Inbound marketing is a lot like dating. Move too fast and you’ll scare your prospects away, but if you take the time to get to know them, build trust and demonstrate your expertise then it could turn into a long term relationship, or even a happy marriage.

This new infographic from Constant Contact (below) looks at each stage of the conversion process, from the very first date right through to marriage.

  1. Attraction

A hot date isn’t going to just fall into your lap if you don’t put yourself out there and get noticed first. For content marketers that means regularly posting light-touch content such as blog posts, articles, infographics and engaging social media updates.

The objective is to make the initial connection and, with a little bit of luck, prospective customers will like what they see and want to find out more – but they probably won’t be ready for sales just yet. After all, they barely even know you.

  1. Charm

If the first impression was a good one, the next stage is to offer up some more in-depth content (or ‘mid-funnel’ content). This is your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, so ebooks, white papers and webinars are really well suited to this.

Interestingly, B2B content marketers use an average of 13 different tactics and for 64% of B2B marketers that includes white papers and 63% post online presentations.

  1. Convert

By this stage you’ve nurtured a relationship and established trust, so it might be time to seal the deal using sales content. That could involve product videos, testimonials or case studies that make it crystal clear what your business can offer and why you’re a perfect match for them.

To refer back to the dating analogy, it’s time to get hitched!

  1. Retain

Every marriage requires work and you don’t want the romance to die. To keep the spark alive, keep in touch with your clients via regular social media updates and email newsletters. The importance of this stage shouldn’t be under estimated, with 70% of companies saying it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.

By offering quality content at every stage of this journey you maximise your chances of turning prospects into customers. Just like a date, you need to get to know each other and build trust before you can commit to a long-term relationship.