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Combining ABM (Account-Based Marketing) With Inbound Marketing to Supercharge Your Law Firm’s Growth

By Kanayo Okwuraiwe


The Pareto Principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. When applied to businesses, 80% of the revenue generated in your firm comes from about 20% of your customers. 


Account-based marketing (ABM) helps you streamline your marketing efforts by targeting customers you would have pre-determined fit into your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). These customers are those most likely to fit into the bracket of the 20% of businesses that can bring in 80% of your business’s revenue.


Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is a broad-spectrum approach that helps your organization attract a diverse and wide range of prospects or leads through the creation of content that provides the information that these prospects are looking for, or the provision of answers to the questions they have. Combining these two concerted marketing efforts can lead to far-reaching, measurable, and sustainable growth for any business.


This article will speak to what ABM and inbound marketing are and how they work. It will then look at the benefits of combining ABM and inbound marketing, and how to integrate them for maximum benefit.


What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

In contrast to traditional and broader marketing strategies such as mass email campaigns or Out-of-home advertising, ABM is a laser-focused sales and marketing approach that concentrates on targeting and converting specific high-value leads into sales and/or clients into repeat clients. 


These leads or clients are selected by analyzing customer data and other important variables to ensure that they fit into the ICP of your business and that they will most likely become high-value clients in terms of revenue or Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). 


ABM is not a mass market play, it treats every target account as a market-of-one. Its ultimate goal is to provide value and drive growth for your law firm by nurturing these businesses (the ones that fit into the 20% of the Pareto principle) through specific and personalized communication with key decision-makers, highlighting and selling your unique value proposition to them, and being persistent in your efforts with those accounts.


Although there are 3 different types of ABM; One-to-one, ABM lite (One-to-few), and Programmatic ABM (One-to-many), the core of this strategy is based on customizing your product offerings and messaging to attract and delight the specific needs of your target audience.


The results it delivers can be measured through the engagement of your potential clients and the added revenue they bring in and increased ROI.


What is Inbound Marketing?

It is a broad approach that is focused on attracting, engaging, and nurturing leads through relevant, strategic and engaging content. The core tenet of inbound marketing arises from the fact that the customer comes to you when looking for information or a solution to their problems, and not the other way around. This strategy helps to build a sustainable flow of leads for your business and helps to build a reputation with your potential clients. 


At the heart of the inbound marketing strategy is getting your law firm to provide answers to the various questions and information that people are looking for. You provide this information through blog articles, e-books, podcasts, webinars, and social media platforms. 


Why Combine ABM and Inbound Marketing?

Combining the ABM and Inbound marketing methodologies has a higher chance of giving your law firm a competitive edge than either of them can do alone. This is because one of the drivers of sustainable business growth is having a steady supply of paying customers. Inbound marketing helps to take care of this by providing a steady stream of leads, some or many of whom will likely become customers. ABM takes this a step further. It helps you to streamline that large pool of leads or customers that inbound provides—which represents the 80% in our previously-mentioned Pareto principle—, and filter out the remaining 20% of customers that can either represent higher-value clients, and/or those that can offer a higher Lifetime Value. I.e. repeat customers.


Some of the benefits of combining both methodologies include:


  • Comprehensive Approach: Inbound marketing helps you reach a wider audience through the valuable content you create. Whereas ABM helps you to drill down to those specific businesses that are high-value businesses (the value being revenue and/or CLV), nurture and convert them to customers through customized experiences. An example would be a business attorney who offers business entity formation services to someone who is looking to start a new business and who comes to them via inbound marketing, then after evaluating the business to see if it fits the right profile, they would approach the business to sell them their payroll, account, or tax services, which are complimentary services that the business is likely to need on an ongoing basis.

  • Boost Engagement: Inbound strategy gives your firm visibility and accessibility to a broader audience when you provide valuable and educational content in your blog posts, white papers, webinars, podcasts, or videos. This helps you build trust and credibility with your target audience as they engage with your content.Because of ABM’s narrowed-down approach to engage only with businesses that meet certain criteria, and the use of personalized and specific messaging that is tailored to them, the chances are higher that there will be a boost in engagement with your messaging from the combination of both approaches.


