Direct Response Copywriter on AIDA. Part 2.

In the last blog, I wrote about the first part of AIDA. Let's review what AIDA stands for.

A = Attention I = Interest D = Desire A = Action

If I've been successful then I have the attention of the reader. Now it's time to keep the attention of the reader by being interesting.

It's not easy to be interesting in copy. I like to think about the reader sitting in front of my copy going, "WOW! I never knew that!" If I'm writing golf copy then I like to write about a new way of solving a common golf problem. Golfers typically find this type of content extremely interesting.

Here's where the research comes in. I like to find facts that tie back to the benefits that really appeal to the potential customer.

Let me give you an example.

I was watching a VSL the other day. The VSL was for a subscription to an investment newsletter. The "big idea" the direct response copywriter used was to reveal how to profit that stocks that would rise and fall based on wars.

After getting the attention of the reader, the copywriter wrote extensively about 10 different wars that could start in the next five years ... and why.

It's brilliant copywriting. The copywriter keeps the interest of the viewer. Most of the viewers are interested in global conflicts but probably didn't know about all these potential wars. It's also a way of proving the link between conflicts and the opportunity for profit.

Again ... research is so extremely vital here. Fascinating facts come from this research. The research must focus on what's interesting to the potential customer ... and it must also relate to the product or service.

Of course, every piece of direct response copy has to be fascinating from beginning to end. But there's a point in the promotion, usually right after the introduction or headline where the interest level has to increase dramatically.

Let's go back to a hyper-successful magazine like Cosmopolitan Magazine. The headlines on the cover get the attention of the reader. Then the articles are interesting because they reveal things the reader doesn't know ... but wants to know. Would articles about golf be valuable to the Cosmo reader? NO! Would articles about how to dress to attract men be valuable in Golf Digest? Negatory big brother. The fascinating facts must be salient.

In the next blog, I'll talk about the "D" part ... DESIRE.

Anyone can find interesting facts. But it's only the skilled direct response copywriter who knows how to find the interesting information that's relevant to what the potential customer really wants.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on AIDA. Part 1.

No ... it's not the opera by Giuseppe Verdi. It's a famous direct response copywriting formula. Who created this formula? I have no idea. Maybe I should know. But here's what it stands for.

A = Attention. I = Interest. D = Desire. A = Action.

It's a good start, in a way, and it's very much an overview. It's not a precise template for copy but it's important for every direct response copywriter and every direct marketer to understand, at an almost professorial level, AIDA.

The four components of AIDA are linked. They must all be present in copy that's striving to maximize conversion. One part of AIDA leads to the next.

In this four-part series, I'm going to introduce AIDA, beginning with attention.

It's tempting to look at AIDA as just the headline and yes, the headline is vital to gain the attention of the reader, viewer, or listener. I typically use headline templates based on headlines that have worked for other promotions.

But there's much more to getting someone's attention than a "how to" headline.

I can walk into a crowded, loud bar and yell to get everyone's attention and then say, "free hamburgers right now at the restaurant accross the street." I would get everyone's attention for about 3 seconds and then everyone in the bar would continue drinking and bantering. I would be a pure annoyance.

It's the same with all the ads I see on the New York Subway. They get my attention because I'm there but it's all for the wrong reasons.

Attention that leads to a sale is what I'm striving to achieve as a direct response copywriter. My job is to get the attention of the man or woman who wants what my client provides and then keep their attention by providing interesting information.

That's very different from just getting someone's attention.

To enable the former, I must fully understand what the potnetial client or customer truly wants. Maybe it's to end joint pain. Maybe it's to look years younger. Maybe it's to hit a golf ball a long way.

Think about Cosmopolitan Magazine. Its readers want to look great, have a great love life, and enjoy great relationships. So the headlines on the cover gain the attention of the readers based on what the readers want. It's not really that complicated, my friends!

The editors could put a photo of a film star being beheaded on the cover ... and this would get everyone's attention ... but it's the wrong type of attention.

Want to get the right type of attention? Let's go back to that crowded bar. Let's say I see a friend who told me he is planning a trip to England. Imagine what happens when I say, "Hey John, I know a lot about England and I'd be happy to point you toward some places I know you'd like."

That's going to get the attention of my friend, John. Let's remember ... the goal of the attention here is to pique the next step in AIDA, which is INTEREST.

Anyone can get someone's attention. But it's only the skilled direct response copywriter who knows how to get the attention of the person in a way that keeps someone interested so they ultimately buy the product or service.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on What You Can Learn from a Bookstore

Who would have thought?

Film cameras using real film are becoming more popular. Vinyl records are making a comeback because the sound quality is better than digital. People are buying cassette tapes. Independent bookstores are thriving.

