Published February 13, 2006

Formula for Writing Great Copy - AIDA method

It doesn't matter if your business is offline or online, you can only stay in business if you're making money. And you can only make money by making sales.

So you should be asking yourself every day: "How can I make more sales?"

One of the ways to make more sales -- whether you're offline or online -- is to make sure that your copy sells! That is, make sure that every piece of printed material that goes out of your office or is viewed on your website is enticing your potential customers to turn into actual customers!

Here is one of the tried-and-true methods to ensure that if your marketing material has words, the message is "buy now!"

It's called the AIDA method. If you've spent a half an hour on a sales floor anywhere in America, you've heard some sales person using some aspect of the AIDA approach to sales. And, if you've ever read any sales material, whether you knew it or not, you were reading something that likely followed the AIDA approach.

What is AIDA?

AIDA is an acronym that stands for "Attention, Interest, Decision, Action" and it is a foolproof formula to help you write great copy, even if you hate writing copy at all!

It's true that there are not a lot of "foolproof" formulas in the world, but this is one of them. If you're ever in doubt about your web content or your sales literature, keep coming back to this acronym and it won't let you down.

A = Attention. Brochures get your attention with a strong graphic and sometimes a very short title. Another good way to get a viewer's attention is with questions. Commercials are able to use motion, emotion, and surprise to help get the viewer's attention and hold it for a moment. One classic advertising method that will never get old is to introduce the problem that your produce or service solves. For example, "Don't you hate it when you can't get grease off of your dishes?"

I = Interest. Once you have their attention, keep them interested by telling them a little more about the product or service that you are offering. Perhaps you can begin to answer the question asked in the attention-getting phase of your marketing material. Or maybe you can explain a little further about the motion, emotion, or surprise you used. At the same time, you'll want to explain what it has to do with the product or service you are selling. This is the area where you say how your product or service solves the problem. To continue the above example, you've probably heard something like this: "You scrub and you scrub and the grease doesn't come off. Wouldn't it be great if grease just disappeared off your dishes? Then you could have more time doing the things you like to be doing! Well now you can, with new Super ABC dish detergent!"

D = Decision. Now it's time to ask your reader/ viewer/ listener/ visitor to make a decision. Part of this process is to reinforce the benefits you mentioned in the interest section. This is the area where you say, "do you have that problem, too?" or "why not buy it today?" To continue our dish example, you might say here, "Forget about those other dishwashing solutions that simply don't get grease off. Choose Super ABC!"

A = Action. This is the area where you say, "if you do have that problem... " and get them to call, visit, click, or buy. You need to spell it out very clearly for your prospect so they know exactly what they need to do. Moreover, you need to make it very simple for them! It should be one simple action for them to perform. For example, "Super ABC detergent is in the yellow bottle at your local supermarket."

With the AIDA method, you'll never be at a loss for words again!