The Sales Funnel – Understanding AIDA

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What is the AIDA model? 

The AIDA model implies that buyers move through a series of steps when making a purchasing decision. Businesses use this model to lead customers through the funnel from the first point of contact right through to the purchase. The sales funnel (sometimes called the purchase funnel) is divided into four simple steps, frequently referred to as the AIDA model: Awareness (or Attention), Interest, Desire, and Action. 


Stage 1 – Awareness:

The first stage is when the potential buyer becomes aware of your company, brand, and offering. Brand Awareness is defined as the “extent to which a brand is recognised by potential customers and is correctly associated with a particular product.” The aim is to establish a presence in a very crowded marketplace, to build awareness of your company, product or service and to capture the attention of your target audience. We want people to start recognising your brand and have an idea of what you do. You are not selling anything at this stage.

For this stage, it’s important to know who your prospective customers are and where they hang out (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, forums, etc). Then, you need to prioritise which tools and platforms you will focus on and what you are going to say and how you are going to say it (through a blog post, video, etc). This preparatory stage is vital to the success of any campaign so please do not skip this process. What you do now will determine the quality of leads you capture and ultimately the number of new customers and sales you will generate. 


Stage 2 – Interest:

This stage is going to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. The aim, therefore, is to generate sufficient interest in the benefits of your product or service encouraging the potential buyer to research more. Igniting interest can be done through the creation of high-quality and relevant content that will add value to the lives of your prospective buyers. You can do this is by writing blog posts for your website, posting videos on YouTube, then promoting those assets across your social networks and, if possible, on third-party websites. If you have the budget and know what you are doing, you can also promote your website and relevant blog posts through highly targeted Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on Google and/or by boosting some posts on Facebook, for example. 


Stage 3 – Desire:

Now that we have aroused curiosity and interest, it’s time to start building a relationship with those people before they forget all about you. The key here is to offer something enticing that will help your prospects in one way or another. This could be a cheat sheet, a checklist, a discount, a recipe, an e-book, you get the idea. The goal is to capture the contact details of those who are genuinely interested in knowing more about your business and your offering so that you can begin to build a relationship with them. People are not going to give away their contact details without something of high value in return – so, you really need to think about what you can give your target audience in exchange for their email address. If you did your research properly in the first stage, you should know exactly what your target audience needs. 


Stage 4 – Action:

Once you have email addresses it’s time for you to get into action and start building a relationship with your prospects. Remember the key here is to eventually make a sale. This stage will take time, depending on the market you function in and the product or service you are selling. The more expensive the purchase, in general, the longer it will take the customer to make that decision to buy. So, be patient!

Here is where email marketing plays a crucial role in developing that relationship, through the delivery of regular high-value information that will help build authority and trust. 

Remember, people buy from people so nurture that relationship by being helpful, giving as much information as you can, being proactive in answering any queries and of course not spamming people with pushy sales emails every other day. If you continue to nurture the relationship, with consistent and valuable communications, those who are genuinely interested will eventually trust you enough to make a purchase. 


On an ending note, the relationship doesn’t end with a sale. You then need to move on to another phase which we call the retention phase. This is all about customer service, continuing to nurture and strengthen the existing relationship and selling additional products or services down the line; i.e. upselling. Remember it’s harder (and more expensive) to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one…


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