Choose Your Own Adventure: Put Your Customers in the Driver’s Seat…

I often use the phrase “seemingly 1-1 nurturing”, and more often than not, this seems to frustrate people.

This phrase is often followed up with, “don’t you mean true 1-1 lead nurturing”? “Don’t you mean marketing to the individual instead of the segment”?  The reality is that if I had an unlimited budget, resources, and time we could all attempt unique 1-1 nurturing. However, in the real world it’s sadly not feasible or scalable. Even though every marketer would love to it’s impractical to create a unique experience for every prospect.

Do you remember the “choose your own adventure” books from when you were a kid?*

As a bit of a control freak, I loved the feeling of power I had over the narrative and always gave serious thought and analysis to every decision I made.

*Choose Your Own Adventure is a series of children’s gamebooks where each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome.

What if we gave our customers the same kind of control?  Allow me to propose that effective lead nurturing is a lot like an exciting Choose Your Own Adventure book.

01 Know your audience
While I loved Goosebumps I was never able to get into Nancy Drew. That’s not because Nancy Drew stories were not amazing… it was because I was not the target audience. As mentioned, you can’t build a program that adapts to every single person in world. Instead, you can build a framework that adapts to the decisions that are important to your core audience. The stories you tell should be constructed for your key audiences and not for everyone. Each of your personas are unique and your story should satisfy the audience’s needs but also be adaptable enough to adjust to individual desires.

Further, your customer should have control over the story. With elegant marketing automation, a talented marketer allows their customer to guide their own journey to a close. Customer should be able to choose the frequency of communication, the type of messaging, and the style of interaction that best suits their current position. Handing over control to the customer empowers a real relationship to take place. Rather than aggressively calling down each lead, customers effectively score themselves by choosing their own sales adventure.

02 Outline your story
Because the authors of CYOA books know their audience, they are able to frame stories of heroic feats, nail biting adventures, and terrifying haunts. Each story targets a specific type of individual and caters to the audience’s passion, intrigue, and personal style.  Your sales story should be the same. Do you have an introduction, a climax, and a conclusion mapped out for your readers to be compelled towards a close?

03 Let your audience be the guide
In marketing every action your leads take should be noticed. This is the decision point. Each input is a lot like the monumental decisions in a CYOA. Based on every action, the narrative should change and adapt, speed up or slow down, and respond to the desires of the individual. By spending time to create a digest of plot lines and climatic conclusions, a marketer can empower each customer to guide their own journey.

04 Drive towards the end
While reading a CYOA, no matter the path you chose, you are told an amazing story that’s brought to a meaningful close. The same is true in marketing. While the customer determines their path, you can control the intro, the options, and the conclusion.

Remember: Lead nurturing without a compelling story is useless. Worse, you’re probably just annoying your customers. Empower your clients to craft their own journey. Get Creative! Create a compelling story that empowers the customer to close their own deal, on their own timeline, and have faith that the story you’re telling is compelling enough to get them to the finish line. If you do so, you’ll be rewarded with energetic marketing qualified leads that make your sales team smile.