How a simple model can transform your thinking

Way back in time a simple model was developed to explain how persuasive communications (advertising or selling) works. First published by Strong in 1925 and attributed to St Elmo Lewis around 1898, AIDA has indeed been around a long time pre-dating the boom years of the advertising agency (think Mad Men) when mass broadcast became king.

Its message endures because, frankly, it works. And it’s versatile. You can apply it to your marketing as a whole, to your sales process … right down to an individual sales letter, web page, or blog post. Or practically anything else you can think of where you want to persuade someone to take an action – buy, call, read on, click, share, tweet.

You’ll find it in most marketing communications texts and mega successful marketers whose time sells for thousands of dollars an hour use it to this day.

So can you. And it can change your thinking forever. Not least because it actually makes you do that – think. This is all about conscious marketing and conscious writing.

So here it is. In this version I’ve put in an extra letter to make it AIDCA.

Awareness (or Attention)





When we are thinking about buying something, we first become aware of it or it grabs our attention.

Then we develop an interest in it. ‘Mmm, that could work for me.’ Or ‘Well, I’ve never seen one of those / heard of that before.’

Then we get a desire for it – we really, really want it. ‘Wow, that would really solve my problem with xyz!’ ‘That would look just great with my new shoes / next to the 52″ plasma screen.’ We are now moving away from the purely logical to the more emotional – from the head to the heart.

Then sometimes reality kicks back in at the “conviction” stage. Do we really want this? Is it the right time? Is there a better option out there? Can I afford it? How can I pay?

Conviction triggers our intention and converts it into action i.e. we buy.

If we accept that our customers or clients will be going through this thought process when making up their minds about buying from us, there are 2 key factors at work that will influence their behaviour at each stage. I call these the 2 Cs comfort and confidence.

As a general rule of thumb, you need to be giving your prospect the comfort and confidence they need at each stage in order for them to keep moving and take the next step.

What do they need to know about you, hear from you, experience or feel?

Many people make the mistake of throwing all their efforts at raising awareness of their product or service and then hope that, if they’ve done enough of it, some of those exposed to their initial message will end up buying.

Some will, but this “front end” approach is unlikely to be sustainable or to provide a regular, predictable stream of customers.

If you’re getting less happening at the “action” end than you would like (if you see what I mean), then you may have some gaps to fill – a piece of information or an experience that appeals to the head or the heart may be missing.

You may have a queue forming, just waiting to tip over into desire, conviction or action!

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