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?

I’m excited to follow up with all of you on my previous post about real estate lead generation, because today I’m taking a deeper look into some real estate lead generation websites I’ve worked on over the past year.

Some of the work I have to show you is from as far back as January of 2017. However, I still continue to produce marketing projects for this client to this day. I’m going to share with you some traffic campaigns, email sequences and SEO work I’ve created in the real estate marketing niche.

Basically what I am sharing with you is a case study of 18 months worth of work on building different real estate lead generation websites. To make this post easier to navigate I’ve included a table of contents with auto-scrolling links to the various sections. Enjoy!

Over the last year and a half I have been managing the marketing for serial entrepreneur, Erwin Szeto (the client), who is listed on the top 20 influencers in the world of real estate in Canada. He’s on the list with the likes of Stefan Aarnio, Scott McGillivray and the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott. I like to think my marketing work has played some small part in propelling him to that status.

I met the client through my association with the Rock Star Inner Circle, which is a network with hundreds of small business entrepreneurs.

When I first met the client he was largely known as “Mr. Hamilton”. The client explained to me that he had positioned himself as a trusted expert on real estate investments within the Hamilton area. However, he wanted to expand his business to include more regions on the west side of the GTA, like St. Catharines and Niagara. The client had recently switched from using TopProducer to Infusionsoft for his CRM.

Also, the client was hosting his own monthly networking events for lead generation and so he was interested in running a PPC advertising campaign for the very first time to increase the attendance.

Niche Content Microsite

The first thing I got started on was a whole bunch of keyword research and SEO. I proposed creating a niche content microsite that included SEO articles targeting geographic keywords & topics with above-average click volume and low competition. The articles would be repurposed into a downloadable PDF, which would be used as a lead magnet. With the microsite being built with WordPress I would use a plugin for pop-up opt-ins. I knew all of this would make for a valuable real estate lead generation website and the client accepted my proposal.


And thus, investinstcatharines.ca was conceived.

Google Ads Campaign

Again, this was the first time the client was trying paid traffic with Google. In order to meet the high expectations of pay-per-click advertising I called on my friends Thomas and David from Reverb Consulting.

I wrote and designed landing pages on the investinstcatharines.ca domain. A 3-step traffic funnel was created to generate leads for the networking event. The first page offered the lead magnet, the thank you page followed up with the networking event offer and then the final page allowed users to refer a friend to join them at the event.

real estate lead generation

Infusionsoft Marketing Automation Campaign Builder

I incorporated marketing automation with Infusionsoft by creating various email sequences to track who received the lead magnet, who registered for the networking event, who attended and who was a no-show. Based on the tagging I could segment the leads into different groups for future marketing offerings.

email automation


Below are some highlights from the Google Ads campaign. I’m really proud of the results because our efforts lead the networking event to grow so large that another venue was required to accommodate everyone.

In just 6 months time, I grew the attendance by 292.5% from 27 people to 79 people.

You can see in these before and after pictures why we had to move the networking event to a larger space. The attendees were essentially getting squeezed like sardines inside the office meeting space in Oakville. So the networking event moved to the Sheridan College Conference Centre.

Here’s an overview of the results from the Google Ads campaign.


Paid Search accounted for 26% While still accounting for over 50% of all conversions.

In the first 3 months of site launch, paid search accounted for 40% of site sessions and 82% of goal completions. Organic traffic never accounted more than 40% of total traffic.

Total Site Sessions: 4605 Unique Visitors


Often with ads, (when done poorly) you will see a low number of pages per session. When people are unfamiliar with a brand and they ended up on there because of a click they are likely to bounce. This shows that our ads were targeted with appropriate copy to bring in the right people.

Pages Per Session on ads was 2.55


Generally, the lowest conversion rate on a site will be seen by ads. It stands to reason that the people who have actually searched out your site directly would be the most likely to convert compared with those who’ve ended up there because of an ad they just saw. However, the average conversion rate for organic traffic was 1.49% with the next closest to paid ads being referrals with 6.18%. We were able to outperform both organic and referral traffic as the highest converting channel.

Paid Ads Conversion rate was 9%


This is where we can look at everything that happened over the course of the campaign. As you will see paid goal conversions accounted for over 50% of the total amount. What you don’t see here is that both direct and organic have first click attribution numbers from paid. Meaning, while they eventually converted through a direct visit or an organic search, there is initial contact made with adwords:

Paid: 133
Direct: 61
Organic: 24
Referral: 24


Totals for the campaign

Total Clicks: 1739
Total Cost: $4,308.11
CPC: $2.48
Bounce Rate From Ads: 25%
Average Pages per Session: 2.56
Goal Conversion Rate: 8.69% (Average for site was 3.74%)

I’m proud to report that the client spent $4,308.11 for the advertising campaign, which grossed $14,939 in sales from leads generated during the campaign.

Split Testing Headlines

While collaborating with Reverb Consulting, we had noticed we were experiencing a drop off between people who converted on the first landing page but then did not convert on the second. This drop off was bigger than what we wanted to see. It was an indication to us that something about the second page was not connecting with visitors.

