Buyers – both consumer and business buyers, have their buying process, also referred to as the decision-making process. Your ability to create an effective content marketing program relies upon your ability you to deliver the right media to deliver the right message and offer at the right time to these buyers. So, knowing the decision-making process is critical.
But there is another model you will hear about, and it’s called AIDA which looks at the buying process in four steps rather than the six or five steps we discussed earlier, so I want to explain AIDA and how it works with the buying processes we discussed.
But First, Click Funnels and Sales Funnel?
Again, so we’re all on the same page with the terminology, let’s start with click funnels, then address sales funnels and finish up with how they all work together with the AIDA Model and the Buying Process.
Why? Because these are it’s best to learn now and avoid confusion and missteps outside the classroom.
Clickfunnels is a business that offers other companies the opportunity to develop and use an online sales funnel that will guide the prospective customer from ‘initial inquiry’ to ‘purchase/sale.’ Their name has become the generic descriptor (like Kleenex and Velcro). The key takeaway here is that click funnels are limited to online, and do not address offline efforts to attract and convert an inquiry into a sale.
A sales funnel the business equivalent of the buying process or decision-making process. The sales funnel typically portrayed in a vertical position with the top section broader than the bottom part, which represents the smaller numbers that “survive” at each stage.
Now the names and number of sections or stages in the sales funnel varies from four (Awareness or Inquiries, Leads, Prospects, and Sales) to just about any amount depending on what the creator is trying to prove.
One of the more common sales funnels has six phases or stages starting with:
You can see the similarity to the buying process we discussed – so now let’s address how the sales funnel, the buying process and the AIDA model work together so you can avoid headaches later on in life. 😉
What is the AIDA Model?
The AIDA Model is used in marketing to describe the steps the customer (consumer and business buyer) goes through to purchase a product.
In the first stage, Attention, the focus on the content effort is to gain the prospective customer/buyer’s attention. Now, in today’s somewhat chaotic world, getting someone’s attention tends to be simpler when you use offline and online media channels – again, something I feel is a weakness for Click Funnels.
However, the importance of this stage is that it should happen before the customer or buyer recognizes they have a need.
Think of it this way – I wake up tomorrow and my car doesn’t start. One of the first thoughts to go through my mind is “If I have to take this into the shop, I hope the guys over at ABC Garage can fit me in as soon as possible.”
It’s not like we don’t already have a couple of potential solution providers in our head – and that’s a perfect example of how a company or product has grabbed your attention well before the need is recognized. And the benefit is that it can dramatically limit the research I do and the competitors I consider.
See where I am going?
Research tells us that the consumer and business buyer will be about 60% of the way into their buying process before they make themselves known to your business. So if you wait for them to contact you with a need, you may never hear from them because your competition is finding ways to grab their attention and build interest and desire before a need is recognized.
The second stage of the AIDA Model is ‘Interest.’ This stage is where you have the prospective buyer’s attention, and they want to learn a little more about you to determine if it would be worth paying attention to you moving forward.
In our ‘car won’t start’ example, I had visited ABC Repair’s website and noticed they had some information on how to select the right repair service and when it’s time to repair and when it’s time to replace your car.
I downloaded both and read them. The information made sense. And I decided to keep the business in mind if a need should arise.
‘Desire’ is the third stage in the Model, and during this stage, the business tries to persuade the buyer to purchase the product or service. Sometimes this can be done without a need being recognized, and sometimes it builds upon interest so that you moving beyond “keeping them in mind” to “definitely going to take my business there.”
If you’re wondering how to persuade a buyer to purchase a product before a need is recognized, think back to the last time you saw a commercial for a movie or a restaurant, then decided “You know what, I don’t feel like sitting around tonight – let’s go to the movie and have dinner out.”
The fourth stage in the AIDA Model is “Action” – or as we all like to call it, the purchase. The business has moved with the buyer from (ideally) pre-need recognition to gathering information, evaluation options to purchase.
Now, how do all these concepts work together so you can be more efficient and successful?
The Early Stages are Focused on Awareness and Interest
When the consumer and business buyer are in the early stages of their buying processes – problem recognition for consumers, awareness and appreciation for businesses – you are focusing on grabbing their attention and interest with educational content that helps them understand what their situation is, what their options are, and how to move forward to their next stages in a confident manner.
Going back to the consumer example we used previously. The car has broken down, and the consumer realizes they have a need but is unsure if it should be repair or replacement and then isn’t sure about which firm should be selected.
During this stage, both the repair shops and car dealers should be focused on building awareness and interest in their business with the consumer And the content itself should be informative, focused on the options available to the consumer as well as tips and hints on how to have more control over the upcoming events so they can enjoy a happy and appropriate decision.
- What to ask the mechanic at the repair shop
- What are the costs of similar repairs in your market
- When to repair and when to replace: Tips and Hints
- Thinking about buying a new car – consider these four things
That type of focus with your content is highly relevant to your audience in that first stage – so if properly distributed, it will be more likely to grab their attention and interest.
If presented in an informative, educational manner that also showcases your personality/brand voice, it helps the reader develop trust and perceive you/your business as a thought leader in the repair/replace arena.
Middle Stages Focus on Interest and Desire
When the consumer is in the evaluation of alternatives and purchase decision stages, and the business buyer is in the specifications and research and request for proposals stages, your content should focus on generating interest in your solutions and a desire to test/try them (demonstration, trial period)
- Free samples
- Case Studies
Notice I haven’t mentioned, “Buy now, Save $$”? If either the consumer or business buyer wants to jump to “How much if I buy today”, they’re deciding to skip some steps which should be their decision.
But if you make the “Buy Now, Save $” offer at the wrong time, you can lose the trust you have built, and cause interest in your solution to disappear.
Late Stages Focus on Action
When the consumer is in the purchase stage, and when the business buyers are in the order and review stage, your content will focus on “congratulating them on the wisdom of their decision.”
You have undoubtedly heard of “Buyer’s Remorse” – heck, you have probably enjoyed that feeling a few times. (Buying my first car and first home were both quickly followed with Buyer’s Remorse – what about you?)
Well, because human beings can second guess their decisions, in the “Action” stage of AIDA, which is where the purchase occurs, you need to immediately remind them of why they choose you and why that made sense.
- Case studies
- Customer satisfaction reports
Keep in mind that in these stages, there will be a great deal of human interaction – phone calls, face-to-face meetings – but there is always room for an excellent “Welcome” package with some relevant gifts.
For example, one local barbecue business would send a free kit with a recipe book, spices, thongs, spatula when they delivered and set-up the grill.
The local car dealers now like to pose the new car buyer next to their new car with a huge ribbon on top for a souvenir photo the new owner can cherish.
But the crucial communications will focus on reaffirming the wisdom of their choice – you had the information, we exceeded your expectations in these areas, and we’re here to make sure you enjoy the benefits of your purchase.
A Few Closing Thoughts
The AIDA model is something you will hear about as you read articles about the buying process and content marketing for each stage of the process – so hopefully, this information helped you understand how the AIDA model works with the buying process.
If you have questions, feel free to contact me.