The Attention Interest Desire Action (AIDA) copywriting formula provides a simple framework that you can use to market nearly anything.
The AIDA formula is a strategy you can use to guide your audience through an experience that leads to your desired action, whether that’s to subscribe to a newsletter, schedule a call, or buy a product.
Attention = Capture your audience’s attention through a compelling headline, video, or image.
Interest = Build on their curiosity, driving their interest enough to keep them reading.
Desire = Stir their desire through emotional language about the benefits of your product or service.
Action = Tell them what to do next.
Let’s break these elements down.
In any interaction, step one is to capture the other person’s attention. This isn’t always easy.
You can assume in marketing that everyone else is also trying to get your reader’s attention, and people can easily tune out marketing messages.
So you need to tap into your customer research. Now picture your ideal customer.
How old is he/she?
What does he/she do for a living?
What is he/she doing when he/she comes across this ad?
What is his/her biggest problem as it relates to your product?
How exactly will your product solve this problem?
How does he/she talk about these problems? What words does he/she use?
Armed with this information, you can brainstorm ideas for a compelling attention-grabber. It might be a clever headline, a provocative question, a compelling image, a funny meme, or some combination.
You’ve got their attention. Now you need to deepen that connection by further engaging their minds.
Pique their interest in a way that has them leaning in to hear more.
Provide fresh information.
Tell an emotional story.
Share an entertaining testimonial.
Analyze data in an interesting way.
Whatever method you choose, keep your ideal customer in mind and use their own language as much as possible.
The point is to show the reader that you really understand their problem. And in any relationship, people want to be understood. In marketing, people are more likely to stick around and read the rest of your copy if they feel like you understand them.
Desire is closely related to interest, and the reader rarely notices the shift.
But at some point, they go from thinking, “Hmm, this is interesting” to “Yes, I want that!”
To get them to that point, you need to fan the flames of interest into desire.
Talk about benefits (rather than features). Weave benefits into your copy a lot.
Use emotional language to help the reader picture themselves without that nagging problem.
Paint a clear picture of how their life will be improved.
Show other people’s results through compelling testimonials.
You’ve captured their attention, piqued their interest, and stirred their desire. If they've read this far, they are likely ready for a next step. So tell them what to do.
Your call-to-action should be simple and clear.
Anticipate why someone might not take that next step and overcome that objection in your closing copy.
For example, if price is an obstacle, offer a money-back guarantee or a free trial period. If trust is an issue, consider ways to boost your credibility, such as providing a phone number.
For more on AIDA (Attention Interest Desire Action formula), read copywriting icon Gary Halbert’s take here.
Copywriters can use the Attention Interest Desire Action formula regardless of platform or industry. Try it next time you’re faced with a blank screen and an assignment to deliver results.
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