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What is the AIDA model?

AIDA is a model that has been used in marketing and advertising since 1898, when the term was first coined by E. St. Elmo Lewis, an American advertising pioneer. It was first conceived as a way to improve success rate in sales, helping salespeople to break down the customer journey and target each stage with a different strategy and approach.

Of course, the world of marketing and advertising has evolved drastically since 1898, but the AIDA model has always prevailed as a tried and tested approach.

What does AIDA stand for?

AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, and each of these components represent a different stage in a customer’s journey.

Attention: Who are you?

Attention is generally gained in the first interaction between customer and brand. You’re introducing your product to the world, so you need to turn heads.

Interest: What are you offering?

Once you’ve attracted the attention of a potential customer, you need to maintain interest. This is where you sell all the key points of interest – the ‘what is the product?’ before you answer ‘why should I buy it?’

Desire: Why do people need it?

Once a potential customer is interested, you’ve now got to convert that into desire to actually own the product. Here, you’ll answer what makes the product so relevant and useful for your potential customers, with the aim of building an emotional connection between the customer and the product.

Action: How, where and when can people get it?

Finally, it’s time to take action. This is where you close the deal – and you want that to be a simple, straightforward process.

How to use the AIDA model in marketing

AIDA marketing is not so much a process or method as it is a point of reference – a checklist that you can use to ensure your content is well-positioned for conversion.

How to attract attention

For the attention stage of the journey, it’s all about raising awareness around your brand. This means striking, eye-catching content whether through a digital PR campaign, an outreach strategy, or traditional advertising like a billboard or banner ad. What’s most important here is standing out.

How to maintain interest

Interest is where you highlight the specific qualities of your product, for example, the features it offers and the solutions it provides. Think about what sets your product or service apart and what makes it relevant for your target market. Whether it’s the product descriptions on your website, blog posts, guides, or your social media presence, shaping your content around gaining and maintaining interest is a crucial step.

How to inspire desire

Desire will also play a huge part in how you shape your content. By maintaining interest, you know your customers may want the product – but desire is where you persuade the customer that they need it. This can come through the tone of voice and language you use in your content. With every stage of AIDA marketing, understanding your target market is essential, and especially so at this point. Building an emotional connection is the best way to convert interest into desire.

How to encourage action

In the final stage of the AIDA model, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to make a purchase. There’s no guaranteed sale until the transaction is complete, and a long and complicated process could convince a customer to take their business elsewhere.  You should include CTAs that encourage a sense of urgency, such as offering a limited time deal if a customer makes their purchase immediately, or even simple CTAs like ‘Go to Checkout’ or ‘Buy Now’. 

You can use the AIDA model to help you conceptualise your entire content strategy, or even just for a single ad. The layout and design of the ad should capture attention. The headings, bullet-points and imagery should attract interest. Desire should be targeted in the body copy and tone of the ad. Finally, you’ll encourage the customer to take action with contact details, links and CTAs that direct them to the point of sale.

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