Watching our family’s newest six-month old doing her pushups and getting ready to crawl is a good reminder that almost everything in life is made up of “baby steps”. First we roll-over, then push ourselves up, then crawl, pull upright and finally we walk! Of course, that’s just the stay of a fantastic journey full of climbing stairs, taking hikes in the wilderness and running amok with pure joy.
Somewhere along the line, we forget the importance of baby steps. Even though we’re often counseled to “take it slow”, “be patient” and “build on the small successes” as we get older it’s easy to fall into the mode of “I want it all and I want it NOW!”
For inbound marketers, it is particularly important to remember that relationships develop in small steps and we need to avoid the temptation to rush new prospects to take bigger leaps than they are comfortable with – especially at the beginning of the marketing funnel.
It’s called “nurturing” for a reason. If you try to move too fast or ask too much before they’re ready, the result is likely to be a big stumble in the form of low conversion rates and/or high opt-out rates.
One of the keys to deepening engagement with prospects is to avoid “the big ask” that can seem like a giant step or intrusion that makes them uncomfortable or drives them away.
With each conversion page and every step in your automated workflows, it’s critical to maintain awareness of where they are in the buyer’s journey and how much they’ve already shared with you.
Try to keep your initial ask-threshold as small as possible on the front end and then incrementally feed them valuable information as you to learn more about them along the way. Wherever possible, use what you’ve learned about them to personalize subsequent steps in the workflow.
Keep in mind that the best nurturing programs feel like a naturally flowing conversation to the prospect.
Always try to give more than you ask for – and remember to hold their hand along the way!