If you’re an online business owner, you’ve probably heard that there are copywriting formulas meant to make your sales pages, Instagram posts, and even emails more engaging. But doesn’t the word “formula” sound complicated, foreign, and even a bit sleazy?
First, let me prove to you just how uncomplicated a copywriting formula can be – we’ll speak to the question of authenticity second.
Here’s the 1 simple copywriting formula that every business owner should know to write copy and content that connects better with their ideal clients. (Psst – if you’re not clear on the difference between copy and content, then check out this article first!)
The AIDA Copywriting Formula
A – Attention
Catch your ideal client’s eye in a sea of options on Google results or when scrolling through Instagram. Make sure you grab attention with titles, headlines, and even the first sentence of your social media text before the “read more” button appears.
Here are the 4 fail-proof ways to grab attention:
- Emotions, and
- Bold Claims (if you can back ’em!)
- Last chance for 20% of your new planner! (Copy)
- 5 Ways to Make $1000 in 90 Days (Content)
- Here are 5 easy tips that’ll save you a fortune. 💸 (Content)
That last one is a big bold claim and might remind you of clickbait YouTube videos that promise “life-changing” hacks. So why isn’t it clickbait?
Well, the difference is that clickbait never fulfills its promises – sometimes it can’t even stick to giving you 5 tips and gives you 2 pathetic “hacks” instead! You’re an authentic person, truly striving to deliver quality content and results to your audience. Your success is their success – so you’ll make no empty promises.
So, with that last example headline: if you’re a financial planner who knows how to save people significant cash with some simple changes – like tracking, understanding taxes, etc. – then the big bold claim is something you can back.
Feel confident that you’re using the copywriting technique of grabbing attention to make it as easy as possible for your ideal clients to find the valuable information you’re giving them for free!
I – Interest 🤔
When someone lands on your website, you have 8 seconds to convince them to stay.
Try counting it out loud – and yes, use Mississippi’s! It’s not actually as short a time as you think – but that time IS critically important to finalize their decision to invest in your full piece. So use it well!
Here’s how to solidify your ideal client’s interest after grabbing their attention:
- Speak to their pain points – What are they afraid of? What keeps them up at night? You’ll solve it later with your offer or content tips.
- Question(s) – People love being asked their opinions or being prompted to think about themselves.
- Case studies and client success stories
- Graphs (more relevant to sales pages and blog posts than social of course!)
- Emotional or surprising stories
- Testimonials and quotes from clients, collaborators, etc.
D – Desire ♥️
This is where you affirm to your ideal client that it IS possible to achieve their dreams – and it prepares them to see YOU as the guide to get them there.
For content: Paint a picture of how your ideal client will feel or the results they’ll get from implementing the tips/advice you give them.
For copy: Ask them to imagine themselves on the other side of your service or life with your product. Speak to how it’ll help them achieve their desires and goals.
In copy and content writing, these desires are called benefits. Critically, benefits are what your ideal client knows they want and even their secret desires. However, it’s not necessarily the thing YOU think they really need.
For example, your reader might know and feel comfortable with acknowledging that they want to make a 6-figure income. However, unless they’re very into spirituality or personal development, they may not be comfortable or even thinking about developing an “abundance mindset.” Even if you know the biggest perk to working with you is the latter, don’t focus on that when speaking to their desires in copy and content – it’s too early in the relationship. Plus, if it’s not a phrase they use, they make think you don’t understand them, so they close the page.
Instead, speak to what they KNOW they want, and they’ll discover what they really needed when you have a deeper relationship once as client-provider. There’s an added perk to this – it means you’ll also surpass their expectations -and they’ll get the desires they expected too!
A – Action (Call to Action)
Finish your piece of copy or content by asking your reader to take 1 simple action. It can be to buy the product or service you’re selling (copy), or to engage with you in some way (content.) For example:
- Book your website copy audit now! (Copy CTA)
- Sign up for your freebie! (Email opt-in copy CTA)
- Which tip will YOU use in your business today? Drop the # in the comments below and we’ll hold you accountable! (Content CTA)
The key with CTAs is to only use 1 and keep it simple! Remember, if you confuse them, you lose them. And often, asking them to do 2 tasks means they take NO action at all because it feels like too big a deal.
Why do you need to include a CTA with content? Because they build your relationship.
Each time your reader likes a post, comments, gives you their email address for a freebie, or even chats with you in the DMs, they’re investing just a little in you. Investing energy or time in you actually psychologically makes them feel more like they like you (interesting, right?), and gives you an opportunity to engage back with them and build a relationship.
You’re warming them up for that moment when you do ask for the sale – they’re way more likely to buy because they already trust you and know the value of your work!
Now, back to the question: is it sleazy to use a copywriting formula?
I promise you, the answer is NO. Why? Well, here’s how I put it to my clients:
When you learned the 5 paragraph essay structure in high school, did you ever worry about being inauthentic? No – it’s just the best way to effectively convey and support an argument!
The essay formula exists because it’s effective – and yet no two essays are exactly alike. So much depends on the writer themselves – what’s their unique argument? How do they link disparate ideas together in a new way?
Maybe their writing style is totally different from the student next to them. Their supporting arguments and even selection of evidence is also going to be a unique combination as well. Their essay is as unique as they are – and the structure gives them the foundation upon which to build a solid argument.
Nobody ever worries if using the essay formula makes you “manipulative” or “sleazy.” It’s meant to persuade with quality content and evidence – and that’s great!
It’s the same with copywriting formulas! They’re effective structures for persuasive writing – and when done well, they actually encourage just as many people NOT to buy as TO buy. In fact, speaking to their pain points in the Interest section of A.I.D.A. is intended to make it easy for the reader to self-identify as someone you can or can’t help.
If you can help them, it’s often even emotionally validating for them to know that someone understands their pain, whether they end up buying or not.
If the reader’s your ideal client, then making the connection between their pain/problem and the solution you provide is actually helping them. You’re giving them the keys to a better life, business, relationship, etc.
AIDA is just the copywriting formula that helps you convey this in your own special way, with your particular solution in mind, and showing compassion for your unique clients. I think there’s little more authentic than that!
Ready to connect more powerfully with your ideal clients through copy and content? Tag me @intrepidemma in an Instagram post where you use AIDA and I’ll happily give you feedback!