"AIDA is it still a viable way of structuring a pieceof writing or are there better one's to use?"

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Hi all, Looking to see peoples opinions on AIDA and if they think there are any better structures to use out there?
AIDA is very popular and I use a 5 step system that marries perfectly to AIDA.

This is is...
Introduction - headline and opener - Attention

Short story - who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it - Interest

Presentation - biggest features after the headline and to strengthen
the benefit in the headline - Desire

Close - ask for the reader to take the desired action - Action

REHASH - this is used to consolidate the sale and reduce refunds

Yeah I know there is an extra bit but it does marry to AIDA.
Still, do you use AIDA or something else that you prefer?
Ian
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  • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
    AIDA is time tested and will be around long after we're all gone. I still use it and I know many people who still teach it.

    In fact, some of the copywriting courses I took over the last few months speak about AIDA. I mean if you follow it you can go wrong and that's why it's still powerful until this day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

    Hi all, Looking to see peoples opinions on AIDA and if they think there are any better structures to use out there?
    AIDA is very popular and I use a 5 step system that marries perfectly to AIDA.

    This is is...
    Introduction - headline and opener - Attention

    Short story - who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it - Interest

    Presentation - biggest features after the headline and to strengthen
    the benefit in the headline - Desire

    Close - ask for the reader to take the desired action - Action

    REHASH - this is used to consolidate the sale and reduce refunds

    Yeah I know there is an extra bit but it does marry to AIDA.
    Still, do you use AIDA or something else that you prefer?
    Ian
    AIDA is always going to be viable for one reason...it's so general that it can be interpreted in any way needed that works. It's almost as general as "Plan your work, and work your plan".

    Your opener better make the reader think "This is about me. This is something I need". It has to be far more specific than "grabbing attention". A two headed cow will grab attention, but it won't sell anything.
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      Benefit laden and tell the reader W.I.I.F.M. Best radio station ever.
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

        Benefit laden and tell the reader W.I.I.F.M. Best radio station ever.
        W.I.I.F.M is only part of the beginning of A in AIDA. Just getting prospects' attention in a noisy and crowded environment where they are continuously bombarded with often confusing or meaningless advertising is the first step.

        Once you have their attention, and show why they should listen to you, I use PAS: Problem + Agitation + Solution to pique their interest.

        The next step - Desire goes into the features with massaged benefits worked into emotional outcomes or results from using the product.

        The Action step seamlessly brings up the incentivized offer to urgently order the product and includes "proof", testimonials, guarantee, etc.

        I also include an ongoing step - customer Retention and followup.

        This is very simplified, and may look easy. But going from A to A in AIDA is a process, not one single event. It can take as little as a few minutes or many years for me to close some of my deals.
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        • Profile picture of the author ibramster
          Whilst I can agree that A is for Attention surely PAS would come in after the attention has been gained due to the meaning of the acronym as in Problem, etc.
          As for features massaged with benefits, why are copy writers and indeed salesmen of any type always taught to sell the sizzle (benefits) never the steak (features)?
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

            As for features massaged with benefits, why are copy writers and indeed salesmen of any type always taught to sell the sizzle (benefits) never the steak (features)?
            They are being taught wrong. People buy emotionally (through benefits), but justify the purchase logically by the features and specs. The sizzle alone without substance (the steak) is hype.
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            • Originally Posted by myob View Post

              The sizzle alone without substance (the steak) is hype.

              Jus' to fill the OP in, this ideah also uses sausage as a reference, cos they kinda sizzle also.


              (Euphonics fans will see how these simple statements have additional value, an' tbh my preference is always for the sausage bcs they are easiah to eat without a knife an' fork, an' when they bein' tossed at a barbie, they sumtimes sizzlin' so hard they spit.)
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              • Profile picture of the author max5ty
                Originally Posted by Princess Balestra View Post


                Jus' to fill the OP in, this ideah also uses sausage as a reference, cos they kinda sizzle also.
                Well, I came up with my own phrase that doesn't involve meat...

                "Sell The Buzz, Not The Beer"

                This could be the whole new standard in copywriting.
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                • Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

                  Well, I came up with my own phrase that doesn't involve meat...

                  "Sell The Buzz, Not The Beer"

                  This could be the whole new standard in copywriting.
                  Ha!

                  For sure I nearly lectrickyooted musself spillin' beer ovah my keyboard plenty times, so ima withya there.

                  Thing is, there be juice beyond boobie -- an' I say this precisely bcs I don't got squidos trippin' me up 'bout the place.

                  An' what is gowin' on here is blendyjuicy.

                  Sweet & inspirin' commune fulla myootyooly agreed propulse powah.

                  I gues this bcs nowan' does nuthin' by accident, even if they so way stoopid they can't actschwlly spell their own name.

                  So I guess there is a hierarchy of wannable choices from here on up.

                  Defined solootions for runaway problems, if'n you can define 'em accordin' to actschwl actschwl, I guess.

                  I would wanna figure always how any copy script is an ideal fyootyure scenario playin' out so tangible an' troo in real time you can rise from your slumber an' go grab it by the ass.


                  Here is your POWAH.


                  This is especially troo whenya consider all wants are morphin' as our yummy plannit spinneth through time.

                  *sob* woulda loved alla this Lion King merch back in the day, but rn I shoppin' for flamethrowahs an' vacations to Nordic Valhallae.

                  Meantime, it nevah been no bettah time for lepers to share stumpiliciousness 24/7 to no avail.

                  Point 'bout aim mostly figures on skills to hit bullseyes but rn seems we gotta snuff out what ain't actschwlly a target as the planet convulses sans directshwaahn.

                  tbh ima fine jus' to flop out for a while.

                  An' I guess the passage of days redefines always what constitoots foddah for ATTENTION.

                  What stuff gonna mattah to whom?

                  Plus also ... when?
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                  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
                    Originally Posted by Princess Balestra View Post

                    Ha!

                    For sure I nearly lectrickyooted musself spillin' beer ovah my keyboard plenty times, so ima withya there.
                    Well, as someone that has run daily for years, I took a month off because I had a knee injury. Sad to say I think I've put on about 30 pounds in that time.

                    Thankfully, where I live here in Ohio things are pretty much opened back up. But now I feel like a fat pig...and have drunk too much beer, which is probably how I came up with the new slogan.

                    But, I don't think people buy beer for the taste, I'm more inclined they buy it for the buzz. Unfortunately, I sound like an expert on that. Somehow I got tired of hearing the old "people don't want a drill, they want a hole" thing and came up with my own phrase.

                    So now I'm in rehab...just kidding...but I am back to running and eating healthy again.

                    I am glad to see Rick Duris posting again. He's been called "the best copywriter on the west coast," and I can believe that. He's always full of good information.

                    This whole thread has been interesting...and thank you ibramster for bringing up an interesting subject.
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                    • Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

                      Well, as someone that has run daily for years, I took a month off because I had a knee injury. Sad to say I think I've put on about 30 pounds in that time.

                      Thankfully, where I live here in Ohio things are pretty much opened back up. But now I feel like a fat pig...and have drunk too much beer, which is probably how I came up with the new slogan.

