Get All Access for $5/mo

How to Build Intimate Relationships With Your Customers With This Single Lead Nurturing Campaign All you need are quality connections that count.

By Scott Oldford Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Roo Lewis | Getty Images

What is marketing? This is a question many marketers have tried to answer, and most get it wrong.

I'm not saying I have the definitive answer, but for me marketing is simple: It's about creating a one-on-one relationship in a one-to-many way.

On first glance this may sound impossible, but it isn't. And the key to this is intimacy.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

What most marketers get wrong is they try to automate a process that doesn't need automating. They do this because they're obsessed with growth and scale, yet there's a good chance they don't need massive amounts of leads and customers to achieve success. Instead, all they need are quality connections that count.

The SSF Method

A couple of years ago, I created the SSF Method, and it's helped a lot of entrepreneurs bring meaningful intimacy into their lead generation. Why? Because it removes this idea that everyone should get the same message as everyone else.

You can no longer create a single funnel or lead magnet and expect success. Your audience are at different stages, and your job as a marketer is to give them the right content at the right time. In general, they fit into one of three key buckets of awareness:

  • The Sidewalk: Those who are not aware they have a pain or problem
  • The Slow Lane: Those who are aware they have a problem, but don't know enough about the process or methodology to move forward
  • The Fast Lane: Those who are ready to commit to a solution, but need more information about what the solution is

If you create specific messaging for each, you bring intimacy into your lead generation and become relevant to the right people at the right time. But, it isn't only the message that matters, because it's when you share it when the magic happens.

Related: 4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

How to serve the right content to the right people at the right time

Once you understand who your audience is and whether they fit in your sidewalk, slow lane or fast lane, it's easy to create specific content for them.

  • People in your sidewalk are not aware of their problem, so you need to produce micro content that illuminates their pain.
  • If they're in your slow lane you need to educate them of your process, which means more in-depth content (articles, guides, longer videos, etc.).
  • Once they enter your fast lane, you can share intimate and detailed content with them, such as webinars, training sessions and one-on-one phone calls.

Over time, you share more detailed content with them, because they trust you. But, building their trust takes time, so although someone may enter your fast lane from the beginning (because they are actively seeking a solution), you must still take the time to build their trust.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

You cannot bombard them with sales messages and expect them to pull the trigger. They can see you have a solution that may solve their problem, but they don't know you; they do not trust you.

So, as well as understanding your audience's awareness level, you must also appreciate how relevant your content is, and the perfect time to share it with them. To do this you must move your relationship out of their inbox, and the best place to begin is Facebook.

The four types of Facebook ads (and when to use each one)

You can achieve a lot in your audience's inbox, but you cannot do everything. You must take your relationship away from your marketing funnel, so you can truly become top of mind.

My clients and I have found the best success using Facebook ads, but you can replicate it for other platforms. The point is to use retargeting ads to ensure you give your audience relevant content at the right time, meaning you extend your reach without overwhelming them with irrelevant messages.

This is where most marketers go wrong, because they place all their focus on lead generation. They send the same people the same ads, meaning everyone sees the same thing again and again. But, it's important to remember there are four types of Facebook ads:

  1. Lead generation
  2. Sales
  3. Awareness
  4. Audience building

Everyone focuses on the first two, but there should be a 50/50 split between lead generation/sales and awareness/audience building. This means you should spend 50 percent of your advertising budget on awareness and audience building, as this is what ensures you become top of mind.

Related: Marketing Your Business on Craigslist

How to dominate your audience's newsfeed and capture their attention

Your aim is to dominate your audience's newsfeed with relevant content -- not just based on whether they are in your slow lane or fast lane, but also on their engagement level and how long they have known you.

Remember, the key is intimacy and to build their trust.

It's not all about those lead generation and sales ads. To begin with, you should focus on building their trust with case studies, PR pieces and other social proof. Nurture them, and after a while, share your process and invite them onto a call.

Related: 10 Marketing Influencers That Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From

You now have their trust, and as such, you own their attention.

This is how you build intimate relationships with your audience, and don't worry about how much time this all takes because you can still automate most of the process. You still have your funnels. You batch your content and messages. You set up your Facebook ads and run them on autopilot.

But, not everyone goes into the same funnel, and you don't share the same content with everyone in the same order. You provide an experience for them that's specific to their engagement, awareness level, and trust toward you as an authority figure.

You only give them what they need, when they need it. You nurture them and build their trust. You become omnipresent and relevant, and the "go-to" expert with the solution they need. So, turn your lead generation around this year, and stop wasting money on the wrong content at the wrong time.

Scott Oldford

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Mentor, Advisor & Investor for Online Entrepreneurs

Scott Oldford has helped build and scale countless 6, 7 & 8-figure online businesses in the education, certification, coaching, consulting and courses niche.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.