A Proven Guideline for Writing Promotional Messages

By July 19, 2016 December 12th, 2022 Sales & Marketing Advice

Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Dave Schoenbeck

Most of us business owners struggle with crafting high quality promotional messages, marketing materials or sales letters. It is really hard to be effective, and to the point, without a proven guideline. I would like to introduce you to an acronym called AIDA. It’s not about the opera, AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action.

For years, the AIDA structure has been used to teach direct sales people the process of selling. I have found that it works even better with my coaching clients when constructing promotional messages for direct mail sales letters, small display ads, digital marketing posts, etc.

AIDA Structure for Promotional Messages

You only get a few seconds to attract the interest of your prospect. The “attention” headline should be specifically aimed at a prospect’s needs & wants. Headlines should be short, punchy, interesting and in the form of a question, if you can. A high quality photo or graphic next to the headline is an amazing attention-getter.
This is the area where you demonstrate the breadth of your products or services and how it will fulfill the needs of the prospect. Don’t focus on what you sell, it’s about them and how you can be their solution. Keep it short and to the point. Use bullets, columns or tables when you can.
The “desire” area is where you build an emotional relationship with the prospect. Bonding is the goal, so that you don’t have to compete on just price. Think about the fears and frustrations that your prospect is thinking about before using your services, and take their fears “off the table” with positive messages. Show why you care. Let them get closer to you because they are exposed to your “why” and your values.
The “action” section is where your present your offer or campaign. Your goal is motivate them to call, log-on, visit, purchase, etc. Encourage immediate action. Create urgency by introducing scarcity or a short-term offer. Also include your logo, phone #, website address, email, social media logos, etc. Never put your logo at the top of a page. You want your logo to be the last thought they have.

If you have been following my blog posts, you should know that I have a strong bias towards providing entrepreneurs with usable tools. To that end, print out this article and go find the local advertising flyer for your town or neighborhood. This is the one where many small businesses put their quarter/half page promotional messages. Test their advertisements against the AIDA structure. When you find one that is close, I am confident that you will see why your promotional messages are more effective and interesting. During my workshops, I have shown good and bad examples of local advertising to my attendees. It will shock you how many business people waste their advertising investment. Don’t be one of them!  For more interesting ideas on how to drive your business, click here.


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