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The AIDA Formula - Time Tested, Buyer Approved

Website promotion almost always involves some kind of written ad copy. You're going to have to write some pretty good stuff to get them to buy, once they are at your site.

There are so many formulas in selling, yet many salespeople find the AIDA formula to be the easiest one to put to use in almost any sales situation. Here is the formula:

A: Attention
I: Interest
D: Desire
A: Act

1.  Attention. You must first get the prospects' attention, if you want to sell to them. Use dramatic headlines to draw the reader into the copy.  A headline gives the reader some idea of what your letter, brochure, ad, or web site is about. Good headlines also tell prospects about the good things they will get if they do business with you.  Here are a few classic ways to write winning headlines. Read more on How To Get Your Readers to Act By Writing Engaging Headlines For Your Ads, Sales Letters and Web Site Copy.

a. Take the direct method. Tell the reader your main benefit.

"Save $40 off on our most popular item!"
"Work At Home In Your Pajamas"
"FREE ____".
"Buy One, Get One Free"
(Anything Free gets attention.  But beware of use in e-mail; it may get filtered out.)

b. The indirect method teases the reader's curiosity. "Suddenly I'm driving a BMW."

c. Ask a question. "Are you making enough money?" Questions draw readers into your copy and get them mentally involved with your offer.

d. Announce a new development. "New additive improves mileage 40%!"

e. Use a testimonial. Nothing convinces prospects like the words of a satisfied customer.

2.  Interest. We can begin to build interest if we have someone's attention. Interest is developed by giving a prospect the multiple benefits of what you have to offer that will positively affect their lives, or solve a problem for them. Examples:

"With our new, great tasting, vitamin bars, you will eat your way to a healthier lifestyle."
"Our psychics will take all the guesswork out of your life!"

3. Desire. You build desire by making your offer irresistible. You know you have succeeded with a powerful and compelling offer when people feel badly if they don't order. Make offers so juicy, that they just have to say yes. Example:

"A year from now, you can be living the lifestyle you desire, or you can just be another year older. It's up to you."

Here are a few ways in which you can also build desire and remove resistance:

1. Give strong guarantees, better than your competition. This is known as "risk reversal."  You (as seller) assume most or all the risk in a transaction and your customer assumes none of it. The textbook example of risk reversal is the 100% guarantee of a full refund with no questions asked. It's a wonderful way to sweep away buyer doubt or hesitation.

Let your visitors know about your guarantee right up front! Also, let them know how to contact you -- a street address, a phone number, an E-mail address -- these all help the customer feel that you are a legitimate business, and not just a fly-by-night operation.
2. Spend time and attention of presenting your products attractively.
3. Give at least one bonus that the customer can keep, even if they don't like the offer, just for their trouble.
4. Use two step selling: Two-step selling neutralizes or removes customer doubt. because you first offer your prospects something of clear value, free of charge. The free item could be a free information document, a free lesson, a free trial of something or (if you're a physician) even free flu shots!  By the second step, a relationship is being built, increasing trust.  Autoresponders are great tools on websites to implement the two step process.

Build your offers in any business to get people to act now. They'll be happy they did, if you properly package your offer.

In any selling, your first objective should be to remove prospect resistance. Each of the techniques suggested  are ethical; each is beneficial to customers and clients -- and each is non-manipulative. They establish you as a seller who can be trusted and one who is trying to add genuine value and advantage to a customer's life.

4.  Ask people to act.

Many ads get the first three elements of the AIDA formula correct. Then, they forget to close the sale. You have to ask people to buy! If you've given them a reason to buy, a slew of great benefits, strong guarantees, and great bonuses, you shouldn't be shy to do so.

When you ask people to act, make it easy for them to do so. Tell people "it's easy to order." Or, "all you have to do" is make this call, fill this out, go to your secure order form. Offer as many payment options as possible, especially credit cards. As a rule of thumb, the easier it is to buy, the more orders you'll get. Remember, you have to lead most people to a decision. If you can do it in a charming manner, and eliminate the risk that the purchaser goes through, you'll find that asking people to order is easy.

Create a sense of urgency. Most people will put off making a decision to act.  Give them something to lose if they do not act now!  Examples:

"This offer will expire 10 days from today."
"Supplies are limited. Buy Now!"

Use the AIDA formula. It's simple, basic, and time tested.

Note that this technique can and should also be used in e-mail solicitations.  The action desired is to click on the "mailto" button, or visit your site.  Think though the same four step process to get results.