Back to the Basics for Advertising

There’s been a lot of exciting changes and opportunities for advertisers over the last 5 years. Think about how Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, re-targeting and other new avenues for communication have sprung up. Are they all important for your business? Maybe. They’re all effective, just like newspaper, radio and TV advertising are all still effective. It’s just important that they’re effective for you; and this means that they are right for the strategies you’re using to communicate with your target audiences, whoever they might be.

But the one constant that runs through all these avenues is the basis for all effective advertising:  AIDA. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Others may not, but it’s critical in our business.

AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire and action. Whether you’re putting together a Facebook campaign to reach college students or a newspaper campaign targeting senior citizens (no I’m not stereotyping here – there are other people besides seniors that read the newspaper, but I’m just making a point), you can use the principles of AIDA to make your messages resonate better. So let’s break it down.

First, A: You’ve got to grab the attention of the audience. This is hard. Just think about all the different stimuli that we come into contact with on a daily basis. Emails. Texts. Billboards. Etc. Your message must appeal to the audience immediately. This can be accomplished through a great visual, benefit driven headline or off the wall graphics. You need to focus on your audience and what will catch their attention in the medium you’re using. Of course, making it strategic and creative is always good too!

Second, I: You have to stimulate interest in what you’re saying, marketing, selling, etc. Talk benefits here. What’s in it for the audience? Why should they be interested? Certainly if you have a great product and a strong message, that should create some interest. Make sure you’re talking the language and engaging the audience in your benefit driven story.

Third, D: You must create desire to want your product, service, etc. You accomplish this by backing up your benefits with proof; testimonials, more product information, special pricing offers; whatever you’ve got to stimulate the sale. Think about how car advertising tries to get you to imagine yourself driving that new hybrid SUV, and then how that makes you feel. If it makes you feel good, and if you’re in the market for a new ride, then the advertising might hit home. If you’re not in the market, at least that new vehicle might occupy a place in your mind for a little while.

Fourth, A: What’s the call for action? What do you want the audience to do? If you’re using direct marketing, the action may be to visit a web site or call an 800 number. If you’re working on image advertising, the action may be a lot more subtle (or not at all). If it’s a Facebook ad, it’s making an impression and then trying to get you to click to a landing page, and then the whole AIDA cycle starts again.

There’s a lot of ways to reach your audience, and they’re all good (except maybe the ads on the bathroom wall, although you do tend to read them). Remember to use the principles of AIDA in all your advertising and you’ll probably be happy you did. Are you using AIDA for your ads?