As consumers of various products, we see many ads on social media and the internet in general. Some of them do attract us, and some we just skip past. Some make us compare prices on different products, and some have such tempting offers that we cannot resist buying the product.
But, have you ever stopped and thought: “Why do I do such things?” “Why do I always decide to checkout or buy whenever my favorite brand's ads come in front of my eyes?”
The answer is simple: whenever you come across a brand, the company strategically influences you at every stage of the sales funnel. They do this using the AIDA marketing model, which has been popular for over a hundred years. It helps the company break the customer journey/behavior into distinct and manageable parts.
The brand can then create plans and strategies, so the customer is compelled to engage with the brand.
How they do so is the topic of this blog. So sit tight, grab a cup of coffee, and learn about what is the AIDA model.
AIDA is an acronym for Awareness, Intrest, Desire, And Action. It’s one of the oldest and most widely used marketing models that describes a potential journey a customer will go through before purchasing. AIDA allows companies to focus their efforts on the primary objective of their activities when optimizing their marketing efforts.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how the AIDA model developed as the most ubiquitous and commonly used marketing model by looking at the history of its development.
We can trace the evolution of AIDA as a marketing concept back to 1898. An American advertising advocate named Elias St. Elmo Lewis wrote anonymously in a magazine article about the three principles of marketing he found helpful throughout his career. In his own words, the AIDA model was explained as follows:
“The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him so that when he has read it, he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.”
By Lewis’s statement, we can figure out that the copy of the advertisement is extremely important. The copy is only compelling if it successfully captures the reader's attention, generates interest, and creates conviction in the reader.
The AIDA acronym was first used in 1921 in Printers Ink, a popular publication. And has been called the same ever since.
Today, the AIDA model is seen as a funnel with distinct stages. Back then, it was called a scale, and it looked something like this:
The concept behind the scale model was this: for an advertisement to work, it had to lift the weight of a potential customer’s interest and attention before it could become a sale.
Therefore, the AIDA model was defined this way because it was supposed to give advertisers a clear framework on how to carry a potential customer's interest for them to become a sale.
Now that you are familiar with the history of the AIDA model let’s discuss the stages of this model and how these stages work in tandem with each other to bring about a sale.
Theoretically, the AIDA model works by progressing the customer through each stage of the model. Once they understand your offerings, they will start to develop certain feelings and emotions about your products or services, which can compel them to make the purchase decision.
Here’s how you can implement the AIDA model for your business:
The awareness stage is where a potential customer becomes aware of your brand. This can be achieved by putting your content at the front and center of your customers. You must make your content engaging and attention-grabbing enough to make your customers curious. Keep in mind the principles of copywriting espoused by Lewis. You can leverage increased brand awareness and compelling messaging by showcasing your content.
Your content should also provide solutions to your customers' various pain points. If your content can resolve their problems and focus on their passions, you can draw them in.
Also, ensure your content is discoverable through all potential touch points such as emails, Google, and social media.
While the first stage of AIDA is all about capturing the attention of your potential customers, the second stage is about holding it. To get to this stage, you need to have content that is persuasive and engaging.
Once your target audience is engaged, they will want to learn more about you, the benefit of your product or service, and your compatibility with them.
To make your target audience feel excited, you need to align yourself closely with their needs and values. One way to do this is to create stories that resonate with them. Storytelling has been a medium employed for centuries to stimulate feelings of empathy, curiosity, and excitement.
You can employ email marketing as a medium for storytelling and craft newsletters using tools like Mailmunch to get across your message. With a top-notch array of email newsletter templates and a highly intuitive drag-and-drop builder, you can create exciting newsletters that your audience will be happy to read.
So, use stories as a “hook” to demonstrate the why behind the solution you’re offering.
It’s human nature to work with someone they genuinely trust. So, the next stage in the AIDA model is to become trustworthy enough in the eyes of your audience for them to say, “I want this.”
Your target audience, at this stage, enjoys consuming the content you provide them with. You must identify the gaps between where your audience is and where they can be with your solutions and create content to help them get where you want them to be.
Keep serving your audience with content, be it blog posts, social media posts, or landing pages containing ebooks or other gated content.
Moreover, establish social proof with case studies, success stories, and testimonials that attest to the effectiveness of your product or service.
The more prospects engage with your content, the more likely they will trust you, boosting their purchase chances.
After generating enough desire for your product or service, give your audience a chance to act on it by providing a clear next step. Keep the next step low-friction but high in value. By high value, we mean there should be something for the customer. After all, what’s the point of all the relationship-building exercises if the reward isn’t substantial enough?
