Your clients and prospects are bombarded by advertising messages every day, and each one fights to carve out its own place within their consciousness. With an overabundance of marketing channels, it is even more important in the digital landscape to stand out and get the attention of your audience and the answer may lie in the AIDA model – an advertising framework used particularly well by car companies like BMW.

On this episode of Real Estate Pros, we discuss the AIDA model and what BMW can teach real estate about using it to make your advertising stand out.
119: Josh Cobb: What BMW Can Teach Real Estate About Advertising

Developed by advertising and sales pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis, the AIDA model describes a sequence of events that occur when your current or potential clients view an ad for your company or a property you’re promoting.

Each letter in the acronym stands for the following:

  • “A” represents attention or awareness, and your ability to attract the attention of vendors, buyers, landlords or tenants.
  • “I” stands for interest and points to your ability to raise their interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits they would gain from what you are selling – whether it’s your services or a property.
  • “D” represents desire and points to your ability to convince them that they want and desire the property, or your services, because it will satisfy their needs.
  • “A” is for action, which leads that client or prospect toward taking action by employing you as their agent, referring business to you or enquiring about a property.

Car advertisements are prime examples of results stemming from the use of the AIDA model to narrow the target market. Marketers in the automotive industry know their advertisements must grab the attention of consumers, so they use colours, backgrounds, and themes that would appeal to them. Next, automotive marketers demonstrate the advantages, benefits or social standing you will gain from owning that car.

Think about the last ad you saw for BMW.

How many cylinders does the car have? I have no idea at this point. What size wheels does it have as standard? I haven’t got a clue. But has BMW got my interest and desire? You bet they do.

Instead of talking about its features, BMW shows the advantages, benefits or social standing you will gain from owning one of their cars.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘sell the sizzle, not the sausage’. Car companies are great at following the AIDA model.

  • First, they get your attention with stunning videos or imagery of cars driving around a mountainside or through city streets.
  • Second, they focus on and demonstrate, the benefits or social currency you will gain from owning their product.
  • Third, they build desire by showing you what you’re missing out on if you don’t take action.
  • And lastly, their consumers take action by booking a test drive, or at the very least start researching online.

Sell the sizzle, not the sausage.

In real estate, we’ve traditionally not been great at following the AIDA model – especially when it comes to selling or renting a property. We talk a lot about features – how many bedrooms it has, square meterage or maybe the fact it has an infinity edge pool. But if we were following the AIDA model, our advertising would be less about beds, baths and square meters, and more about the story of the property. More importantly, the story it might tell its next owner or tenant.

Take The Boutique Real Estate Group in California for example. I had the pleasure of interviewing Principal/Owner, Raj Qsar, on a very early episode of our podcast where we talked about their unique approach to marketing and storytelling.

Instead of an agent walking around a property talking about features of the property, The Boutique Real Estate Group invest heavily in telling stories through video. Stories about the people who live (or might live) in the property, rather than just the ‘things’ inside it.

Video Example: 27112 Highland Dr, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

There is a saying by John Quincy Adams, the 6th US President, that goes like this:

“Whoever tells the best story wins.” – John Quincy Adams

When it comes to advertising your properties, think about telling the best story you can, instead of what we typically do in real estate which is talk a lot about well-appointed kitchens, stainless steel European appliances, infinity edge pools and location to amenities.

I’m not suggesting those things aren’t important to include in your advertising, but rather think about selling a story about the property, rather than just the ‘things’ inside it.

You don’t need big budgets or big film crews to tell great stories. You can evoke a lot of emotion from a single photo or a sentence with only a few words.

Marketing today is about making people feel something before they think.

The AIDA model just happens to be a very effective and well-proven method of doing just that.