I first came across AIDA in copywriting college. It’s an acronym that stands for attention, interest, desire and action, which are the fundamental components of a direct response sales letter.

The assignment was to write sales letters asking for charity donations using AIDA.

Since then I’ve been using AIDA throughout my career. It’s so versatile I’ve been able to apply it to social media posts, online ads, landings pages, even content writing etc.

I’m going to take some time and share with you how best to use AIDA. I’ve collected some real life examples and use-cases to help me explain.

The AIDA Principle Defined

AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action.

The goal of the AIDA in marketing is to do the following:

  • Grab the attention of readers and hook them like a fish.
  • Create a point of interest for them to continue reading.
  • Display a benefit which creates desire.
  • Finish it with a call to action.

Simple and straightforward, right? Not quite.

There’s many copywriting formulas out there. But AIDA takes some time to develop.

AIDA can be used in many different ways. You can use the whole principle in a single headline, or throughout an entire sales letter or blog post. So it takes time to truly master.

The best approach is to understand the 4 fundamentals of this technique and then mix it into your own copywriting in creative ways.

This brings me to the first part of AIDA in copywriting…


Attention is probably the most underrated currency in business.

If nobody sees your content, if nobody reads your copy, they won’t know you exist.

And it’s hard to make money if no one knows who you are.

That’s why hooking the reader in is the first step to using AIDA.

There’s different approaches to getting people’s attention. The first of which is by creating a great headline. Remember that approximately 80% of people read only the headlines.

Effective headline copywriting strategies include:

  • Use urgency: Urgency implies that the reader needs to take action or they will miss out on something worthwhile. It has the potential to improve the click-through rate and readership because of that. “5 Insanely Good Marketing Trends You Aren’t Using” is an example of a headline that includes urgency.
  • Make it ultra-specific: Vague headlines are boring and will put readers to sleep. Be as specific as possible to excite them to read your content. Think “How to DO SEO in 2020” versus “How to do SEO Like The Pros in 5 Easy Steps”.
  • Cite specific numbers: This plays off the last strategy because numbers make headlines much more interesting. Imagine an article titled “How I Made a Living From Writing” versus “How I Made $96,388 This Year From UX Writing”. The latter is much sexier.
  • Define the audience: Who are you writing for? Speak directly to this segment in the headline by mentioning them. An example of this would be “4 Tips For CMO’s to Scale Campaigns”.
  • Add emotional words: The purchasing process and other things in business are mostly emotional. You can attune to this and get people’s attention by leveraging emotionally charged words and phrases.

I love Vice magazine and their YouTube channel, so I wanted to include them as an example.

Take a good look at their headlines:

Vice headlines

Do you see that? They’re amazing at grabbing attention.

I don’t know or care about “The Creator of the Shitty Media Men List” but now I’m intrigued!

Better yet, AIDA can be applied to the introduction of your copy.

Look how legendary writer Gary Halbert gets your attention in the opening line of this sales letter he wrote:

Gary Halbert letter about mailing

By promising that his idea is worth thousands of thousands of dollars and many people are using it, the reader’s eyes become glued.

You can create attention within the beginning of an article or any other form of content by:

  • Asking a question the reader will find relatable.
  • Citing an interesting statistic or piece of data that relates to the topic.
  • Using a case study that proves your point.
  • Making a bold statement.
  • Addressing the reader right away by using words like “You”.

Once you’ve successfully done this, it’s time to generate interest.


Attention, interest, desire. What’s the difference?

Not much, actually.

That’s why writing with AIDA takes so long to master. You need to carefully craft your words.

Otherwise you end up making a mess of your thoughts.

Attention hooks the reader in. It’s bold. It gets them clicking through and wanting more.

Interest, on the other hand, is much more subtle.

You can achieve interest by first formatting your content properly. That means short sentences and paragraphs, speaking in the customer’s language, establishing a friendly voice, and creating a logical order of points.

This prevents readers from becoming confused or disinterested, helping them to flow through reading like water in a river.

Here’s an example of a Moz article that’s formatted to keep interest piqued:

Moz formatting example

There’s plenty of white space, images are easy to view, and the typography is formatted to make reading effortless.

Think of it like the RPMs on a car’s dash. One a customer is revved up, you want to keep it there.

Secondly, elaborating on what originally generated the reader’s attention is very important for helping interest continue to bubble.

Let’s say that you write an article on search engine marketing trends.

After hooking the reader through the headline and intro, you then cultivate interest by doing some of the following things:

  • Citing a case study that shows a company using one of the trends you’ve covered and the ROI it had. This solidifies your point while proving what you’re talking about has true potential.
  • You add an exciting statistic about search engines that backs up your point and gives the reader food for thought.
  • Source a graph or chart that has relevant data to the topic.
  • Tell a personal story related to how you found these trends or used them yourself to achieve success.

Once you have done this, it’s time for next step.


Readers and customers are selfish.

They are very “me, me, me” types of people.

In fact, we all are at times.

Imagine the last time you were shopping online. You probably ran different keyword searches looking for some product knowledge. Then looking into pricing, the best deals, discount codes, and generally scoured the internet to find out what you wanted.

