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Using AIDA to boost marketing impact

Struggling to get more people to attend your events? Would you like to be turning people away as your events are too popular? Then it’s worth a read of this episode! We’ll explore how we can use one of the oldest tools in the marketing arsenal—the AIDA principle—to boost our marketing impact. On a side note—we’re not actually sure how you pronounce this—if you listen to our podcast or watch our video we couldn’t decide! 

The AIDA principle is a marketing model that describes the four stages a consumer goes through before making a purchasing decision. The stages are Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA). In today’s episode, we’re going to apply these principles to marketing a workshop about group facilitation. By applying the AIDA principle, we’re going to create effective and engaging content that attracts our target audience, generates interest in our workshop, stimulates a desire for it, and spurs action to register or attend it.

The first step in the AIDA model is to capture the attention of our potential customers. We need to make them aware of our workshop and what it can offer them. We can use various channels and methods to reach our audience, such as social media, targeted emails, and even a short video. The key is to create a catchy headline or title that grabs their attention and sparks their curiosity. For example, instead of just saying “Facilitation skills workshop”, we could say:

  • Learn the secrets of effective group facilitation in two days
  • The ultimate guide to group facilitation: tips, tools, and techniques
  • Fearless facilitation and great group dynamics.

The next step in the AIDA model is to generate interest in our workshop. We need to provide more information about our workshop and how it can benefit our potential participants. We can use facts, testimonials, and case studies to show them the value and relevance of our workshop. We can also address their pain points, challenges, and needs, to show them how our workshop can help them solve their problems or achieve their aspirations. For example:

  • Do you struggle with facilitating groups? Do you feel overwhelmed, bored, or impatient when running meetings? Do you want to learn how to harness the wisdom of everyone present and create great outcomes for everyone?
  • If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you. In this workshop, you will learn how to:
    • Use practical group processes and skills to apply them
    • Maximise participation and create a sense of belonging
    • Manage tricky situations while having fun along the way!

The third step in the AIDA model is to stimulate desire for our workshop. We want to make our potential participants want to attend our workshop and feel excited about it. We can use emotional appeals, social proof, and scarcity, to create a sense of desire and urgency. We can also highlight the features and benefits of our workshop and differentiate it from other similar workshops. For example:

  • This workshop is not like any other facilitation training you have ever attended. It is based on the internationally recognised ToP method, which has been proven to be effective in various facilitation contexts since the 1970s.
  • This workshop is highly experiential, interactive, and fun! You will get plenty of opportunities to practise your facilitation skills in real-life scenarios with feedback and guidance from experienced facilitators.
  • This workshop is limited to 20 participants only, so you will get personalised attention and support from the facilitators and peers.

The final step in the AIDA model is to spur action from our potential participants. We want to persuade them to take the next step and register or buy our workshop. We can use clear and compelling calls-to-action, such as buttons with eye-catching graphics and links that take them to the registration or payment page. We can also provide guarantees, discounts, and bonuses, to reduce their perceived risk. For example:

  • Don’t miss this opportunity to become a competent, confident, and compassionate facilitator. Register now and get a 10% early bird discount.
  • Ready to join us? Click here to secure your spot before they run out.
  • Want a sneak peek of what you will learn? Download our free eBook on group facilitation.

So, that’s how we might apply the AIDA principle to market our facilitation workshop. Let’s delve a bit deeper and explore the interesting history of AIDA. The term, AIDA and the overall approach are commonly attributed to the American advertising pioneer, Elias St. Elmo Lewis. [Note that if you’re interested in a deep dive into the murky history of AIDA and who gets credit for what, check out Iwamoto (2023).]. Lewis (1903, p.124) outlined three principles to which an advertisement should conform. Here’s what he said:

“The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader, so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him, so that when he has read it he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.”

The first instance of the AIDA acronym was by Russell (1921). He brought together Lewis’ thoughts and ideas along with other marketers concepts to create the AIDA acronym. To help us think about this model, we wanted to add just one more concept from the marketing world, and that’s of the sales funnel. We start with a  relatively large number of potential purchasers, known as the market potential. Only a proportion of them are likely to be interested in our product, and marketers refer to them as suspects.  Of those, only a relatively small proportion will have the desire to purchase our product, and they’re referred to as prospects. Finally, there are those who take action and purchase the products, and are known as customers. The numbers keep decreasing, hence the idea of it being like a funnel. 

So there you have it, one of the oldest marketing principles in the book. Let’s finish using the AIDA principle!

Attention: You’ve read our insights, but now, we’re all ears! It’s your moment to shine. We want to hear your experiences with the AIDA principle. Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s make this an engaging conversation.

Interest: Engage with us by sharing your encounters with the AIDA principle. Whether you’ve got tips, ingenious ideas, or personal stories, your contribution is invaluable. We’re not just talking at you; we’re eager to learn from you!

Desire: Your insights enrich our community and extend our knowledge. By participating in this dialogue, you become an integral part of our journey towards excellence in agricultural extension. Your unique perspective is something we can’t afford to miss.

Action: Don’t let this be a one-way exchange. Join the discussion now! Drop your thoughts in the comment section below. And while you’re at it, why not subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on our upcoming episodes? If you found our insights valuable, spread the word to your friends, so they too can join this conversation!


Iwamoto, A. (2023). The Origin of AIDA: Who Invented and Formulated the AIDA model?. In Proceedings of the Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (Vol. 21). Available online. 

Lewis, St. E. (1903). Catch-Line and Argument. The Book-Keeper, 15, pp. 

Russell, C. P. (1921). How to Write a Sales-Making Letter: An Old Formula That Will Save Much Rewriting by the Unpracticed Correspondent. Printers’ Ink, 34, 49-52.

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Aaron Meikle
Aaron Meikle
5 months ago

Good post, nice to see this pop up. I think Real Estate made quite a bit of use of this, may still do? It was from there that I got the version I like to use: AIDCAS = Awareness > Interest > Desire > Confidence > Action > Satisfaction I like the Confidence step as its the key from Desire to Action, and I like Satisfaction because that is the purpose, not just change for the sake of it Over time, I’ve come to prefer Contentment rather than Satisfaction. It probably a better summary of the human condition, and at… Read more »

Mal Cock
Mal Cock
5 months ago

I have always found getting the silent majority to want to attend workshops….. even marketing workshops!
Some good AIDA thoughts.
Thanks, Mal

5 months ago

A timely reminder! After reading your blog I have just tweaked an ad for an event we have coming up with AIDA front of mind!

2 months ago

Love this blog!….the AIDA model sort of focusses on short-term outcomes, “change of practice” in Ag-contexts, it’s an immediate action or conversion (to a new system, for instance). Long term sustainability is not really captured in the model, is it? Sustainable behaviour change, as we know well, requires ongoing support, capacity building, and adaptation to individual circumstances beyond stages of the model (a good model nonetheless!!).

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