What is AIDA in writing and marketing?

When you’re writing copy for your website, whether it be for content marketing or to get your site’s visitors to convert into a customer (whatever that means for you), it pays to have a model of writing you can follow to trust that you’re helping them quickly answer the question of “is this service right for me?”

I’m far from a professional conversion copywriter, but I have studied it a bit over the years as I’ve grown my different companies and services. I’ve also hired copywriters in the past to help me when I got stuck, and I’ve been privileged to be in rooms (both real and virtual) with some of the world’s best copywriters as they teach their craft.

The model I’ve been taught that works incredibly well to convert a visitor to a customer is the AIDA model:

  • A – Attention
  • I – Interest
  • D – Desire
  • A – Attraction

In this article I am going to talk about each part of the AIDA copywriting model and how you can leverage this model to improve your conversions.

What does AIDA stand for?

AIDA stands for “attention, interest, desire, attraction” and is a copywriting model used to take visitors through the steps of the buying process to making a decision.

Created by St Elmo Lewis in 1898, the AIDA models attempts to explain how personal selling works. You identify the four stages of a potential customer’s buying psychology and then craft copy to take them through each of those.

Attention

In the Attention phase, the potential customer becomes aware of a category, product, or brand. This is also called the “awareness” phase, where they might be looking for a solution to a problem they have and are beginning to uncover a potential solution to their problem.

This can also work in a non-business context, such as looking for a fresher personal wardrobe and realizing that white sneakers are in style and starting to research white sneakers that look good with skinny jeans.

Marketing channels that work in this phase are advertising, content marketing, and being in places where the ideal customer is already searching whether that be a trade magazine or Pinterest.

Interest

Next up in the Interest phase, where a customer becomes interested in a specific brand and wants to learn more not only about how the brand’s product solves their problem but also more about the brand itself and if values align.

In a business context, this could be someone discovering HubSpot as a marketing tool to capture emails and then learning more about their Inbound Marketing ethos and if that lines up with how they think about growing companies online.

Using the shoes analogy above, a consumer may be researching white tennis shoes and come across Nothing New. They might like the look of their shoes, but then also look deeper in to the brand and see their ethos of “Made From 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic and Other Sustainable Materials”.

The consumer is now more likely to buy.

Desire

Next comes the Desire phase of AIDA, where a buyer or consumer develops a favorable view of the brand and is most likely to go with that brand should they actually make a buying decision.

This can be a relatively lengthy process especially when the price is high. HubSpot, for example, can be thousands of dollars per month. This is a large investment for smaller companies, though a pittance for larger companies who understand their sales and marketing funnels and metrics.

Even with consumer goods, this phase can take a while as the consumer tries to decide if they really want to spend their money on that pair of shoes.

Marketing channels that work very well here are retargeting and email marketing (if you have their email address).

Attraction

Finally comes the Attraction phase, where the buyer or consumer makes a commitment to at least doing a trial, having a demo conversation, or making a purchase.

Each conversion type has its own plusses and minuses, and sometimes buyers who seem to be in the Attraction phase are actually straddling between Desire and Attraction and it is your job to move them fully into Attraction.

There are many strategies to do this, but they can include win-back/abandoned cart emails (in ecommerce), free trial or money-back guarantees in online business, and many more.

Attraction is where the money is made.

The AIDA model

So there you are, the AIDA model of conversion copywriting:

  • Attraction
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Attraction

Go forth and convert!