Understanding the AIDA model is crucial for the success of any eCommerce marketing strategy. The AIDA model, sometimes referred to as the purchase funnel, lays out the key stages a consumer goes through before making a purchasing decision. These stages are awareness (or attention), interest, desire and action.
The core principle of AIDA is that your advertising should bring attention to your product or brand, make potential customers interested in it, create a desire for your product, and then spur them on to take action and convert.
Each stage of the AIDA model can be quickly summarised as follows:
- Awareness – an individual sees your advertising and starts to take notice of your product.
- Interest – they develop an interest in your product and begin to think that it could benefit them in some way.
- Desire – they move on from just being interested in your product to actively wanting to own it.
- Action – they turn their desire into action and make the decision to buy.
While AIDA sets out the decision making process, it can also be considered a communications model, rather than strictly a decision making model. AIDA is commonly used (whether consciously or subconsciously), to help marketers decide how to communicate with their target audience at each stage of the purchasing funnel.
How can AIDA be applied to your eCommerce marketing strategy?
The first step in any successful marketing strategy is to clearly define who your target audience is. To draw positive attention to your brand, any marketing messaging you put out must resonate with the right people at the right time.
With any business, but especially in eCommerce, one of the most effective ways to do this is through micromarketing, which focuses on small groups of tightly targeted customers. The more specific you can be in your messaging, the more likely you are to strike a chord with your target audience and draw attention to your brand.
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you can start speaking to them. To bring new potential customers into the purchasing funnel, it’s your job to present key messages and pieces of information that make people curious about your products and your brand.
Some of the ways you can do this are by:
- Identifying which platforms your target audience are using, and the most effective ways to use these channels to promote your brand.
- Identifying the main challenge faced by your customers, and how your product can offer a solution.
- Writing straightforward, attention grabbing headlines.
- Creating bold visual content.
Once you’ve attracted new people to your business, the next step is to pique, and then keep, their interest. To be successful in this stage of the funnel, your content needs to be informative and engaging. Your audience will want to learn more about your brand, how your products could benefit them and whether you fit with their lifestyle.
The more aligned your brand is with the individual’s needs and values, the more likely you are to generate enough interest for them to make a purchase. To generate, and hold, your target audience’s interest, try the following:
- Listen to their problems – during the attract stage you may have focused on the one key area of concern for all of your customers. But now you need to dig deeper into all the different challenges your audience face, determine the reasons behind these challenges, and how you can provide a solution.
- ‘Show, don’t tell’ is especially true when it comes to generating interest with your target customers. Don’t just tell your audience about your product’s features, clearly demonstrate what it is, how it works, and how it could benefit them.
- Get your customers actively involved. Use the different channels available to engage with your audience and create an interactive experience to help them closer to, and more invested in your brand.
- Utilise a combination of educational information and persuasion techniques when creating content for people in the interest stage.
There’s often some confusion around the desire stage of the AIDA model, and how it differentiates from the interest stage. Think of it this way: the interest stage is about getting your audience to like your product, the desire stage is moving that interest into want.
Customers buy from brands they know, like and trust. When communicating with those in the desire stage, you’re working on building that trust, and motivating them to complete the purchase.
One of the most effective ways you can build trust with your customers is through user generated content (UGC) and social proof. Showing real evidence of people buying and loving your product is a powerful tactic in reassuring potential buyers and persuading them to take action.
Some effective ways to utilise UGC and social proof are:
- Case studies and testimonials from customers giving detailed explanations of their experience with your brand and how your product helped them.
- Customer reviews.
- Encouraging your customers to post about your product on social media and share their posts onto your official channels.
This is the final stage of the AIDA model: action. Once you have generated enough desire for your product, you need to give those in this stage of the buyer’s journey the opportunity to take action and convert.
In the desire stage you made people want your product. During the action stage, you should maintain the positive sentiment, and make sure that nothing stands in their way once they make the decision that it’s time to buy.
Make sure whatever content or messaging you deliver to customers at this stage of the journey is of high value to them. They already know who you are and what your product is, so make sure that whatever you present helps them in some way. Clearly show the value of your messaging, while motivating them to act.
Take note of the following to successfully encourage your audience to convert:
- Reinforce your previous messaging by summarising the problem you are solving for them, and how the product you are advertising to them solves that problem.
- Focus on conversion rate optimisation. Where are the calls to action positioned and how prominent are they? Are there any barriers to conversion that you could break down? For example, unclear delivery and returns info, mandatory account creation, high shipping fees, or shipping fees hidden until late in the checkout process.
- Utilise tools such as abandoned cart emails to remind customers who almost placed an order to come back and complete the conversion.
- Create a sense of urgency with sales promotions such as timed discounts.
- Offer product bundling or recommendations to encourage customers to place higher value orders.
While retention isn’t technically a part of the AIDA model, it’s an essential part of any successful eCommerce marketing strategy.
While, of course, you need to make sure you bring in a steady stream of new customers to your business, you don’t want to put all this effort into attracting the perfect customers, just to lose them after their initial purchase. Plus, retaining your existing customer base costs less than acquisition, and can offer you a greater return on investment.
Here are some tips for creating a robust eCommerce customer retention strategy that keeps your customers happy and loyal:
- Email campaigns highlighting new product releases and sales promotions are one of the most straightforward ways to encourage your customers to return.
- Loyalty programmes where users collect points every time they place an order are beneficial for both you and your customers. They earn discounts, free gifts or other perks, while a tiered system will encourage them to place higher value orders.
- Refer a friend programmes help with both new customer acquisition and repeat purchases through rewarding the referrer.
When planning a campaign, many marketers follow the AIDA model without even realising. However, once you have a good understanding of it, AIDA is a powerful tool for informing your marketing efforts. And once applied to all aspects of your eCommerce strategy, the AIDA model is invaluable for helping you consistently, attract, engage and convert your ideal customers.