In 1898 in The Inland Printer, one of the most famous 19th-century magazines, anonymous words appeared in one of the columns describing how advertising works: “The mission of advertising is to attract the reader so that he looks at the advertisement and begins to read it; then to interest him so that he continues to read; then to persuade him so that, after reading, he believes it. If an ad contains these three characteristics of success, it is a successful ad.” These principles described by advertising and sales pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis are still relevant today and are known by the acronym AIDA.
The AIDA model – table of contents:
AIDA – what does it stand for?
The average consumer takes an average of 9 months to decide to buy a product – the path he or she takes in this area is perfectly described by the AIDA model, now undoubtedly the best-known classic marketing formula (especially relevant for content creators). The acronym described, which shows how advertising interacts with the consumer, comes from English:
- Attention (attracting attention) – to build brand awareness in the recipient,
- Interest (interest in the product) – to show the benefits of using the product or service,
- Desire (arouse desire) – to provide an emotional connection between the customer and the product or service,
- Action (stimulate action) – through the clear location of the CTA to achieve your desired goal.
These four elements clearly show what stages of the buying process each customer goes through, according to the cognitive (thinking about the product), affective (wanting the product) and behavioral (buying the product) levels. For this reason, the model is also often called the hierarchy-of-effects theory and is compared to a typical marketing sales funnel.
Sometimes AIDA is expanded to include additional areas such as loyalty (when a consumer who has made a purchase once becomes a returning customer), satisfaction (the most important element of the purchase path that gives a chance to choose the offer again) or engagement (the quest for obtaining brand ambassadors).
How to apply AIDA
The marketing model described above brilliantly demonstrates that the key issue in encouraging a purchase is to arouse different emotions in the customer – from interest to the desire to own. For this reason, brands employ AIDA model to determine how they should formulate and distribute marketing messages to their target audiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
How then should you implement the AIDA model into your company’s daily marketing efforts? First of all, it’s worth exploiting it to generate various types of content – from sales pitches, blog articles to social media posts (as part of a coherent and well-thought-out social media communication strategy). Whether structuring content on your website or designing advertising campaigns, it’s worth keeping this model in mind to exercise a kind of control over your customers’ buying decisions. The scheme for all the communication you establish should look like this:
- Attracting attention
- Stimulating interest
- Inciting the desire to own
- Urging action
At this stage, the customer asks you the question “what is it?” and you need to answer in an interesting way, such as with a video with custom effects, a funny slogan, a specific headline or the shape and colors of the graphic that make them stop their eyes as they scroll through the content on Facebook or Instagram. In this area, you should have a proper understanding of your customer’s needs (including their motivations and frustrations) to build an emotional connection with them from the beginning.
Reaching this stage means that the customer in question states “I like what you offer.” – this will happen through specific information about your brand, the benefits he or she will gain by interacting with it, or ways to sustain the emotional bond that is constantly built. In the next part of the text, post or video, you should therefore sustain the potential customer’s attention, based on available data, opinions of authorities or proven results of using your offer. Storytelling is ideal at this stage.
“I want to have it” – this is the effect you are aiming at throughout your marketing message or sales activity. This attitude in the customers means that you have sufficiently convinced them that the product or service is simply necessary. Now you need to focus on presenting the uniqueness of your offer.
A CTA is an essential part of most of the content you prepare – although it can be different in each case, depending on your established needs (“subscribe to the channel,” “subscribe to the newsletter,” “download the ebook,” “buy the product”). Giving the motivation to take action at the end of the text will help trigger an “I buy” or “I use” attitude.
Creating marketing messages based on the model outlined above is significant facilitation of day-to-day operations, providing a guarantee – through years of applying – that it will have the desired effect.
AIDA model – summary
Every person who works in marketing, advertising or sales daily has come across the AIDA model and has certainly put it into practice in their marketing efforts. It’s because, in the 100 years since Lewis devised his theory, nothing in the principles of encouraging consumers to buy has changed. Therefore, remember these four elements of the model presented (attention, interest, desire, action) every time you set up your marketing and sales strategies.