How to write content that converts

What if you could write content for your web site, web store, blog articles, ads, social media posts and emails that’s so engaging it sells your products and/or services automatically?

How to write content that convertsI am about to tell you how to do this. There’s a secret formula that many of the world’s greatest copywriters use to achieve this. And you can remember it easily by using this acronym: AIDA.

It stands for: ATTENTION – INTEREST – DESIRE – ACTION .

Below I reveal what each component means. The tactics will help you develop highly effective sales copy  for your business.

How to write content that converts:

ATTENTION: How to get your reader’s attention: If you want to get a reader’s attention (in your target demographic) you need to first gain an understanding of who you are speaking to. Before you start writing your sales copy, find out:

  • What they like,
  • what they don’t like,
  • who they spend their time with,
  • what they do on the weekends,
  • what their hobbies are,
  • what time of day they like to shop
  • when they like to read their emails…

…the list goes on. These are just some examples, but the better you understand your potential customer, the easier it will be to sell to them.  The more you know, the more you’ll be able to write to them knowing what they want. (As an aside, the mistake inexperienced copywriters make is writing from the perspective of what they want.)

The best way to  get to know your target market is to survey them or interview them or ask someone you know that is close to an individual in this target group. If you are selling to Moms of toddlers, go talk to a few and pick their brain. You can do this while in line at Starbucks or call a relative with small children or check with a neighbor.

Find out their “pain points”. What are their complaints and problems with every day life?  What do they need help with?  What do they want to avoid? Use this information in your copy.

Secondly, assume people, are too busy to read what you have to offer.  So, if you want them to stop and take a minute to read an email, blog, or an ad you’re company has produced, it has to be something that they either:

  1. Need right now
  2. Is too weird for them to bypass

These two tactics when executed effectively will take your reader from a passive state of attention to an active state of attention.

Active concentration happens when a reader is so immersed in  the material you’ve presented to them that they drop everything else to focus on the task at hand. When you engage in learning a new skill it requires this type of concentration.

How to get attention using the “need right now” tactic:

There are three ways to get a reader to come across something you’ve written, stop everything, and read it right away. If it:

  1. Solves a problem
  2. Saves them from a potential disaster
  3. Speaks to a deep desire or passion

Here are some examples of headlines:

Solve a problem: “What to do when your car won’t start”

Saves them from a potential disaster: “7 dangerous mistakes most parents with teenagers make”

Speaks to a deep desire or passion: “How to be the sexiest person  person in the room regardless of your looks”

How to get attention using the “be weird” tactic:

Another incredible attention grabbing tactic is: Be weird. It works because humans are curious by nature. But be careful. When you say something outside the norm you do have to follow it up with valuable information to maintain your credibility.

Here’s an example: Cincrease web traffic by 10 timesWD recently used this tactic for a forklift dealership in California and increased web traffic on day it was posted BY MORE THAN 10X.   How did we do that? On April Fools day CWD added this listing to the company web store for a hover lift truck: hovertruck

Remember: Learning how to grab attention is the most important step in writing in the AIDA format. If you don’t grab attention the rest of what you write is useless. It simply won’t get read.

INTEREST: How to spark interest: Once you get a reader’s attention it only takes one sentence to lose it. Especially if they feel they are being sold to. Here are some interest-building tactics you can use:

  1. Prompt them on a free giveaway
  2. Tell them they’re going to learn something they don’t know / or immediately show them they don’t know something they thought they knew or hadn’t considered
  3. Create a bond of relatedness (i.e. you write something that makes them feel like they know you)

How to use the “Prompt them for a free giveaway” tactic: Tell your reader you are about to give them something valuable, but don’t give it to them right away. Make them wait for it.

Humans are by nature self-serving. So, you can easily develop interest when you prompt them to receive something they would find valuable.  (Especially if it’s free!)

For example, a great email may have a line like: “Below, you’ll find a link to the article: Top secret expert tip for freeing up an hour per day”.

