Inbound Marketing and Account Based Marketing are both B2B approaches for driving leads to your business. However, they have some key differences that should be considered when deciding which strategy to use.
In this article, we'll outline the key differences between the two, and explain which strategy might be better for your business.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing (or "content marketing") is a strategic approach that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain customers. The goal is to get people who fit your ideal customer profile to find your business or website by doing some kind of action: reading an article, signing up for a webinar, visiting your store, or making a purchase. By attracting the right audience with the right message you can drive more leads to your business. Some refer to this approach with the metaphor "fishing with nets".
Inbound Marketing is all about creating high-quality content to generate qualified leads and drive traffic to your website. The goal is that valuable content will attract the right audience members who you can then convert into customers.
How does Inbound Marketing exactly work?
A typical Inbound Marketing strategy includes the following steps:
Create valuable content for your target audience. SEO will help you rank higher in search engines so more people can find your content. Social media will help you spread your message across a wider audience. Paid advertising can help you attract even more people to consume your content. You should be consistent with your messaging so people recognize and trust you as an authority on a particular topic.
Encourage people to subscribe to your email list. In exchange for a valuable lead magnet, people will supply you with their contact information and permission (an "opt-in") to send them emails. It's also very important that you don't spam people who are already subscribed to your list. In the ideal scenario, your emails will trigger an action that causes a customer to make a purchase. You should be sending updates on product launches and new content when it's relevant to your audience.
Set Up your Inbound Marketing Plan. Take some time to plan out your content calendar so you know when you'll be publishing updates and how you can distribute your message in the most effective way. Determining your target audience helps you determine exactly what types of content to create for them.
Inbound Marketing is a good choice if your business values a genuine, authentic connection with customers over every other form of marketing. If you're confident you can create valuable content that is valuable to your audience, then Inbound Marketing can be the excellent way to drive leads to your business.
What is Account Based Marketing?
Account Based Marketing focuses on developing long-term relationships with decision makers at companies you want to do business with over the long term rather than generating more immediate sales opportunities. It is a long-term strategy with the goal to create value for both sides of the relationship by demonstrating that you're the best business partner to work with. It means focusing on building mutually beneficial relationships instead of looking for short-term opportunities. Some marketers refer to this strategy with the metaphor "fishing with spears".
Account Based Marketing focuses more on building relationships with decision makers at companies you want to do business with over the long term. This can lead to higher quality leads and improved customer experience.
How does Account Based Marketing work?
A typical Account Based Marketing strategy includes a combination of the following
Prospecting. The first step in Account Based Marketing is prospecting. This involves searching for potential customers through channels like LinkedIn, Databases or other sources to find contacts with a potential business need.
Engagement. A salesperson might then engage with that contact through e-mail or phone calls by introducing themselves and explaining how their product or service will help fulfill the contact's needs. At the same time the buying center awareness is created through different marketing activities.
Qualify. Once the contact seems interested, they must qualify. This involves asking more questions to determine whether or not the contact is a good fit. Marketing assists with Remarketing campaigns and additional material for sales.
Deepen relationships. If qualified, a salesperson might deepen their relationship with the contact through a series of meetings and calls until they have established enough trust to eventually close the deal.
By focusing on creating long-term relationships with your customers, you can drive higher quality leads to your business. The key advantage of Account Based Marketing is that it's not as dependent on SEO, SEA as Inbound Marketing and thus is more stable over the long term. However, it's important to keep in mind that it takes much longer time to execute it properly. You need to set aside a lot of time to establish the right type of relationship with your customers and find a way to get in front of the right decision makers.
Which strategy is better for my business?
Inbound Marketing is a great option if you want to build positive relationships with potential customers. If you're creating valuable, relevant content that is not spammy or irrelevant then it's an excellent strategy. You will also need to spend some time and effort creating and distributing it the right way.
Account Based Marketing is a great choice if you want to build intimate and long-term relationships with your customers. If it's not too much effort for you to focus on building up valuable content that is relevant to the people you want to do business with, then this strategy can be a win for your business.
Either way, one of the most important things you can do as a B2B marketer is to make sure that both strategies are in place over the long term so that your business reaches new customers every day.
Although they may seem similar, Inbound Marketing and Account Based Marketing are two completely different strategies. Inbound Marketing focuses on creating valuable content that your customers will read and share. Account Based Marketing focuses on building a relationship with decision makers at companies your business wants to do business with over the long term.