How to speak to your audience using AIDA and digital marketing

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Hallam explain how the AIDA model can be applied to digital marketing.

By applying the AIDA model to your marketing, you can work against a framework that hopes to learn what goes through the mind of a potential customer.

It's competitive out there, and there is no shortage of brands vying for attention through many channels. This can seem daunting when trying to get your brand noticed amid the online competition.

The basic principles of marketing remain the same whether you are online or offline.

The long-standing marketing model, known as AIDA, can help guide your digital marketing activities and attract potential customers to buy from you.

What is the AIDA model?

The AIDA marketing model looks at the stages a buyer goes through when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. It is an acronym that stands for:

Attention – Grabbing your potential customer’s attention so they become aware of your brand.

Interest – Developing and creating an interest in your product or service that sparks intrigue, meaning they want to find out more.

Desire – Stirring up enough desire to buy from you.

Action – Getting them to interact directly with your product or service and ultimately make a purchase.

Traditionally, applying the model involved strategies such as advertising on the radio or television. Nowadays, advertising online offers more opportunities for reaching potential customers. Often these new tactics allow businesses to speak directly to their customers on platforms like social media.

Here are just some of the tactics you can use when working through the AIDA model:

Attention

The first step in AIDA is to gain your prospective customer’s attention, and in this current digital age, the majority of buying journeys start on the web, so businesses need a strong website and online presence.

Acquiring attention is all about online visibility, and you want customers to find your website when they search for information relevant to your products or services online. For example, someone who wants to decorate their kitchen, may begin by looking for inspiration on a social media site such as Pinterest, or they may turn to Google to search for ideas. So it’s worth investing time in implementing SEO, and producing relevant content so you appear in search engine results pages. Including the right information when your company appears on SERPs for branded search is crucial. For example, including Google reviews and information such as your opening times and address in local searches can be crucial in helping you to stand out.

Another way to give your brand awareness a boost is to use pay per click advertising so you can try to appear at the very top of search results pages. It will increase your visibility even if users don’t click on your advert right away. Just seeing your brand can grab their attention. Likewise, paid social advertising can increase awareness of your brand.

It is also worth having a social media and digital PR outreach strategy to get you noticed on external websites, or media your customers already visit.

In short, use the online marketing mix to grab your customers’ attention, and be seen in the right place at the right time.

Interest

Once customers are aware of your brand, you want to grab their interest. The second step in AIDA is to serve them useful and interesting information. You are still earning their trust and need to prove why you are relevant to them.

You want to help them, not sell to them. To do this successfully, you need a clear understanding of your typical customer’s needs. Utilise buyer personas and answer any questions they might have at this stage and make your USPs clear.

Content like e-books, whitepapers and webinars are useful types of content to create at this stage, especially for B2B marketing. Longer-form advisory content that offers tips to solve problems works well at this stage.

Thought-provoking content that showcases your expertise in an engaging way can also help to hold their interest. This can be done through simple blog posts. When done well, this can really help strengthen a connection between the customer and your brand. Especially in the research stage, add trust points to the journey through content that demands interest. Does it engage, advise, entertain or add any sort of value to your audience?

Desire

Hopefully by now, you have generated interest in your brand. What you don’t want to happen is for the customer to forget about you or decide to go elsewhere. So, in the third step in AIDA, you want to turn that interest in your brand into a desire to buy what you are offering.

A good way to sustain and build on their interest is to get them to subscribe to your newsletter and then send them timely and relevant content by email. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have thousands of contacts, this will build over time if you do the above steps well. One tip is to incentivise your emails through offers or discounts. Exclusivity sells.

You might also want to consider promoting the selling points through social media. This can be done subtly through creating and sharing user-generated content. Seeing what your brand is doing for other people can help create the desire to buy from you, so they experience the same.

Reviews, case studies and testimonials can also help create desire. So have a plan in place to capture these.

Action

The final step to deliver in AIDA is getting your new potential customers to buy from you. This is where you need to be a bit more direct and make it incredibly easy for them to take action.

Avoid unnecessary barriers to completion, such as making the customer work too hard. You can still lose them at this stage. For example, if your checkout process is clunky and has a lot of steps, make sure you fix it or streamline it. You may still be up against a competitor at this stage and if they make the purchase process easier, for instance by offering more convenient payment methods, then you’ll likely lose out. We are in an age of convenience, so make sure you have this is your mind through this AIDA process.

Finally, your calls to action need to be well written, visually appealing and stand out on your web page. This is key to getting customers to finally convert.

It’s worth mentioning that there is also a need to continue past this AIDA model into the loyalty or advocacy stage, but get AIDA right and the rest will follow.

Jake Third, client services director at Hallam.

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