AIDA is a 4-step model used by marketers to trigger the act of buying a prospect or to encourage it to carry out a marketing action.
What does AIDA mean?
AIDA is an advertising acronym, which refers to a reference model for marketing professionals. Originally formed by American publicist Elias St Elmo Lewis in the late 19th century to structure a sales speech, it was most recently popularized by copywriter Gary Halbert. The 4 phases described by this methodology correspond to the steps that a consumer must take to trigger a consumer’s purchase or marketing action.
This advertising method aims to attract and convert a prospect into a customer, a visitor into a buyer, on a site, in a store, via an emailing campaign or any type of marketing action. AIDA offers a simple framework for thinking to use to develop a customer journey and design a conversion tunnel.
Each phase defined by the AIDA concept responds to a specific need:
- Attention: attracting, capturing the attention of the consumer,
- Interest: sparking, sharpening interest,
- Desire: provoke, stimulate one’s desire,
- Action: encourage action, trigger the act of purchase.
The AIDA method can be used as part of an inbound marketing, direct marketing or operational marketing strategy, to design any type of content or marketing actions, such as an emailing campaign, mailing, a banner on a website or a landing page.
A as Attention
In this first step, it is a question of finding a way to attract the attention of its target, and this from the first seconds of exposure of the message, while managing to stand out in the face of the competition. The commercial must be seen, read or heard, so that the prospect can see your brand and the products or services it markets.
There are different ways to get noticed by your target:
- use strong images, visual animations with bright colors,
- heal his hook with a hard-hitting title and a font that will catch the eye,
- customize an email campaign by incorporating the prospect’s first name to show that you are speaking directly to him,
- create surprise, taking content out of context, using humour or even a daring message,
- communicate on an enticing promotion, a novelty
The content and its visual appearance represent the two fundamental elements of this phase. The context of the message and its location can also be good springs, depending on the strategy in place.
I as Interest
Once you’ve been able to get your prospect’s attention, the second phase of the AIDA method is to get their interest in the product or service you want to sell to them, or the action you expect from them. It is then necessary to convince it of its usefulness by creating a connection between the message delivered and the need to which it will respond.
To do this, it is necessary to know your target. The use of personas makes it easier to put yourself in the shoes of the prospect to better understand his expectations as his needs. The commercial should present the main features of the product or service, while telling a story or anecdote that will affect the prospect. The title and the first sentences are essential: they must be short and relevant in order to arouse the interest of the target.
D as Desire
This is the ultimate step before the sale. It is intended to provoke the prospect’s intention to purchase, which has been exposed to the commercial. The aim here is to show the benefits of the offer and how it must be irresistible in the eyes of the target. The goal: to develop your desire to own the product, to use the service, and thus live a unique experience with the solution offered to it.
Among the actions to be put in place, it is possible to highlight:
- text content, with a list of features in the form of a smart list,
- explanatory videos,
- case studies,
- testimonials from people who have already used the product or service
A sense of community, through testimonials or opinions, is an effective lever to use in this third stage.
A as Action
After instigates the potential customer through these different stages of the journey, it’s time for him to take action that you expect from him, whether it’s buying a product or carrying out a marketing action. The use of a CTA (or call to action) facilitates the transformation of desire into a concrete act:
- in an emailing: visit a web page by clicking on a CTA,
- on a website: click on a promotional offer and access its shopping cart for the transaction,
- on a landing page: ask to test a demo or be recalled,
- in a form: download content, a white paper
It is also possible to play on the feeling of scarcity of a product (liquidation of a stock), the urgency to buy it now (last minute offer) or its exceptional character (its low price, a gift or a discount in exchange for the purchase) to help with the conversion.
Alternatives to the AIDA method
While the formula is widely used in marketing, it is also sometimes criticized. The different phases of the purchasing process described in this way would not take sufficient account of other steps, such as trusting or retaining, which take place after the act of purchase, in the case of the customer journey. Among the other elements missing from the AIDA model, critics point to the growing influence of brand awareness, which can make a difference in the process.
Thus, two other alternatives to the model created more than 100 years ago exist to best adapt to new consumption and purchasing habits, incorporating the notion of trust towards the brand and customer satisfaction after the act of purchase:
- AIDAS model: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action and Satisfaction,
- AIDCAS: Attention, Interest, Desire, Trust, Action and Satisfaction.