                      But, I don't think people buy beer for the taste, I'm more inclined they buy it for the buzz. Unfortunately, I sound like an expert on that. Somehow I got tired of hearing the old "people don't want a drill, they want a hole" thing and came up with my own phrase.

                      So now I'm in rehab...just kidding...but I am back to running and eating healthy again.

                      I am glad to see Rick Duris posting again. He's been called "the best copywriter on the west coast," and I can believe that. He's always full of good information.

                      This whole thread has been interesting...and thank you ibramster for bringing up an interesting subject.
                      Tellya, if'n I put on 30 pounds, I would triple in volume.

                      As for "people don't want a drill, they want a hole", I expect I will hear that pick up line again soon as the bars reopen.

                      Same as "I'm sellin' the tumescence, not jus' the pork".

                      or

                      "You remind me of my daughter. Comfort me."

                      Anyways, gotta hope your knee bounces back to its natchrl flooidity.
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            • Profile picture of the author ibramster
              I know that features are needed to help the sale process and benefits to drive it as it is benefits that create the emotion. It is benefits that create the emotion, benefits remove the pain. Features do not remove the pain the customer wants solving for them. Put simply a business has both benefits and features. Benefit could be that you are earning more, and a feature would be that it may involve longer hours as you do more than one job in the business. You couldn't sell a business on working longer hours, but you can sell it on earning you more.
              The buying decision is an emotional decision, it originates in the subconscious mind. This then has to be backed up by a decision by the conscious mind also called a logical decision. This usually comes down but is by no means limited to the risk negating done by the conscious mind on the guarantee or the potential or the value of the offer or all three or more.
              The conscious mind looks for ways to justify the decision made by the subconscious. The features of a brand new car like fuel efficiency or braking distance at speed and passenger safety rarely amount to as much as the feeling you get from driving it.
              Whilst I do agree that features are important,they do rank a close second to benefits in creating the initial buying decision.
              Tell people two things 1. what you are going to remove them from and 2. how you are going to do it, inspire them to do and be better.
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              • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
                Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

                Put simply a business has both benefits and features. Benefit could be that you are earning more, and a feature would be that it may involve longer hours as you do more than one job in the business. You couldn't sell a business on working longer hours, but you can sell it on earning you more.
                In your business example, I'd suggest that earning more is still mostly a feature. The real benefits are what earning more means in practice e.g. self esteem, status, freedom.

                The other consideration when talking about any structured sales system is to understand where the prospects are in the buying process. If most of them are already sold on the features of a product, just associating one of their heroes with it might be the only benefit (or sales point) you need.
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                • Profile picture of the author DABK
                  Self-esteem? Status? Freedom?

                  You forget the good one: show that dumbass brother-in-law that yours is bigger than his.

                  Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

                  In your business example, I'd suggest that earning more is still mostly a feature. The real benefits are what earning more means in practice e.g. self esteem, status, freedom.

                  The other consideration when talking about any structured sales system is to understand where the prospects are in the buying process. If most of them are already sold on the features of a product, just associating one of their heroes with it might be the only benefit (or sales point) you need.
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

            As for features massaged with benefits, why are copy writers and indeed salesmen of any type always taught to sell the sizzle (benefits) never the steak (features)?
            I agree with MYOB. This "Sell the sizzle, not the steak" is useful, but it gets passed around like gospel, because it's pithy.

            Sure you sell the sizzle....and the steak...but first you need to sell the idea that they really...really...want a steak. That a steak is the only thing that will solve their hunger problem.

            I think "sell the sizzle" really means to sell the steak (a commodity) by selling the restaurant, it's reputation, reviews from patrons, who else eats there, how it's rated online, the atmosphere, who they cater to (how fancy is the place)...and more.

            I think that most salespeople see "Sell the sizzle and not the steak" and get it wrong. People want steak. "Selling the sizzle" may make them want your steak instead of someone else's.

            As far as Features and benefits.....Here's my idea.

            I list every feature, and for every feature, I list every conceivable benefit. In my case, it's typically about 100 features and 300 benefits.

            The feature stays the same. But the benefits is always the one benefit that applies to them specifically. It makes the feature more valuable to them. But it can't be an either/or thing. Features and benefits go together.

            It's just my approach.
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            • Profile picture of the author ibramster
              I see your point, in a way, but a steak is a lump of meat and that is all. A carrot will solve your hunger as easily as a steak. To sell crap hotdogs just find a starving crowd.
              The sizzle is all the emotional attachment that comes with the steak. The feeling of the texture, the juices gliding over your tongue and tantilising your taste buds. The joy of feeling your belly fill up and all in the friendly, warm and inviting opulent restaurant. They would all be benefits and not features. Features are it is a lump of food that will stop your hunger. McD does that but not in the sale style. However their benefit could be - hungry? Get food now, no waiting. No finese but the same problem solved in a different manner.
              Yes everyone has one benefit that applies to them and that is why when selling anything in any format you do not limit yourself to using just one benefit. You use as many as it takes to get your message across and make the best shot of get the person to take the next action. If you don't, have you really done your job as a salesman and let's get real a copy writer is a salesman.
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              • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
                Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

                The sizzle is all the emotional attachment that comes with the steak. The feeling of the texture, the juices gliding over your tongue and tantalizing your taste buds. The joy of feeling your belly fill up and all in the friendly, warm and inviting opulent restaurant. They would all be benefits and not features. Features are it is a lump of food that will stop your hunger. .
                First, damn fine copy written right there.

                I think we interpret features differently. If I were going to list features of a steak , I might include:

                Hot
                juicy
                Sizzling when served
                cooked to order
                12 ounces
                choice of side dish

                To me, anything that describes what you are selling is a feature. The benefits are how that applies to you. What you get out of that feature.

                Your post illustrated though the difference between just listing a benefit, and making that benefit visceral. . Strong copy.

                It also has occurred to me that some of these visceral benefits may be easier to put in print, because they go directly to the brain, while hearing someone say "the juices gliding over your tongue and tantalizing your taste buds" may sound a tad odd.

                It may be a chief difference between language when selling in person, and language when writing sales copy.

                Anyway, I tend to talk in declarative sentences. This post is just how I think. I could be wrong.
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                • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
                  Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                  First, damn fine copy written right there.

                  I think we interpret features differently. If I were going to list features of a steak , I might include:

                  Hot
                  juicy
                  Sizzling when served
                  cooked to order
                  12 ounces
                  choice of side dish

                  To me, anything that describes what you are selling is a feature. The benefits are how that applies to you. What you get out of that feature.

                  Your post illustrated though the difference between just listing a benefit, and making that benefit visceral. . Strong copy.

                  It also has occurred to me that some of these visceral benefits may be easier to put in print, because they go directly to the brain, while hearing someone say "the juices gliding over your tongue and tantalizing your taste buds" may sound a tad odd.

                  If Princess replies to this she'll show us how it is really done.

                  Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                  It may be a chief difference between language when selling in person, and language when writing sales copy.

                  Anyway, I tend to talk in declarative sentences. This post is just how I think. I could be wrong.

                  Period.
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                  • Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

                    If Princess replies to this she'll show us how it is really done.

                    Period.

                    Aaaaawkay.

                    What 2 things do we know 'bout time travel so far?

                    Could be ... you mebbe reset the dials sumhow an' revisit stuff as all kindsa observah.

