Remember the opera “AIDA” when copywriting to generate leads

Copywriting that generates leadsPaula Pollock of Pollock Marketing Group invited me to be a guest speaker on one of her “Operation Lead Generation” teleseminars. She asked me to discuss how writing marketing copy contributes to lead generation for one’s business.

I know you understand the value of good copywriting when creating marketing materials for your business. And perhaps you’ve heard or read about “AIDA” in the past. Here’s a refresher – a summary of the main points Paula and I discussed below.


As a consumer, you know what attracts you to an ad or a Web site, catches your attention and sells you on a product or service. However, as a marketer, you may never have developed this into a formula that works for you in promoting your product.

Once you have defined your product, distinguished your target audience and identified your strongest selling benefit, you have the core concept to begin developing your marketing materials – from a brochure or catalog to a direct mail piece or Web site. So, what’s next?

Sing the opera “AIDA.” Well, you don’t have to know the opera, just remember the melodic acronym. One of the most popular formulas for creating direct response content, AIDA goes like this: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

Get Your Audience’s Attention

Your goal is to catch the audience’s attention long enough for them to want to stop and read everything you have to say. How do you stop them? Here are just a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Let your headline focus on the single strongest selling benefit (also known as the USP – unique selling proposition) you can offer your reader.
  2. Appeal to one of the 4 great motivators: fear, greed, guilt or exclusivity.
  3. Use celebrities.
  4. Tie into a current event, for instance, the Olympics.
  5. Promise something magnificent, but do not lie. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep – you’ll lose credibility and your customers.

Stimulate Your Audience’s Interest

  1. Use short, simple sentences to start out with. Clarity is extremely important.
  2. Write to people, not at them. Write as if your reader was sitting across the table from you.
  3. Be mysterious; hint at some hidden benefit (i.e. the Marlboro man ads sell cigarettes, but they also promote the image of being virile & masculine).
  4. If you can, offer something for free. Free is one of the most powerful words in the marketing vocabulary.

Create Desire to Buy Your Product/Service

It’s not enough to say that you can satisfy your readers’ needs; you have to prove you can. To do this:

  1. Use testimonials. People who have used your product and praise it in their own words lend credibility to your product.
  2. Show how easy your product is to use or how fast it works.
  3. Cite the evidence of any studies, taste tests or research you’ve conducted (i.e. Crest – “4 out of 5 dentists recommend…”).
  4. Let people know if the supply is limited, it’s only available online or via the mail (i.e. you won’t find it in a retail store), and it comes with a money-back guarantee.

Present a Call to Action

The last step should always be a call to action. What do you want your readers to do? Should they send for more information . . . call you . . . e-mail you?  Tell them.

  1. If your product is sold by mail, ask your prospects/customers to fill out the order form & return it.
  2. If your product is sold online, provide a hyperlink to the order form, ask viewers to complete the form and hit the “send” or “submit” button.
  3. If you have a toll-free number, say so and highlight it in larger, bold type.
  4. If possible, give people an incentive for responding now. Provide a deadline when your offer will expire.
  5. Always make it easy for your audience to take action. Include your company name, address, phone number, Web address and e-mail.

It isn’t important that you know how to carry a tune. Just keep this musical acronym in mind next time you’re planning to create a marketing promotion. If you’re the writer, you’ll find AIDA helps you before you sit down at your keyboard. If you’re working with an independent copywriter, you’ll be better prepared to relay the necessary information that person needs to know to do the best possible job for you.

Do you use AIDA when writing copy or do you have another formula that works for you? Please share your ideas below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks & here’s to your sweet success.