How are you ending your first date with B2B prospects?

It’s been a long time since I had to go on a date (thank heavens). But what I do remember is not the dates themselves. What I remember are the endless days after the date wondering if I would hear from the guy again. The guys could have Dateprevented my pain by inviting me to go out again at the end of the first date. That would be something like “Now that you’ve discovered what a fun and charming guy I am, how about trying dinner and a movie?”

In marketing, we call this the secondary offer. Secondary offers are included in the thank-you communication sent after the acceptance of the first offer. If a prospect has downloaded a white paper, an auto email goes out saying thank-you and making the secondary offer at the same time.

In the email, prospects are thanked for their download and then invited to learn more with a secondary offer, which could be a Webinar, a checklist, a demo, a guide or any other appropriate content that would expand on the information provided in the first offer.

Some cursory research turned up a blog post from January 2007 by Anne Holland at MarketingSherpa. She talks about how MarketingSherpa measures the response to secondary offers and reports that response had been 40% but was updated to 39%. The number could be falling still. Yet if the response rate is only 10% these days, I wouldn’t want to miss those 10% who are ready to be further engaged with what my company offers.

It’s likely that the majority of respondents to a lead acquisition offer will be in the earliest stages of the buying cycle. They are just discovering that they have a problem and are just beginning to be interested in learning about the options available to solve that problem. Making secondary offers with the thank-you for acceptance of each previous offer is a solid nurturing process that slowly moves those prospects forward to the next stage of the buy-cycle and eventually to direct engagement with sales.

So when marketers acquire a lead, they should skip the good-night kiss and instead extend the invitation for the next date.

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