  • Enhanced Lead Generation: One of the most attractive benefits of combining ABM and inbound marketing for your law firm is the potential for enhanced lead generation. With these marketing techniques, you create personalized, focused, and informative marketing targeted at people who are looking for your services.  With personalization, you can make sure that your marketing efforts and resources are reaching the best audience suited for your services and providing them with helpful and useful information. By nurturing these relationships from the earliest points of contact, your firm will work with leads that have a higher chance of successful conversion and maximize your firm's ROI.


  • Improved Conversion Rates and ROI: Research conducted by ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance, concludes that 87% of B2B marketers confirm that of all marketing strategies, ABM delivers a higher ROI. It not only stops at revenue but also records an 84% and 74% increase in reputation and relationship, respectively. One key strength of ABM is that it works with a high degree of specificity and personalization that you will typically not find in other marketing strategies. By understanding and incorporating client needs, market intelligence, and analytics into a strategic campaign, the close rates from leads generated through ABM efforts become much higher. This is also the basic mechanism behind the high conversion rates when ABM is implemented.As for inbound, on the other hand, helpful and engaging content that speaks to what people are looking for is more likely to improve conversion rates, although, admittedly, these conversion rates may not always be directly tied to revenue.


Other benefits include an increase in revenue from repeat sales you get from the existing accounts that your firm has, streamlined or more efficient allocation of your resources (since you are not using the spray and pray method of traditional marketing), and building credibility which increases the growth and success of your law firm.


How To Integrate ABM and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Realizing the benefits of combining Inbound strategies with ABM for your law firm, knowing the steps to successfully implement it is essential.


  • Align Sales and Marketing Teams: In an ABM and inbound marketing environment, the goals of your marketing and sales teams are closely aligned. They work together to collate data to create your firm’s Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), identify the leads or clients that meet their ICP, identify their pain points, identify the key decision-makers within the organization, and craft individualized and specific messaging that will engage, nurture and convert them all through the customer life cycle.

  • Identify Target Accounts: Identifying potential accounts relies heavily on data insights gathered from your inbound marketing campaigns, market research, and other useful sources of information or insights. Your sales and marketing teams will have to select the best-fit businesses or accounts that align with your firm’s ICP to pursue. This ensures that the team focuses its resources only on those opportunities with the most possible returns on investment or the highest lifetime value.


  • Create Relevant and Useful Content and Messaging: Studies show that about 91% of customers are likelier to purchase from brands that offer personalized and/or useful recommendations, and about 63% of customers find generic content annoying and intrusive. The same content used to attract leads in your inbound strategy can often be repurposed for your ABM campaign by personalizing it for the stakeholders involved in the decision-making process within your target accounts, depending on where they are in the customer life cycle. To know which of your inbound marketing content to repurpose for ABM, you should carry out a content audit of your blog posts, articles, white papers, and case studies your firm has created to choose those that the key decision-makers within your target account can relate to. These should, of course, be married with other insights obtained from other sources.


  • Measuring and Optimizing Results: The final step in successfully integrating and implementing the inbound and ABM strategies is to track and measure the progress you are making with the campaigns and to make adjustments where necessary. The KPIs to keep track of in your inbound strategy include the site visits, the average time the visitors spend on your site, the bounce rate and the number of leads you get. While on the ABM front, you should keep track of the engagement rate, length of the sales cycle, touchpoint completion rate, average selling price and conversion rate.


By constantly analyzing, and improving these metrics, your law firm will be well-positioned to adapt to changes in the market, seize on emerging trends, and ultimately win new sales or repeat sales, and grow your business.


Conclusion

By its nature, inbound puts the customer at the center of the marketing strategy; ensuring that there is a good or even a vague idea of who the target audience is and what they may be looking for. ABM, on the other hand, is seen as a strategy with laser-like accuracy in its approach to building sustained relationships with customers and revenue for businesses, after some degree of insight has been obtained about them.


The synergy of these two distinct methodologies will no doubt be apparent to anyone who has benefitted from either method individually.


Remember, it is not an either-or situation, but a strategic dance between precision and reach. Law firms who embrace this hybrid approach will have positioned themselves for visibility, building strong client relationships, and are well on their path to exponential growth.

 

About the Author

Kanayo Okwuraiwe is a digital marketing professional with 17 years of experience in the industry. He is also the founder of Telligent Marketing LLC, a digital marketing company that provides lawyer SEO and other services to help law firms grow their law practices. Connect with him on Linkedln.









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