Stick this on a post-it note for future use

If you’ve ever done a sales and marketing course, you’ll probably have heard of the AIDA technique. It goes back nearly a century, but like all great methods, it doesn’t date. AIDA neatly summarises the four stages of a sales process, and you can use it for presentations, letters, advertisements, website landing pages and more. Whenever you write any of these, you should always have at least one sales writing technique in mind (do you?) and AIDA is a very good one.

Here’s what it involves. First of all, you get their Attention. That means starting with a statement, headline or subject line which the audience will find intriguing, and never anything to which they might be able to raise objections.

Got their attention? Now give them something of Interest. It should relate to their situation, perhaps demonstrating what you’ve got, and make them keen to find out more.

Next, create Desire. Don’t tell them they’ve got problems. Give them something they’ll want. Something which other people have, which will make their life easier and which won’t be universally available forever.

Finally, tell them the Action they need to take. Not only is this one-quarter of the message, I’d suggest that it could take up even more space than that. “Call us for details” is a pathetic call-to-action. Use all the classic closing sales techniques here: not “do you want to buy?”, but “do you want the red one or the blue one?” Make it so easy for them to do what you want that, they’ll have little incentive not to do so.

Scribble down “AIDA” on a post-it note now, and next time you have to create anything for sales or marketing, see if you can use this proven and timeless technique.

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