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Whether you’re an established Nashville mom-and-pop-shop or an up and coming web-based startup, you’re losing opportunities if you’re not focusing on your presales game. If there’s one thing our firm knows about small business consultant services firsthand, it’s that today’s crowded marketplace requires you to do everything you can to help buyers upfront when they’re evaluating your brand.

Not every potential customer is ready to buy right now

Think about it. How quickly do you make purchasing decisions? Most likely, before you try a new brand, you’ve looked at multiple different channels:

  • YouTube videos
  • Social media posts
  • Blog articles
  • Infographics
  • Spoken to friends and family

You may have even checked out a demo or free sample to make sure you’re ending up with the best possible product or service. And chances are, the less familiar you were with the brand, the more research you did before buying.

When it comes to effective business consulting for small businesses, understanding the principles of AIDA is paramount. The AIDA model is a classic marketing model that centers around the idea that not all potential customers are ready to buy right now. Therefore, you need to communicate with them and guide them through every stage in their evaluation process:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Common small business mistakes of attracting clients

A common mistake that small businesses often make when trying to attract clients, is focusing all of their efforts on leads who are willing to make a purchase today. While that strategy might be very effective at closing certain sales, it also means that you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with a significant percentage of your audience.

One of the first things a small business consultant services agency will often do is revise the marketing and sales strategies. Sales and marketing consulting for small business becomes essential at this stage to target consumers at every stage of the evaluation process. This includes two clearly different audiences: people who’ve never heard of you but align with your brand’s values, and people who like what you have to offer but aren’t ready to make a commitment just yet.

Small business consultant services agencies use AIDA

Business consultants for small businesses help clients win customers by providing their target audience with value before they even make a purchase. Keeping in mind that people in different phases of the evaluation process will find value in different types of content, small business consulting firms break down value offerings using the AIDA model. Small business management consulting is crucial to strategize and implement these stages effectively. 

AIDA Model - Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.


Awareness is exactly what it sounds like – letting your target audience know that your brand or new product exists.

This first step in any AIDA campaign can be done using traditional and digital advertising routes, such as:

As a branding consultant for small business, we’ve seen companies that really want to gain awareness often use attention-grabbing guerilla marketing campaigns that interact with the world around them almost like art installations.

One such example is Nivea’s cellulite couch installation, presented during Miami Fashion Week, which was tufted on one side (representing cellulite) and smooth on the other (showing what Nivea’s new cellulite-removing lotion can do).


Consulting for small business owners is about creating Interest. Once your target market knows about your brand, it’s time to pique their interest by letting them know what you can offer that your competition can’t. During this phase of AIDA, your potential clients are still thinking cognitively rather than emotionally, so appeal to their rational minds by using facts, figures, and statistics.

The interest phase can use many of the same channels as the awareness phase, but these ads tend to be a little more direct in letting customers know how the brand stands out.

FedEx didn’t beat around the bush when it designed its ‘Always First’ campaign, which consisted of FedEx trucks painted to show the nose of a DHL truck at the rear, giving consumers a visual representation of how much quicker FedEx delivery is compared to the competition.


The desire phase often looks very similar to the interest phase, and it’s not uncommon for there to be overlap between the two. This phase is where logic turns into emotion, and “I’d quite like this” turns into “I really want this.”

To successfully instill desire in your audience, you need to get them emotionally invested in your brand and help them imagine how much better their life will be when they have it. One of the easiest ways to do this is with freebies:

  • Food or beverage samples
  • Test driving a car
  • e-Books or templates
  • Webinars that showcase your expertise

Samples allow potential buyers to experience your product for themselves and provide an opportunity to prove that your product “tastes better” instead of just saying it. You might not love the idea of giving stuff away for free, but free samples can boost sales by as much as 2000%

Two local Nashville businesses, Savannah’s Candy Kitchen and Tennessee Legend Distillery, are known and loved by residents for their generous policies on sampling, which naturally attracts many repeat customers.


During the Action phase, in small business strategy consulting, keep in mind that you want to guide your audience deeper into the sales funnel towards acting in a specific way.  Of course, you’re ultimately hoping to guide them towards making a purchase, but before that your goal might be smaller, like getting them to provide their contact information so you can follow up with them later.

During the action phase, you’ll want to give your audience incentive to act by offering something like:

  • Limited time offers
  • Free downloads (in exchange for contact info)
  • Discounts for signing up to your newsletter

Some companies offer incentives from multiple angles. Lime Crime Cosmetics, for example, offers website visitors 15% off for signing up for its newsletter, which provides the company with the visitor’s email address. However, the 15% offer expires after two weeks, creating a sense of urgency that persuades the consumer to make a purchase sooner rather than later.

How to use AIDA to gain more business

As any business consultants for small businesses worth their salt will tell you, you need to earn your audience’s trust before they’ll be willing to buy from you, especially if you’re marketing a small business without much brand recognition. By giving people a taste of the value you offer, they’ll be much more likely to consider choosing you over a competitor.

Ways to add value to potential clients - demonstrations, value content. research, tools on your website.

You can add value to potential clients by providing any number of offerings, such as:

When implementing AIDA, focus on what your audience would value most and try to create elements of value that connect with each phase of the AIDA sales model.

And importantly, don’t offer something if you’re not planning to put your best foot forward. If you impress people by following through on your promises, you can’t expect those prospects to ever come back.

How to start showing value before you sell

Any time you make a decision about an aspect of your business development plan, from new product development to marketing campaigns, it’s crucial that you keep your target audience in mind. After all, they’re the ones you started the business for, so it’s important to make decisions that will best serve them.

When you’re figuring out what your audience cares about the most, asking your sales team will provide valuable insight. Your salespeople will have intimate knowledge of your customers’ pain points and the questions they ask the most, which you can use to help move them through the sales funnel.

Remember to create content for leads in every phase of the sales process, from people who have never heard of you to the ones who just need a final little nudge to make a purchasing decision. The wider the net you cast, the more leads you’ll reach.

The most important thing to know before starting with AIDA is that you probably won’t get it right the first time. The best thing you can do is jump in feet first and adjust as you get feedback from your core audience.

Need help attracting more customers? Take the Stairs can help.

Person establishing a sales funnel for their company.

Take the Stairs is a Nashville-based agency providing business consulting for small businesses and helps clients with everything from business development and social media advertising to web development and branding.

Our consulting services for small businesses are tailored to implement the AIDA model seamlessly, ensuring attention, interest, desire, and action are strategically integrated into your business strategy.

We understand how much the average small business owner has on their plate, and we strive to create efficient, streamlined solutions that will take the guesswork out of growing your customer base.

If you’re ready to learn how we can help, contact us to schedule a discovery call.

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