Engage, Persuade, Convert: A Definitive Guide to the AIDA Model

Engage, Persuade, Convert: A Definitive Guide to the AIDA Model

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Billboards, TV commercials, newspapers and Google ads—everything you see around you is trying to grab your attention.

From giant companies and mid-sized brands to small retailers, the world of business works hard to engage its potential customers. Because if you can’t call the attention of the public to what you can offer to the table, how else can you generate revenue? How are you going to participate in an ever-competitive field without getting your big guns out?

This is why professionals in digital marketing agency use a range of systems to understand consumer behaviours. You might even wonder why people choose certain brands over anything else, right? One method, the AIDA model, perfectly describes the motivations behind these purchases. 

If you’re planning to grow your brand and gain a loyal customer base, understanding AIDA and how it works can help you get the whole picture. It will make you realise why the giants on the field like Apple, Netflix and Adidas took things to a whole new level. 

Continue reading below to learn more!

The Basics: What is the AIDA Model?

AIDA pyramid

Considered to be the best-known marketing model, the AIDA model describes the thought processes that consumers typically go through when making a purchase decision. It is commonly used in public relations campaigns, sales strategies and marketing communications.

It is also a hierarchy of effects, which means that buyers should move through every stage to accomplish their desired goal. Since it’s a marketing funnel, each stage will have fewer consumers than the previous one. 

To give you a bit of a background, the AIDA model was created in 1898 by an American businessman named E. St. Elmo Lewis. He originally used it to improve sales calls, especially the relationship between the seller and the buyer. 

According to a column he wrote, Lewis believed that a copy is only effective when it attracts attention, provokes interest and develops conviction. 

Here are the steps involved in the AIDA model:

First Step: Attention

One of the mistakes that marketers make is assuming that their products have gotten the attention of their customers. They often leave everything to chance. 

If you want to engage potential customers, you have to trigger their curiosity. They should ask, ‘What is the product all about and why was it made?’ 

Many marketers go for the creative disruption approach where they break existing patterns using creative messages. You can go for personalisation or write intensely targeted messages and create shocking advertisements. Another option is guerilla marketing where you place advertisements in unexpected places.  

Simply put, the first step boils down to ensuring the public is aware that your product or service exists. 

Second Step: Interest

This is where things can feel tricky. Even if consumers know your product exists, it’s hard to create interest and make them like what you offer. So, when you create an advertisement, make sure that it’s easy to read and understand. Include subheadings, illustrations and infographics to make it visually appealing!

Make it concise as possible. Only convey the message that you want to communicate to the public. Remember, if you’ve already caught their attention, the next step is to hold it. 

Let’s take a look at some good examples. Wendy’s, an American fast food chain, launched a ‘Where’s the beef?’ ad campaign. It focused on the message that their burgers contained more meat than their competitors’ burgers. 

The commercial generated so much revenue and became one of the most famous catchphrases in history. 

Another example is Below The Fold’s homepage. It is a twice-a-week email sharing news that uses an interesting hook: ‘Stories that don’t make it to the front page.’ This line is so effective because readers will wonder what they’re missing out on. It makes the go-to platform for stories that are not usually covered but are still relevant.

Third Step: Desire

People can only consider doing business with you if they know and like you. That’s what you need to aim for in the first and second steps of the AIDA model. And when you proceed to this stage, your goal is to make them want your product. This is typically done by finding the last piece of the puzzle, which is trust. 

Help your customers realise why they need your product and how it can change their lives. For instance, you can launch an infomercial and focus on your product’s benefits. This is commonly done by showing real-life situations where the product can be used, showing its utmost importance and value. 

Fourth Step: Action

The last step of the AIDA model is all about convincing consumers to take action. This is where a call-to-action (CTA) comes into play. You need a written directive that encourages your target audience to act on their desire and give meaning to your content. 

It doesn’t matter how short it is—what’s important is you guide your customers to the next step.

But remember, your statement should be of high value. Consumers should understand the possible outcomes of your offer so they are motivated to engage with you. It should be clear, straightforward and uncomplicated.

For example, Netflix uses a CTA that elicits a sense of urgency and gives reassurance at the same time. One of the most common fears users have with streaming services is that they won’t be allowed to dip their toes in the water. 