So, in the forth month of the PPC campaign we decided to set up a split test to try different headline copy ideas.

The second landing page was the one with the offer to get on the guest list for the networking event. During this time, the client’s networking event was called the St. Catharines Inner Circle Meeting.

The headline on the landing page mentioned St. Catharines by name, so we had a hunch that maybe our ad traffic was getting confused and thought the networking event was actually taking place in St. Catharines, when it actually took place in Oakville.

A lot of our click volume was coming from the Halton region, including areas like Oakville, Milton, Burlington etc. We hypothesized that our traffic wasn’t taking up the networking event offer because they believed the event was in St. Catharines and therefor to far of a commute to attend.

I decided the best way to alleviate this problem was to remove the mention of St. Catharines in the headline to see if it would improve the conversion rate.

And sure enough it worked!

Insights And Discoveries

I also want to note that the data we collected and the split testing we were doing lead us to another insight. When we first started the campaign we cast a pretty large net for geo-targeting. We were showing our Google Ads to anyone who was searching our targeted keywords across all the major cities in the GTA.

Over time we began to notice that most of the clicks on our ads were coming from wealthier cities in the GTA. Meaning that people in Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph etc. weren’t looking for real estate investment opportunities in St. Catharines as much as people from Oakville, Mississauga and Burlington.

This lead us to switching up some of our marketing tactics going into the back half of 2017.

Halton REI Microsite

Armed with these new insights, we decided to do a quick rebrand of the networking event. The client decided to call it the Halton Real Estate Investors Meeting, or Halton REI for short.

I quickly got to work on making a new WordPress site for the Halton REI, which was great because with the expert search engine optimization work I had done for this new site, we could organically target people searching for investment property info on the westside of the GTA but who lived near Halton. We use this site to collect leads for the networking event.

real estate lead generation websites

Throughout the rest of the year we made marketing videos to promote the networking event including testimonials and reactions from the attendees. The client also has a podcast website and another website about real estate investment information in Hamilton that I managed. We even got into some retargeted Google display ads before the end of the year.

The Secret Organic Traffic Strategy You Need for Your Real Estate Lead Generation Websites

If you’re creating your own real estate lead generation websites and you’re hesitant to spend money on paid traffic advertising with Google or Facebook, this is what I would keep in mind…

Over the last year and a bit I’ve been looking back and reflecting on all the real estate lead generation websites I had done. I had figured out how to best build a website and how to target keyword content to generate qualified traffic made up of investors doing research on which cities would be good places to invest in real estate.

I had figured out how to create appropriate lead magnet content to collect subscribers and grow the client’s audience. And then I figured out how to market the networking meeting to grow the attendance each month.

If you’re a realtor looking for real estate investor clients and you’re trying to figure out your own digital marketing or website strategy I have some advice I would recommend.

First you need to pick a particular geographic area you want to position yourself as an expert. Let’s say you’re a realtor in Durham Region (east side of the GTA). You would need a website ranking for content that investors would be searching about in Durham.

Then you need to market your realtor services for those geo-locations. Create web pages about why your services are better than the competition in the cities and neighbourhoods you want to target.

When building out a website you need to be conscientious about its architecture. It’s good practise to group your content into silos; where you’re creating a ‘parent page’ that links out to ‘child pages’ within it.

For example, you could make silos like this:

  • durham real estate investing
    • durham population
    • durham economic development
    • durham real estate market
    • durham zoning bylaw
    • durham transit
  • durham real estate investor services
    • pickering real estate investor services
    • ajax real estate investor services
    • whitby real estate investor services
    • oshawa real estate investor services
    • clarington real estate investor services
    • scugog real estate investor services
    • uxbridge real estate investor services
    • brock real estate investor services

If you build out a content marketing strategy like this for your website you should notice that you probably won’t get a TON of traffic, but it will be HIGHLY QUALIFIED and most importantly it will be ORGANIC.

This means you won’t have to spend thousands and thousands in ad spend to generate real estate investor client leads like my client did. Your website should be able to do that for you all on it’s own. Just remember to always take your time and create high quality content that will build trust in your audience and position yourself as an authority.

If you found any of the information in this article useful, leave me a comment below. Feel free to follow up with me with any questions you may have.

And if you’re looking to generate real estate investor leads with your own website and would like some help or advice, then definitely reach out to me on my contact page.


If you’re into creating websites or interested in having one, you surely must have come across the term SEO (search engine optimization). By definition SEO is optimizing your website content so that it achieves better search results in various search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I’m going to share with you some basic seo tips you can start using today to improve the search ranking of your website.

Once you understand how a search result is displayed by a search engine and what are the potential factors involved, it gets relatively simple to build a website that serves both human users and search engines.

Understanding how the search engine works

Before I get into explaining how SEO works, it’s important for you to understand how the results in a search engine are displayed.

When someone searches a particular word in Google, the search engine is required to search this word across the World Wide Web through different websites all over the world.

