In a previous life, I was a preschool teacher in Prague, Czech Republic.

Being a teacher is mentally and physically exhausting – I spent 8+ hours a day on my feet, cleaning up various messes (some more vomit-inducing than others), and adjusting my curriculum on the fly. All with a smile on my face and a pep in my step.

Exhaustion and messes aside, my students were adorable, especially during our Valentine’s Day extravaganza. Everyone was decked out in tiny, little pink and red outfits, covered head-to-toe in heart stickers, passing out cards to one another, and eating way too much candy. (Hey, what are else are holidays for?)

As with most areas of life, these children had a better understanding of Valentine’s Day than any of the adults in the room. They made individual cards for each other, tailored for their favorite hobbies. All of Andrew’s cards were train-themed, April’s were covered in flowers, and everyone knew how much Ella loved Peppa Pig. They swapped candy, too, knowing each other’s likes and dislikes.

We can apply that same Valentine’s Day card making sentiment to how we tailor content for our leads.

Make your leads fall in love with you by providing them with relevant content based on their industry, place in the sales cycle, company-size, etc. Andrew would have hated a card covered in daisy drawings just as much as April would have loathed Thomas the Tank Engine staring back at her.

First, we must learn about as much as we can about our leads. This is accomplished by:

Based on the lead’s associated activity and provided information, tailor content based on that particular lead’s interests. Review which pages on your website they spent the most time on and which ones they came back to.

Maybe they continued to visit your pricing page, but never requested a quote – try emailing them more specific pricing based on their company size and industry, complete with a call to action to contact a sales rep for additional information. Since we’re considering each lead’s activity as hints to their needs, we avoid emailing them generic or, even worse, irrelevant information.

It’s a buyer’s market. Consumers control their own sales cycle now – they decide when it starts by conducting their own research, then they decide when and with whom they’re ready to close when they find the best price with the most relevant products and services.

If a lead’s engagement with your tailored content emails begins to slow down, reevaluate your message. Go back into their lead scoring profile and hone in on their most recent activity. Maybe they’re further along in the sales cycle than you thought and no longer need product white papers. It could be time to email them about upcoming webinars or your latest customer case studies.

Remember, custom content always beats generic, mass-produced messages without a clearly defined audience. After all, if a preschool class can consider the likes and dislikes of their classmates, then surely a marketing department can do the same for their potential customers.