How to Use the AIDA Model in Business Communications

The AIDA model includes four elements.
The AIDA model includes four elements. (Image: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)

AIDA is an acronym for attention, interest, desire and action; together these elements make up the AIDA communications model. AIDA can help business professionals write powerful cover letters, advertisements, proposals, press releases and more. This strategy forces writers to focus on the reader. As a result, AIDA can be quite effective when it comes to convincing someone to take a particular course of action, whether that action is scheduling an interview, buying a product or signing off on a new business strategy.

Grab the reader's attention. This can be done in a variety of ways during your message's opening. One method is to highlight how the information in a message can ultimately benefit the reader or her company. Another option is to list a startling statistic or piece of information. The goal here is to convince your reader that the message is worth his or her time and energy from the very beginning. For example, a restaurant manager requesting additional lunch staff might say, "I have a plan that will cut customer wait time by 10 percent."

Hold your audience's interest. Use the body of your message to explain the relevance of your message from the reader's point of view. Fill in the blanks left behind by the broad attention-grabbing statements presented in the opening and provide necessary details. These passages should leave the reader thinking you have presented an interesting idea or information.

Create desire. Make audience members want to go along with your plan or message by explaining the benefits. Try to foresee any concerns or questions your reader might have and address them. In the case of hiring more staff, an AIDA writer would justify the extra costs during this step and focus on the shortcoming of the alternatives. Draw attention to any enclosures or attachments that accompany your document.

End your message with a strong call to action. Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. Be specific and direct. These appeals increase the chances that your audience will follow through with the desired action. The staff request mentioned in the previous sections may end with a statement like, "Please authorize the new staff and I will begin the hiring process immediately."

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  • "Excellence in Business Communications: Fifth Edition"; John V. Thill and Courland L. Bovee; 2002
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