Content offers, like white papers, videos, and reports are great ways to engage your audience on social media, drive traffic to your website, and most importantly, generate leads.

After posting a link to your offer on social media and driving a lead to your landing page, the hope is that this unknown visitor will convert into a contact by filling out the form in exchange for the offer. Where some visitors get tripped up is if your form asks for too much.

You’ve just met! It’s not appropriate to ask for every tidbit of personal information; and if you do, it may very well be a turn off to someone that could have been a good lead.

So, what is too much? It could be a matter of quantity; asking for name, address, phone, website, email, job title, and company name, all on the first shot is a lot of work. Or it could be a matter of intrusiveness; asking for financials or more personal information can come across as off-putting to some.

The fact is that you are looking for some good, personal information — that’s how you qualify leads. But you take a risk by asking for it all right away. Therefore, you need a strategy for dealing with incomplete data.

Lead nurturing is an effective method of earning your contacts’ trust, and gaining more information from them over time. It takes patience. Here’s how to do it.

To nurture your top-of-funnel leads, start by offering a valuable top-level content piece that requires the completion of a very basic form: first name, last name, email address. Once that information has been captured, use automated emails to follow up with them by thanking them for their download and offering other similar, mid-funnel offers. At this point, it is appropriate to ask for a little more information. After all, you’re making an exchange of value here, so don’t be afraid to ask for something in return for your content.

As your lead approaches a decision-making stage, it is a good time to ask to set up a free demo or consultation. These are opportunities to capture very valuable information and store it in your database. And more importantly at this point, the sale should be at your door!

If you do have bottom-funnel offers on your site, such as vendor comparisons, case studies, and trials, don’t be afraid to ask for valuable/personal information on your forms. You shouldn’t offer your most valuable content for the same “cost” as your least valuable.