Originally created 01/26/03

Ads must use right bait to hook customers



"Why isn't my advertisement working?"

That question is asked every day by entrepreneurs who find themselves disappointed when they don't get results.

There are a lot of complicated reasons why an advertisement doesn't work well, but many times the answer to that question is fairly simple: They are fishing with the wrong bait.

To create an effective ad, four important criteria must be met. Those criteria are easy to remember if you think of the name AIDA. The AIDA model is employed in every good advertisement and every effective ad campaign.

"A" stands for attention. If your ad is not noticed, then you have wasted your money. Your ad should stand out through design, positioning, a noticeable headline or opening statement. Choose the medium that is appropriate for the people or businesses you are trying to reach.

"I" stands for interest. Thousands of boring ads bombard us daily. Make your ad interesting and use your creativity. Draw the target audience in. Urge them to read or listen or watch it by making the message relevant. That means you need to understand the needs and wants of your target market. Communicate the benefits you can deliver to satisfy those needs and wants in an appealing way.

"D" stands for desire. Create in the mind of your audience a desire to have the benefit you can provide. One of the best examples of this is the current campaign for the milk industry. When viewing the commercials, you can almost physically feel the need to be refreshed by a cold glass of milk. The bottom line here is to make them want what you have.

"A" stands for action. You can make an ad that is interesting, noticed and creates desire. But to be truly effective, it must include a "call to action." Urge the audience to get involved with your company. Tell them to call you, come to your business, request a free tour or video, or anything else that can get the audience to interact with you. Involvement of any kind will enhance your chances of making a sale.

The AIDA model can help you create more effective ads. However, knowledge of your target market's needs, media choices, lifestyle, and service or product usage will be the foundation that you must build the ad or campaign upon.

Don't forget to test your newly created ad by getting feedback from a few members of your target market before you run it. Use AIDA and your knowledge to create better advertising. If your fishing trips are yielding nothing, then check your bait.

Suzanne Barnett is a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University. To reach the Augusta center, call 737-1790.