If they understand the outcome of the next step and find it valuable enough, they are more than likely to act. Use a CTA that spells out exactly what action the customer needs to take and what they will get for taking action. The CTA could be a button or even a banner.
The AIDA model has now become a standard for all marketing activities, but it has a few shortcomings that require you to supplement it with newer models. Let’s take a closer look at all the pros and cons of the AIDA model.
The AIDA model can help marketers understand the market with its distinct stages. Moreover, they can understand the nature and motivations of their target market and mold their marketing activities to match the intent of their campaigns.
The AIDA model is ideal for understanding customer behavior. Once marketers understand how customers perceive their brand and products, they can capitalize on this knowledge to meet customer needs and build robust customer relationships.
With its straightforward design, the AIDA model is still a benchmark for optimizing a brand’s identity and online presence. For example, if you have an eCommerce store and want to strengthen your presence online, you can use the AIDA model as a checklist to identify weaknesses in your strategy. You can ask questions such as:
Marketers can save critical time by employing the AIDA model. As this model specifies all the necessary stages, thus, providing marketers with recommendations that they can conveniently follow and ensure that they get all the basics covered while spending time on developing more complex marketing strategies.
The AIDA model is great for a linear buying process, but when it comes to buyer journeys that don’t adhere to the linear approach, it isn’t as effective. For example, customers initially get interested in your solution but leave for a different one, only to return when their needs aren’t met.
However, other models cater to non-linear buyer journeys. Namely:
Another drawback of the AIDA approach is that because of its fixed stages model, it doesn’t consider super short sales cycles or impulse purchases. Because of this, a customer might have to go through multiple AIDA stages simultaneously.
The AIDA model is severely restricted to first-time buyers. Your sales funnel should have customers as output regardless of whether they are first-time buyers or repeat customers. After all, it’s easier to upsell or retain customers than to acquire new ones.
Moreover, you can cater to the customers, fulfill their needs, and in return, testimonials and referrals, generating more attention and customers.
Another con of AIDA is that you can only focus on one stage or element at a time which is a mistake. You need to make this model part of a more holistic strategy. You can easily make the mistake of segmenting the four AIDA stages and applying each stage to a different marketing tactic. For example, a blog post is not to get a customer's attention. Instead, it should make the customer aware of your brand and products and generate interest.
You might have come across the AIDA model in daily life in such nuanced ways that you didn’t even realize it. Here we will discuss a few examples of each stage of the AIDA model and see why they are so effective.
Notion is a product management tool that utilizes content marketing as a way to generate traffic to its website. Notion’s resource page is where you should take inspiration to create your awareness stage strategy. From blogs, webinars, guides, and tutorials, Notion uses a variety of content to generate awareness about its latest offerings and help resolve customer pain points.
New York Times is a large newspaper publication with a digital readership of 8.6 million subscribers. They use the AIDA model to generate interest in their Internation paper offerings with the hook, “Get the New York Times International Paper delivered, plus the full digital experience.”
Calendly uses case studies to build desires among its users. Check out the headline on one of these case studies, “How Calendly Delivered 1,037% ROI for Churchill Mortgage.” This “Before and After” style content is a great way to stimulate desire in your customers.
When they see that, with your solution, they can achieve an ROI of 1,037%, eventually, they will covet your product. Moreover, they will probably take action when they see social proof in a customer success story.
Evernote’s home page is a great example of how to spurn your customers into taking action. With a catchy headline and the sub-heading, they are addressing their customers' pain point: efficient task management through Evernote.
They have made taking action frictionless by providing the CTA “Sign up for free” directly below the headline. So, when users see it, they will immediately think of the end of their task management worries and sign up.
Besides this, placing a CTA at the front and center of the homepage allows Evernote to collect leads while delighting the leads with valuable information.
With over a century of it being in use, the AIDA model is still great for defining the basics of a marketing strategy.
Businesses of any dimension and size can use it to get a baseline ready for their marketing strategy and then build more complex and nuanced marketing setups that complement this model. Keep in mind that the AIDA model should be a part of your overall growth strategy.
Leverage content marketing and persuade and convert your target audience into paying customers. But be sure to know the customer journey before starting.
A voracious reader and a music lover, Ammar has been writing engaging and informative content for over 3 years for B2B and B2C markets. With a knack for writing SEO-optimized content, Ammar ensures the results speak for themselves.