But, have you ever gotten irritated that after all that time searching you still feel like you haven’t found the right ‘thing’ yet.

Me, too. It’s also why desire is a critical component to the copywriting formula I’m teaching you today.

This is because everyone wants to know what’s in it for them.

After creating attention and interest, it’s now time to talk about the benefits of your product, service, blog post, etc.

Here’s another sales letter that nails the concept of creating desire beautifully:

Gary Halbert sales letter on copy

The letter is offering readers a report that will teach them the secrets of writing great copy.

The fourth paragraph talks about how the report will reveal strategies for writing better copy and Gary Halbert’s “secret copywriting weapons”.

Think about what your readers or customers truly want. Perhaps it’s a primal desire they aren’t aware of themselves or something more obvious.

Either way, focus on that aspect at this point in your copy and it will get them jumping out of their seat for more.


They’ve made it all this way.

The reader loved your headline, the introduction got them interested more, and you’ve cooked up a large amount of desire.

Now it’s time to help them take action.

Whether you’re producing a landing page, SEO article, or anything in between, there needs to be a call to action at some point.

This can be for purchasing a product, scheduling a demo, offering a lead magnet, or whatever makes sense for your individual campaign.

You can achieve any of these things using a clear call to action. A.K.A a statement that tells the reader what to do next.

Look how Ann Handley, a writer I look up to, has a CTA at the end of her blog posts for a newsletter:

Ann Handley CTA

This helps her generate more email subscribers that she can use to drive traffic to her blog or other offers.

Another good example is the AI company Morphio who educates readers on advanced marketing topics then proposes users to demo their automation platform:

Morphio AI cta

Why have readers go through an entire piece of content without it leading anywhere?

Always think of how you can add a smart call to action to your copy or other material, as well.

What I mean by smart is that it directly relates to the topic and isn’t a generic statement.

Looking back at the Morphio example, their article was titled “Google Analytics vs Hotjar”. They then state their software has Google Analytics integration if readers want to see how it works first-hand.

That’s clever.

Your Next Step to Using AIDA in Your Copywriting

There are millions of copywriting formulas you can use but AIDA takes the cake.

It’s heavily customizable and spices up any copy when you use it correctly.

The first step is to grab the attention of readers through powerful headlines and introductions. This is done by creating urgency, making bold statements, or addressing the reader personally.

Keeping their interest high can be achieved through presenting data, interesting statistics, and making your copy easy to read via proper formatting.

Desire is generated by explaining what’s in it for them. Talk up the benefits about your product or the information you’re presenting.

Then, don’t forget to end it with a clear call to action. This should move them closer to the sale or your campaign’s main goal.

Reach out to me for copywriting services if you need a hand.

How do you plan to use the AIDA copywriting formula now that you know the ins and outs?

It’s a crazy time to be a marketer. The shift from traditional channels to digital ones has been immense and it means marketing skills are always changing. Digital strategies and tactics have become so ubiquitous that there really is no difference from a “digital marketer” and a regular ol’ “marketer”. It’s pretty much all the same thing now.

Kinda like how responsive web design was all the rage a few years back. But now, making responsive websites that properly display for desktop and mobile devices is considered the norm. Whenever a website is created it’s just expected that it’s responsive.

Similarly, today’s marketers are expected to have a diverse set of skills, who can play various roles on a team, and know how to execute anything digital. From writing content and understanding data to demonstrating UX/UI design and actually knowing how to increase profits with audience segmentation and automation software, it’s all a part of the modern marketer’s arsenal.

And this expectation is justified. In 2017, spending on digital marketing is projected to increase by 12% to 15% on average.

In order to stay relevant today and tomorrow (digital) marketers are going to need these 10 skills in order to prosper.

  1. Analytics

Wanna hear something crazy? Apparently, 84% of marketers have indicated that they cannot measure and report on the contribution of their campaigns for business owners.

That’s disappointing.

But at the same time that’s awesome. It means that for those who work our butts off it’s going to be easier to rise to the top.

There’s no way around it, business owners want to see a bottom line return on their marketing and advertising spend. Marketers need to become fluent in analytics to show relevant data and prove their worth.

Being able to measure ROI is in high demand. Companies want to know exactly what their getting for their money. Anyone who can continuously measure and optimize campaigns based on data will increase their chances of rising to higher positions within a company and making more money.

Creative minds aren’t enough anymore. You’ll have to develop an analytical mindset to stay on top of your game. Start number crunching!

  1. Writing and Communication

Content is still king. You know it. I know it.

74.2% of companies have declared content marketing has increased their marketing teams’ lead quality and quantity. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools may be creeping into the workspace but nothing compares to a human telling a good story.

Marketers need to understand how to craft a content strategy around the buyer’s journey. It’s a significant role considering how content plays into educating, informing, inspiring, and motivating buyers and prospects, and as such, marketers need to understand how to create content that converts at each of these levels.

Marketers who can write and communicate well have an edge over employees that cannot. It’s just that simple.

Though writing and communication in themselves are basic skills, marketers should continually be improving their copywriting to communicate sales messaging in the most effective manner.

