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AIDA and the World Wide Web

Marnie Bergan

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AIDA. We've all heard of it. We all know what it means. But how many of us use it in our marketing? You do? Okay. Better question: how many of us use it in our online marketing? The sad fact is that just having a website, no matter how good it looks, will not convert your visitors into customers. But by using the AIDA technique throughout your website and e-newsletters, you can in theory change this.

The world of advertising is becoming increasingly competitive and, in turn, increasingly sophisticated. New methods of marketing, such as e-newsletters and e-flyers, are becoming more and more popular as the marketing game changes and businesses battle for consumers’ dollars. Despite these changes, the basic principles behind advertising remain unchanged. Whether it is a flyer, a letter or a billboard, the aim of the game is to first grab the consumer's attention, create interest in what you have to say or what you can offer, create an emotional desire for your product or service, then give them a clear path to take action. This is AIDA, and the same technique should be applied to your online marketing.

The AIDA marketing technique is tried and true. If you look closely at any advertisement that crosses your path, you can find the Attention, Interest, Desire and Action steps. Some advertisements are far more subtle, but it's always there.

Attention - catch their eye Getting attention on the web is not a good thing when it's for the wrong reason, like a web designer's site getting oodles of traffic after their site was placed on But with a little thought and planning, your website, e-newsletter or e-flyer can grab your audience's attention for the right reasons.

There are several ways you can catch their attention, and it isn't necessarily all about writing ‘WIN A FREE CAR’ or ‘LEARN HOW TO MAKE MILLIONS’ all over your site. This sort of copy has its place but that place is not all over your home page.

The design of your website or e-newsletter plays a role in attracting attention. Think outside the box. Think clean lines, sexy colours (yes, colours can be sexy) and a properly designed interface. Do not cut corners when it comes to the design of your website because you think your copy will make up for it. It won't. In the eyes of the consumers whose attention you're trying to attract, a poorly designed website equals an unprofessional business.

Your copy is important. You don't need to make empty promises or use shock tactics. Be honest, and tell the reader what the value of your product or service is. What is it going to do for them? Use this in nicely positioned header text throughout your site. Incorporate this subtle approach into a slick design and you'll get the attention of the right people.

Interest - get them reading The aim here is not to sell. It is to inform and create interest in your product or service. Tell the reader why you're different, why what you're offering is different, and mention any special features. List the specs.

Watch your tone and language. Make it consistent with not only the image you're trying to project but with what you're offering. While a parent reading an advertisement about the latest kids’ bike doesn't care about the manufacturer but instead wants to know what safety features the bike has, a mother wishing to start an online store for childrenswear wants to know all about your web design company, its history, and its previous work. Context is important.

You need to not only get your audience interested, you need to keep them interested. Don't use long-winded speeches about your products features. For the web and e-newsletters, unordered lists or dot points accompanied by some related images will work well.

Desire - make them want it If you've gotten this far and kept your audience reading, half the hard work is done. You've already got them interested in what you've got to offer, which is half the job of making them desire it.

Depending on who you're audience is (again - think context) you need to choose the right language to create a desire for your product/service. Use emotional language, reinforce what the value is, tell them what will happen if they buy. Appeal to their emotional needs and wants. Tell them how you are going to make their life or business better and make them want to contact you.

Action - time to subscribe/buy/email/call A successful finish to your page or email could be as simple as saying, “To find out more, please call us on 13 33 33. " You don't need to be too pushy and tell them if they don't do it right now they're going to miss out. If you've done a good job in the areas above, you shouldn't need to force the call to action down their throats.

You do need to be clear about what action you want your audience to take. If they're reading your e-flyer, do you want them to click on it to visit a landing page on your website or do you want them to reply to the email? If they're on your website and finish reading about your e-newsletter or latest offer, should they fill out a form to contact you, call you, or subscribe to your mailing list? Tell them what you want them to do and make it easy for them to do it. Provide links to click on, phone numbers to call, or a form at the bottom of the page they're looking at. Don't tell them at the bottom of your email to “go to our website, go to the Services page, click on Special Offers, then fill out the form". This is not only a waste of space in your e-newsletter, it's ridiculously hard and will cause the reader to turn away and not bother.

Use these AIDA steps when deciding who to get to design your site and what information gets placed where. It could mean the difference between a website that gets sales or subscribers and one that doesn't.

Written by Marnie Bergan - Marnie is the owner of Bergan Blue, an Australian based creative design studio focused on bridging the gap between the online world of the Internet with the offline world of Marketing. Please visit for more information.


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