“Don’t be a bad date!”

No, this isn’t a post on Valentine’s Day advice.

In the world of content marketing, the concept of “courting” your buyers is pretty widespread. And I’m not talking about wining and dining top prospects. I’m talking about letting your buyers know that you’re paying attention, that you have their needs top-of-mind. At the beginning of a relationship, this means focusing on the interests of your buyers rather than the products or services your company provides.

But, at some point, your date will want to know more about you. And they’ll want details.

How many kids do you want? Do you want to have a big wedding? Or, in the case of marketing, how much does a 2-year subscription cost? How easy is it to implement this new technology? You know, the nitty gritty information that helps you both determine if you’ll be a good fit together.

These are rarely first date questions. They’re probably not even second or the third date material. But as trust builds, the getting-to-know-you process evolves. In the same sense, as your prospective buyers begin to trust you and your brand as thought leaders, they’ll want to ask the hard questions. They’ll want answers about how your business can help them.

The tricky part is knowing when it’s okay to start talking about yourself.

Luckily, as modern marketers, there are a handful of practices and tools that allow us to gauge trust and readiness.

1. Align Your Content to the Buyer’s Journey

Bill Murray tells us that, as marketers, “value needs to be our obsession.”

By aligning each piece of content to the buyers’ journey, you can build on the trust gained from the previous assets they’ve consumed. This can’t be done by producing content in the same format or on the same topics over and over again. You must vary the content you create to continually deliver value to your prospects at each stage in their journey.

Back to the dating analogy, you only get one first date to make a good impression. Assuming things go well, and you stay in touch (but don’t appear too overeager) you’ll move onto a second date (and it takes a convincing call-to-action).

If, during second and third dates, you’re asking the same questions and talking about the same things, you’ll likely lose their interest. The problem for marketers, then, is how do we listen to our prospective buyers, and effectively deliver content aligned with the next stage of their journey?

2. Use Big Data

Enter Big Data. By mapping patterns in our buyers’ actions, we’re able to better understand what messaging resonates with buyers at every stage of the funnel. This helps ensure that the content you create is on-point, which increases engagement, relevance, and ultimately the effectiveness of your content at driving revenue.

While Big Data is great, how do you know when it’s time to start talking about you and stop asking about them?

3. Start Lead Scoring

This is one of the best tools marketers have at their disposal, yet only 44% of companies are using it. By tracking and quantifying the actions leads take on a piece of content, marketers are able to determine whether someone is ready to say “I love you, let’s do this!” or if they’re still feeling you out.

Another key aspect of lead scoring is that it empowers the sales team to better address the leads in your database. It helps them determine if they’re ready to get on the phone with sales, what topics they care about based on the content they’ve viewed, and the problems they need to solve for their business.

Your Key Takeaways

So, for you content-loving gurus out there, to ensure your leads and prospects say “I DO” to your content, make sure you:

  • Have a variety of content talking about your buyers (first-date material) AND yourself (to prove you’re the one)
  • Use each piece of content to build on the trust gained from previous assets
  • Score their engagement to deliver the correct content at the right time in their journey

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