                    ... Weird times you never felt.

                    .. Lost friends & fam.

                    . How the frickin' Egyptians actshwlly built all that shit.

                    But how we all seein' the fyootyure?

                    Any time machine flyin' us that place gotta be careful or there gonna be chaos.

                    Big dream I have rn is gowin' my regulah hair place an' gettin' fixed up so I don't look like no kinda tramp.

                    So I would wanna fly forward, style up, an' step out in the mall all swanky.

                    Secret I learned from yogah, where you chillin' out sweet in the moment, is no mattah how superperceptible your clarity 'bout WHAT IS ... you can't nevah touch the fyooture same.

                    An' yet, all the stuff you value rn ... how you almost wanna clutch it close like a baby, see what happens if'n you care right ... invites you to step forward an' see what may be.

                    Which means the fyooture gotta be touch close sumhow.

                    No mystery.

                    You can walk there, pick it up, use it, feel it -- whatevah.

                    Point is, you gotta feel some interactive catalyctic stuffs ain't jus' sum stoopid ideah.

                    Worst thing evah to happen to nowan is when the fyootyure got nuthin' in it.

                    All avenues exhausted.

                    He gone forevah.

                    I ain't musical so I dun for.

                    So how we gonna step out anyplace?

                    Fuse heart an' head till we don't jus' drop dead?

                    Ansa lies in bananas.

                    Either they stuff grows in trees -- like SQUIRREL CORPSES.

                    An' yeah -- you go lookin' for banana trees, you might end up with SQUIRREL GUTS all ovah your FACE bcs sumtimes them critters AIN'T QUITE DEAD an' WANNA FIGHT BACK WHEN YOU SQUISH 'EM.

                    Or ...

                    Kick Back. Peel Slow. Munch Good.
                    Here's health in the palm of your hand.

                    Where is Jooly 2020 rn?

                    Ain't nowan here couldn't sketch out sum kinda scenario pullin' on a weirdsy interaction between fact & dreamo.

                    So imagine for a sec sniffin' on a rose.

                    Deep red, crisp, scrunchin' your lips up close to your nose like you wanna kiss sumthin'.

                    (Less'n you got Corona, in which case you can't smell nuthin' -- which could mebbe pick up value as a desirable if'n it still here for the inevitable Thanksgivin' Family Fart Fest.)

                    Point is, we always attendin' to SUMTHIN'

                    (Less'n we zaaahmbies.)

                    So how may this immediately visible landscape flow out an' constructively bypass the shrill shriek of innumerable voids?

                    Depends whethah you want a fyooture fulla roses or farts, I guess.

                    Set your visceral barometers to the WANNA you actschwlly WANNA ...
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    AIDA is a proven model and has been used for nearly a hundred of years. I learned from an early mentor more than 20 years ago about AIDAR - Attention Interest Desire Action Retention. The sales process includes ongoing promotions for customer followup and retention.

    There are many other models, but this seems to be elegantly simple, easy to train new copywriters, and every stage in this process can be checked, measured and optimized.
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      Absolutely and I believe that is why it is so well liked. The 5 steps I use is as easy and helps to bolster AIDA and it would help with AIDAR to I believe. Simply because they can be set against each other; as friends so to speak. lol
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  • Profile picture of the author ibramster
    Thank you all, I find AIDA useful as it is simple. Coupled with the 5 steps I talk about really helps to shore up AIDA explaining it in a way that I can understand easier and quicker. Thank you for your comments, much appreciated. Hope I get more.
    May be some other things like AIDA could be offered?
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    In print advertising (not exactly copywriting) my framework was always.

    Identify a problem that they want to solve right now. That's the headline. It helps if it sounds specific to them but really applies to a wide section of the readership.

    Offer an obvious solution to the problem, and build the value so that the price appears ridiculously low.

    Structure the offer so it will be difficult to comparison shop. I bundle my products so it's a single price for several items/benefits.

    Give them a reason to buy now. It may be an impending event, a price increase, a limited supply, almost any reason will work. It just needs to sound outside of your control. It can't be "I want you to buy now because I want your money".

    And then...lastly, how they buy, who you are, and where you are located. Nobody cares about you until they see that you have what they want. You can be introduced in a story, if it builds anticipation...or justifies buying now.

    In personal selling, my structure was almost always;
    Identify that they are likely to buy what I have. (A list of previous buyers, a demographic that usually buys what you sell, referrals from buyers, a business where your offer is repeatedly bought)

    Qualify them to determine that they have the ability to decide to buy and pay for what you have. Make sure they are the right prospect.

    Ask questions to make sure your offer can be presented as a perfect fit for them.

    Ask questions to clarify and amplify the problem(s) you are there to solve.

    Offer optional solutions to eliminate any competition, or the idea of shopping around.

    Ask questions to build value in what you offer, so the price will be a pleasant surprise. (give them the price as soon as it makes sense. The earlier, the better.

    Ask questions to create urgency, the cost of waiting.

    Offer options to move forward buying.

    Answer any lingering questions and solidify the sale in any way possible.

    I hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author ibramster
    All very good points and taken on board. They are all very closely related to what I teach my direct marketing students. Thank you again Claude. Appreciate your support.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

      All very good points and taken on board. They are all very closely related to what I teach my direct marketing students. Thank you again Claude. Appreciate your support.
      Another thing about AIDA or any sales framework is that the steps are not defined and sequential (First you do A. Then you do B) They overlap.

      For example, the entire presentation (or ad, or sales letter) can build value, magnify a problem, create scarcity (or at least urgency).

      Just another thought. Yes...yes, I love hearing myself talk.
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      • Profile picture of the author ibramster
        Totally they overlap, be crazy if they didn't. The starting point of getting the attention is one that is pretty hard to move though. Do you agree?
        It could be argued, and quite successfully, that the structure is there purely as a guide,and not a rigid pattern that has to be followed.
        Build value, yes, yes, yes.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

          Totally they overlap, be crazy if they didn't. The starting point of getting the attention is one that is pretty hard to move though. Do you agree?
          It could be argued, and quite successfully, that the structure is there purely as a guide,and not a rigid pattern that has to be followed.
          Build value, yes, yes, yes.
          Yes. Attention is the first thing always. But "Attention" can also mean identifying them as a high quality prospect. For example, if you advertise to airline pilots, a headline (maybe a pre-headline) could be "For Airline Pilots Only!".

          It grabs their attention, but pre-selects who the ad is for. and by narrowing the appeal it immediately sounds more selective, like nobody else can get this. The ad/letter could even be sent to a list of airline pilots...or the ad placed in Airline Pilots Monthly. It sounds selective, even though it will apply to just about everyone reading it.
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  • Ohh yes I'm a Euphonics fan so I am.

    But I'm about 97.8% vegeterian (chicken soup is the last barrier to blast).

    So, looks like it's sizzling, spitting, shooting sprouts for me.

    Yea - it's ok - I can do that.

    Just.


    Steve


    P.S. Can someone pass me some more olive oil?
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      Love it; chicken soup the last barrier lol
      Not joining you on the sprout thing though.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

    Totally they overlap, be crazy if they didn't. The starting point of getting the attention is one that is pretty hard to move though. Do you agree?
    Nearly all of my promotions (perhaps 90%) is spent getting attention and keeping it. For example, in the AIDA model, these are not steps in copywriting, but rather basic essential elements that need to be addressed throughout the entire sales process. Attention is difficult to get, but even more difficult to maintain. It overlaps everything.

    Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

    It could be argued, and quite successfully, that the structure is there purely as a guide,and not a rigid pattern that has to be followed.
    Build value, yes, yes, yes.
    AIDA is the framework for progressively building value leading to culmination of the sale. Yes, Value attracts attention. Yes, Value draws interest. Yes, Value builds desire. And yes, Value accumulates into action.
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  • When writing an attention grabbing headline.

    I often adapt with great care.

    Probably the best headline ever written - by the late great Jim Rutz.

    "Read This Or Die"


    Steve


    P.S. You get the idea - how this can work.

    First - as Claude mentioned earlier - select your audience.

    Subhead - For ______ Only

    Main Headline - MASSIVE Emotional Benefit or Loss - steeped in Curiosity.

    Sub Headline - A timeframe - why the good people must "do what you want them to do" immediately.
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  • Profile picture of the author ibramster
    Please allow me to, they are statements of facts. One issue does arise from this. If I or you was new to the copy writing/sales empire then what we have written may be confusing. Hell I reckon we confuse ourselves at times, I know I do. We all know that when we do get confused that we go back to basics (why? Because they are the foundations of everything we do). Why then when someone asks for help and they are a beginner do we seem to make things (like above) complicated for them? Should we not, if we are helping them, give them a super strong foundation in the basics from which they can emerge?
    Thoughts please.
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  • Profile picture of the author DWolfe
    ibramster please use the quote feature in the Classic View. It makes it hard for members to see who you are talking too. Just highlight your name in the Black Header and scroll down and click on Classic View once.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jenny Gagnon
    As the world of advertising becomes more and more competitive, advertising becomes more and more sophisticated. Yet the basic principles behind advertising copy remain - that it must attract attention and persuade someone to take action. And this idea remains true simply because human nature doesn't really change. Sure, we become increasingly discerning, but to persuade people to do something, you still need to grab their attention, interest them in how your product or service can help them, and then persuade them to take the action you want them to take, such as buying your product or visiting your website.


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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      Yes Jenny you are right. Telling a story is a good way to get the narrative across as we as animals, as for sure we are, relate to stories. Especially if we see our self in that story, meaning that we relate to said story.
      Human nature doesn't change but the way we work with it can be made very complicated as we try to understand something that is essence is simple.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    "Sell The Sizzle, Not The Steak" started by Elmer Wheeler...who was a door to door vacuum salesman at 15. Reminds me of Claude.

    Quick tip: When you're describing something like someone described a steak above...try and use each of the five senses. Taste, smell, hearing, seeing, and touch. It's a simple guide to make sure you cover the bases and hits home better.

    Also remember, you can't create emotion, but you can trigger the emotions a person has. That's where really knowing your audience is important. You can try to create emotion...but that's when copywriting bombs. Good copy plays on the emotions a person already has concerning the problem you're trying to solve.

    Anyways, if you're in the mood to read an article on Mr. Wheeler, this is an interesting read:

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1.../16/the-sizzle
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      max5ty
      Good copy plays on the emotions a person already has concerning the problem you're trying to solve.
      Any good sales (as that is what copy writing is, sales in print) relies on the above. Take a person's emotions and use them to address the issue they face. Then solve it in a manner they connect with. Not every person will be a sale, in fact most will not be sales and should never be expected to be even from a hot lead. Unless that lead is asking to be sold to.
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Benefits have their limitations if the ad writer
    hasn't taken into account what the reader
    has read, heard or experienced from

    direct competitors
    indirect competitors

    Indirect competitors are the sneakiest ones
    because they are totally of the radar to most.

    Let's give an example.

    In the home services sector,
    there are...

    plumbers,
    hvac
    roofers
    electricians,
    aborists
    lawncare
    new driveways
    new pools
    maintenance of pools
    new siding
    new windows
    garage doors
    painting
    new kitchens
    new kitchen benchtops
    deck builders
    sun shades
    landscapers


    and on and on.

    Once a home owner has called a few
    of them she will recognize a pattern.

    That pattern will be they turn up late,
    don't do what they said they will do
    don't clean up after them.

    Now the plumber who doesn't fit into those three
    is still going to get tainted by anyone or more
    of the others she has called
    to her home.

    If a plumber is not like those three and doesn't address
    her distrust for ANY tradesman that turns up on her property
    then he is doing a disservice to himself and potential customers that will
    never get the experience of a painless
    experience it could of been.

    What advertisers think are benefits and what the audience think are,
    can be in most cases two worlds apart.

    You bridge that gap by understanding what bad experiences
    the potential buyer has had within your industry and the broader sector.

    Don't call it out in your ad then say "we aren't like that".

    .

    You just took the power of making their own mind away.

    Here's how to fix it...

    Start by naming the problem
    then your solution so it will never happen again.

    Now this is more suited to products and services that the majority of the population
    understands.

    Sticking with tradespeople or in my case lawncare,
    I used the problem solution in the headline.

    It's worked for plumbers and electricians,
    Print and digital media. 5 years apart.

    My classified newspaper headline was...

    "I Will Turn Up On Time, Will Do What I Say,
    Clean Up After Me...If Not, I Will Pay You $1,000.
    You Are The Sole Judge."

    Here's the plumber ad YP headline..

    OLD HEADLINE: Need A Plumber
    A local master plumber!

    NEW HEADLINE: On Time... Every time...& we clean up...guaranteed!
    Or we Pay YOU $39

    Difference?

    $183,203
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      ewenmack not going to quote here as it is not needed. Every person that is looking for a solution wants only one thing, their issue solved. In short what is in it for me is what they are asking. They want the best value deal they can get. That doesn't mean cheapest, it means best value. By them looking for the best value they are by nature looking at benefits over features.
      The benefits will get their attention and the sale this then must be backed u by a logical decision. Needing a plumber is pretty crucial when they are needed, as are most trades, but to have one say they will tidy up when finished or pay you is a huge benefit that differentiates them from the others. Yes they would definitely get my trade.
      I am not saying that features do not have their place, they do, just that sales are driven by emotions (at least in the first part) and features do not elicit or support or play on emotions. They (features) are excellent at backing up and supporting benefits. That is my opinion. Your opinion was an excellent point as well. I enjoyed reading it. Loved the spin on the ad copy as well, very good. Can I pinch the idea? Oh go on, be a sport.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post


      What advertisers think are benefits and what the audience think are,
      can be in most cases two worlds apart.
      Ewen; THAT...That right there is one of the top advertising/selling secrets. And it's a mistake I see over and over again in sales........

      Salespeople thinking that it's the customer's job to see the benefits, and refusing to ask the questions that will fit the benefits to the individual customer.
      A salesperson saying "That guy's an idiot because he didn't see the benefit in...." is evidence of a rep that tried to force his own list of "benefits" onto the customer.

      And there are some salespeople, maybe most, that will do that their entire lives, and never see their mistake.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
    I am trying to figure out how the Misinformers of the Internet gain so much attention...they can not be reading books on this stuff.


    Feels great to visit the Copy Writing Section after a while away.

