AIDCA – Definition and Examples

AIDCA is an extremely important sales and marketing principle to understand, although it’s one that doesn’t seem to be discussed as much as it should be. In fact, most small business owners have never heard of the acronym in my experience.

Because of this, I wanted to write up a post that should help you get to grips with it – it really is something that can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your direct response campaigns if you understand and apply it correctly.

Traditionally, AIDCA was a print copy writing term, although nowadays it also applies to most modern marketing processes too (as we’ll discuss below). These include:

  • PPC (pay-per-click)
  • SEO (search engine optimisation)
  • Email marketing
  • Landing pages

Before we look at a couple of examples, let’s define the term and explore its meaning:

What does AIDCA stand for?

AIDCA is a sales and marketing acronym. It stands for the following:

  • Attention: First, grabbing the attention of your prospect
  • Interest: Then, peaking their interest in your product or service
  • Desire: Then, generating desire for your product or service
  • Conviction: Next, developing conviction within your prospect
  • Action: Finally, inspiring your prospect to take action

Understanding the ‘Flow’

I can’t express this point enough – if you understand the ‘flow’ going on above, your marketing will be much, much more effective. Period. Just to make sure you get it, have a look at each point above again.

Notice how they:

– Naturally follow on from one other
– Gradually and naturally move your prospect from a neutral position to one of engagement with your business

That’s exactly what your ‘live’ marketing should be doing – let’s have a look at an example of how this would look in action.

AIDCA example: PPC advertising through to purchase

Here is an example of how AIDCA would work in a campaign using Pay-per-Click advertising to grab attention for an e-commerce site:

– A web user sees your well written Google Ad Headline as they search Google – Attention
– The Ad copy tells them about an offer you have on at the moment, which they then want to find out more about – Interest
– After the user clicks the ad and arrive on your website, the perfectly designed, aspirational landing page content makes them really, really want your product – Desire
– Customer reviews, product information and associated benefits displayed on the site combine to help the user decide they are going to buy your product – Conviction
– A time sensitive offer on your product makes your new customer order the product today in order to benefit from the savings – Action

As you can no doubt imagine, the above template can be applied to virtually any marketing process. For example, you could:

– Replace the PPC Headline and Ad copy above with an email subject header and email content respectively
– Use the same process with SEO (meta) titles and descriptions
– Use the same format when it comes to social media posting too
– Of course, you could use it in your magazine/pint based advertising as it would have been traditionally

Nowadays, the possibilities are numerous. As I said above, it’s the flow that’s important – understanding that each part of the process simply serves to move the prospect along the funnel. If any of the parts are weak, the whole process breaks down.

A visual example of AIDCA working using search results as a start point

Grabbing Attention and Generating Interest

From the example above, we can see that the headline grabs Attention and the Ad copy (description) generates Interest.

Cultivating Desire

After clicking through from the Ad, I reach this landing page. ‘Send Better Email’ cultivates the Desire – that’s what you would ‘want’ if you had begun a search looking for email marketing help/software.

Instilling Conviction and driving Action

Seeing that over 10 million other people are using the software makes me decide to join them too (Conviction) and the prominent ‘Sign Up Free’ button drives me to join now (Action)

Does AIDCA matter for your small business?

In light of what I’ve said above, I’d say that the answer is a definite ‘yes’. Of course the term itself doesn’t really matter – you could already be implementing the process above without having ever heard of AIDCA.

It’s the ‘flow’ that matters – if you can ensure that all of your marketing efforts follow this principle, you’ll benefit from a marketing strategy that is:

– Cohesive
– Fluid
– Integrated
– Successful

Moreover, if you use the AIDCA principle to test everything in your marketing plan, you’ll be able to spot any glaring omissions or weak points that require your immediate attention. That way you’ll ensure that your overall marketing strategy is robust and well taken care of – what’s not to like about that?

Thanks for reading,

By Alan MacDougall