As they often say, the more things change the more they stay the same. In the world of marketing it may feel like nothing stays the same. The dizzying number of venues, engagement tactics, and technologies can lead a marketer to believe that, in order to create irresistible marketing messages he or she has to scrap everything learned more than 6 months ago and think “outside the box.”
What if “the box” is full of wisdom that is so profound and elegant that there is no better way to solve your problem? One such nugget is over 100 years old and just as applicable in our new age of “inbound marketing” as it was when the only medium was print (seriously, this idea goes back to before radio or TV). The exact origin of this insight is a subject of some debate (if you’d like to learn more, check out this discussion about who first came up with this idea).
This timeless insight is the tried and true structure for persuasive messaging -- A.I.D.A. (which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). This is the path we must guide our readers, viewers, or listeners down if we want to achieve our desired result.
Sure, the initial purpose for developing A.I.D.A. was directly related to selling, where the “Action” was to contact the perspective business (in other words, for the business to generate a lead). Nowadays we develop marketing content (we hope irresistible marketing content) with all kinds of outcomes in mind, not just generating leads. So is A.I.D.A. only relevant for our lead-generation content?
Here is where the timeless beauty of A.I.D.A. comes in. Don’t we always have an action that we want our reader, viewer, or listener to take? Think about it. Maybe we just want them to share the blog post they just read, or to continue on to read or view something that offers an even greater in-depth look, or to opt into our email list. Here is just a partial list of actions we might want our audiences to take:
- share or forward our content
- comment (so our future readers, viewers, listeners see the social proof)
- opt into our list so we can nurture the relationship over time
- attend an event we are promoting
- contact us to have a conversation
- buy something from us
So how can you put the concept of A.I.D.A. to work in your content development? Given how universally applicable this concept is, it doesn’t need much adaptation. Here is a simple explanation for how to put it to work in your content development:
√ Attention: connect with the problem or frustration that your ideal reader, viewer or listener wants to resolve or a result that they want to achieve. Specifically what we’re talking about here is your content title, email subject line, page headline, etc. For those of you who are already familiar with my ideas, Attention is best achieved on the RIGHT side of the river (to get tuned into this background, download your free copy of “How to Create Irresistible Marketing Messages”).
√ Interest: once you’ve gotten the attention of your audience by connecting with a problem they have or a result they want, it’s important to recognize that it is easier than ever for your audience to get distracted or click away. We can’t flip the switch into a mode of talking about us, our solution, features of our product, etc. We have to continue to earn their interest. So in your opening paragraph of an email or blog post, opening content of a video or podcast, you must prove your understanding of the issue -- get them nodding and saying to themselves “yes, that’s me! I have this very problem!” In order to prove this understanding, you may want to talk about a client circumstance and the struggles they faced or your own circumstance, if relevant.
√ Desire: once you’ve decided on the action you want your reader, viewer or listener to take (see the list above) you have to make sure you first build up their desire for a solution to their problem in the first place. Talk about the light at the end of the tunnel, the results you or your product/service (or even what your free advice) have helped people achieve, the possibility of a different outcome than they have experienced in the past.
√ Action: if you’ve done your job on the above 3 steps well, it should be pretty easy to construct this portion of your content. The action you want the reader, viewer or listener to take should simply be the first step toward achieving the outcome you’ve just demonstrated to be possible. If you’ve just been pretty convincing, for example, that a new way of doing things (that will get them better results than they’ve previously experienced) exists, then offering them a free way to learn a piece of that new approach should be appreciated and accepted, right?
So how will you use this 110 year old idea to inspire your audience and grow your business? Combine this timeless concept with messages that connect with your ideal prospects on an emotional level about their most important problems, frustrations and desires and you’ll take your marketing to a whole new level.
To make sure you have the recipe right, be sure to download your free copy of “How to Create Irresistible Marketing Messages.”