We’ve talked about sales funnels for years: prospects arrive at the top of the funnel, we sprinkle magic sales dust on them, and they proceed out the bottom of the funnel and become clients. Simple, right? Wrong. With the staggering amount of marketing we encounter (between 300 and 700 marketing messages per day), it’s hard to get anyone to SEE the funnel, let alone read our material. And without those getting the audience in and having them pay attention, online marketing and sales are dead on arrival. You may have read about AIDA, an acronym for Attention – Interest – Decision – Action. AIDA represents the four building blocks of website success. Here’s how you can use AIDA to grow your revenue.

1. Building Block of Digital Marketing Success: Attention

Without website visitors, you cannot easily sell anything online. Traffic is essential, and it’s not easy to generate. You can try a number of traffic building techniques. Do you have a newsletter? Do you publish articles regularly to your blog? Do you run online pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns? Do you drive website traffic with your social media accounts? Even if you’re doing all these things and your content (or your product) sucks, you won’t get traffic. Even if you do those things once or twice, you won’t build substantial traffic. You must REGULARLY offer HIGH QUALITY content to build website traffic.

Our agency sees it all the time. We see sites that publish one blog post and disappear, and their web traffic reports are flat. We see companies that put out mediocre or weak content regularly in newsletters and blog posts, and their web traffic charts are flat. Conversely, we work with clients that publish great content every week, and their web traffic charts go “up and to the right”. Why does it work? Because Google and other search engines reward sites that publish, promote and update content regularly. You cannot set it and forget it.

If you pay for traffic, which is sometimes essential to get the ball rolling, you need something good when the prospect arrives at your door. We recommend that you create some good “top of funnel” (TOFU) offers, like free checklists, white papers or how-to videos. We may be getting ahead of ourselves (offers are more a part of Interest), but it’s worth noting that your attention devices must have a correlation to what you offer next. For example, if you run a pay-per-click ad for $500 off, the landing page that the visitor arrives on must start with that offer.

2. Building Block of Digital Marketing Success: Interest

It’s super challenging to get attention and keep it. Headlines matter. Your first sentence matters. Images matter. Your offer has to be interesting. You have to connect to some emotion, or…SQUIRREL! Visitors bounce. Let’s look at a sample of a landing page, with before and after views, to see what works.

Landing Page Example A

Landing Page Example A

Landing Page Example B

Landing Page Example B

Can you see the differences between Landing Page A and Landing Page B? Which design would you be more likely to trust and pursue?

Landing Page Example A

3. Building Blocks of Digital Marketing Success: Desire

At the next stage, a website visitor has a choice to make, largely driven by desire. Do I keep reading or do I bounce? The decision is typically based on an emotional appeal. At the core of creating desire is trust – if your visual cues indicate your business proposition is valid, you may have earned enough trust for the visitor to continue. How can you build trust like that? How about using trust symbols like awards, ratings, logos, testimonials and case studies featuring your clients?

Desire is also impacted by your offer. We recommend using small offers at the top of the sales funnel. If they are relevant and good, downloadable checklists, case studies, special reports and educational materials are ideal – capture an email address in exchange for something small but useful. It’s difficult to get someone to sign up for a 30 minute consultation or a 20 minute demo if you haven’t established enough trust, so split the ask into a smaller stepping stone. If your material is good, you’ll earn more credibility. Then you can begin nurturing the leads you get with bigger offers, such as that 20 minute demo.

4. Building Blocks of Digital Marketing Success: Action

Your ‘Call to Action” (CTA) is absolutely critical. Every page on your website should be designed around a specific CTA, whether it’s downloading material, subscribing to your newsletter or calling to learn more. We recommend using one and ONLY one CTA on a page. If you offer three or four choices, the visitor will probably skip over them all. It’s also advisable to show the same offer more than once on the page to ensure the visitor sees it. Most online marketing specialists suggest that the CTA should be clearly marked and illustrate the benefit of choosing the action.

Which CTA do you think will be more effective?

CTA Button Example A

CTA Button Example A

CTA Button Example B

CTA Button Example B

Testing the 4 Building Blocks of Digital Marketing Success

Success is a fickle beast. Online marketing fads come and go – what works today may not work as well next fall. You should monitor your online marketing metrics regularly to determine if your techniques are effective. You can set up Google Analytics for free, and with a little help from your website developer, you can monitor how well your pages perform.

You should also test variations of your AIDA tools – traffic should grow over time and ultimately deliver more revenue. If traffic or conversions are flat, you’re overdue to test and make changes. When we ask questions like “which do you think is better?”, it’s completely subjective. Testing will prove or disprove your hypotheses. Then you can truly know about digital marketing success.

About the Author

SBEC Director of IT: Scott Herring

Scott Herring is the SBEC’s Director of IT. He has been a software developer for almost 30 years and is a serial entrepreneur. Scott is currently focused on his digital agency Twisted Puppy, helping small to mid-sized businesses grow using ultramodern online marketing techniques.You can find out more about Scott’s business on his company website.