This is called a keyword.

The most relevant websites would be displayed on the first page of Google. Now, the ranking of the websites is based on sophisticated algorithms run by “spiders” that crawl the web to index new webpages that are being published all the time. There are also “bots” that scan and read a webpage’s content (all the text, images, videos, links etc.) that determine the order in which webpages and websites are ranked.

Apparently, Google has over 200 ranking factors and they don’t release what they are specifically so no one can artificially manipulate the search engine to get their website to outrank everyone else. That would be unfair.

However, below are the most common parameters a search engine would use to gauge the relevance of a keyword to a website.

  • The highest number of clicks: High numbers of clicks means that number of users have visited the page. The search engine would feel that this website would be most relevant to the keyword used by the user.
  • Keyword Relevance: If the bots scan and find the keyword used many times in your post they would communicate to the search engine that the site will be related to the search criteria and would display the website on the first page.
  • Time spent on the website: Google will determine the time users spend on the website. More time spent on the website means that users are reading the content on the page. This makes the search engine decide that the website is more relevant and thus the website will have a higher ranking in the search result.
  • On-Page: On page SEO deals with the changes made on the website and in the contents itself. For instance, changing or adding a keyword to the title of the post to attract more traffic on your page. Some of the changes one can make within a short amount time which will help yield great results are the following:
    • Web page content: It is crucial that the website has relevant and high-quality content. Users should have a good experience once they visit your website. Especially while navigating through the different web pages.
    • Design: Keep your design minimalistic and one without a heavy amount of code. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly.
    • Upload time: Make sure your website loads within 1-2 seconds. On an average, a user will wait 5 seconds for a website to load. If the site is buggy or the web host has connectivity issues you would surely lose potential traffic. Google factors the loading time of a website while displaying the search results. Hence you should ensure that your website is quick to load.
    • Plugins: Plugins are a great way to optimize your website. Use a cache plugin to clear any unwanted cache. SEO plugin is a great way to edit your Meta title and Meta description and having the keyword used. Note that Meta title is a title that appears on the search result for a user after they search for the keyword. While Meta description helps to give a brief overview to the user what the website is about.
    • Optimize posts: Websites which have posts with around 800-1200 words tend to do better. However, not all topics and post can be that long. The minimum word count for a post is about 300 words. A good practise is to write 2-3 long posts and then have links to related posts with few words. Essentially, you’re making the long post the “parent” and the shorter posts that link to it the “child”. This will not only help you rank better on the topics related to the long posts but on other topics as well.
    • Bullet Points: Keep your content concise and develop a habit of making bullet points. This will help your post grab the attention of the scrollers who do not read the entire posts.
    • Use images and videos: For a post of 1200 words, at least use 4-5 images. They help in getting the attention of users. Post a video at the beginning of the post. If a viewer watches a 10mins video on your web page, this will help your search ranking drastically.

The above-mentioned basic seo tips do not directly affect your SEO ranking on Google. However will help you get more users and more traffic to your website, which plays an important role in optimizing your website to rank higher.

Here’s a short video that helps explain how search engines’ page rank algorithms work.

Basic SEO tips and keyword optimization every website owner needs to know about

Here are a few ways you can include the keyword in various different aspects of your website. These are the basic seo tips I share with my clients. It’s also what I focus on in my work to make the biggest impact on my clients’ websites.

  • Meta title:As mentioned already, using an SEO plugin to edit your web page title which displays in the search results.
  • URL extensions: Google has a way to identify which web page is regarding what topic through the permalink in the website URL. Edit the URL and include the keyword.
  • Hyperlinks: Use links within your website to navigate through different posts. In this way, you link the keyword to another related post.
  • Image alternative text or “alt text”: Image text helps Google identifying what the image is about. Rename the embedded image to a related keyword.

Off page SEO: This basically deals with back links which are nothing more than links which are directing users back to your website. The common strategies to obtain good back links are as follows.

  • Social Media: Use all platforms of social media to promote your website. Create a page on Facebook or group on Google+ linking back to your web page. This method helps especially if you have a new website and social media is a great way to divert traffic initially.
  • Q & A Forums: Browse through Q & A forums like Quora related to your topic and try answering some of the questions there. Ensure you link your website to the answers. The clicks you get through this method are not significant, but by constantly giving quality answers would help build a reputation in the community.
  • Comment on popular blogs: Comment on at least two popular blogs who have more influence related to your topic and link back to related blog posts or pages on your own site.

Keyword research and content strategies

Understanding how search engines work and how to rank for them is only just the beginning. The next step after these basic seo tips would be figuring out what content you’d need to create for your website. In order to come up with your own content strategy for your website you’ll need to do some keyword research. There are plenty of online tools available for keyword research. Some are free, like Google Keyword Planner, and some cost money.

In a future blog post I’ll write a guide for how I conduct keyword research for my clients and how I implement these basic SEO tips in order to get results for my clients and make money as a digital marketing consultant.

So if you haven’t already, I encourage you to join my mailing list so you get notified when I publish future post.