    Alot of Copy Warriors seem to be M.I.A.?
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by Profit Traveler View Post

      I am trying to figure out how the Misinformers of the Internet gain so much attention...they can not be reading books on this stuff.


      Feels great to visit the Copy Writing Section after a while away.

      Alot of Copy Warriors seem to be M.I.A.?
      Nearly all of the most successful copywriters actually are too busy using their skills for promoting their own programs to pay any attention to self-styled goo-roos! Those who can just do it, but those who can't just teach it.
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        Nearly all of the most successful copywriters actually are too busy using their skills for promoting their own programs to pay any attention to self-styled goo-roos! Those who can just do it, but those who can't just teach it.
        I enjoy your posts, but I would disagree with the part I highlighted in bold.

        Clayton Makepeace, the highest-paid copywriter in history...or at least one of the top depending on who you ask...and if you ask other top copywriters they'll tell you he is and is responsible for making his clients more money than anyone else...

        used to do a ton of teaching. He not only taught but is responsible for some of the best copywriters in the business. Some post here from time to time.

        But anyways, I was sad to see his sight was no longer active. I would guess it had something to do with his passing. Then I remembered something...

        the Wayback Machine.

        If you want to learn from one of the greatest you can still visit his site using the Wayback Machine. It is loaded with teaching...some of the best you'll ever find, and it's all free.

        But then there's Bencivenga, Schwab, Ogilvy, Kennedy, Schwartz (and the list goes on)...all worth millions have taught.

        I think there's something about someone who has achieved great success...they want to pass on what they've discovered.

        So, just a little disagreement there...

        Edit: Should have also added there are a lot of people that post on here that are successful and still give tips and advice.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          I enjoy your posts, but I would disagree with the part I highlighted in bold.
          You didn't highlight "Nearly all". In my experience, the exceptions are rare, mainly because it takes exceptional patience and effort (and a significant pay cut) by professional high earners in copywriting to teach.
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        • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          I enjoy your posts, but I would disagree with the part I highlighted in bold.

          Clayton Makepeace, the highest-paid copywriter in history...or at least one of the top depending on who you ask...and if you ask other top copywriters they'll tell you he is and is responsible for making his clients more money than anyone else...

          used to do a ton of teaching. He not only taught but is responsible for some of the best copywriters in the business. Some post here from time to time.

          But anyways, I was sad to see his sight was no longer active. I would guess it had something to do with his passing. Then I remembered something...

          the Wayback Machine.

          If you want to learn from one of the greatest you can still visit his site using the Wayback Machine. It is loaded with teaching...some of the best you'll ever find, and it's all free.

          But then there's Bencivenga, Schwab, Ogilvy, Kennedy, Schwartz (and the list goes on)...all worth millions have taught.

          I think there's something about someone who has achieved great success...they want to pass on what they've discovered.

          So, just a little disagreement there...

          Edit: Should have also added there are a lot of people that post on here that are successful and still give tips and advice.

          You used a hell of an example my friend. The Tributes for Clayton from other Copy Writers alone are awe-inspiring.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          I think there's something about someone who has achieved great success...they want to pass on what they've discovered..
          I agree. Not in every case.....but after you have had success in a field for decades, and you start seeing your own mortality....it seems like such a waste to let all this accumulated wisdom just disappear.

          Originally Posted by myob View Post

          Those who say copywriting and sales are the same do not understand copywriting nor sales.
          I agree. Selling in print is different than selling in person. The language is different.Selling is two way, rather than one way communication. There are other differences.

          I'm a salesman who has studied copywriting/marketing/advertising. And I can tell you that the biggest gains I made in income were after I became a serious student of selling in print.

          And the idea of studying marketing/copywriting to multiply your sales efficiency is so foreign to salespeople, that I have to avoid the word "marketing" when teaching salespeople. To them, it's a whole different thing. I teach it as highly advanced selling, which it is.

          If I were going to explain it to a salesperson, I would say...

          "Imagine you are sitting in front of a prospect. And you are going to try to make a sale.
          All you know about this person is that they can read, and that they broadly fit into a category of people that have bought your offer in the past.

          But...you cannot ask them any questions, and they cannot answer you. Their face never changes expression. You will never know what they are thinking, because you cannot ask. You don't know their level of interest, level of understanding, what competitors they have talked to. You are almost completely blind going in.

          And now...you have to attempt to give them every benefit that they could possibly want, answer every question they could reasonably ask, and completely solve every objection they could reasonably raise. You have to predict their train of thinking as you talk, without any feedback. At the end, they either give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down, with no explanation as to why they decided that way. Go"

          Writing sales copy isn't the same as selling. It's harder.

          It reminds me of the story of The Great Gama. The Undefeated Indian wrestler. His prowess was mythic. One day a young man (who would become The Mighty Atom) asked Gama how he trained.

          Gama told the young man "I'll tell you one thing I do. Every day I go outside and find a strong tree. And for three hours a day, I try to uproot the tree and throw it on the ground."

          The young man asked "Did you ever uproot the tree?" Gama said "No. That's impossible". And the young man asked "Then why do you do it?"

          And The Great Gama said "Because after a tree, a man is easy"

          I study copywriting because it's harder than selling.
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          • Profile picture of the author socialentry
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            And the idea of studying marketing/copywriting to multiply your sales efficiency is so foreign to salespeople, that I have to avoid the word "marketing" when teaching salespeople. To them, it's a whole different thing. I teach it as highly advanced selling, which it is.

            If I were going to explain it to a salesperson, I would say...

            "Imagine you are sitting in front of a prospect. And you are going to try to make a sale.
            All you know about this person is that they can read, and that they broadly fit into a category of people that have bought your offer in the past.

            But...you cannot ask them any questions, and they cannot answer you. Their face never changes expression. You will never know what they are thinking, because you cannot ask. You don't know their level of interest, level of understanding, what competitors they have talked to. You are almost completely blind going in.

            And now...you have to attempt to give them every benefit that they could possibly want, answer every question they could reasonably ask, and completely solve every objection they could reasonably raise. You have to predict their train of thinking as you talk, without any feedback. At the end, they either give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down, with no explanation as to why they decided that way. Go" .

            If the only feedback you have is go/no-go, how do you know if the X or Y rule is bunk or not?


            Even if you're doing A/B testing, it's at best an approximation: there are far more factors that aren't under the control of the copywriter.

            In visual arts,there's something called composition (e.g. in a painting, it's meant to draw the viewers' eye to certain specific elements).It wasn't until scientists actually did eye tracking on random viewers that we now know certain rules aren't actually true. So how do we know that this isn't what is happening here? Or is it just another case of "we don't know, but it's better then nothing"


            Also, if you're selling to a broader range of people, does the idea of "selling something that doesn't apply to them" also turn them off?
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            • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
              Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

              If the only feedback you have is go/no-go, how do you know if the X or Y rule is bunk or not?
              I'm, not sure what you're asking. I don't know the "X or Y Rule". Could you ask in a different way?



              Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

              Also, if you're selling to a broader range of people, does the idea of "selling something that doesn't apply to them" also turn them off?
              If the offer doesn't apply to them, they just ignore it. If one benefit (or feature) doesn't apply to them, it detracts from the idea that it's a perfect match. It's why sales letters have to sound like they are targeted, but will apply to the broadest range of buyers on the list that's mailed (or the people reading the ad).
              It's also why headlines, and subheads tend to use deep emotional needs, because they are nearly universal.
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              • Profile picture of the author socialentry
                Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

                It's also why headlines, and subheads tend to use deep emotional needs, because they are nearly universal.

                Do you use this or Barnum statements when selling or just in copy?
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          • Profile picture of the author SARubin
            Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

            AIDA is it still a viable way of structuring a piece of writing or are there better one's to use
            Of course it's viable, Ian. As long as we take AIDA for what it is. It's a guide post (one of many), not a magic formula.

            Rather than give a long drawn out answer here, I'll just point you to this other thread that shares my opinion of AIDA...

            https://www.warriorforum.com/main-in...l#post11550930




            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            "Imagine you are sitting in front of a prospect. And you are going to try to make a sale.
            All you know about this person is that they can read, and that they broadly fit into a category of people that have bought your offer in the past.

            But...you cannot ask them any questions, and they cannot answer you. Their face never changes expression. You will never know what they are thinking, because you cannot ask. You don't know their level of interest, level of understanding, what competitors they have talked to. You are almost completely blind going in.

            And now...you have to attempt to give them every benefit that they could possibly want, answer every question they could reasonably ask, and completely solve every objection they could reasonably raise. You have to predict their train of thinking as you talk, without any feedback. At the end, they either give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down, with no explanation as to why they decided that way. Go"

            Writing sales copy isn't the same as selling. It's harder.

            Wonderful analogy, Claude. I do believe you nailed it with that one.

            They are different and they have different requirements.

            And they also have different numbers attached to them.

            My face-to-face closing rate averages north of 70%, but I'm happy as a dog wagging two tails if a sales page even gets close to double digits.

            The flip side of that is I can sell to 1,000,000 people at a time with the written word. So the response rates don't need to be as big, to get the same bottom line.


            .
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Great sales people use AIDA to sell a drill bit.

      Great copywriters use AIDA as complete solutions to people wanting to make holes.
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      • Profile picture of the author ibramster
        Great sales people use AIDA to sell a drill bit.

        Great copywriters use AIDA as complete solutions to people wanting to make holes.
        Copy writers are sales people, they simply use a different medium. One is the spoken word and one is the written word. Both sales.

        And that too!
        By which I reckon you mean get the thread back on track?

        If a sales person is selling drill bits then they are in the wrong job. Selling the hole is the job or any sales person, copy writers included.
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        • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
          Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

          Copy writers are sales people, they simply use a different medium. One is the spoken word and one is the written word. Both sales.

          By which I reckon you mean get the thread back on track?

          If a sales person is selling drill bits then they are in the wrong job. Selling the hole is the job or any sales person, copy writers included.

          Roger that. You are the O.P. and I like good follow up with no abandonment.

          I have a thread myself that was going around the world on discussions I had to modify the Title so I feel you.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Great marketers use AIDA with copywriting and multi-channel sales in a continuous loop of customer engagement. We call this branding.

      Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

      Copy writers are sales people, they simply use a different medium. One is the spoken word and one is the written word. Both sales.
      Those who say copywriting and sales are the same do not understand copywriting nor sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Writing sales copy and true copywriting are different. Trying to get a sale directly from copywriting is like driving a lambhorghini to go grocery shopping. You are wasting a whole lot of its potential power for very little results. Good copywriting covers massive amounts of territory in a short period of time.

      This is what I mean that copywriting and sales are vastly different. Copywriting is actually far more like advertising in a power suit, such as a brochure or marketing collateral, than just a product sales letter. The real power in copywriting is unleashed when it drives prospects through the AIDA process for additional information, filling out a form, speaking to a sales rep, etc.

      In essence, copywriting builds your brand. Sales builds relationships. Both are essential and may use an AIDA structure in the process, but with distinctive differences in outcome within an integrated marketing system.
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by myob View Post


        Writing sales copy and true copywriting are different. Trying to get a sale directly from copywriting is like driving a lambhorghini to go grocery shopping. You are wasting a whole lot of its potential power for very little results. Good copywriting covers massive amounts of territory in a short period of time.
        Love your brilliance on a lot of things, but I disagree on this.

        First, I did drive my Lambo to the grocery store a few times. Don't have it anymore because I got tired of it and moved on to better vehicles, but still did it.

        Second, some of the biggest fortunes in the world have been made through copywriting. Not sure what you mean when you say it's wasting a lot of potential.

        I can tell you for a fact that there have been companies that started at zero and made 14 million within two weeks from the power of copywriting. I was there and can attest to the fact that copywriting works.

        I have no doubt you're great at what you do, but I'm not quite sure you completely understand copywriting
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          Love your brilliance on a lot of things, but I disagree on this.

          First, I did drive my Lambo to the grocery store a few times. Don't have it anymore because I got tired of it and moved on to better vehicles, but still did it.

          Second, some of the biggest fortunes in the world have been made through copywriting. Not sure what you mean when you say it's wasting a lot of potential.

          I can tell you for a fact that there have been companies that started at zero and made 14 million within two weeks from the power of copywriting. I was there and can attest to the fact that copywriting works.

          I have no doubt you're great at what you do, but I'm not quite sure you completely understand copywriting

          Sales copy of course is considered to be "copywriting", but only in a very narrow sense, and certainly not representative of its scope. I am a salesman, not a copywriter. But even I know the power of using intense emotion-packed words which subtly strums the heart strings of prospects will out-perform the shopping-carts of direct sales copy.

          For example, a "copywriter" can produce a sales letter for athletic shoes, including all the fantastic features and benefits, anticipating every possible objection with emotion, stories, and supporting logic following the AIDA format. Certainly millions and millions of dollars have been made in direct sales for Nike shoes.

          But the real power of how truly great the art and science of copywriting can be is shown in Nike's "Just Do It" logo. Those three words are the epitome of the best in copywriting which compresses everything of the AIDA format into driving massive qualified traffic and sales. Those three words resulted in billions of dollars in sales through concentrated emotion.

          P.S. Personally, I would prefer the La Voiture Noire or even just a Bugatti Divoover over a Lamborghini for all of my grocery shopping.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      The most effective copywriting does not look like copywriting. AIDA is not a paint-by-numbers formula. Nor is it an all-inclusive linear format. For example, in the Nike ad I mentioned earlier "Just Do It", their logo and those three words convey essentially every element of AIDA.

      Of course this formula is not the only copywriting method, nor is it even the best. But it is perhaps the easiest way of explaining and teaching copywriting as well as a basic mnemonic guide. Including each of these elements in varying degrees of context and relevance is the minimum for effective copywriting.

      A slightly more advanced version of this is AIDCA/AIDEA, which includes an additional step of Conviction/Evidence between Desire and Action. People are often so cynical about advertising messages that coherent evidence may be needed if anyone is going to act on the desired call to action.

      Hardly any of my content writing (article syndication in online/offline, social media, etc) would be considered as copywriting or any form of advertising. None of my content contains all of the elements in AIDA, but all of my articles/content do contain some of these elements.

