What is the AIDA principle in copywriting?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - AIDA principle

Copywriters, advertisers, designers, and other promotional professionals have been struggling for hundreds of years to uncover the secrets to selling successfully. Marketers have been studying the sales process, identifying traits that customers share, and actions they take throughout every step of the retail decision-making process. There are four main steps that consumers are taken through by advertisers, each leading into the next until a conversion is completed. This is known as the AIDA principle, and it’s pretty simply to follow once you know it:

The AIDA Principle


The first thing a copywriter wants to do is grab the attention of the reader. There’s very little chance that they’ll read any further than the heading if it doesn’t grab their attention immediately. Likewise, the first sentence of each new section should also get a reader’s attention. Giant roadside billboards, streetlamp posters, banners hung from over-freeway bridges, and other visual advertisements are all designed to grab your attention. Once they have it, it’s easier to get you to consume the rest of the message.


You’ve got their attention with hard-hitting headings and rock-solid first sentences. Now it’s time to actually get them interested in what you’re selling. You can grab any person’s attention, but whether or not they buy into your offering will depend on how interested you’re able to get them. This is done by making the content relatable to them, where they feel like – even though they don’t need your haemorrhoid cream right at that moment in their lives, they might in the future.


Once a reader’s attention has been grabbed, and they are sufficiently interested in the product or service, it’s time to build a desire for the product. But not just for the product or service; for the brand too. Your copywriting should spark within the readers a desire to own the product, or be associated with the brand, or be associated with the piece of advertising content they’re consuming. You want them to read your copy, but you also want them to WANT to read your copy.


In this phase of the proceedings, your reader has been primed to become a lead. They have noticed your offerings; they have become highly interested in what you have to say; they have developed a deep desire to know you and your brand, buying into your whole vibe and energy that your writing gives off. All that is left to do, at least to finish the conversion, is for the reader to take the final step and become a customer. They do this by taking an action, like clicking on a button or following a link, and your copywriting should include elements that allow them to do so.

Copywriting is challenging at first, but by growing your skillset you’ll be writing like the best of them in no time!

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