How to Engage Prospects in the Purchasing Lifecycle

Engage Prospects in the Purchasing Lifecycle

Do your marketing messages cut through prospects’ inbox clutter? Are you tailoring messages based on where they are in the purchasing path? In this article, you will learn how to effectively engage prospects in the purchasing lifecycle.

Regardless of whether you have zero customers (or prospects) or thousands of customers, possessing a thorough understanding of a consumer’s purchasing journey is very important. Depending on where certain consumers are in the purchasing funnel or lifecycle, they’re very likely going to receive different marketing messages than folks in other parts of the funnel. The reason for this is because folks in those different points in the lifecycle are at different stages of the purchasing path. Consumers at the top of the funnel (or at the beginning of the lifecycle) have barely had any interaction with your brand; whereas folks at the bottom of the purchasing funnel (or end of the prospect lifecycle) are about ready to make a purchase. 

Engaging with and marketing to consumers in any of the lifecycle stages can be incredibly challenging. You, as a marketer, need to choose your words and imagery quite meticulously in order to engage prospects and get them to the next stage of the lifecycle. This is especially tricky when attempting to engage prospects through e-mail marketing. Even though you’re sending a message directly to a consumer’s inbox, they’re likely receiving hundreds of other messages just like it each and every day. So really, the main question that remains is: how do you get folks at completely different types of purchasing stages pay attention to what YOU have to say? In regards to our own consumer base, better engagement ultimately leads to auto dealer leads that are marketing qualified and are of the highest quality.

Although videos and images are the cornerstone of an optimal strategy to engage prospects, ad copy is just as imperative to the success of your campaigns — especially in your e-mail marketing efforts. After all, the subject line is the first thing your consumers see before they even get to the “good stuff.” Exceptional e-mail copy can literally make or break the marketing lifecycle — and it’s a challenge because the words and tone you use can differ between lifecycle stages. Here are some great tips for how to write e-mail copy for consumers in different lifecycle stages:

Engage Prospects at the Beginning of the Purchasing Lifecycle

When speaking to folks at the beginning of the lifecycle (or top of the purchasing funnel), you need to be extra cautious about the way you present yourself, and your organization. Although it’s safe to assume that these consumers have previously opted into receiving your e-mails (and they know a little something about your products/services), you don’t want to attempt to sell anything right off the bat. Before you even think of discussing your product or service (directly — I assume there will be some name drops), you’ll definitely want to prove your legitimacy and expertise. This can easily be done by choosing the proper words and phrases in your e-mails to engage prospects. 

Let’s say, for example, you have an eBook that you just released. It doesn’t speak directly about what you want to sell, but it’s a few degrees away from it and highly relevant to the industry you’re working in. Sure, you could say the eBook itself provides enough legitimacy; but getting folks to download can be tricky. Since this would likely be your first (maybe second) e-mail to engage prospects, your best bet is to greet your buyers with confidence and warmth. You don’t want to sound pushy, but you don’t want to sound unsure of yourself either. Phrases like “We know a great organization like yours would benefit from the tips in this guide” and “Is this something you struggle with? Check out our eBook” are highly relatable, indicate expertise, and simultaneously provide praise to your organization. Just make sure that your e-mails are short and to the point. Consumers don’t want to and won’t spend a minute reading your e-mail.

Middle of the Purchasing Lifecycle

Assuming that some consumers (hopefully many) are going to download your eBook, sign up for your webinar, or reserve seats to your event, you’ll need to engage prospects with an e-mail that acknowledges their interest, while also swaying them to your brand.

When it comes to mid-lifecycle e-mails, when to reach out is just as important as the copy you’re writing for your e-mails. Naturally, the timing would greatly depend on the offer that your consumers initially signed up for. For example: If a buyer signed up for and downloaded your most recent eBook, then you’d want to wait a few days (maybe a week) to give them time to read it. If they signed up a webinar, you’d naturally wait until the webinar was over, or until the webinar recording had been out for a few days. 

As far as actual e-mail copy goes, this would be the “prime time” to pitch your product or service. You certainly don’t want to make it a hard sell, but you want your copy to indicate that you can help them with any current issues they might be experiencing. In the previous lifecycle stage e-mails, I encouraged a warm but confident tone to engage prospects; using words like “thanks” or phrases that make your organization relatable. For your mid-lifecycle e-mails, however, this is your opportunity to be a little more “stern” (I use this term loosely) and direct. Here’s an example of what I mean:

“Thanks for watching our webinar! We hope you found it useful. We know how hard it can be to struggle with <insert struggle here>. Our organization has X years of experience helping other organizations with this same issue.

 We would love to set up a time to show you a demo of our software. Give me a buzz so we can set up a time now.”

Notice in the message above that, although it’s thoughtful, warm and relatable, it oozes even more confidence than the previous e-mail. Another thing to note is that the tone is pretty casual; so it really doesn’t sound too pushy either. It’s simply providing a standing offer. This isn’t going to be the case for all mid-lifecycle e-mail, but this e-mail is a great example.

End of the Purchasing Lifecycle

The end of the lifecycle (or bottom of the purchase funnel) is reserved for the folks who are basically ready to make a purchase. They’ve sat through a demo, talked to sales representative, and have essentially learned everything they needed to know about your product/service. You’re just waiting for them to finally close. That said, what sort of copy would be ideal for a bottom of the funnel e-mail? What copy will encourage a prospective buyer to convert?

Unlike the previous e-mail types, you’ll probably want to lower the warmth factor just a little and heighten the confidence and expert factor to its max. Because you’re in the final stage with a prospect, now is the time to really convince them that your product or service is worth the cost. Make an effort to very quickly list off stats that you know will support your claims: X% Increase over 90 days, Generating X leads in 3 months, etc — preferably stats that you haven’t stated previously. Be sure to use bullet points, as attention spans are short; and they only get shorter the further down the funnel you go. In fact, keep the entire e-mail as short as humanly possible: Mention how valuable your product/service is, offer stats and offer assistance and a way to reach out to you.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can provide a completely personalized message that showcases the results the PROSPECT’s organization can see over the course of 3 months using your product; and using available stats. And in ensuring that you don’t completely eliminate the warmth factor, DO make sure to thank them for their time, and offer to answer any questions they might have.

Before you go on your merry way and write lots and lots of e-mails, do keep in mind that you’ll likely still need to test lots of copy variations and make tons of changes. While the tips are universal and personally work for us, you might be able to apply some tips and tweak others. It really all boils down to who your audience is, and the e-mails they respond to. That said, let me know how it goes!