apple for the teacherMaybe you first met AIDA in a creative writing class. And that could have been long before there was an Internet, Internet marketing, social media…or the constant challenge to engage your audience. Digital media is contemporary, but customer (patient) engagement is a marketing fundamental that’s been around for years.

So, although AIDA is decades old, it’s still a useful acronym to help you reach and engage patients and prospective patients in medical marketing and advertising—online and otherwise. In case you missed the AIDA class, here’s a quick tutorial to hang on your wall.

AIDA’s job is to remind us all of the four-step presentation sequence that writers used in advertising. The steps lead the reader/consumer/patient through the message and engage the consumer. Here’s the flow:

A = ATTENTION: A message needs to attract the reader’s or viewer’s awareness in less time than it takes to read this sentence. Perhaps it’s the headline, the visual or graphic element, or a combination of these. This A-factor is usually about the reader’s problem, need or desire. But if you don’t make an immediate connection with the reader, in effect there is no message.

I = INTEREST: The answer to a need is often presented as the advantages or benefits (not features) of the solution that you have to offer.

D = DESIRE: This is the convincing part of the message that elevates their level of interest to a clear and strong “want” for the product or service. It’s a matter of communicating a differentiating benefit as a unique answer to their need. (Sometimes referred to as a super benefit.)

A = ACTION: Tell them exactly what you want them to do now—buy, call for appointment, or whatever—in an easy, next-step to answer their desire. Adding a sense of urgency (limited time, for example), and/or adding an extra enticement (a guarantee, for example) helps motivate prompt response.

The process of creating an engaging healthcare advertisement or medical marketing message is complex and challenging. But you can use the long-established AIDA ingredients to create a new message or examine an existing one. And it’s a useful tool for virtually every form or format.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


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