Those who can persuade buyers through writing or speaking will rise to the top of the pack.

  1. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can significantly increase your campaign performance, and should be a required skill for any professional in the field. Learning how to use automated workflows that continually nurture leads through emails or content is not easy, but it works -research shows that marketing automation can drive up to 14.5% increases in sales productivity and 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.

Practitioners can stand out if they learn how to create steady workflows for various prospect levels and understand how to analyze the corresponding data. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is important with marketing automation, and those that can master this task will be ahead of the game.

So get out there are start building automation sequences in MailChimp or InfusionSoft for small businesses. If you want to work with enterprise clients learn Marketo and Salesforce’s Pardot.

  1. Research

Marketing campaigns begin with research, so honing this skill is important. For those who have been to university you’re probably already pretty good at this.

Marketers need to have a deep understanding of buyers, market trends, analytics, and opportunities in their field – this requires advanced research skills that go beyond a Google Search.

With research skills, the marketer should focus on improving the subject matter expertise of their business and gaining a better understanding of their buyer and market. Marketers that can research effectively—and quickly—are an added bonus to any team.

  1. Coding Skills

    Marketers who don’t know HTML and CSS are becoming washed up. I’d even argue that anyone who doesn’t have basic HTML skills probably won’t be employable in the future. It’s slowly becoming an expected skill for any office employee every coming year. However, learning the basics of both can help you quickly resolve any minor issues you may come across when managing a blog or website. Understanding how to modify a MailChimp email template or research a competitor’s website also require these skills. Again, these are becoming expected rather than desired skills.Encourage yourself to learn another language in how it relates to marketing. While they’re not expected to master Python, marketers can learn how to build a search engine crawler using Python to master SEO. Those types of additional coding skills are what employers will start to look for as HTML and CSS become the norm.

  2. User/Customer Experience

    While companies generally have a separate design team, marketers that understand basic design skills are in demand. Marketers already know a lot about the target market, so if they can work with the design team to help create a website experience that caters to that market, the site will most likely drive better engagement and results. 95% of customers agree that good user experience just makes sense, so why not pair up marketing and design teams to create a layout that’s appealing to the customer? Marketers should learn basic design skills in order to jump in and make a positive impact on customer experience.

  3. Inbound marketing

    Inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound, which means inbound marketing is a must-have skill.Using content, social, and SEO tactics, marketers must be able to bring potential customers to a website, but more importantly than that, marketers need to be able to bring the right customer to a website. Increasing traffic is possible by simply posting content throughout a bunch of Groups on a social media platform, but what marketers need be able to do effectively is bring qualified leads to a website. Use the right tools to bring real potential buyers to a site with specialized inbound marketing.HubSpot offers a free Inbound Marketing Certification course that’s got just what you need to get in on the ground floor.

  4. Understanding the Buyer

    Going along with inbound marketing, marketers must understand buyers and the buyer journey if they’re going to bring them to a website and eventually get to a sale.Marketers can learn and understand the buyer process by collaborating with the sales team. Once marketers know the buyer cycle, they can create specific content around each stage of that process.95% of buyers prefer brands that provide content throughout the buying process, which means the sales and marketing teams must align. Marketers that can create content to push potential buyers down the sales funnel to create sales are valuable — and can measure that value in dollars.

  5. Mobile

    There seems to be no slowing down in the growing use of smartphones for Internet users. I recently ran a Google Adwords campaign where 65% of all our paid traffic came from mobile! Marketers need to understand how to implement timely and location-based campaigns that target mobile users. With mobile optimization the norm, marketers can utilize other mobile tactics, such as text message offerings and location-based offers, to entice users to interact with a brand. Mobile is growing at a rapid rate. I’ve even noticed some companies in Toronto are hiring a separate mobile team. Marketers that can create mobile-specific messaging and drive engagement on smartphones will be well sought after in the near future.

  6. SEO

    Every year I come across headlines declaring that “SEO is dead,” but SEO never really dies, it just changes.Being able to get your brand or client to the first page of Google, or the #1 result, is the desired outcome. Users are less likely to click on page two of search results anymore. But is Google constantly updating itself and the way we search online changes. By keeping up with SEO trends you can stay ahead. Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said that high quality content and link building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search. Marketers that produce high quality content and can effectively link build, while maintaining other SEO best practices, will always be in demand.

The Future Marketer

If you want to keep your skin in the game you’ll need to constantly learn new skills and adapt to online changes.

As online behavior and algorithms shift, so do marketing tactics – and therefore marketing best practices. When it comes down to it, it’s simple, marketers that thrive on change and continue to learn new techniques will always have employment. Those that don’t keep up will fall behind.

These are the 10 skills I think marketers need to ensure they have today to succeed. But I’ll be honest, I’m certain this list has to change going into the future. The very best marketers will be called upon to learn even more. Here in Canada, it’s never a bad idea to be bilingual. It only helps your employability. But I can definitely see a future from here where being multilingual would only help marketers serve more businesses globally. And as business owners want more numbers, marketers should strive to learn more in-depth data science such as data mining.

If you’re a marketer and you practice continually improving your skills, research abilities, and self-educate, you can stay at the top of your field.