A Tried and True Sales Funnel?

Are the principles from 1898 that laid the groundwork for the marketing industry still relevant to today’s consumers?

No matter where we went to school or when we started our marketing careers, we’ve heard of and used the AIDA model for our marketing funnels. When Elias St. Elmo Lewis first published his thoughts on advertising to consumers in 1898, he created a new standard for businesses to communicate with their consumers and forever changed the entrepreneurial marketplace.

An excerpt from Lewis’ “Catch-Line and Argument,” in The Book-Keeper (Vol.15; p. 124; Feb. 1903), includes his perspective on the three fundamental advertising principles:

“The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader, so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him, so that when he has read it he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.”

What is AIDA and how does it work?

The three principles Lewis identified are the basis of what would eventually be called the AIDA model. This model categorizes the cognitive stages a consumer passes through while determining on whether to purchase a product or service. This funnel model is made up of four stages:

Stage 1 – Awareness: Familiarize consumers with your product or service.

Stage 2 – Interest: Engage with consumer about the benefits of your product or service to encourage the consumer to research further.

Stage 3 – Desire: Establish an emotional connection, through brand personality, to transition the consumer from interest in the product/service to ‘wanting it’.

Stage 4 – Action: Create a clear and obvious call to action so that the consumer interacts with your company and takes the next step (i.e. buys the product, downloads a brochure, calls for more information, etc.)

So how can you use this in creating your marketing funnel? Consider this model to be more of a communications pipeline as it defines the mental stages consumers need to be guided through before deciding on making a purchase. Each stage requires using different platforms and engagement styles to communicate the relevant information.

As you prepare your basic marketing funnel, ask yourself some key questions to be effective with each stage:

  • Awareness: Who are the target consumers for our products/services? How will those consumers become familiar with our products/ services? What is our brand’s personality and how do we portray it? Which marketing channel/platform should we use (ie. Email campaigns, search advertising, landing pages, social media, etc.)
  • Interest: How will we gain our target consumer’s interest? What is our content strategy? What solution does our product/service provide? Do we have social proof available to back up our claims? How do we make this information available?
  • Desire: What makes our product or service desirable? How do we interact personally to make an emotional connection?
  • Action: What is our call to action? Is it easy for consumers to connect and where would they expect to find it? What offers should we present?

Now that we have looked at this model, the question is, does this model work for modern marketers? For over 100 years the AIDA model has been a staple of marketing around the globe, but as technology has progressed, consumers are changing their behaviors. The founding principles are still very relevant, but they stop short at recognizing the opportunity to nurture current customers into repeat shoppers and turning those customers into advocates for one’s company. In our next article, we’ll discuss how modern marketers are expanding the AIDA model and effectively turning their traditional marketing funnels upside down.

Can Artificial Intelligence help you become a more effective marketer?

From Alexa to Watson we’ll discuss how AI is going to enable marketers to be more powerful than ever.

AI assistants are everywhere it seems. When many people hear the phrase Artificial Intelligence (AI), their minds immediately conjure up images of Hal from 2001 a Space Odyssey or some malevolent gadget from Netflix’s Black Mirror. In real life, however, AI isn’t a sci-fi villain, but a powerful tool to make your life more efficient and organized. These new assistants wake you up in the morning by turning on the lights, reading the news and reminding you about your day’s appointments. In the evening they lock your doors, order your groceries and turn off the lights.

As our days become easier and more efficient, technology companies are using the successes in the home to develop new ways for AI to help improve the efficiency of business. Companies, like Net Atlantic, are leveraging new machine learning algorithms to enhance business workflows and improve a company’s bottom line. But what do we mean when we say “machine learning algorithms?”

To put it simply, technology companies have written complex search query and data analysis codes, called algorithms, to look for and interpret massive amounts of data based on select rules. The computer extracts information from the data to determine trends and patterns in a process known as predictive analytics. Machine learning occurs when a computer combines the use of algorithms and predictive analytics to determine probable outcomes.

So how can AI with machine learning help you become more effective? Imagine that you want to run a summer promotion for your business. AI assistants can look at every communication you have ever made to your customer base and can determine the words or phrases that are best for you to use for the campaign. AI can also recommend the individuals in your audience most likely to engage with your messages and even tell you the optimum time to send out your messages. How much more effective could you be if an AI assistant, integrated into your marketing automation software, told you: who is most likely to respond, when the best time to contact those customers, and what messaging is the most attractive to your audience?

As AI revolutionizes the way in which we, as marketers, communicate with our customers, the workflow of marketing departments will adapt. AI has the potential to save countless hours of marketers studying data and spending more time creating engaging content for their audience. In our next post, we’ll dive deeper to explore how AI is already changing the way marketers approach communicating with their customers.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Emails for Better Inbound Marketing

By Lindsey Framer

What communication strategy are you using? Are you pulling prospects in or just pushing your information out? Chances are your customers aren’t going to appreciate you very much, if you just “spray and pray.”

It’s not an email blast.

Resharing Content: A Valid Multi-channel Marketing Strategy

Pretty much every marketer knows that content is king and, truly, it’s one of the best avenues towards lead generation. But the sad reality we all have to face is the fact that few have both the time and/or the resources to constantly generate all that content all the time. And with multi-channel marketing – blogging, posting on social media and pushing email marketing pieces out, in particular – it’s just content, content, content across the various marketing channels. So, while it’s important to create original pieces, there is a fair bit of value in sharing or resharing existing information as well. Why reinvent the wheel? If there’s already an article, tweet or Facebook post out there that so eloquently states what you’re stumbling to say in your own words, why work so hard to duplicate their same exact efforts?

How to approach email from a content marketing perspective

How to approach email from a content marketing perspectiveMany marketers see email as a fading, old-fashioned approach to marketing – if they don’t see it as dead altogether – and are instead choosing to focus their efforts on the more glamorous players on the scene: content marketing and social media.

But email is not dead. Not by a long shot. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an ROI of around 4,300% (no, that second “0” is not a typo!).

Savvy marketers are figuring out how to move their prospects from social conversation to conversion by incorporating the reach and impact of social media with  the incredible ROI of email. Want to find out how you can do the same? Read on!

How to Structure Your Content Marketing Program with the Five Ws

If you took a journalism class in high school or college, you might remember the basic information gathering questions you needed to ask in order to write an article: The “Five Ws”.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can use those same questions as a starting point for structuring your content marketing program. Read on to find out how!

How to use your content to get more traffic, fast

According to a recent post on Copyblogger, the best way to increase traffic to your blog is to create well-written posts that contain interesting and/or useful information – and use compelling headlines. Their formula looks like this:

Knowing who you are drives everything: An interview with Ian Smith

Knowing who you are drives everything: An interview with Ian SmithIan Smith believes that your business is either remarkable or invisible. He founded the Portfolio Partnership to help owners assess which of these categories their business falls into, and help them become – and stay – remarkable. The practice operates within the niche of scaling businesses.

Ian is also the author of the popular Smith Report blog, which provides advice to small businesses who want to scale, not just grow. The number of subscribers to his blog is growing at a steady rate, and his email notifications of new posts maintain a consistent open rate of around 15%.

Recently, I had a chance to meet with Ian to discuss his thoughts on content marketing, how it has impacted his business, and how he thinks it will evolve in the coming months and years.