It’s best to think of account-based marketing as a marketing angle rather than a single tactic. In reality, ABM is best described as a method of directing and orchestrating your other singular marketing spends. SEO, PPC, and email marketing campaigns can all be used to further your ABM goals—landing more of the deals that give your business the best return possible.
Pay-per-click is a tactic our firm employs in over 80% of our ABM campaigns, a number that’s only increased with time. When ABM was still a cutting-edge marketing strategy back in 2017, PPC had its foot firmly in the door when it came to its effectiveness for furthering ABM campaigns. There were relatively stringent guidelines for when your paid ad could present in paid search or programmatic advertising. You could set parameters for your ad to trigger based on time of day, location, and ad words. Since then, ABM has become a relatively widely practiced marketing strategy, and there’s effectively been an arms race across ad platforms to become the most specific, the most granular, and the most accurate. As a result, advertising lying in wait in the cloud is now smarter than ever before, making PPC’s efficiency currently very high among marketing tactics (a trend that can only increase as vendors continue to optimize their platforms).
Here are five PPC tactics you should be using to maximize your ABM return:
1. Choose What to Run After You Choose Your Target
PPC is becoming surgically precise, like a scalpel, which sounds really great except scalpels are still quite dangerous in the wrong hands. So let’s make sure you’re using your PPC scalpel in the right places.
Your goal as an ABM marketer is to effectively surround your target. The awareness phase for any target is always the most important, and plenty of your most valuable prospective clients will spend the majority of their time in your sales funnel in this phase. PPC is particularly important during the awareness phase because it can effectively work as free advertising. Yes, hold on, let me bold that: free advertising. Wait, one more:
It can be a good strategy to keep your PPC free whenever you can. Clicks are great, but for the most part, you’re not going to land an enterprise-level client with less than 35 or 50 clicks total (over 2-10 months potentially). PPC is a great tool, but only when you have an expectation of who is going to click your ad, and when. Research your ABM target, build a profile based on concrete data you have, and fill that profile out based on previous targets. After that, you should have a list of the five best places to spend on PPC to land that account.
2. Use Social to Support Your PPC
Ever clicked on an Instagram post to realize that you weren’t clicking on a post at all, but rather an ad designed to blend into the user interface (UI)? Yep, it happens. Social media may be the most powerful ABM channel overall because even veteran screen-scrollers can have a hard time differentiating between paid and organic strategies.
Beyond that, you get to have both paid and organic work together seamlessly with just a minor spend. There’s no reason you should expect the decision-makers of your target companies to click on your advertising any more than you should expect them to click on your regular posts, and this can both help and hurt digital marketers.
Ads definitely serve a purpose—you’re pretty much certain they’re being seen. In the vast ocean of the digital marketplace, you are one of around 39 bajillion companies selling what you’re selling, and it’s nearly impossible to set yourself apart on someone’s feed posting the same information everyone else is posting. An effective ad should lead a target to your website, but it should always result in their account following yours. If they’re seeing your content regularly, it should only be a matter of time before they become sales or marketing qualified.
An effective ad should lead a target to your website, but it should always result in their account following yours.
3. Make Use of Similar Audiences in Google Ads
Now, the specifics. If you don’t know how to utilize Similar Audiences in Google Ads—you won’t get far (so let’s fix that). Similar Audiences is the easiest way for you to gently expand your audience while ensuring it’s only visible to relevant eyes. Once you’ve begun, it’ll be tempting to start moving spends here, but fight the urge. The whole point of ABM is to track down a golden goose. Don’t get carried away chasing chickens after your first one goes well.
It’ll take 1,000 users in your Customer Match Audience before you start scaling—which can be prohibitive for smaller ABM operations—but as long as you keep leads that have benefited your campaign in the pool (but keep them switched off) you should be able to reach that number relatively quickly.
4. Don’t Forget the Basics: Using Radius Targeting
Radius Targeting via Google Ads can be a super effective way to create engagement with your ABM prospects. Plenty of enterprise-level businesses reside in large buildings, or even on their own campuses, which makes it especially efficient and easy to drop a little ring around their office. That way every search they make on company time, when in a business mindset, will have the potential to bring them straight to your front door.
5. Let PPC Do the Brunt Work of Your Retargeting Campaigns
Often, a best practice is to disengage your ads after a paid conversion; this prevents wasting ad spend and potentially sending conflicting offers to your target. Utilizing dynamic audiences can ensure you’re only retargeting individuals before that conversion.
PPC also allows you to fully saturate stakeholder feeds with advertising when they’re close to paid conversion. It will always pay dividends to accelerate the pipeline, and further down the funnel—with a small, high-value audience—it can make sense to outbid everyone else when you can. Facebook retargeting is an especially useful tool, which has the ability to create posts that aren’t publicly visible, enabling you to identify new ABM offers that could increase your conversion rates.
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We’re happy to offer advice when it comes to ABM, as it’s one of the most effective but misunderstood marketing strategies. Make sure to browse our blogs for more ABM content, contact us if you have questions, and reach out if you’d like to purchase a comprehensive ABM marketing solution.
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