However, Netflix guarantees customers by including a ‘Watch Anywhere. Cancel Anytime’ copy above the ‘Enter your email to create or restart your membership’ CTA. This gives customers the peace of mind that they won’t be stuck on a five-hour call trying to cancel their subscriptions. 

AIDA Model Examples for Digital Marketing

Now that you have an idea of what the AIDA model is and how it works, it’s time to implement them in your digital marketing strategy. Take a look at these examples:

Writing Blog Posts 

blog welcome page on laptop screen

Convincing users to stay on your website is not an easy task. But with the help of the AIDA model, you can increase engagement, reduce bounce rates and boost conversions by writing engaging blog posts.

  • Attention – Write catchy headlines and meta descriptions to make them interested in your topic.
  • Interest – Implement impressive website design and fulfil search intent.
  • Desire – When writing your copy or content, include helpful resources and discuss the main benefits of your product.
  • Action – Link to relevant content, add CTA buttons and create lead forms to boost conversions.

Create Landing Page for Ads 

Creating a landing page for ads can be challenging as you must consider multiple factors to achieve the desired conversion rate. However, it can be done easier with the help of the AIDA model, which provides a clear framework to follow.

Using the AIDA model, you’ll have a clear roadmap of what needs to be included on the landing page and in what order. This way, you can provide users with a seamless and intuitive landing page that leads them to take the desired action.

Let’s check out the following template:

  • Attention – Grab the user’s attention with a clear and relevant headline along with an impressive web design.
  • Interest – Create compelling copies describing how your product or service can solve user’s problems.
  • Desire – Highlight the unique value of your product or service.
  • Action – Provide a compelling CTA button to persuade users to take action.

Conducting Outreach

Letter Envelop Message Notification Concept
Many marketers and advertisers may end up feeling disappointed when conducting an outreach to potential customers. This is because many of their potential customers ignored their messages, resulting in a waste of their efforts.

However, it should no longer be a problem when they implement the AIDA model. Using the stages of the AIDA model when reaching out to potential customers helps them in leading the prospects to conversion.

Check out this template to keep you guided:

  • Attention – Grab the prospect’s attention with a catchy opening line that connects to their interests or pain points.
  • Interest – Describe how your product or service can solve the prospect’s problem in the body message.
  • Desire – Build desire by creating a sense of urgency, either by offering a limited-time discount or highlighting the unique value preposition of your product or service. 
  • Action – Motivate the prospect to take action by providing a clear and compelling call-to-action.

Three Brands that Successfully Used the AIDA Model

AIDA Model for Apple

Steve Jobs and Iphone Product

One of the biggest tech companies that used the AIDA model effectively is Apple. It was performed when they had to introduce iPhone to the market. Here’s how they did it:

  • Attention – To grab the public’s attention, they announced the launch of a product that no one had seen before. It successfully set expectations and developed awareness for the new product.
  • Interest – Steve Jobs held a keynote at Macworld in January 2007 to create interest, marking a historic event in the tech world. During his speech, he explained what the product was along with its features. 
  • Desire – The company managed to create desire when Steve Jobs explained how their model would solve the problems customers had with existing phones. This includes phones that had no stylus and ignored intended touches. 
  • Action – Customers were convinced to take action when Steve Jobs used the phone while giving his speech. He backed up his claims by showing that the phone was real, outperforming its competitors in the market. 

AIDA Model for Netflix

Netflix welcome screen

The AIDA model was a vital part of Netflix’s global success. When they wanted to expand their reach to India, the roadblock was that most citizens in the country already had access to free content due to cable networks. 

So, how did they convince a new market to jump on in the Netflix craze? Here’s how:

  • Attention – For a huge company like Netflix, you wouldn’t expect that they went to the traditional route of advertising. They placed posters of shows like Narcos, Friends and many more. Their original shows were also included in the promotion, like Sacred Games—an Indian neo-noir crime thriller.
  • Interest – Netflix made the public interested by mainly focusing on India’s youth population. They also offered a free trial for one month, making the audience curious about the other shows that are featured on the platform. 
  • Desire – Thanks to the free trial, Netflix garnered a large customer base that decided to push through with the service. 

They had a strong desire to use the platform since Netflix produced quality documentaries, TV shows and a huge Bollywood movie collection. Lots of new features were also launched, including personalised recommendations and multiplier profiles. 