Then, you place the link at the bottom so they have to read the rest of your email. Or, you may write a sales letter with a line that says: “I’ve enclosed a promo code that you can use to redeem a $50 Amazon gift card if you take 2-minutes to read this letter”.

How to use the “teach the something invaluable they won’t learn anywhere else” tactic:

Information is as valuable (sometimes more valuable) than free tangible goods.  Learning an interesting fact that only experts know is interesting and often worth reading.

If you use words like “top secret”, “exclusive”, “only for you”,  it conveys to the reader that they are about to receive confidential information.  And most people won’t refuse learning something top secret.

Example: “Yesterday we interviewed the leader of the Transhumanism party who is running for President in 2016. Read this interview to find out why he says advances in stem cell research in the next five years will create a war between religious bodies and the government”.

How to use a “create a bond of relatedness” tactic:

Connect to your reader on a intimate level by sharing an interesting story about yourself that relates to them deeply. Or mention a phrase, or make a joke only they would understand.

Examples: “We haven’t met in person, but like you, I’ve lost a loved one to cancer too.”

“When I was pregnant I pee’d my pants on a New York city subway car, which is why I thought you might want to know about these new support underwear for pregnant women”.

DESIRE: What you need to know about developing desire in writing:

This is where someone who is interested becomes completely emotionally invested in what you’re saying so that they have no choice but to take action.

Carlton suggests that the best way to do this is to have your reader envision a future of favorable outcomes that result from them taking an action you are about to ask them to take.

With interest you are saying “how would you like this product” but with desire you are saying “here’s what you get when you purchase this product”. Here are to tactics that help to build desire:

  1. A bulleted list
  2. Testimonials

How to create use the “bulleted list” desire tactic:

When you create a bulleted list one of the most effective formats to use involves three points.

Bullet point 1: Presents you as credible by fully giving away what they are about to get as a result of taking the action you want them to take

Bullet point 2: Gives away a bit less information

Bullet point 3: Reveals a sneak peak of what they’ll get but keeps them guessing.

Here’s an example:

In this book you’ll learn:

  • How to establish yourself as a leader in your industry by positioning yourself as an expert resource. You can do this by building a content-rich web site that naturally attracts individuals in your target market because it irrefutably demonstrates your expertise.
  • Search engine optimization, how it’s done and why it’s a necessary component of your overall marketing strategy.
  • The 5 free must-have tools available to you online that will make your life much easier.

How to use the “testimonials” tactic:

At CWD, we’ve tested the conversion rates or landing pages with and without testimonials. We found that pages with landing pages always have a higher conversion rate.

The best way to use testimonials is to present them with images. When people see faces it helps present the testimonials as credible sources.  As a business you should always collect testimonials that you can use online.

ACTIONWhat you need to know about asking a reader to take action:

Action is the easiest part of the process but it’s often overlooked. It’s the second most important aspect of AIDA, besides Attention.Once a reader has gone through the emotional states of desire it’s an opportune time to ask them to do something.

Many sales people lose the sale simply because they are too afraid to ask for fear of getting a “no”. It also helps you understand if a reader is engaged.

If they take an trackable action like clicking a link in an email or purchasing a product, you’ll be able to tell that the copy you’ve written is effective.

If you ask for action later, often the emotions are gone and the rational mind kicks in.  Instead of “I need that right now” they could be thinking “I still want that but I don’t really have the money to spend, so I can wait”. The sense of urgency is gone.

How to ask for action:

Be direct and concise.  Remove apologetic words like “please” or “feel free”.  Be straight.

And perhaps, the best way to show you is to make a request:

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Kay Svela

Kay Svela

VP Business Development at Cyberwalker Digital LLC
Kay is the VP Business Development at Cyberwalker Digital and author of three books: Read This Before You Kill Yourself, Super You, and Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed. She is based in Tampa, Florida. Email her at kay@cyberwalker.com