In 1898, E. St. Elmo Lewis created a theoretical marketing model that focused on the customer-centricity of marketing campaigns. In his attempt to identify the relationship between a consumer and a business, he identified the stages of turning a lead into a consumer. These stages focused on understanding the psyche of the prospective consumer and visualizing them in order to make a sale.
His original model, known as a “marketing funnel” or the AIDA Model, reached the action stage after moving through awareness, interest, and desire. When focusing on these aspects of the consumer’s mindset, marketers can optimize their efforts in order to convert leads.
The Four Stages of the AIDA Model
The first step of making a sale, is to make your prospect aware. If they do not know about you, they are unlikely to purchase, no matter how good your product is, and how much benefit you may offer them. Hence, identifying your target audience, and then reaching out to them via relevant platforms is vital.
In what we like to call “The Google Age”, one of the best platforms to optimize for, is obviously, Google. SEO Strategies, Keyword Optimization and Google Analytics help you identify and reach those audiences.
In this stage, generating an interest in your specific product by identifying a problem and offering a valid solution, is common practice. The awareness stage may have bought a prospect’s attention for a short while, but providing information relevant to how you, specifically, can solve a problem that they have, is what makes the
time and effort you put in worth it.
Another aspect of this stage is to try and generate enough interest in your product that you can start building a relationship with your prospect.
Once a prospect has shown interest in your product/solution, converting this interest into a decision to engage and purchase is quite the task.
Until this point, you have only talked the talk. You now need to demonstrate that you can walk the walk.
This will include the showcase of practical expertise, your differentiators and a measure of how you have helped other customers.
This stage occurs only after you have convinced a prospect that your solutions might actually be of help to them. After that, it is only a matter of them making a commitment to your brand. To make that happen, you need to keep providing concrete evidence of how helpful your solution is going to be.
Alternatively, a more business-centric way of looking at the same model is
- Secure the attention of passers-by
- Hold their attention by providing information
- Generate interest and desire by enticing and engaging prospects
- Secure decisions that will lead to concrete actions
How the Marketing model can be applied to Content Marketing
ed at from a certain perspective, content is but another commodity – one that aids in the sale of your product/ solution.
The impact that content makes on a prospect is going to directly affect the lead conversion rates that you witness. Therefore, you will want to produce content that is optimized to the emotion you desire to evoke in your audience.
Good content is often pointless if the desired effect is not achieved.
So, how should content be optimized to align with your B2B Marketing Funnel?
Since content is the tool you will be utilizing to get your point across, it is important to know how different kinds of content function and where they should be utilized.
In the awareness phase, your content should be focused on those who are yet to learn about your organization and products. Hence, educational material like blogs, articles, paid advertisements and social media content will provide the most traction. The content should, however, be simple to read, and easy to understand.
In the interest phase, the content should be educational, solve problems and present solutions, and most importantly interactive. This content can be slightly more technical and detailed and in the forms of graphs, images and infographics, webinars, and videos.
Providing more detailed materials like whitepapers, FAQs, case studies, and testimonials can be dispersed over the desire and action phases of the customers’ journey.
Customizing content to fit into the AIDA model of marketing is what the “Content Marketing Funnel” refers to. It drives the sales and marketing goals of a business using content as a tool.