Flashback to April 2011; I find myself back in the dating scene. Not really where I had planned on being in my early 30’s, but hey, after a separation, life must go on. Like many, I absolutely dreaded the first date and, at times, would have rather walked across broken glass than listen to my date brag about himself. If you have ever been in a similar situation, you know how annoying and uncomfortable it can be.
Now, take a moment and think about how your company communicates with potential customers. Are you like the annoying date talking exclusively about your products or services? If you answered yes, your chances of landing a second date are pretty minimal.
In the marketing world, lead nurturing is a lot like dating. It is all about getting to know your prospect over time to determine if you are a “perfect match” for one another. Here are a few lessons from dating that can be applied to lead nurturing.
Imagine being on your first date at a restaurant with someone you hardly know. Just as the waiter walks away, your date drops to one knee and pops the question. That would be completely awkward, right? Even if you are a romantic at heart and believe in love at first sight, you must admit proposing to someone on the first date would be pretty extreme. Well, a lot of companies do just this, figuratively, of course. Asking a prospect to buy your product, call a sales rep, schedule a demo or any other bottom of the funnel offer during your first encounter is just like proposing on the first date. Instead, get to know your prospect over time.
Unless you are Nick Marshall, played by Mel Gibson in the romantic comedy What Women Want, the only way to get inside the head of your prospects is to ask questions. Using progressive profiling throughout the lead nurturing process will enable you to gradually gather key data about your prospects, including their pain points and preferences. Remember, just as it takes time to build trust in your personal relationships, the same holds true for your business relationships.
Sure, we all have our favorite restaurant or coffee shop, but if you took your significant other to the same place every time you went out, eventually it would get old. Take this same scenario and apply it to a prospect visiting your website. Are they seeing the same content every time or are you leveraging dynamic content to create an experience relevant to their persona and stage within the buying cycle?
Don't be afraid to look at your own personal dating preferences to get a better grasp on how your buyers want to be approached! What other lessons from dating do you think apply to lead nurturing? Post your "dating tips" in the comments section below.
Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.