Remember AIDA? Engaging Your Medical Marketing Audience Simplified

Closeup of an apple with a green crayon leaning on it Maybe 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

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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