Go ahead and ask anyone in marketing as to what's that one classic rule in writing copy or creating advertisements is, and they'll always go back to A.I.D.A which stands for:
The best part of the principle is that each of those parameters is like mandatory checkboxes for marketers. Depending on the purpose of campaigns, you can skip one or two of these parameters.
Traditional marketing - advertising in particular - isn't dead. If nothing, it still lives up to be a great teacher for all things marketing. Advertising has always flirted with consumer psyche, benefited from the insights in consumer behavior, and got the best out of consumer wants. Advertising, for a long time, pulled commerce together and resulted in billions of dollars worth of trade. It's been around then, and it's still around now.
The medium changed but the principles apply. Here's how to revitalize your content by following the principles of AIDA:
Shock & Awe to grab attention
Content isn't exactly like a graphic to grab users' attention easily. That's why putting more work into it is justified. Before you know what works, you ought to know what doesn't: it's called plain and boring.
Cut out the mediocrity.
You have to know about the audience you are writing for. Knowing your audience and writing appropriately helps you to guide your customers along the funnel better. He has simple guidelines to allow you to create the ideal customer persona. Here's what he writes:
- Who is reading this piece? If I had to develop a persona to describe them, what would they look like? Gender, location, family status, employment, income, interests, etc.
- What is their most pressing problem relating to the topic that I'm writing about? What keeps them up at night or makes them sick to their stomach when they think of a specific issue?
- What kind of solution is this piece offering to their problem? Is it the introduction to an idea that could shift the way that they think about their lives, or a product that they can go out and buy? How, specifically, will it solve their issue?
- How does my audience talk about their problems? What are powerful words or concepts that would immediately create resonance?
Follow these tips to create content (includes posts, headlines, copy, articles, email subject lines, and possibly everything else built to persuade and grab readers' attention):
Research, stats, and facts: Research gives your writing credibility. It makes readers feel that you aren't dreaming up and writing what matters. Dig deep and start with facts, statistics, or information. There's just one problem with this approach though. You'd either make it or break it. Ross Hudgens argues that using this approach for content headlines requires you to be absolutely sure that you can convince readers to justify the headline by the end of the post. If you don't, you'll flash but you won't last.
Pull up to dig on someone popular: You could dig negative or positive. You might want to go against someone who's popular. For instance, Tim Ferris - author of 4-hour Work Week - is popular. See what Justine Musk did with this post titled The So-called Lies of Lifestyle Design (+ The Secret Truth About Tim Ferris).
Or see what Alexander Heyne did with The 3 Lies of Lifestyle Design (& Why Tim Ferris Is Making you hate Your Life)
Jonathan also used this principle for writing The Lie of The Four Hour Week on Paid to Exist.
Keep it simple but convincing: Look at what the folks at copyblogger.com do and you'll get this instantly. Now, by itself, a title like "How to Write a Magnetic Headline" isn't that enticing. Add a timeframe to it and it becomes intriguing indeed. That's exactly what Jerod Morris did while writing How to Write a Magnetic Headline (in under 15 minutes) for Copyblogger.com
Make an Offer they can't refuse
We first saw this phrase get popular with Marlon Brando's awesome performance in The Godfather, but our economic progress dwells a lot on this single phrase.
Who says articles and blog posts have to be nothing but a drill with more information passed along? What happens if you build every piece of content with purpose? Let's make it even simpler: develop content for purpose and let the purpose be to "make an offer your readers can't refuse". Your blog posts should get you something back. What's it going to be?
- Get the post shared as if readers make a million dollars for sharing.
- Have them signup for a free trial, your newsletter, or subscribe to your blog.
- Get them to download your "starter kits", "guides", "reports", and "whitepapers".
- Get them to signup as a lead or make a purchase.
This is where the "Interest and desire" part of AIDA play in. Usually, the copy acts to serve the interest and desire function. For blog posts and articles, the body acts as the primary tool (the headline is used for attention). For landing pages, the copy is much more simple and succinct, but it's still the copy that plays this part of the equation.
Get them to click
All that you hear about "conversions", "lead generation", "sales", and "signups" comes to depend on a single crucial aspect of AIDA: Action. On the Internet, it's better known as "Call to action". Anything else that helps with this Call to action is called as a "click trigger".
Simply put, the more clicks you manage to gain per X visitors to a page, the better conversions you have. It's mind boggling to think than even a single percentage increase in conversions almost doubles up your revenue, according to Peep Laja of Conversion XL. Of course, Peep does insist that you'd do well to think about customer experience more than you might tend to obsess over conversions.
Most businesses have a wrong notion that their respective customers are "happy" with the "overall experience". A study from Bain proves otherwise. While more than 80% of business owners and CEOs think that their customers are happy, only 8% of customers confirm this while the whopping 92% aren't happy. You see what happens when you "assume"?
But before you think that your mesmerizing copy can get those "clicks" to sound like cash registers, there's work you need to do:
Work on relationships, one customer at a time: You push and they buy - those times are gone. You'll need to work on trust issues first and that calls for a regular, consistent, and well-planned content marketing strategy. Over time, trust prevails. This helps with conversions. No one is about to land on a page and whip out the wallet that quick.
Get social proof: Give away your products and services for free if you have to. Do what it takes to build up an initial and enthusiastic user-base. Have them leave testimonials for you. Develop case studies. Put all of this up on your offer pages, product pages, and landing pages. Social proof aids conversions. No one wants to do business with a newbie unless there's social proof to convince these customers.
Eliminate friction and risks: Let customers know that they have nothing to lose. Watch out for unknown elements of web design, content, and other parameters that could be contribution to friction between what you want your readers/visitors/customers to do and what customers actually go through. The only you'd know where friction lies is to test. You can also use services like usertesting.com to find out what's eating your customers before they click on those buttons.
Remove distractions: The cardinal rule in today's marketing is to whittle away at distractions. Anything that doesn't add value on a page or can possibly distract has to go out of the window. For instance, remove all navigation elements from landing pages. If you are making an offer, you'll make a single offer. If you have more than one offer to make, create more landing pages. If a graphic doesn't help with the conversion, remove it. Too much copy is not always needed. As Dan Zarrella of HubSpot notes, even an extra form field on your lead form can cause conversions to drop.
It's hard work to develop great content that works for your business. It'll be completely disastrous if you don't know why you are developing content in the first place.
Even the modern email marketing campaigns, landing pages, banners, and all other advertisement forms still follow the AIDA model - one way or the other. Your content should follow suit. If you are not developing your content for a purpose, you aren't doing it right.
Do you put AIDA principles to work for your content? Are all your content assets working for conversions? What are your problems associated with developing content this way? Share your content marketing tips with us.