On the face of it, account-based marketing (ABM) and search engine optimization (SEO) might not seem like the perfect fit. One involves targeting specific accounts with personalised messaging (ABM), whereas the other involves getting your message to the top of the search engines where anyone in the world can find it.
However, successful SEO is about the exact same thing as account-based marketing - targeting the right people with the right message. For this reason, the two should go hand in hand with SEO playing a bit part in informing your ABM decisions and helping to turn leads into customers.
Modern audiences expect more personalized brand experiences and these are some of the reasons SEO and account-based marketing can work together to allow you to offer your key accounts these interactions.
People Still Rely on Search
You may do an amazing job of using ABM to make your key audience aware of your brand, you may get them a long way through the customer journey with inbound marketing, but at some point in the process, organic search is almost always going to play a part.
Successful account-based marketing allows you to reach the right people in the right organization with the right message at the right time (that’s a lot of rights, and it’s not easy to achieve,) but at some point, somebody within the decision-making process is going to have a question, and guess where they’re going to go - Google.
So, what happens when you don’t show up in the organic search results?
You’ve driven traffic (leads) to your competitors’ websites!
B2B decision-makers are performing an average of 12 searches before visiting a branded website, so you can’t afford to not be showing up in these results. ABM might allow you to get your brand into people’s psyche, but SEO is still required to help drive conversions.
SEO Helps Create Those Personalized Experiences
So, you know you want to create personalized experiences for your target accounts, offering the right people the right information at the right time, but how do you go about achieving this?
This is another area where account-based marketing and SEO tie-in perfectly because one of the key principles of good SEO is being able to answer the questions/ pain points your target audience has.
The way we do this in SEO is through keyword research, and it’s just as important for your ABM.
You’ve got access to information on all the searches that take place online in the world, and within this data are extremely useful insights you can use to identify:
- What your key accounts are searching for
- How they search for the information
- What information they want at each point in the customer journey
- User intent - are they just researching, or are they ready to buy?
By populating a list of keywords, and searching for each one, you can use the search results to decide how each search term should fit into your account-based marketing strategy as this great infographic from Marketo shows.
By analyzing the search engine results pages, you can build a clear picture of what type of content your target audience is looking for at each stage of the customer journey.
You Need to Measure the Success of Your Marketing
How do you know your account-based marketing is a success? Well, the proof is in the same analytics you use for your SEO.
You don’t want to just be hoping you’re reaching the right people with the right message at the right time, you want to know you are. You’ve got a lot of data to help you do this, and it’s very much the same process as with your SEO.
When you’re targeting individual accounts with personalised content you want to know certain things about how they are interacting with it:
- What channels are they coming from? (Email/ social/ search, etc)
- Are they clicking to the content? (Open rates/ bounce rates)
- How engaged are they with that content? (Time on page)
- What other content are they viewing?
- What actions are they taking?
With account-based marketing, you are targeting specific people within specific companies, so you want to look at specific data for those people. The way you can do this is by creating dedicated landing pages for certain groups and using Google Tag Manager to track different people.
This allows you to build up a clear picture of what content works at each stage in the customer experience, what channels different stakeholders are using to access their information, and ultimately what content works.
The more information you have, the more you are able to tailor your content to the accounts and individuals you are targeting. When you get this personalization right, you’re going to convert more leads, and have stronger, more profitable relationships with your clients.
Modern consumers expect personalized experiences and account-based marketing is a great way to off your key targets this content. The internet is a big, big place though, and no matter how good you are at getting the right information to your audience, they’re always going to have questions, and more often than not, they’re going to turn to the search engines for their answers.
If you’ve spent months or even years using account-based marketing to convince someone you’ve got the perfect product for their needs, then it’s going to look a little strange if they Google a related search and you’re brand is nowhere to be seen.
ABM might get your foot in the door so to speak, but ranking at the top of Google gives you that special seal of approval that blows the door wide open. ABM and SEO are both great tools, but to maximize the results and convert those major accounts, they need to be used in conjunction.
The power of SEO is too big to ignore, and the great thing about it is, no matter how big or small your company is, you can use it to achieve great success if you have the right strategy, especially when used in conjunction with account-based marketing.