Even in this digital age, “old school” treats are alive and well. I was recently in New York City and visited one of the city’s literary institutions, Strand Bookstore. It has three (or four?) floors of new books, used books, gifts, records, and other stuff. It’s one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Manhattan. I also like to visit my local independent bookstore here in Colorado.

So … what can a direct response copywriter learn from a bookstore? A lot but I want to focus for now on the most important lesson, which is looking at book titles.

There’s an irony here: book publishers are typically terrible at marketing books. But they are off-the-charts epic when it comes to titles. Go figure. I'm not talking about novels and similar books. I want you to focus on the non-fiction side.

Gary Bencivenga tells direct response copywriters to look closely at book titles for inspiration when it comes to headlines.

Let’s take a look at some currently popular titles.

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The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Blast the Sugar Out!: Lower Blood Sugar, Lose Weight, Live Better

I Will Teach You to Be Rich

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

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You could easily spend at least an hour looking up book titles to get inspiration for headlines. All the headlines above are totally based on direct response copywriting headline templates. I bought one of those books based on the title. The actual book itself was terrible. But the title … sorry, headline … drew me in.

So next time you’re in a bookstore, or scanning a list of bestsellers, notice the title of the book.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on the B2B World

What’s the difference between B2B copywriting and B2C copywriting?

It’s a fascinating question. Are they the same, or extremely different? The answer is yes, and no.

Here’s my take. Direct response copywriting is all about selling products and services. I don’t make a huge distinction between B2B copywriting and B2C copywriting. To me, it’s all about the product … coupled with the principles of direct marketing.

Let me explain. I have written B2B copy and B2C copy. My website is a B2B site; I’m speaking to business owners and business decision makers. But most of these decision makers are in the B2C world. The copy on my site is not that different from copy for a dietary supplement. I’m answering the question the reader is asking, “what’s in it for me?” plus I’m providing as much proof as I can.

There are copywriters who write exclusively for the B2B world. They hang up their shingle and say, “I specialize in B2B copy.” Are they direct response copywriters? Most are not and there’s nothing wrong with this at all. There’s a lot of brochure copy, social media, and newsletter copy in the B2B world.

The biggest difference between B2B and B2C comes from the product itself and the timing. Again … let me provide some examples.

If I’m writing copy for a company that sells massive steam turbines to energy companies, then the gestation period is close to 2 years. There’s a lot of pounding away to get the sale. However, if I’m writing copy for a company that sells staplers for general business use, that’s still B2B copy.

Most people I know spend several months looking at cars before buying a car. That’s a B2C sale that requires direct response copy. But I would still write direct response for the turbine and the stapler.

I resist looking at B2B and B2C as different. I’m going to write direct response copy for every client, even if they think they need ‘branding’ copy for the B2B environment.

In each project, there’s a product or service. There’s a market comprising people who need or want the product or service. My job is to motivate the client or customer to buy the product or service. The principles of direct marketing apply. The timing of the sale might be different but I’m a direct response copywriter and I’m going to write direct response copy for the entire funnel. That’s how I’m wired. No fluff here.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on What Really Matters

Copywriters who write anything but direct response copy have it pretty easy.

I think about the “fluff” copy I see on 99.9% of websites and sometimes think about writing copy like this …

“Our award-winning Creative group engages customers by developing inventive ways to bring each brand’s personality and positioning to life. Beginning with a research-based understanding of customer attitudes and behaviors, our designers, writers (sic) and developers create compelling, integrated experiences.”

I mean ... it can't be hard to write THAT.

The copy above comes from a “top” advertising agency in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m not singling out Wray Ward, necessarily, because you can read the same nonsense on the websites of most advertising agencies.

Why the sic(s)? No comma after writers. Why is ‘Creative’ capitalized?

I have no beef with copywriters who want to write non-direct response copy. There’s a market for it. But the page has no call to action and the copy breaks all the rules of direct response copy.

Instead of writing the “fluff” above, I write direct response copy. This makes me accountable. Most copywriters don’t want to go anywhere near accountability … and that’s fine.

But my copy must produce results for my clients. And that’s what direct response copywriting is all about: generating results.

It’s a blood sport. There’s success. And there’s failure. When things don’t go right, I pick myself up off the floor and keep testing.

Let’s go back to my brothers and sisters at Wray Ward. Here’s a headline …

“We create meaningful relationships between brands and consumers.”

I have no idea what that means. Here’s my headline … “I help you sell your stuff and measure the results so you sell even more stuff.”

Here’s what really matters to a direct response copywriter: revenue. Not awards … not fluff … not a pat on the back … not a nice lunch with the client … not offsite strategy sessions … REVENUE.

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I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.