reviews because they are promoted by sites that encourage them to be left.
A negative perception of your business will likely be the difference between you winning or losing a new customer.
Always monitor the SERPs around your core lead-generating search terms. Identify where negative perceptions of your business could be formed.
There are many aspects of SEO that you need to consider if you want your business to do well with your local audience.
How your website appears for searches with local intent in Google Maps and the standard SERPs can make or break your business.
If you want your brick-and-mortar business to succeed online, make sure you develop a robust local SEO strategy.
Featured Image: Rido/Shutterstock