What Is the AIDA Model? (With How-to Guide and Example)
Updated 14 September 2022
Customer journeys provide valuable information to marketing and advertising departments that wish to know more about their customers' purchasing habits. The AIDA model is useful for tracking the mental steps a customer takes before making a purchase. Understanding this model is important for learning about customers and better catering to their needs, potentially increasing a customer base and improving profits. In this article, we answer the question to 'What is the AIDA model?', describe how to use it and provide an AIDA model example.
What is the AIDA model?
Before explaining the use of the AIDA model, it's important to answer the question 'What is the AIDA model?' AIDA is an acronym and stands for awareness, interest, desire and action. It's a marketing, advertising and public relations model that tracks the mental steps a customer takes while purchasing a product. It's similar to a marketing funnel and explains each stage of the purchasing process, allowing brand holders to gain a better understanding of their customers' thought processes while interacting with a product.
There's also a fifth optional step known as retention for companies that wish to foster long-term brand loyalty. The AIDA model has multiple uses, but professionals primarily use it in sales cycles and marketing departments. For sales departments, it guides salespeople in their communications with potential customers, providing relevant information to encourage them to purchase. Marketing departments mainly use the model for market analysis and understanding more about their customer demographics, thus providing more information for future campaigns to better target their consumer base.
How to use the AIDA model
Using the AIDA model can vary depending on the types of companies or industries that use it. Here's a guide to help you use the model to gain a greater insight into consumers' decision-making processes when they approach a product:
The first stage of the AIDA model refers to awareness of a product or brand. Typically, this is when the customer wants to get as much information as possible about the brand or product to decide whether they like its marketing materials and the methods that advertisers use to attract customers. To use this stage of the model most effectively, it's important to create enticing television advertisements, billboards and marketing materials to ensure that the customers' first interaction with the brand is positive.
This is where advertisers generate the most leads for a company, so it's important to appeal to the widest possible demographic to generate leads and potential revenue streams. Some of the ways that you can generate the most awareness include:
Guerilla marketing: Guerilla marketing refers to advertisers using unconventional methods to attract attention to their campaigns. This can include art installations or abstract ways of building brand awareness that encourage potential customers to find out more about a product.
Exciting commercials: Television commercials that excitingly portray a brand or product are a good way to build awareness. Consider using other types of media such as streaming commercials in retail settings and cinemas and encouraging other industries to distribute the advertisement.
Social media: Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to reach a wide audience economically. Consider using targeted marketing tools on social media to attract the attention of potential customers from a certain demographic, such as their location or age.
The second step of the AIDA model is where you use ways to generate interest in a brand or product. The interest stage is where the customer typically wants to find out more about a product or brand, so it's important to provide enough educational material for them. Advertisers and marketing agencies can also use this stage to begin fostering relationships with their customer base, providing friendly and educational materials that build trust and start brand loyalty. Typically, you can foster this interest in several ways, including the following:
Using a storyline: Using a compelling storyline in an advertising campaign is an important part of building an emotional connection between the customer and the product. If a customer feels invested in the brand's storyline, such as their journey, they may feel more motivated to invest in the product.
Providing product features: It's important to provide clarity when building interest in a brand or product, so consider giving as much information as possible about the product. This also helps to build trust and educate the consumer, helping them establish whether the product matches their needs.
Including positive reviews: When educating consumers, consider using positive reviews from satisfied customers as a successful marketing tactic. This can help build trust in customers and allow them to determine whether a product or brand is right for them based on previous customer experiences.
The model's desire phase is when the customer decides that they need or want the product. Typically, customers desire a product alongside developing their interest, but sometimes, it may take them longer to realise that the product is right for them. It's important to try to utilise this stage to convert leads into revenue. The best way to generate desire among customers is to demonstrate that the product fulfils a service, preferably targeting their customers' main pain points.
During this phase, you could also attest to the product or service's value, explaining what the customer can gain from their investment in it. Another way to generate desire is by communicating the branding to the customer. To do this, you could highlight the brand's unique characteristics and value.
In most cases, the action phase of the AIDA model is the final step where the consumer decides to act based on their desire. Typically, this involves purchasing the product. This action can have several forms, such as signing up for a subscription service, engaging in a trial, signing up to an email list or buying a physical product either online or in a store. It's important that you use the right tactics to close the sale and encourage the customer to complete their journey.
Consider offering support services such as a live chat on the company's website to guide the customer through the buying process. Additionally, you could offer perks such as free shipping to create a sense of urgency and reward. Alternatively, focus on user experience and ensure that the process of acting is simple on the website.
5. Retention (optional)
Although not included in the acronym, there's potentially a fifth stage to the AIDA model, known as retention. The retention stage is the part that focuses on keeping customers engaged with a company for an extended period. This is also known as fostering brand loyalty.
Companies may take constructive steps to ensure that customers feel motivated to continue engaging with a brand through perks such as member discounts, newsletters or additional services. This stage is important for companies aiming for long-term profitability and ensuring customers return to their businesses instead of moving on to competitors.
AIDA model example
Here's an example of the AIDA model:
An advertising agency uses the AIDA model to motivate customers to invest in software. Here are the steps it takes to improve sales:
Awareness: The agency decides to use social media channels to target businesses that have stated that productivity and their task management software are their key pain points. The agency's use of targeting marketing tools ensures that its target customer base understands its business and the product's goals.
Interest: To educate businesses on the software product and help them understand its value, the agency partners with an events management company to stage a live demonstration of the software. Through this, interested customers see the product in action, can ask questions about its operation and try the product.
Desire: To build desire among its leads, the agency sends discount codes to those signed up to its email list, offering limited-time offers to generate a sense of urgency.
Action: The software client company experiences increased sales because of targeted marketing, engaging advertising and product education.
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