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AIDA what? Sales Funnels explained.

Let’s talk about one of the most classic concepts in Marketing. AIDA. Not the cruise ship, not the opera, the marketing term.

You want to reach a person and turn them into a customer. At this point maybe already a potential customer, a so-called lead. Marketers tend to actually have no idea what happens between a lead and a purchase. It’s pretty much a black box between the lead and the sale, like this graphic. And it’s so true it makes me laugh.

This here is often reality:

A depiction of a sales process if you don't understand AIDA: chaos.

But of course, we don’t want to leave it that way.

There needs to be a different solution.

What you need instead is a “Sales Funnel”.

Even though you might think “A sales funnel sounds really simple, can this really do the job?”, I can tell you YES. This does the Job for Mercedes-Benz as much as for T-Mobile, for a startup, for anyone.

And it’s helpful throughout all industries and all kinds of topics. You basically think in a funnel that’s going to hopefully end with people throwing money at you. That’s the overall aim. And we want to provoke that in a systematic way.

We don’t want it to happen as an unstructured coincidence.

Any process where someone is purchasing something from someone basically works like this:

Attention – Interest – Desire – Action

It starts with the ATTENTION:

People need to realize that your service or product exists. You have to tell them! They need to know that your product or service is out there in the market. So this is the Attention phase.

The funnel is still super wide here, so ideally you get a lot of people’s attention.

Then there’s an INTEREST phase.

Interest would be something like the moment where someone says “oh, I’m thinking about a rebranding at some point and I need to hire someone for that.” and they are probably reaching out to some people.

And where you want to be is in the place where people are like “I’m going to call YOU up, reach out to YOU here.  I heard you are really good at this, you have some good knowledge, someone told me you are good so I’m going to call you first.”

Then there’s this DESIRE.

This is where people get serious about buying. This is actually when they ask for a proposal, for example. So they want to make sure, that you send out the proposals or whatever they requested, within twenty-four hours. Because sales and sales leads tend to get cold pretty quickly.

So if someone is in the mental stage of wanting to get things done, then don’t get in their way, be quick about things.

Here the funnel is already significantly more narrow than in the beginning.

You’ve really gotten down to the core target group that needs or wants your product.

And at last, there’s ACTION.

That would be where they actually sign the contract or buy the product or service. These are the actual sales.

And that’s AIDA for you: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action!

Let’s run that through with a really simple example: buying a car.


…would likely be captured in different ways. You might notice that the neighbor has that new car that looks amazing and you think “Oh, What’s that? A Mustang!”.
You never thought about a Mustang, but the car that neighbor drives is actually pretty cool. Maybe you should check out a Mustang next time you’re buying a car.
Or it might be advertising. Something like posters, something like a YouTube ad, something like product placement in the automotive area. For example, if you think about older James Bond movies, there would be a BMW as product placement. This is not just because they want Mr. Bond to drive a nice car. It was because they wanted to place their product in front of your eyes (and chances are they paid a hell of a lot of money for it, too).

Instagram Post: Be there. In front of their eyes. ALL. THE. TIME.
Check out our Instagram Post!

So where you want to be as a brand, is where Mustang or BMW are. You want potential customers to always keep you in mind. Even if they don’t need or want a new car right now, you want to be in a position, where they will think of you first, when they want a new car in three years. You need to be on their shortlist.

This position is called being in the ‘Evoked Set’.

Let’s talk about INTEREST…

That’s the person coming into to the car seller: “I would like to have a closer look at that car, could I maybe have a look at the interior and take it around the block to try it out?”

This is where the car dealer would probably get dollar signs in his eyes. Because he knows once you’re going to sit in that car, the probability of you buying it is already going up a whole chunk.

That is if the product is good.

Product Quality, of course, comes first.

Pay Day Dog GIF by Boomerang Official - Find & Share on GIPHY

When someone just has the ATTENTION, someone just knows that you’re offering your services, they might have a buying intent of like 10 Percent. They might recall you if they need you in the future and give you a call.

So I’m always really eager to pick up the phone if I see someone calling in with a phone number from Germany from their mobile phone because I know this is someone with a clear INTEREST and this is really something to make clear among the team because they are probably going to be serious about things.

If you reach out, of course, that’s a little bit different.

It’s a little bit like flirting. So if you are the one approaching the other, you don’t know how high the probability is. If the other person is asking you out on a date, you can guess that there is some Interest and then Desire should actually already be at least over 50 percent.

That would be good, especially in business to business and then: ACTION.

You can do quite a lot just with digital tools here.

For grabbing attention, you can get people on your newsletter list, do social media posts, grab the attention with good infographics. You can put some ads on LinkedIn or Facebook. And this is what I love so much about digital marketing. For example, if you change something on your e-commerce shop or on your website, you just see that this is working much better in terms of the stats and numbers, it’s just really rewarding. You get a really clear before and after. Obviously, it’s not always a raving success, but then at least you’ll know what does and doesn’t work.

Digital marketing in lots of respects offers you a way out of all that foggy guessing.

And then in terms of DESIRE…

…it’s really helpful to think: “What do your clients need to be pushed over the threshold? “

So the ‘desire’ part is really about the moment they are seriously flirting with the idea of buying and you want to make absolutely sure that they have no reason at all to say no. This is all about removing blocks. Here you might want to use social proof saying “It might be interesting for you to know that similar clients loved the services we are offering.”

In lots of ways, you can get inspired by Amazon and stuff like that, because this is actually what’s working for them. It says “This Product, you are thinking about buying 90 people off that and gave it a five-star rating.”

So this is all about ‘Social Proof’.

Review left by a happy customer of ours.
Google Review from a happy customer of ours

Once they have their hand on the buy button, you want to make sure that they don’t drop out again.

I’m saying this because I recently heard a story where a salesman from a big corporation thought he’d closed the deal and some people from the other party were already congratulating him. But when it was officially announced, suddenly it was the competitor who got the deal.

That’s not just really awkward but it’s a little bit how our time seems to be working at the moment, so as long as the ink hasn’t dried, don’t slow down, stay on the game and make sure that people feel really safe about what they are buying.

Until there is ACTION…

…and they actually buy your product or service. So the main goal here is to build trust, to be positively redundant, which means that you repeat yourself.

Repeat your message pretty much all the time, appear to consumers in different channels, but always remain true to your point. If you follow AIDA and you do this with the necessary patience and consistency and with a good understanding of your target group it will ensure you a place in buyers’ evoked sets, which is the first step.

A functional, systematic AIDA sales funnel will, after time, result in constant sales.

If this worked out once, twice, and eventually 100 times:

Congratulations! You’ve made it!


That was a lot of content, right?

If you need help setting up a functional sales funnel for YOUR business, get in touch! We are always happy to help you out. You can always contact us ?  HERE!

Kristin Reinbach

As the owner of agency „OVERW8“ and building on more than 20 years experience in marketing, Kristin is consistently thinking along the terms of ‚customer value‘, ‚brand value‘ as well as business models. Consistently meaning when she’s out for dinner, sitting in a cosy ski hut as well as having a sundowner wine at a vineyard. Like this, it’s simple logic that her primary job now is to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial teams with this know-how to create more brand value, more customer value and thus more company value. She’s sharing some of these nuggets here on OVERW8’s blog.

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