  • Action – Netflix encouraged their customers to take action when they offered multiple subscription plans, depending on a customer’s budget. Users can also cancel their subscriptions anytime they like. At this stage, conversion rates were already skyrocketing. 

AIDA Model for Adidas

Adidas shoe

Ever wondered why Adidas remains to be one of the most famous sportswear in the world? That is because they stick to innovative ways how they can implement the AIDA model in their ad campaigns.

  • Attention – Adidas grabs the market’s attention by showing how cool it is to own and wear their shoes. They work with the greatest athletes like Lionel Messi, James Harden, Trae Young and David Beckham, to name a few. Combined with the brand’s popularity and demand, the sports fan base will generate interest in the products. 
  • Interest – The brand creates interest by making their website more dynamic and engaging. You’d often see discounts of up to 50% and newly released sportswear to keep consumers on the hook.
  • Desire – Adidas posts celebrities and behind-the-scenes of launch events to keep customers curious about the next release or collaboration. 
  • Action – It is easy for Adidas to provoke a sense of urgency among their customers because they work with top-ranked athletes. In a way, their core message revolves around the idea of becoming closer to your idol by owning what they wear.

AIDA Model: Its Limitations and Challenges

The AIDA model has helped a plethora of brands—big or small—in improving their marketing campaigns. Since it divides the consumer experience into key stages, it’s easier to understand consumer behaviour and find gaps you can fill. 

However, the AIDA framework has its limitations. Here are some of them:

The AIDA model is almost too straightforward and simple 

This is especially true in the digital age where buyers have access to Google reviews, comparison sites and others. Sticking to this model may prevent you from understanding purchase decisions that are more complex or nuanced. 

Not every buyer has a linear approach to buying 

This is what the AIDA model fails to consider. For example, a buyer might find a solution first before being aware of a product and taking action. In this scenario, the Desire and Action stages take place before the Attention and Interest.

The model might not be good for customer retention

AIDA might be perfect for first-time purchases, but it fails on customer retention. Keep in mind that it would be easier to retain an existing customer than find a new one. And when you have a loyal customer base, you can earn referrals and testimonials that may widen your reach. 

To keep up with the changing demands of the market, AIDA variants have been created, including:

  • Lavidge et al’s Hierarchy of Effects: Awareness → Knowledge → Liking → Preference → Conviction → Purchase
  • Modified AIDA Model: Awareness → Interest → Conviction → Desire → Action (purchase or consumption)
  • AISDALSLove model: Awareness → Interest → Search → Desire → Action → Like/dislike → Share → Love/Hate

Final Thoughts

The AIDA framework offers lots of opportunities to drive your business forward and understand the customer journey. When you know what drives consumer behaviours, you can effectively plan your marketing campaigns and deliver great results. 

Now, it’s time for you to apply what you’ve learned and implement the AIDA model to your content marketing strategy! Use it to engage, persuade and convert readers to loyal customers. Our team of digital marketing experts is here to guide you through the process, so you’re in good hands!


What is the AIDA model?

The AIDA model describes the cognitive stages a consumer goes through when making a purchase decision. The steps involved in the framework are used to generate revenue, cultivate leads and understand the target audience. 

What are the four steps in the AIDA model?

The four steps in the AIDA model are Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. 

Why is the AIDA model important?

The AIDA framework is important because it divides the customer journey into various stages. This allows marketers to understand why people choose a certain brand and what motivates them to stay loyal to it. 

It also helps businesses create marketing campaigns and promotions that can improve customer loyalty. If they know what matters most to their target audience, then they know what company values they need to promote.

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About Roots Digital

Roots Digital is an award-winning digital marketing agency and SEO agency headquartered in Singapore, specialising in eCommerce Marketing and lead generation. We are a Google and Meta Business certified partner working to deliver the best-in-class digital marketing campaigns from large enterprises and SMEs to growing start-ups.

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Ian Ong
Marketing Director @ Roots Digital, a digital marketing agency in Singapore. Aka the guy responsible for growing the digital marketing agency.
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Ian Ong
Marketing Director @ Roots Digital, a digital marketing agency in Singapore. Aka the guy responsible for growing the digital marketing agency.
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