Turning Strangers into Buying Customers

Posted: 11th May 2015

Turning Strangers into Buying Customers the Marketing Strategy Context

Many businesses focus a lot of their time, energy and budget on marketing activities that raise
awareness. But it’s not enough to think that if you just make people aware of what you do, they will
somehow magically end up buying from you.

1. When planning your marketing process or a marketing campaign, you need to write down
exactly how you will move people from;

Having no idea that you even exist
Being aware of you and what you do
Being interested in what you have to offer and telling you so
Actually experiencing a little bit of what you have to offer
Parting with their hard earned cash for what you have to offer.
And then buying from you again,
and telling all their friends how fantastic you are

2. Then, and only then, write down what marketing activities you will use at each stage in order
to move people through this process.
3. What do your prospects need to know, feel and experience in order to take the next step?
4. How will you communicate this to them?
The AIDCA model is used to remind us that we all move through different stages when making a
buying decision. It is a framework to explain how persuasive communication works.


So, when we are in the process of buying something, we first become aware of it, then we develop
an interest in it, then we get a desire for it.

It is likely that we are moving away from the purely logical to the more emotional – from the head to
the heart. Then sometimes reality kicks back in at the “conviction” stage. Conviction triggers our
intention and converts it into action – i.e. we buy.

If we accept that our customers or clients will be experiencing this sequence when making up their
minds about buying from us, there are 2 key factors at work that will influence their behaviour at
each stage. I call these the 2 Cs – Comfort and Confidence.

As a general rule of thumb, you need to be giving your prospect the comfort and confidence they
need at each stage in order for them to take the next step.

The more expensive the purchase, the greater the risk or sensitivity, the more complex the
proposition, the longer this will take.

We can use AIDCA as a framework in our marketing process to remind us that we need to work on
more than just “awareness”. “Action” means buying, repeat buying, and then going on to refer us.
But between “awareness” and “action” there is a lot of work to be done.

Many people make the mistake of throwing all their efforts at raising awareness of their product or
service and then hoping that, if they’ve done enough, some of those exposed to their initial message
will end up buying. Some will, but this “front end” approach is unlikely to be sustainable or to
provide a regular, predictable stream of customers.

A more robust approach is to acknowledge that prospects need to progress through several more
stages before they are ready and willing to buy from you. Understanding your target market’s buying
motivations is key to working out what these stages are and what comfort and confidence factors
you need to supply at each stage.

Here is a summary of the basic process framework;

Total stranger
Awareness Aware of you and what you do Give them 
Interest Interested in you and what you do • Comfort
Desire and are telling you so • Confidence
Conviction Experienced you for free (or low investment) Make it really easy for them to take the next step
Action Paid for your product or service
Repeat customer
Evangelist – your unpaid sales force


By Jane Heaton of Jane Heaton Associates

Telephone: 01386 701944  E-mail: jane.heaton@janeheatonassociates.com

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