This Simple Marketing Formula Avoids Failure

I estimate that maybe as many as 90% of all business people, ad copywriters, speakers, salespeople, and media salespeople just don't follow the simple formula that could save them from failure.

The old warhorse of marketing formulae: the AIDA formula.

It's the sequence you must take your prospects through if you want them to buy from you.

A – Attention
I – Interest
D – Desire
A – Action

As long as your audience meets two crucial criteria (they have both a problem and some money)…

…and your product also meets one criteria (it solves the problem!)…

AIDA just flat-out works!

Amazing, but true.

Most business people, copywriters, and marketers get hung up on the wrong things, though.

Things that are sexier, shinier, and newer, but which ignore AIDA. Things like:

  • Making sure the website/letter/mailer/brochure looks slick and “big time”.
  • Looking impressive to their peers.
  • Talking about themselves (“we've been in business 20 years”… “we're the Number One company in our field”…).
  • Being “creative” or “funny” without knowing if that helps get the potential buyer to their goal.
  • Being “professional” (boring and safe) while sacrificing sales and prospects.
  • Being lazy and using the same tired “un-targeted” approach for every piece of copy.
  • Writing the copy themselves without knowing what really works in copy, and why.

And yet – with just a little bit of work, and perhaps some help from someone who knows what they're doing, it could all be so different.

If you get nothing else out of reading this, I hope you'll get this…

…analyze every advertising and sales activity in your business, and ask yourself: does this follow the AIDA sequence? If it doesn't – change that activity or advertising, or get rid of it altogether.

It's possible that this alone will turn around your business. Think about it…

What if the only thing between you and a pile of money is not a shiny new website, or a slick new video, or some gimmicky softeare… what if the only thing standing in your way is simply the right words, in the right order?

Question: Have you ever heard of AIDA? Used it?


Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

Grow Your Business

Grow Your Business

Proven teaching. Inspired approach. Free Course.

Click Here to Subscribe

  • Hi Ray,
    I have heard of AIDA in my studies of marketing.  Indeed, I think that in “Think and Grow Rich” Napoleon Hill started me in thinking about business in terms of a formula.  This seems particularly so in the matter of “desire” that Hill spends a lot of time on.
    I think the most important thing is the application of the AIDA formula and the addition of the missing element which is endurance and persistence.  This is crucial as although I believe the title of your post to be accurate, that one can avoid failure by applying the AIDA formula, failure will come if you give up before success ensues.  You gotta keep after it, adjust as needed and persist and endure.
    That’s my take.
    I’m changing the world by starting a business
    Robert Miller

  • I have never heard of AIDA.  But I do believe the shinny new object syndrom hits people hard. That shinny new object will get their attention if they are interested.  And if they have come that far, then they are desiring what you are selling.  But I do agree that the action they take will depend directly upon your words and how it is presented.

    •  @carolfarbe And how well you say it depends on your level of empathy.

  • Steve

    A slightly different version (Attention, Interest, Conviction, Desire, and Close) was in a sales manual I received at a Dale Carnegie Sales Course over 30 years ago. Either way it’s a solid formula.

  • Ray,
    I love how you keep everything simple in order to teach us the basic principles of marketing. Even though I have heard of AIDA many times over the years, I’ll admit that many times I don’t think of it when running my online business. That’s about to change, as I’m making a small poster with this to hang on the wall next to my computer.
    Connie Ragen Green