AIDA: The Secret to Writing Copy That Sells

AIDA: The Secret to Writing Copy That Sells

Writing really good sales copy is a tremendously valuable skill.

One exceptional copywriter I met earns $400,000 a year writing salesletters. He guarantees his letters will outsell any letter that his client writes themselves …or they don’t need to pay him.

He has never not been paid.

When I asked him his secret, he simply said “I always start with AIDA”, which stands for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

If you have never come across AIDA before, it is an acronym that should be etched into your memory. It should provide the guiding principles for every piece of sales copy you write.


First you have to grab the attention of your visitors. Just take a look at the teasers on the front cover of most consumer magazines:

  • “The Worlds Top 10 Diet Plans: Find Out Which Work and Which Don’t”
  • “You’re Just One Step Away from 100% Happy”
  • “Transform Your Kitchen for Under $1,000”
  • “Exclusive Interview with Tom Cruise; Sex, Love and Betrayal”

They grab your attention!

Or i’m sure you have read the headlnes on the dozens of direct mail letters that continually land on our doormats from every conceivable type of company? They have to grab your attention from the first line or they immediately get filed in the round filing cabinet.

Good copywriters are masters of grabbing your attention the moment you start reading:

  • “Here’s how you can retire in luxury to a 3-bed hillside Tuscan cottage for half as much as it would cost to stay where you are now!”
  • “Discover how to make your fortune from financial spread trading and the stock market without leaving your armchair”
  • “This is a special invitation from the Chairman of the Inner Circle….”
  • “You maybe interested in picking up bargains for yourself. You may be interested in profit. Either way Auction Insider tells you what you need to know to pick up bargain, after bargain, after bargain……”

And it’s not just the written word . . .

Every shop window display is designed . . . or should be designed . . . to grab the attention of every passer by.

Every salesperson should have some opening lines to grab the attention of their new prospect.

If you don’t grab the attention of visitors the moment they land on your site . . . click . . . gone.


So you’ve grabbed their attention. Now what?

You have to hold their interest . . . yes . . . INTEREST.

You HAVE to put yourself in your readers shoes.

You HAVE to understand what the person listening to you, or reading your information, or looking at your website, wants to know.

They have questions, so you must have answers.

They have needs, so you must have solutions.

They have doubts, so you must have conviction.

They have alternatives, so you must inspire trust.

But you know this already!

When you meet someone new, you quickly decide whether you like and trust them. A large part of your evaluation is based on how interesting they are, how much interest they take in you and how relevant their knowledge is to your interests.

After grabbing their attention you have to maintain their interest.


Once you have aroused and developed your prospects interest, it is time to turn it into desire . . . burning DESIRE!

Desire should be a natural and inevitable step forward from interest.

The main difference between interest and desire is just narrowing down the focus of the ‘conversation’.

When I was speaking with an camping salesman about my plans for a camping trip, the discussion progressed from a broad conversation about camping, trekking tents and his personal experiences, to a discussion about the benefits of one specific tent.

The conversation had moved from interest to desire.


Finally if the desire is strong enough it will naturally lead to ACTION.

In the example of my visit to the camping shop, the action was buying a tent. The salesman succeeded in grabbing my attention, maintaining interest, focusing my desire on a single product and converting the desire to action; buying a tent.

In the context of a website, ‘action’ could be as simple as encouraging your visitor to look at more content; or it could be encouraging them to click on an advert or an affiliate link; or the sign-up to an email newsletter; or it could be for the purchase of a product or subscription.

Be clear in your mind what action you want to prompt whenever you create content for your website. Make the action clear and obvious.

The key to Action is to make it breathtakingly simple.

Click here, Sir.

That’ll do nicely.

Thank you.


Every successful salesman, retailer, mail order company, film producer, market stall owner, advertising agency, publisher . . . and website owner uses AIDA (even if they don’t realize it!).

Indeed, successful individuals use AIDA in their every day lives.

Think about dating.

The first step is to grab your targets attention . . . “What’s a nice girl like you doing a place like this?”

Then start a conversation that is enjoyable enough to maintain their interest. This involves listening, understanding, finding common ground, injecting humour, creating empathy.

If the interaction creates real interest, it turns into the desire to spend more time together.

And finally to the action . . . well I’ll leave that to your imagination!

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