      I have found that fragmenting the AIDA/AIDCA/AIDEA elements over a series of marketing content is a more powerful method for not only direct selling, but also in maintaining attention while solidifying your brand across multiple channels.
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    • I don't want to offend anyone. But I have a group of copywriters here...

      When writing offers that you know...know are nonsensical....does it bother you?

      I'm not a copywriter, but I am a salesman. One of the best. And a very few times in my life, I have taken advantage of someone's ignorance to get a sale. It would bother me for days.

      But if you are writing an ad or sales letter that makes promises you know are nonsensical, does it bother you?

      For example, you write an offer for a company that offers an astrological service, and you think astrology is ridiculous. Could you still do it? Could you do it convincingly? Would you take the job?

      As a speaker (pre-covid) if I wanted to make maximum sales, I had to make my appeal to include things like;
      1) No matter how much you have failed in the past, it wasn't your fault.
      2) Someone or something is preventing your success. A secret has been kept from you.
      3) There is a limited number available of what I sell.
      4) There is a reason you have to buy right now, other than I know you just won't buy later.

      Yes, I'd include all of that. Yes, it worked beautifully. Yes, I'll do it again.

      But it churns my stomach. And it sometimes makes me feel contempt for my buyers. Maybe it would be different if I didn't meet my buyers. I don't know.

      Has anyone else experienced this in copywriting? Or am I way way off with this?

      I have no agenda. It's a real question I've been wanting to ask for a long time.



      Added later; I'm actually asking the question. If you have an offer you think only a fool would buy (or contribute to), do you;

      Pass on the project?
      Never get those requests?
      Adjust your reality so that you "believe" in the offer while you write it?
      Just think of it as another job, and it doesn't bother you?

      I'm not talking about morality. I'm asking about the mental process you go through on these "magical crystals that improve your credit" kind of offers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I don't want to offend anyone. But I have a group of copywriters here...

        When writing offers that you know...know are nonsensical....does it bother you?

        I'm not a copywriter, but I am a salesman. One of the best. And a very few times in my life, I have taken advantage of someone's ignorance to get a sale. It would bother me for days.

        But if you are writing an ad or sales letter that makes promises you know are nonsensical, does it bother you?

        For example, you write an offer for a company that offers an astrological service, and you think astrology is ridiculous. Could you still do it? Could you do it convincingly? Would you take the job?

        As a speaker (pre-covid) if I wanted to make maximum sales, I had to make my appeal to include things like;
        1) No matter how much you have failed in the past, it wasn't your fault.
        2) Someone or something is preventing your success. A secret has been kept from you.
        3) There is a limited number available of what I sell.
        4) There is a reason you have to buy right now, other than I know you just won't buy later.

        Yes, I'd include all of that. Yes, it worked beautifully. Yes, I'll do it again.

        But it churns my stomach. And it sometimes makes me feel contempt for my buyers. Maybe it would be different if I didn't meet my buyers. I don't know.

        Has anyone else experienced this in copywriting? Or am I way way off with this?

        I have no agenda. It's a real question I've been wanting to ask for a long time.
        Back in the day, sometimes a client would ask me if I can "fix" some code in a software product they had created by a different software developer that disappeared soon after they collected their payment.

        Every once in a while the "fix" was very simple, but the full research of the code is very time consuming, i,e, little to no time to apply the "fix" and a very long time to do the "discovery".

        Long story short, I would fix it and send the client the working product. The client would say something like "Oh, I just wanted to know if you could fix it. What do I owe you?"

        The client was right. We never agreed on a price to fix it, so what would be a fair price? That was easy enough for my simple-minded way of treating my client with respect and I simply said something like "Whatever you think is fair."

        To my surprise the client overpaid. Seriously overpaid. They added a zero to what I personally thought would be a fair price. I respectfully and immediately contacted the client and said as much with a offer to refund most of the money.

        That client put it to me this way. What they considered a fair price and what I considered a fair price differed because they had previously contacted two different developers that said they could not fix the product, yet required a fee. The client explained, at that point the client needed a working product and three developers could not deliver.

        The client said.. I was the long shot.I was the rogue one. I was the guy from the trenches. I had no polish. I had no sizzle. What I did have that meant everything to the client was two fold.. the technical experience to make it work and respect for people.

        Again, to my surprise the client revealed their true identity. The client was the original software developer. The client had an agenda. The client intentionally handed me some code that would not work, so the end-product would not work as advertised. They simply wanted someone with the knowledge to "fix" it and more importantly secure my services (someone that could provide the fix) for the life of the product.

        Claude, was that a win-win? I think not. More of a learn-learn (to my way of thinking). The client learned something from me and I learned something from the client.

        Later, I got into sales of my own products. I am not even close to your caliber Claude. There were times that I felt, at the end of the sale the customer received the short end of the stick. That is when I also learned to "pay it forward".

        When I feel that the customer received the short end of the stick I would follow-up with the customer and make it right for my own piece of mind. In terms of over delivery. Long story short.. I treated them as I would like to be treated myself.

        We are not perfect, but we can find it in ourselves to at least do the perfect thing by the customer. Maybe we should add a "C" to AIDA.. Conscious?

        And that is what makes me sleep better at night.

        Zzzzzz
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      • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        <snip>
        Added later; I'm actually asking the question. If you have an offer you think only a fool would buy (or contribute to), do you;

        Pass on the project?
        Never get those requests?
        Adjust your reality so that you "believe" in the offer while you write it?
        Just think of it as another job, and it doesn't bother you?

        I'm not talking about morality. I'm asking about the mental process you go through on these "magical crystals that improve your credit" kind of offers.

        Sorry, I'm not a copywriter. I read too much "Claude" to be of help in that regard.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I'm not talking about morality.
        You kind of are..or at least touching on moral philosophy. In general we all tend to assume the morals of the society and culture in which we live and were raised. Even if we later rationalize this morality, it can still leave us with feelings of right and wrong we can't shake off. No doubt it's beneficial for society that morality seems to work in that way.

        I may consider astrology to be ridiculous while at the same time recognizing that it speaks to a fundamental human need within some people. If satisfying that need harms nobody else, how is it that different to using (for example) Cialdini's techniques of manipulating other cognitive biases while knowing that some of the buyers I sell to will get themselves further into avoidable debt because of what I'm selling? Or cause them to eat more sugar?

        If we're honest, I think the things we end up feeling comfortable selling (or not selling) are the things that gel with our own world view, more than any feelings we might have for the sentiments or good of our buyers.
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      • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I don't want to offend anyone. But I have a group of copywriters here...
        <snipped for space>
        have no agenda. It's a real question I've been wanting to ask for a long time.


        Added later; I'm actually asking the question. If you have an offer you think only a fool would buy (or contribute to), do you;

        Pass on the project?
        Never get those requests?
        Adjust your reality so that you "believe" in the offer while you write it?
        Just think of it as another job, and it doesn't bother you?

        I'm not talking about morality. I'm asking about the mental process you go through on these "magical crystals that improve your credit" kind of offers.
        Be forewarned, I may get a little long winded, if it loses your attention along the way, lots of other WF threads to read today, fair enough?

        Copywriters like the tales of two men, so, here is a true story.

        The salesman and the scientist.

