The AIDA model: A proven framework for converting strangers into customers

In 1898, Elias St. Elmo Lewis, a later candidate for the Advertising Hall of Fame, anonymously wrote a column on three advertising principles that he found useful during his career in a printing magazine called The Inland Printer, one of the most influential American magazines of the 19th century .

In his column, he states that successful advertising should always follow a certain formula.

“An advertisement’s mission is to entice a reader to look at the advertisement and read it. then to interest him so that he can read it further; then to convince him to believe it when he reads it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement. “

In other words, copying is only good if it gets attention, interest, and persuasion in that order.

Over a century later, Lewis’s principles are still true. They are expressed as the acronym AIDA and are widely used in the advertising industry. In the digital age, brands even have their entire basis Marketing strategy on the AIDA model.

Before we explain how you can apply the AIDA model to your own content marketing strategy, let’s first look at what it is and why it works.

The AIDA model

The AIDA model describes the four phases that a consumer goes through before making a purchase decision. The phases are attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA). During these four phases, your content will ideally draw attention to your brand, arouse interest in your product or service, arouse desire, and stimulate action to try or buy.

Brands use the AIDA model to determine how to create and distribute marketing messages to their target audience at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

The AIDA model is viewed as the hierarchy of the effect model. This means that consumers have to go through each phase of the model to complete the desired action. As with a typical marketing funnel, each stage has fewer consumers than the previous one.

AIDA model with funnel

How to apply the AIDA model to your marketing

By creating campaigns and structuring your website with the AIDA model in mind, you gain more control over how your potential customers make a purchase decision.

In theory, consumers who learn about your brand develop certain feelings or emotions about your product or service during each phase of the model, which ultimately compels them to act.

Here’s what you can do to implement AIDA:

Attract attention

If your content can grab their attention and engage them intensely, your target audience will become curious about what your company is actually doing.

At this stage the consumer asks: “What is it?”

To get to this point, you first need to have your content in front of you. This goes hand in hand with increased brand awareness and effective messaging.


Effective content marketing is one way of attracting visitors to your website. When you create content that solves their problems and focuses on their passions, you can involve them and offer a solution. When done effectively, your target audience should be able to discover your content through Google, social media, and other channels.

to arouse interest

Once your target audience is interested in your product or service, they want to learn more about your brand, the benefits of your solution, and your potential.

In this phase the goal is to get them thinking, “I like this.”

To get to this point, your content needs to be compelling and engaging. While the first phase of AIDA attracts their attention, this phase is about keeping them. You can do this with a hook.


For example, let’s say your content marketing was effectively pulling you to the website to learn more about a pain, problem, or need. You can then “captivate” them with gripping storytelling that demonstrates the why behind your solution.

Stories resonate with people, and it’s an easy way to convey information in a way that inspires empathy and curiosity.

In order to excite your prospects enough to force them into action, you need to make sure that their affinity with your brand reaches a certain threshold. The more aligned you are with their needs and values, the more likely you are to succeed.

Stimulate lust

People do business with those they know, like, and trust. The first two levels of the AIDA model define knowledge and the like.

The goal of this phase is to change “I like it” “I want it.”

And it does that by cementing the final piece of the puzzle: trust.

Keep providing content to do this. Make sure they subscribe to your blog, follow you on social media, and download your listings. The more potential customers interact with your brand, the more they trust you and the more likely they will buy your product or service at some point.


The potential customers you are most likely to close are the consumers who envision a future with you. They already enjoy consuming your content and think that your product or service will be even better.

Because of this, you need to create a gap between the location and the location of your solution. At the same time, you need to provide social proof with case studies and testimonials.

“Before and after” content is a great example of how you can stimulate desire while building trust.

Track In Action

When you have enough desire for your product or service, give your potential customers the opportunity to act on it. Ultimately, what is the point in creating content and building deep relationships with prospects if there isn’t a clear next step?

The goal is to make them decide “I understand.”

Regardless of what the “next step” is, you should force them to respond with smooth, yet highly motivated, calls to action.


Regardless of whether you are far away or about to make a purchase decision, the next step you present should be “high quality”. In other words, it has to help them somehow.

If they understand what the outcome of your offer is and find it valuable to them, they will be more likely to act (as they don’t just commit to a sales call or sales content).

Think carefully about how you can provide that value while motivating them to engage with you.

The CTA for this “next step” or offer should be prominent, clear, and straightforward. Maybe it is a button or banner that describes what action to take and what you will get if you do. By eliminating friction losses, you increase your probability of success.

The AIDA model is a sturdy framework to guide your audience through the buyer’s journey and encourage them to act. And when you apply it to your content marketing, you’re leveraging a proven formula that you can use to consistently target, convince, and convert an audience into customers. However, it starts with knowing your customer journey.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for completeness.

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