Whether you’re new to digital marketing or not, it can sometimes be daunting to consider everything you need to do to encourage customers to engage with and purchase your products or services. The AIDA model is a great way to think about how to shape your digital marketing or content strategy, as it helps you to funnel customers down the right channels to give the best chance of conversion at the end. Think of it as guiding your customers through a tunnel – you’re helping them to get to the light where sitting pretty at the end is your brand’s product or service.
So, starting at the beginning, AIDA stands for: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. This essentially explains the process that many customers go through when considering buying something and is a classic marketing funnel model – you may have even heard of or looked into it before.
Starting at the top of the funnel we have customer awareness, and this is making sure your potential customers are familiar with your brand and the product/services you offer. If you’re a smaller business or working within in a saturated or niche marketplace, there’s a good chance they’re not going to be aware of your brand already, so you need to put some marketing techniques into practice to try and get their attention. We look at some examples of what you can do later in this post.
Moving down the funnel onto Interest, this is where you need to encourage your customers (now they’re aware of you) that you have something they need. You want them to use your website to do more research and find out about what you offer, so you can encourage them that your products are the best choice.
The third aspect, Desire, is where you try to work on creating an emotional connection, and really moving your customers into the ‘wanting’ stage. Customers should move past the ‘need’ for your product and start making excuses for why they really have to have it (we’ve all done it, so you know what we mean). Even for basic everyday items it’s important to give your potential customers reasons as to why they really do need and want this product in their lives – don’t give up on your lead when you’re nearing the finish line.
The narrowest part of the AIDA marketing funnel is Action. This is where a good, strong call to action is used to guide your customers to the final stage – conversion. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a purchase either, it can be downloading a guide or e-book you’ve created, it could be signing up for your monthly newsletter, or it could be converting to purchase a product or service. You can have lots of different funnels going on at the same time all looking to achieve slightly different goals, and that’s totally okay – just bear the customer journey in mind.
You can also consider retention as a final point, as retaining your clients and building a loyal base is an important part of marketing after all. This is where you want to cross-sell, upsell, encourage referrals etc, basically anything you can do to ensure your customers come back to you and recommend their friends and family to check out your products or services.
So, what sort of things can you do to raise awareness, generate interest, boost desire and encourage action?
Awareness: Here we’re talking good old fashioned quality content. You’ve no doubt heard the term content is king, but not just any old rubbish will do – Google is way too clever nowadays. Keyword-targeted blog posts, commonly asked (from a search perspective) FAQs, videos, infographics, social media posts, Google display ads and social ads are great places to start, and if you can get your digital PR going and start securing links in round ups or other relevant publications, you’ll be creating awareness all over the place.
Interest: Generating interest is important as you want to encourage your customers to find out more about what you offer. Don’t let them just become aware of your brand and decide that they have no need for it. What stands you apart from the crowd? What are some of the highlights and benefits of your products or services and how will they make your customer’s life easier or solve a problem they may be having? Can you direct them to some of your best on-site content, whether that’s video, blog, landing pages, interactive social groups? Think about the body coach – you get a supportive, members only Facebook group to ask questions and get support from fellow fitness-goers, which is a great additional benefit to joining the programme.
Desire: Now you’ve piqued a potential consumer’s interest, this is where you can direct them to useful aids so they can make an educated decision on what their requirements are. For example, create detailed white papers, showcase case studies, host webinars, create templates and toolkits (if relevant to your industry) to help inspire your audience and solidify that choosing you is the right thing to do. Highlighting the benefits of your products or services is key here, you need to try and stir some emotion and create more of a ‘want’ to purchase, as previously mentioned.
Action: Now onto the really good (and important) bit. How you design your call to action will depend on what you want customers to do. If you want them to buy something, perhaps a first time offer, or some sort of discount would work best. Free trials of services also help to encourage conversion, alongside demos. Making sure you highlight customer testimonials as you go is a great way to just add a touch more certainty for your customer that they’re doing the right thing (and what you want them to do too!).
A real-life example of how your customer might follow the AIDA model
Your client’s microwave is on the out – it needs replacing, but as we’re still enduring the pandemic lockdown, they can’t simply pop to Curry’s and choose another one based on the instore expert’s knowledge. The only thing to do is hit up the internet.
They search for best microwaves 2020 and see that Good Housekeeping has a top 10 article. This seems like a good place to start. Scanning the article reveals a swish looking microwave which is from a brand they’d not yet heard of (enter your brand) – until now. It must be good as it’s on the roundup, right?
They click the link and are redirected to your brand’s website. They explore the website to see what else they can find out about this product. The imagery is enticing and they’re seeing evidence of happy customers through a couple of obviously placed reviews. They have a read of the product page content, where it gives good, clear information about the product, why it’s a great choice, it’s capabilities and tech specs, and what makes it stand out from the crowd. They know they need a new microwave, but they need a little more information about this product, so they decide to look at some customer reviews in detail to see why it’s liked and what makes it better than replacing their trusty old microwave like-for-like. Reading this additional information helps them to decide that yes, the do now really want it. Not only are other people say good things, but oh, would you look at that – it comes in 5 different colours to choose from too. Even better, the blush pink option will go perfectly with their kitchen.
They’ve gone back to the homepage and seen there’s an offer for new customers – 15% off your first order. So, they don’t need another excuse, they’ve used the code and made the purchase. A confirmation email drops in their inbox – if you refer a friend and they buy a product from the website, they get another 15% discount code to use on any other kitchen item on the website.
This is just one example of how you could push a customer down the marketing funnel, and as previously mentioned, there doesn’t always have to be a purchase at the end of the line. You could instead be looking for newsletter subscribers or trial sign ups. For even more information on the buying cycle and how you can measure success, check out our buying cycle blog post.