How to Iterate and Test an Account-Based Marketing Campaign

Iteration and optimization are the two words that should define your account-based marketing campaign. If you want to lower your cost-per-acquisition and scale up reliably, you need to be lean with your campaign launch and test from a few different angles.

Marketing testing and iteration using data

Not even the most seasoned marketers or industry experts can know exactly what will resonate with their target accounts until they test it. That’s why you shouldn’t pour all of your budget into one campaign and simply hope for the best — in fact, that’s one of several ABM mistakes to avoid.

Particularly when you target and capture a specific audience, iteration and refinement over time are both key. And no successful campaign is “set it and forget it.” Instead, you should be running a variety of major tests for your account based marketing campaign:

  • Audience testing
  • Platform testing
  • Messaging testing
  • Creative testing
  • Budget testing

1. Audience testing

Even if you have a huge and very specific list of target accounts for your ABM campaign, there are many configurations for how you can test audience targeting. Here are some examples:

  • Sending one campaign to your entire audience at once
  • Breaking up your audience into segments based on industry, company size, or other factors and sending targeted content
  • Choosing a handful of very valuable target accounts and targeting them in a separate, highly personalized channel altogether — like LinkedIn Inmail

Since you don’t want the same audience to be too inundated with your ads, it’s fine to try variations of audience testing in succession, not all at once. But don’t overlook the campaign boost you can get with audience segmentation, and try different iterations to see what converts best.

Digital Marketing Funnel: B2B Strategies - marketing plan with testing

Furthermore, you might run into some platform limitations with your audience, and then you’ll need to get creative. For example, if you don’t meet the minimum number of target accounts or email addresses required to run a campaign, you will need to build a new audience from scratch. However, you can base this audience on relevant traits, such as company size, company name, job title and more — closely matching your original list.

2. Platform testing

Account-based marketing is about so much more than prospecting emails. There are numerous platforms for ABM campaigns, including but not limited to:

  • Google AdWords search and display
  • Google AdWords YouTube
  • LinkedIn sponsored content/ads and lead generation forms
  • LinkedIn InMail
  • Twitter Tailored Audiences
  • Facebook Targeted Audiences

You may think you have an inclination about what platform works better. But like most variables with your campaign, you should be testing to see what really resonates.

 

Ultimately, you should be running a campaign on at least 2-3 different ABM networks. Then you can look at results and invest more there.

 

As your main KPIs between networks, you should be testing platforms in order to compare cost per acquisition, quality of leads, and the number of impressions you can achieve. While CPA and quality are the most important metrics, if you’re limited by impressions, you simply can’t scale.

3. Messaging Testing

Messaging is arguably the most important metric you can test because good messaging can have one of the biggest effects on your results. Every ABM campaign requires rigorous testing on your messaging.

Content marketing strategy: testing process

To uncover the best direction to scale, you should test a variety of messaging points. These should loosely be based around:

  • Pain points of your target accounts
  • The major value propositions about your product or service
  • Differentiators that will grab attention
  • Statistics, facts and data points to be compelling and reliable

Depending on the ABM platform you’re running campaigns on, you will have the option to test messaging in a variety of places. For example, in an AdWords campaign, you can test AdGroup messaging for your keyword targets, ad copy, and very importantly, the messaging on your landing pages.

Overall, each respective test should have messaging consistent from the first touch point (ad copy) to the final conversion (the landing page or form that you drive people to.) This will keep the story unified and will help drive conversions from clicks. Then, you can also properly compare the impact of one messaging strategy through the entire conversion funnel.

The more research you do on your target accounts ahead of time, the better positioned you will be to test messaging that is more impactful, faster.

4. Creative testing

Creative testing is often the most basic element to test, but you shouldn’t overlook the opportunity to get an uptick in conversions with design iterations.

 

At Ironpaper, we’ve found that specific design styles converted 3x as many leads as other designs when advertising on LinkedIn Lead Generation.

 

Test a variety of elements, including color, fonts, button stylings, contrast, and how you present your conversion point. For example, if you’re advertising an eBook for your ABM campaign, will you show a mocked up “book cover” on your ad? Or will you use a pull-quote or statistical representation?

Trying a range of designs with similar messaging can tell you if there are commonalities to use when you scale up your efforts.

5. Budget Testing

Your budget is the backbone of your campaign. So you should have reliable knowledge on the impact of budget on your campaign’s reach.

Contrary to what many people think when running a paid campaign, you can’t simply scale based on budget alone. For many networks, there are “caps” based on ad quality, not budget. So make sure you’ve tested your other variables until you have advertising that resonates with high click-through rates, conversion rates, and/or quality scores.

First, start lean with your budgets — only allocate a small amount per day across channels. Soon, you will see which channels are “maxing out” their daily or total budgets. If the lead quality is good on those channels, you can put more budget in over time.

Once you’ve generated enough insights into high-performing ads across networks, you can put more budget into those channels with low cost-per-acquisition AND quality leads. It’s a careful balance: On one hand, you want a decent quantity of new leads — but on the other hand, you don’t want to pay for junk. For example, just because you have leads coming in from a target company, doesn’t mean those leads are all decision makers or working in a relevant department.

Conclusion

Account-based marketing will be very successful for you if you think about iteration and optimization. No campaign should have only one creative design, or one messaging focus, or a standardized budget. The more you can fine-tune each element of your digital marketing campaign, the more successful you will be.




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Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.