What do you do after meeting someone you want to work with? What’s the next step? Follow up is hard. And no-one really wants to “get coffee some time to see how we might help each other out.” Don’t even bother with that story. Instead, use your website to charge follow-up communication with purpose and action.

Think about the structure of your follow-up message:

Salutations friend! It was so nice to meet you at the big industry meeting. You mentioned you were struggling to improve efficiency. I know a lot of people have questions about that. Well, I just so happen to have a solution. Let’s get some sushi and I’ll tell you all about it.

Ok, so that assumes you write emails like a goofy old wind-bag. But the follow-ups I wrote early on weren’t far off. And the foundation’s not bad. Remind contacts how you met and what you talked about. But instead of focusing on yourself, focus on them.

Solve Problems

Act like you made a new friend, not a lead. Friends share what they have and look out for each other. As you follow up, share a link to helpful information. Remember your new contact’s needs and try to help them out.

The trick is to share a link to content you own. Send a blog post that shows you’ve got real expertise. Share a case study where you helped overcome a similar problem. These are the building blocks of great website content. They’ll help your site perform better in search results and back-up the claims made on your homepage.

Think blogging is hard? It isn’t. It’s just work. Start by brainstorming a list of questions or problems you’ve worked through. What questions do your existing clients keep asking? Write a response that includes specific instructions for taking action. The ideal article length is different for each industry, but I like to shoot for 800 words or more. Try to include at least one image to illustrate your post.

Discover Pain Points and Needs

Take your relationship further in the follow-up with quizzes that identify pain points. Help your contact reflect on their business so they can better describe what they need.

Quizzes should be short and produce results that can be acted on. Like a test in school, your quiz should identify strengths and point clearly to weaknesses. At the end, lead visitors to additional content that can help them solve their problem.

Want to bring someone to a decision point, quickly? Show them numbers. Add a scoring system to your quiz and make it a calculator. Don’t forget to provide a key to interpret the score.

Or if you’re sneaky, require an email address to get more information. Obviously, low is bad, but what does low mean? What do I do with my score, low or high? As the expert who made the tool, you’re trusted to provide the answer. And once you’ve provided clarity and insight into the problem, why not trust you with the solution? For an example, check out Roundpeg’s website audit quiz.

Use an online form builder like Formstack or work with a programmer to develop these interactive features. If you’re not ready to bring those online, you can always write worksheets that can be printed out or downloaded.

Like quizzes and calculators, worksheets help your visitors assess their needs and reflect on their business needs. Everyone’s looking for clients who know what they want. This vision and purpose means you don’t waste time in communication or providing unnecessary services. When it’s time to make a decision, not only will visitors trust you more, but they’ll be better prepared to do business.

Keep in mind, this is follow up for warm leads: those new contacts who aren’t quite ready to work with you. You’re starting a relationship, setting the foundation and building it up over time with support from your website content. For hot leads, go ahead and pick up the phone. Even then, you’ll be grateful for supportive website content that can help you close the sale.

The idea is to build helpful content on your own site. Help visitors research, reflect, analyze and decide. Make yourself valuable from the start. When the time comes to make a purchase, you’re bound to get a phone call asking, “what’s next?”