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Making AIDA Work Without A Song And Dance

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A few years back, I went to see a production of Aida, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi and based in ancient Egypt. Aida is an Ethiopian princess who is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. Now I’m not suggesting slavery as a method for improving your online marketing, but you can use Aida to your advantage. You can even change Aida to work even harder for your business.

In marketing terms, AIDA is a mnemonic to help you understand and guide a site visitor’s journey.

You can develop the structure and content of your website, with the aim of leading a visitor through the desired path, using the “AIDA” methodology, a four-element copywriting process which goes like this:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

This last “A,” the call to action, can be whatever you want it to be – having the prospect call a salesperson, complete a form, send an email, go to a particular page, and so on.

That’s all well and good, but it’s not as straightforward as it might at first appear. There are some prerequisites. Firstly, you need to understand who your typical visitors are. Secondly, you need to try to understand why they’re visiting your site. And lastly, you need to understand what they are trying to achieve, and align this with what you want them to achieve.

With this in mind, you’ll want to do some initial research before you get stuck into writing your site copy. Who are your current customers? Who are your current visitors? Do your current visitors have much or little in common with your current clients? Are you attracting the right audience to your site? Do a customer profiling exercise to answer these important questions.

You’ll also want to see where visitors who don’t “convert” are leaving your site. Why are they leaving? How long are they staying? What are they doing while there? Use your analytics data to find out.

Now, armed with this information, we can go back to plan our copywriting  using AIDA. The Mnemonic and process came originally came from the direct mail industry, used for creating long copy sales letters. We added an “E” because our experience shows that this works best for online copy.

What is AIEDA? What does it stand for? How does it work?

AIEDA stands for:

  • A – Attention (or Awareness): attract the attention of the customer.
  • I – Interest: raise customer interest by demonstrating features, advantages, and benefits.
  • D – Desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
  • E – Evaluation: demonstrate that your company, your site and your product look (and are) credible and trustworthy
  • A – Action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

Each is a step in the copywriting process, walking readers through various steps in the buying process from grabbing their attention to closing the sale.

Since AIEDA is based on the buying process, you’ll want to understand what every consumer goes through before making a purchase. That way, you can see how AIEDA can directly influence your reader’s buying behaviour.

When you buy a chocolate bar or a soft drink, it takes less than a second (most times) to make the decision and the purchase. When you buy a new television, it takes longer to get from “need/want recognition” to the “purchase” stage. Buying a house or new car takes even longer.

Let’s look at each step in both the processes to see how they fit into the copy for your web pages.

1.  A = Attention

The first step in successfully marketing a product or service is getting attention; that is, getting potential consumers to notice your product.

2.  I = Interest

The next step in the AIDA model is keeping the interest of the customer. The customer needs to know how your product or service will help them. Giving a list of features is insufficient; you’ll need to make it clear to your users how those features will benefit them. Whatever the benefit is, it needs to be clear to the customer so they can see exactly how their life will be improved. Instead of saying “our products are made to the highest manufacturing standards,” say “here’s how our first-class, quality products help you.” That gives them features as well as benefits, as opposed to features alone.

3.  E = Evaluation

Is your site’s look and feel credible? Does it compare well to your competitors’ sites? Have you shown that you can deliver solutions to people’s problems? If so, is this information easy to find? Have your visitors been exposed to this information on their “journey” through your website, or is it hidden away in some dark, undiscovered corner of your site? Your site visitor will want to have confidence that you will deliver on goods, service and customer care. Think of Amazon as an example of how to do this well.

4.  D = Desire

The next step in the AIDA model is desire, which is a natural extension of interest. After you’ve caught a consumer’s attention, and obtained their interest, you need to keep that interest going by promoting your product in such a way that they will begin to swell in their desire for it. Use headings that introduce easy-to-read lists of features, customer testimonials, and competitive pricing.

5.  A = Action

The final step in the AIDA marketing model is getting the user to take action. After getting the user’s attention, arousing their interest, and stimulating their desire for your product, they need to have a clear way to take action. Whether it’s to sign up for your service, purchase your product, or download a trial of your application, the way a visitor can enjoy the benefits of what you offer should be clear, quick and easy for them to act on. Make it really obvious what a visitor should do. Keep it simple for them.

Using the AIEDA marketing model, you can give direction to your visitors, purpose to your content and help your visitors to greatly improve your conversion rate.

Image: Song&Dance by Shutterstock

About the Author

Paul McIntyre is the Founder and Managing Director at Search High, an integrated inbound marketing company, blossoming from many years successful bespoke SEO implementations for Blue Chip and high growth enterprises. Search High is based in the UK East Midlands.

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