Nurture marketing: How to go from vendor to trusted expert

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Today's leads are tomorrow's customers, and failing to follow up with them is a deadly marketing mistake. When marketers fall into this trap, leads slip through the cracks, opportunities are lost and prospects flee to a competitor.

There's another critical marketing mistake that's almost as deadly as follow-up failure: What happens when you actually do follow up, but you totally botch it? For example, you send messages too frequently; your messages bring no value and aren't informative; or you only contact prospects when you want their money.

In effect, you're training your prospects to ignore you. You have now become just another marketer sending irrelevant information all too often. Before you know it, they'll ignore you all together.

Nurturing the relationship you have with your prospects gives you a one-up on the competition, helps you build brand loyalty and, most important, increases the chances that one day you'll be able to turn your prospects into paying customers.

So how can you avoid being “just another vendor” and position yourself as a trusted expert? The best way is to adopt a two-step marketing process where you give to get. That means first becoming a marketer of information about the problems solved by your products; and, second, marketing your products to those who are familiar with your expertise and are therefore predisposed to do business with you.

Here are the five steps to implement becoming not just another vendor but a true expert:

  1. Encapsulate your expertise into an offer that will attract your ideal audience.

  2. Build a website or landing page where the copy really speaks to the psychological and emotional realities of the person you're targeting.
  3. Implement on that website a mechanism for capturing the site visitor's contact information in exchange for delivering to the visitor the free offer.
  4. Establish the next step in the marketing and sales process, going from offering problem-related information to product-related information, possibly by using a 30-minute consultation as a value-added service. For those not ready for this next step, nurturing them through automation, with follow-up sequences that automatically send out an e-mail, voice message, text or fax tailored based on the prospect's behaviors. .
  5. Rremember to be relevant to your prospects' needs and be ready to help. Ignite interest using powerful words and themes that hit on pain points and aspirations, then be specific about results.
If you nurture the relationship and stay top-of-mind with relevant information, your potential customers will look to you when they are ready to jump ship from prospect to customer.

Clate Mask is CEO and a co-founder of e-mail marketing company Infusionsoft (, and co-author (with Scott Martineau) of “Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy” (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). He can be reached at

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