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Hi, it’s AIDA from Sales and Marketing

Richard 002

Let me set the scene:

“Simple things are the most valuable and only wise people appreciate them” – Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist and novelist.


“The old ways are the best” – anonymous wisdom.

Now, at this point you are probably asking yourselves: “what is Richard going on about?”

My point is this: most of us during our working day, working week or working month will be doing some kind of promotional work for our businesses.

We will be pulled around by our thoughts and the thoughts of others as to how to go about it. Our judgement will be clouded by confusion and; our analysis of what needs to be done will lead to a degree of paralysis…………paralysis by analysis.

I’m pleased to say that help is at hand and; the implication of a simple and long-standing acronym will help introduce clarity so you can put together structured, clear and punchy marketing promotions.

About a century ago, AIDA was born and she has been used by many people involved in personal selling ever since. But because we are all involved in some kind of personal selling, I believe she can be adopted by all of us.

AIDA is made up of:

Attention – first you must gain your prospect’s attention.

Interest – then you must gain their interest.

Desire – and; thirdly, stimulate desire for what it is you are offering

Act – before getting them to act by encouraging them to buy or agreeing to meet you.

So, what do we need to do?

Here are seven simple stages:

     1. Promise a benefit in your headline or first paragraph. Promise your most important benefit using any of the following. ATTENTION.

     a) A headline or slogan. For example: “they don’t call us the best widget maker in Chelmsford for nothing” – only use statements you believe to be true.     

     b) A promotional teaser. For example: offer a no risk free trial

     c) Offer a prize or offer something for free. For example: “keep one of our widgets with our compliments.”

    d) Offer something at a sale or discounted price; ie at unbeatable value

    e) Promote a trial offer or an offer with no obligation. For example: “buy only what you need” or “anything you purchase is totally refundable if you are not happy.”

    f) Open with a question. For example: “Remember the first time you ever…….?”

    g) Open with a statement. For example: “Here is an idea worth considering…”

    h) Open with a challenge. For example: “join the small handful of people who…..”

    i) Open with a promotional grabber. For example: this is your last chance to……”

    2. Immediately enlarge upon your most important benefit. ATTENTION leading to INTEREST.

Is your product, service or proposition appealing, authentic (original/ well-tested etc.), part of a group (gold membership), distinguished, exciting, sexy, fast, good-looking, money making or money saving etc….?

    3. Tell the reader specifically what they are getting. INTEREST.

Build on the promotional wording used in 1. and 2.

    4. Back up your statements with proof and endorsements. INTEREST.

Prove, by using the opinions of others, that you are justified in promoting yourself in the way you have chosen.

Only 13% of us are Early Adopters – those curious, brave and adventurous consumers who buy first. 34% of us are classified as the Early Majority – more careful decision-makers who adopt a new product more quickly than most. 34% of us are classified as the Late Majority – consumers who adopt a new product only after the majority have weighed up its value.

The statistics above show that a significant percentage of any target market need to be reassured by the soothing words of others who have already made a purchase from you.

   5.Tell the reader what they might lose if they don’t act. INTEREST leading to DESIRE.

Persuade your audience. Encourage them to try you out. For example, “put our widget to the test,” or “don’t miss this unusual opportunity.”

   6. Rephrase your prominent benefits in your closing offer. DESIRE leading to ACTION via persuasion or conviction.

Move to minimize your audience’s risk.

   a) For example “a simple invitation with no strings attached;” or

   b) “You can always change your mind later.”

Encourage your target audience to say YES.

   a) For example “This is your moment;” or

   b) “It’s time to make your choice.”

   7. Incite ACTION now and often by giving somebody something as an incentive.

The call to action.

   a) For example, “reach for your phone;” or

   b) “call us this week to schedule an appointment.”

Use a post script (PS) to incentivise.

  a) For example “I should also mention that…..;” or

  b) “if you act now, you’ll also receive…..”

The above are just a few examples of phrases we can use to grab ATTENTION, gather INTEREST, stimulate DESIRE and incite ACTION.

If the idea of putting something creative together according to a fairly tight formula is off-putting, it need not be. Just think of examples of where creative types have successes when sticking to a familiar pattern:

1. Mozart wrote 41 durable symphonies, all to much the same formula.

2. In the movies, we know the dashing handsome hero is going to ride off into the sunset with his new love even before we start watching. We also know that Bruce Willis isn’t going to get killed by bandits in Die Hard!

3. Finally, all the best photographs and paintings have balance. They have something to capture the viewer’s eye in the foreground, middle ground and background.

When looking at all forms of communication, no matter how original they may at first appear, once broken down they tend to fit into one formula or another. People like it that way and your target audience will feel COMFORTABLE receiving your message.

Be wary of straying too far down the unconventional route. There is peril in being too different, summed up neatly in a quote:

“If you absolutely insist on being different just for the sake of being different, you can always come down to breakfast with a sock in your mouth.”

Thank you for reading.

Kindest regards,





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