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.


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.