In B2B marketing the term “AIDA” is used consistently, and though many of us understand it’s overall meaning, practicalizing it in everyday marketing strategies can be difficult. AIDA is a long standing idea that continually stands the test of time, we know it has worked in the past, and there’s little doubt it can bring future lead generation success too. So let’s pick it apart and understand what it is, and how we can use it to see the best lead generation results!
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What is AIDA?
AIDA in essence, is a description of the stages your buyers go through when discovering a brand and then inquiring about the product/solution. AIDA offers insight to a fool-proof method used by marketers everywhere, plotting how they grab audience’s attention and encourage them to express an interest in their brand/product and act on that interest. Easily broken down into four steps, AIDA works like this:
A- Attention – You grab your audience’s attention, usually through advertising or a marketing campaign, and they become aware of your brand.
I- Interest – You generate interest in your product or service, often through sharing the benefits and capabilities of what you do.
D- Desire– You move the buyer from “liking it” to “wanting it”, by instilling a sort of emotional connection or affiliation with the product/service.
A- Action – You persuade the buyer to take action, interacting with your company and taking the next step forward- be that downloading an asset, filling in a contact form or contacting your sales team.
So you can see how simple AIDA is in definition, the four steps are logical, and it’s clear how each step works. The important thing to remember, is that these steps can be undergone in minutes, even seconds, or they can take time (possibly months!)- it all depends on the business lead in question, their situation and how they choose to interact with your brand. For example, some people see a post on social media, or receive an email marketing campaign, and straight away take action- you’ve managed to make them aware, interested and wanting in quick succession. Others, need a little longer; they receive a mail-shot from you and become aware, a few days later they look at your website and become interested. After a month, they discover a piece of your content that causes them to desire your product so they finally take action. The great thing about AIDA is, whatever the time frame, if you prepare for all the steps, your B2B marketing strategy will work. Simple!
How is AIDA used?
This is where many marketers struggle to tie the ends together. Knowing how AIDA works is one thing, but using it in everyday marketing takes a little more thought, so let’s look to some of the most popular B2B marketing channels for new business lead generation, and discover how AIDA can benefit each one:
In email marketing
One of the oldest and most reliable channels in the book, email marketing continually proves successful for B2B organizations everywhere. When done well, it works wonders, but when something goes wrong, it can be a huge flop. So how can AIDA help
Starting with Attention, your email campaign needs to have a brilliant subject line. It’s the first thing your audience will see, and sometimes the only thing- so get it right, but remember simplicity. If you’re trying to create urgency, something as simple as “Whoops!” or “Surprise!” can work undiscovered wonders! Try running a 10% test on subject line, sending 5% of your data subject line A, and 5% subject line B, then send the other 90% whichever option was most popular.
With Interest, you can guess they would already have opened the email, so give your copy a killer opening line. You want them to be excited to read on, and interested to learn more. Try looking at press stories you find interesting and read their opening sections. Ask yourself why you do or don’t want to read on- you’ll start to see patterns you that can definitely benefit your lead generation.
Onto Desire, which requires you to create a hook somewhere in your copy that’s truly irresistible. Offer them something exciting, competitive pricing, the ultimate solution, ground-breaking innovation, whatever it is, make it unique and memorable to hook them in fully.
Now get them to take Action. Ensure that taking the next step seems like the easiest thing in the world for your audience, be it a contact form fill, a click through link or button- whatever it is, make the process simple and seamless with a compelling call to action; they can’t say no to it! If you’ve worked them successfully through the stages of AIDA- they’ll be desperate for more!
In content marketing
Content really is king. It’s the B2B marketing channel that gives something back to the business community in the form of exciting, valuable assets and resources. Content plays an important role in both brand awareness and lead generation, so how can we ensure strong results from content marketing with AIDA?
To capture Attention with content pieces, you need them to be fully relevant to your audience, and their business mind-sets. Make sure you do your research- know their pain-points, their industry trends and predictions, channel their everyday challenges and create content offering solutions and opportunities. This is sure to get them ready to read more…
Now they’re reading your content, generate Interest by showing them you understand what they need. Chances are, they’re engaging with this content because they don’t want to ask others directly for help, and want to find out the answers on their own, so prove to them you know their pain-points inside out, and you have the answers they need.
And with those answers, you’re able to drum up that Desire for your product/solution. Desire hinges on a mental shift, elevating interest into wanting, and the best way to achieve this though content is with an emotion connection. Use your copy and graphics to tap into an emotion that many associate with the topic matter, be it fear, frustration or excitement, and use it to extend your product/solution.
Then they’re ready to take Action, but where do they go? It can be easy with content creation to forget about that powerful CTA, letting it blend into the background- so make sure it’s not only strong in terms of language, it’s also laid out so it’s eye-catching and unavoidable. You’re creating content for marketing purposes, so make sure it’s generating business leads!
In digital marketing
Attention is key in digital marketing, it’s what your teams aim for! High ranking spots. But once accomplished, you need to ensure your clickable page/advert headers get the attention you want. No use working hard for top rankings if your bland website header doesn’t attract any visitors, so make it stand out.
These headers click through to landing pages or specific pages on your website, offering the perfect time to generate some product Interest. Think carefully about how you layout your pages, balancing all the elements correctly, and use intriguing images as well as impactful copy to keep audiences interested in what you have to say.
A great way to create Desire when working on an SEO or PPC platform is with quick-fire stats or facts, something that changes the way your audience look at their everyday business, and realize they need it fixed! As digital conversions happen quickly (much more so than content or email), that grabbing “hook” really is essential for desire building.
And as we’re working on a short time frame here (and PPC can be a costly lead generation investment!), the focus needs to be on Action. Prioritize getting them onto the next step by pointing everything towards the CTA, so they have little option but to get more involved!
In social media marketing
Extending from the digital marketing channel, social media has come into a world of its own in the search for new business leads. It’s young, fresh and genuine approach is liked by many and along with its creative setting, it allows brands to show off their personalities. But generating a consistent stream of high-quality leads continues to be difficult on social media, so let’s look to AIDA:
When it comes to Attention, social media posts have a short shelf life. They’re posted, and have a limited time frame to grab audiences before they become more of yesterday’s news. It’s a fast paced platform, so you need to have stopping power- causing people to stop scrolling and pay attention! Make sure every post is 100% relevant to the specific day it’s posted (yes- definitely leverage current events!). If it’s not, and appears as normal churn, people won’t stop and engage.
Interest is the hardest part of AIDA to master on social media, it often goes hand-in-hand with attention- as a good grabbing headline will get people interested as well as attentive. Try boosting posts with images and videos; when flicking through posts quickly, multimedia can back up a good heading with intrigue and encourage further reading.
It’s easy to create some Desire on social media, with an offer or discount, but this can lead to a slow sales pipeline later, so the key thing to remember is- construct desire that lasts. Social media is a very “in the moment” medium, so by all means give them an offer, but let them in on some inside knowledge too- like a customer testimonial, to help keep that desire genuine.
Social media offers plenty of ways to take easy Action, whether it’s liking, commenting or messaging, you have the great ability to capture spontaneous action-takers. Make sure your call to action is exciting, and offers something different to what they expect. Aim to take things offline, offering a call or meeting; it not only helps you come across as fully genuine, but it also shows you’re excited to do business with them, flattering your audience.
AIDA as a concept for B2B marketers works, and will continue to do its part in our strategic planning. So take this knowledge, and maximize your marketing channels to see more new business leads than ever before!
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