Meet AIDA – Your Road Map to Success!

Welcome back … I hope you had a great week!

Last week we began a discussion about identifying your target audience and deciding upon what type of copy best fits who you’re talking to. We also covered the basics regarding Dr. William Moulton Marston’s four-quadrant behavioral model that he labeled, “DISC,” which stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.

Each of these behavioral models possess different attributes, respond to different power/influence words, and need to be spoken to using a different writing style from the others.

But what if your task is to write copy for varying personalities in the same quadrant?

For example, let’s say your job is to write copy to sell a car to a broad range of buyers from the “steadiness” group. (Who happen to come from all walks of life and represents about 40% of American buyers!)

Would you say the same thing to males between the ages of 21 – 30 as you would to working Moms?

Of course not! (Unless you weren’t particularly interested in selling any cars…in which case your first job with that client would likely also be your last!)

To the guys you might write about how fast the car accelerates, how cool the interior is, what a great sounding stereo it comes equipped with, or how it’s a “babe magnet!”

The working Moms, on the other hand, would be more interested in the safety features, the great gas mileage it gets, and perhaps the roadside assistance plan.

The point is (you knew we were going somewhere with this, right?) once you have your behavioral model established, you need to take it to the next level and figure out what’s going to prompt your reader into taking action. This is where your intimate knowledge of your prospect begins to get detailed, and there’s no better way of attaining that level than by understanding how to create AIDA.

The AIDA formula is an advertising acronym in marketing that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

  • Attention
    If there’s nothing about your ad that attracts your prospect’s attention he won’t have any incentive to read about what you’re offering him. And as we know, the best and most powerful way to get that attention is through a strong headline and subhead that focuses on the “4-U’s” (Urgent, Unique, Useful, and Ultra-Specific). Properly crafted, a strong headline will make known the need and hold your buyer’s attention so he or she will continue to read the copy.
  • Interest
    Doesn’t it tick you off when you’re captivated by a great headline and begin eagerly reading through the copy only to find that the offer or information is hopeless and boring? Take our car example above. Would the guys keep reading if the headline centered on a great stereo system and then the copy’s “big idea” suddenly centered on roadside assistance? Would the Moms keep reading if they found themselves learning about how many babes could fit in the back seat? This is why it’s super important to know exactly whom you’re talking to and keep that big idea you proposed in your headline consistent throughout the course of your letter.
  • Desire
    This gets back to appealing to the benefits a particular buyer is interested in. There needs to be something about your ads that gives a prospective customer the desire to have what you’re offering. In creating desire, drive your point home to a targeted group with both information and emotional twists that will reinforce the “need/want” for the product or service.
    (Note: People generally purchase what they DESIRE, not necessarily what they NEED. So creating INTEREST and DESIRE are generally inseparable.)
  • Action
    There needs to be an incentive or a reason for the prospect to respond now, or at least very soon, to what you’re offering. After all, how good is an ad that prompts your prospect to think about how great an offer is being made, but then do nothing about it? “Action” should look them in the eye, shake them by the shoulders, and make them say, “I want one now!”…or…”How do I order?”…or…”What a great price!”…or...”I better get one while it lasts!”

The more thought you put into AIDA the more compelling your sales copy will become. The result? ... Higher conversion rates and happy clients!

Life is good.

Next week we’ll take a look at some questions you need to ask your clients that will help you fully understand the benefits of their products or services, and thus fully understand the target audience.

Until then, and as always…

Good health and good writing!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: July 22, 2009

1 Response to “Meet AIDA – Your Road Map to Success!”

  1. DISC and AIDA are beautiful classifications

    Jawaharlal Jasthi 36January 21, 2015 at 2:29 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)