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Master the AIDA-model for improved business results

Advertisement in 2018 means competition. If you want to sell, you need to stand out. Be original. Push the right buttons. Convince your target audience. Luckily, marketers have been trying to look for the best and most efficient ways to do this since the beginning of the previous century. This is how they invented the AIDA-model around the early 1900’s.

You might have already heard of AIDA because it is a very broad model. It applies to various fields like communication, marketing, and copywriting. You have without a doubt been a target of the model because advertisements are everywhere (unless you live in a secret society somewhere in the mountains). In this article, you will learn about the AIDA-model in more detail. How it relates to marketing and eCommerce and how you can use it for business growth. And all that with a neuromarketing twist.

AIDA - Attention, Interest, Desire, & Action

The 4 steps of AIDA

The AIDA-model describes the process an individual goes through when buying a something. This process takes place over time and will often not happen in a day. There are all kinds of influences, changes and fluctuations during the buying process. The worst thing that can happen, is that your prospect leaves before buying your product. There can be several reasons why this happens. For example, your competitor offers a similar product that created more desire. Or the individual saw another advertisement that evoked more interest. To reach the last phase of the process —an individual buying the product— all 4 steps need to be fulfilled in a specific order. The model is an acronym consisting of the following steps:

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  1. Attention
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action

Grab someone’s attention, get the customer interested and hooked, make sure they desire your product and then get them into action so they will buy it. It is important to remember that one phase needs to be completed before you can reach the next one. Creating desire if you haven’t grabbed someone’s attention is not going to happen. Also, the shape of the model is an upside-down pyramid because you will reach the attention of most, but will not persuade all to eventually buy. We will now discuss every phase in more detail so you can start applying AIDA yourself!

AIDA step 1: Grab their attention

The first phase of the model starts with grabbing someone’s attention. This means your message needs to be noticed by your prospective customer. You need to make them curious and make sure they want to know more. We want to warn you: the importance of attention is often underestimated. Of course, as a marketer, you believe you sell the best product on the market. Keep in mind that you only provide value when others know about this. Your product can be genial and wrapped up in an excellent marketing plan, but if no one ever heard about it, what’s the point?

“Superior sales and distribution by itself can create a monopoly. An extremely superior product without good sales and distribution cannot. — Peter Thiel (co-founder Paypal, Palantir, and Clarium)

Apply it yourself

Human attention is an interesting area explored by psychologists, neuroscientists and biologists. A lot of this research focuses on consciousness or being aware of an external object. How do you attract someone’s attention? By stimulating the senses. The most obvious organ to stimulate for marketing purposes are the eyes. You can advertise on television, publish a website or place a billboard next to a busy road. The key is in making the visual message striking. Here are two ways to do this:

  1. AIDA step 1: Use disruption to draw atention
    Suitsupply attracts attention with their kissing men

    use disruption; you literally grab their attention by disrupting them. You can do this by placing ads in unusual locations or situations. An example of this is the latest campaign by Suitsupply. It evoked a lot of reactions worldwide! The company exposed kissing men to show the attraction between humans. Despite a lot of negative reactions, Suitsupply definitely grabbed the attention of thousands of people.

  2. make your message personal; it’s always nice when someone remembers your name. You can grab their attention and make your customer feel special by using their name in communication. One example how to do this, is starting an email from a campaign with “Hi Milou! Here is our monthly newsletter again” grabs my attention more than a message like “Our monthly newsletter is out again“. Don’t be afraid to get personal with your customers! Emotional marketing is making its uprise.

AIDA step 2: Make them interested

Good, now that you have your customer’s attention, the next step is to make them interested. This step can be a bit more complicated because the product might only be interesting to a specific group of people—your target audience. It is therefore very important to determine this group. Who will need my product and how can I make these individuals interested? In practice, you will have someone’s interest when they pick up your folder or click to your website to read more about what you have to offer. How do you get people to do this?

  • Use the right frame for your content; the way you communicate your message can have a massive impact on your target group. By using the right words and images, you can win or lose someone’s interest. The use of a long, dull text will result in the latter. Try to write original, entertaining or mysterious content.
  • Use social proof to invite questions. We are social animals. When we see that many or similar others are positive about what you offer, we want to know why. This can be a review, case study, or even a statistic. Want to truly optimise your message? Try combining framing and social proof.

AIDA step 3: Create desire

The attention is there. The interest is there. Now it’s time to make your customer want the product. You can create this desire by accumulating positive arguments. Our brain works on associations and we turn everything into stories. Even a purchase. As a marketer, your job is to build a persuasive story in which your offer enhances the quality of life of your buyer. Just remember: features tell, benefits sell.

  • Show off advantages; you can do this by putting your product in a positive context. Why is your product better than the one from your competitor? A technique you can use is positive priming, where you create a positive association for your customer. Showing an image where a happy person uses your product, creates feelings of positivity. You could also combine authority and social proof and ask an influencer for a positive review.
  • Create the feeling of scarcity; we view a product as more valuable when we believe it is scarce. People generally have a Fear of Missing out (FOMO), meaning that we feel regret when not being able to seize an opportunity. Adding a product as a limited edition will increase FOMO and desire.

AIDA step 4: Action!

Create desire
Tony Chocolonely often sells limited edition chocolate

Congratulations! Now that your prospective customer has completed 3 levels of the AIDA-model, we come to the final one: making sure they act on their desire. Some people have already left the process, but the ones interested will need that final push to make it happen. Often there is a barrier that prevents the prospect from buying. In this phase, your job is to overcome any potential objections and motivate action. What can you do to finish it?

  • Make sure your product is easily accessible; even the smallest detail like product positioning in a supermarket can be a gamechanger. For a webshop, a frictionless product selection and purchase process are vital. Any errors or confusion can lead the customer to click away from your page.
  • Write a clear and inviting call to action; you may need to help prospects make the decision. Most people hope that when their offer is good enough, others will act, but any interruption can lead to forgetfulness and a missed chance. If you believe that what you have is good for them, call them to action. It’s even okay to make them feel a little pressured by applying scarcity. The simple fact is, you have to ask for the sale.

With this article, we hope we made you understand one of the most notorious marketing models out there. The AIDA-model is old, but gold. If you master the 4 steps we just explained, your product will be a success. Need any help, or have questions? Contact us!


Milou Odekerken

A passion for writing combined with fascination for the brain to give you the best neuromarketing content!

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