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B2B Marketing: The 4-1-1 Rule in Lead Nurturing

The 4-1-1 rule for Twitter was popularized by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi, founder of Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute.The rule states that:

For every one self-serving tweet, you should re-tweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.

The 4-1-1 Rule in Lead Nurturing

What’s great about this approach is that it lets you engage in the conversation, build awareness, and keep in touch with your followers without coming across as pushy or too “me” focused. We’ve been trying to follow it at Sales Dinamico for our Twitter updates as well as our Facebook updates, and so far results are positive.

The 4-1-1 rule can also apply to your lead nurturing using email. Formally, lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with prospects that are not yet sales-ready by conducting an informative dialog, regardless of budget, authority, or timing. Less formally, lead nurturing is the art of maintaining permission to “keep in touch” with potential customers as they educate themselves, with the goal of being top of mind when they are ready to move into a buying phase.

As I’ve often said, lead nurturing is a complex topic, but if I had to sum it up into a single word, it would be relevance. If you are not relevant, your prospects will opt-out – or more likely emotionally opt-out. And nothing is less relevant or more likely to cause an opt-out than content that is too promotional, especially for the early stage buyers that are the core focus of lead nurturing. This is where the 4-1-1 rule can apply. As you plan out the cadence of emails you’ll send to prospects, try scheduling four educational or entertaining emails mixed with one “soft promotion” (e.g. attend an event) and one “hard promotion” (e.g. download a free trial or apply for an account).

While this partly follows the 4-1-1 rule, here’s how we are testing our approach to fully embrace the strategy:

  • These emails all point to an underlying resource. This is not always required in lead nurturing; some of the best emails provide useful and compelling content in the email itself.
  • These emails all promote Sales Dinamico content. Fully embracing the 4-1-1 approach means promoting other people’s resources as well. As long as it’s relevant and useful to your audience, it works for lead nurturing.
  • Instead of sending emails once every two weeks or so, with 4-1-1 lead nurturing you potentially send much more frequently since each email is highly relevant and rarely promotional.

Are you using anything like this in your lead nurturing programs? What kind of results are you seeing? What kinds of challenges will the 4-1-1 bring to lead nurturing?

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