Thursday, December 11, 2008

AIDA -- A Timeless Love Story?

This content continues to get a ton of traffic on our website so I figured I would include it here for your viewing pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, this is extremely relevant information related to the development of effective communications with your potential customers. Everything in the following post is as relevant today in the Social Marketing space as it is in the dirt-world. As you will see, it’s all about communication…

Unlike the Broadway musical of the same name, the AIDA that I am referring to is not the story of timeless love between a Nubian princess and an Egyptian prince, but rather the 4 “timeless” fundamental elements of effective marketing communications.

Your audience is barraged by thousands of different marketing messages and communication inputs every day of their lives. This is only going to get worse now that we have embarked on yet another communications revolution on the web (Social Media). Ensuring that your message is seen and read will mean the difference between success and failure.

Keep in mind that “It’s Not About You!” Get your ego out of it. Your headline, in the case of an ad, or subject line, in the case of an email communication, or blog post, should be a bold and compelling benefit statement that “hits the reader where they live.” It should address some aspect of their need, that you are responding to, or the problem that you are solving. Make it as personal as you possibly can!

A good starting point is to make sure you know who you are communicating with or who you would like to communicate your message to. Remember that Search engines feed on blog posts and all other forms of online communications (web pages, twitter feeds, etc). Make sure that your content will draw the right crowd.

Most email management programs on the market today will allow you to personalize your message with the recipient’s name in the subject line, which has been shown to be highly effective in getting email messages noticed and read. By the way, non-spam email is still the highest rate of conversion on the web today.

Ask yourself, “what can I say (truthfully) that will grab my audience’s attention, and get them to read my entire communication?” Look around in your own world. What is it about the messages that you look at or read that gets your attention? Follow suite with your communications. An effective way of establishing interest is to ask a question, or several questions, that give your audience a reason to continue reading.

Capturing interest always has to do with the establishment of value in your readers mind. Don’t forget that. Don’t be overly concerned with the length of your content. It’s a known fact that long copy sells. This assumes that the copy is good, of course, and that you continue to focus and to build on the unique value that you are offering to your audience.

This is the set up for the grand finale… It’s very important that you get this part right. If you don’t, all your efforts up to this point will be for naught. Don’t underestimate the power of this element. It has been said that the purpose of advertising is to evoke an emotional response. Similarly, your task is to reach out and generate DESIRE (an emotion) with your audience. Getting a bit more technical, you want to stimulate the amygdalae (brain tonsils), which have been shown in research to perform a primary role in the processing of memory and emotional reactions.

Sound challenging, like brain surgery? It’s not. There are a couple techniques that are surefire ways of establishing desire. The first involves telling your readership, in bold and vivid detail, what they will get when they purchase your product or service, in the case of an advertisement. I.e., what’s in it for them. As I said earlier, don’t be overly concerned about the length of your copy.

The second technique involves the use of testimonials, which are statements of praise and testimony from existing customers. This alleviates the “Guinea Pig” factor -- the concern that they are the first to buy or use your product or service. Additionally, your future customers would like to know that they are in good company with other folk within their peer group. Testimonials are a great way to achieve this.

In a word, this is where you CLOSE the deal. Be specific and keep it simple. Tell your reader exactly what to do and then make it easy for them to follow your instructions. If you have done everything correctly up to this point, this should be very straightforward.

Something as simple as “Lean More,” “Free Trial Offer,” “Contact Us Now,” or “Order Now,” is generally all that’s required. Make sure that you have a simple to use form or template for your reader to fill out and submit, or the whole thing falls apart!