        After 5 years of failure, the scientist was ready to throw in the towel on his side hustle of a mail order business. His latest failure was a book of money tables that no one bought, He had a 1000 copies printed because he was sure everyone needed this book. Not one single copy sold.

        That could have been the straw that broke his back, crushed his spirit and with resignation he would hold on to his job as a nuclear engineer, a job he hated because of the inept management.

        Enter the salesman.

        The salesman basically said, "who are you and I to tell people what they need to spend THEIR money on? Get off that high horse and sell what people want to buy". This libertarian attitude was the salesman's hallmark, one which was adopted by several of his contemporaries.

        The salesman told the scientist the hot selling product of the day had to do with Astrology.

        The scientist, with his traditional Catholic upbringing, and his degrees in engineering, thought and felt that astrology was truly RIDICULOUS and wanted nothing to do with it. But, desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures and in this story the scientist was desperate enough to give it a try.

        I'm sure a few of you are familiar with how Gary Halbert, the salesman, got Ben Suarez into selling horoscopes (being dragged kicking and screaming to it)...and his full page ad which ran on the back of the Sunday comics section, known as ASTROLOGY TODAY, is considered Breakthough.

        And Ben went on to build a 150 million dollar a year business, and has probably written more controls (well over a verified BILLION DOLLARS worth) than any other living copy writer, albeit, he is seldom mentioned in copywriter circles.

        He built his business, SCI, by selling what people wanted to buy.

        He apparently dismounted that white knight big horse he was riding and traded it in on some Shetland ponies that people paid to have their kids ride at the local fair.

        Some day, maybe, I'll tell the "page two, Paul Harvey, rest of the story" about the astrology biz.

        You will find that the great Gary Halbert would write for just about anything, as long as there was a starving crowd of ready buyers and money was to be made.

        One of his proteges, Dan Kennedy, would later say, "if I don't take their money, they'll give it to someone else". This Ayn Rand, Libertarian view sez, "stay out of my life and what I do, and I'll stay out of yours"...or another way of thinking is, one man's morality is another man's floor mat.

        I'm going to use astrology as a metaphor in this part, but before I get into the Annie Hershey story, consider this...from my childhood.

        The Cleveland Indians traded Rocky Colavito, that day I put his baseball card on my bike, in my spokes to make a motor like noise. I thought collecting cards and comic books was ridiculous. Although two of my neighbors, Jim and John, had huge collections. Jim had over 6,000 baseball cards, his father being a minor league player in the 30's and a collector too.

        John had every issue of Superman and Batman and several other titles, neatly wrapped in cellophane.

        I might have thrown him the first X Men comic, I just thought is was a stupid hobby. As I thought that stamp and coin collecting were too, the irony being years later I was paid a ton of money to write for these markets, HA!

        In 1970 I took a class at the U of Hawaii on Celestial Navigation. On the first day, the teacher asked why we were there. One person said, and I swear this is true, "I want to learn how to find the constellations of the Zodiac". I thought the teacher was going to throw chalk at her.

        Annie Hershey was a gifted astrologer, she operated a shop in West Akron, near Summit Mall for years and years. She taught astrology at local schools, she was very popular and colorful. I took her classes, and this long after I had made my own little tons of moolah selling astrology and good luck charm types of products.

        I found, and find, the study of astrology to be ridiculous, although there was a time in my youth it was the de facto go to pickup line in the college bars. No matter their sign, I was the exact same one, and off we'd go. Anyhoo...

        Writing copy for things I find ridiculous. Yes, I'll do it. For things I find morally reprehensible, NO.

        Never wrote for alcohol, tobacco, or firearms. And today, would include supplements, although I would be very much a hypocrite, cause that too was bread and butter for a very long time.

        I know a couple of writers who have made big bux selling guns. To collectors. I'm not anti gun, I grew up hunting and field dressing what I shot (and had to eat, or get my butt whipped). But I'm not going to write copy for that, so I agree with Frank, there is a moral component to it.

        I can not recall anything I've ever sold that cost me sleep, and maybe because as a young teen I was exposed to the concept of giving people what they want, it is their money, and don't try to butt into people's lives and tell them what they need.

        You want to buy cigars, cigarettes, tiparillos? Go ahead, just don't blow your smoke in my direction.

        You want Vodka, Rum, Whiskey? Guns, knives, weapons of all sorts?

        BUT, and this is the big but... my copy may have had hope, but it never had nonsensical promises, maybe a lot of thin line, weasel words as a work around...not sure...and even with good luck charms and such, it was never a promise, but more of a possibility. I was not going to become the arbiter of your good fortune. IF you thought a money tree would be good luck for you, who was I to tell you otherwise?

        And an even bigger BUT...I did know writers who would say anything, promise anything, make outrageous and ridiculous statements just to make the sale. And they believe, as some copywriters are taught, that if people buy into these things, they get what they deserve. There are the Bernie Madoffs of our world too, some sit behind bars, and some should be there.

        Thank you for your time and attention...now I've got some old pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge to sell along with some coal from the Titanic.

        GordonJ
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        • Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

          Be forewarned, I may get a little long winded, if it loses your attention along the way, lots of other WF threads to read today, fair enough?

          Copywriters like the tales of two men, so, here is a true story.

          The salesman and the scientist.

          After 5 years of failure, the scientist was ready to throw in the towel on his side hustle of a mail order business. His latest failure was a book of money tables that no one bought,
          i swear..it was at this point that I recognized the Ben Suarez-Gary Halbert story.

          I'm good friends with Julius Toth. Somehow, he got Ben Suarez to partner with him importing and selling high end air purifiers by mail. Both made many...many..millions from the effort.

          And yes, of course I read your entire post. I always do.

          To everyone;

          When I asked the question about how you respond to "ridiculous offers', about 50% was to read the answers, and about 50% was to see if anyone would really answer at all. It's a question that most people, no matter their occupation, would be insulted by.

          My assumption was that the copywriters here would take the question in the way I intended and give an answer that would add to my insight in the matter.

          Yup. A few came through, and I'm grateful.

          An example from my personal selling. I sold high end vacuum cleaners in people's homes for about 35 years.

          To be clear, my main market was slightly lower middle class blue collar workers. Why? They were easier to catch at home in the evening, their homes were closer together, and they bought more easily on one call.

          Anyway, I met all kinds of people on that journey. Bullies, wife beaters, religious fanatics, wanton women, hustlers, and others. Yes, it would make a good book.

          Anyway, one evening I was talking to a nice...innocent young couple. And at the end of the presentation, they said "Of course we have to pray about it. We never do anything without praying first".

          And I said....I swear..."I think that's a good idea. In fact, before I went out tonight I prayed that I would find exactly the right couple to talk to. And think of this...of everyone in the city I could have seen, I came here...of all the days of the year...I showed up today....Don't you think someone is trying to tell us something?"

          Of course, they bought right then. They had no choice.

          A masterful close. Flawless. But on my way home I strongly considered calling them back and telling them to cancel. It has bothered me to this day. And this was about 35 or 40 years ago.

          Was it a bad product I sold them? No. It was the best vacuum I could find.
          Did I cheat them in any way? No. They got exactly that they paid for.
          Did I misrepresent the product or company? No.

          Why did it bother me so much? Because I know...in my core...that I took advantage of them. I saw them as weak and went in for the kill, I knew they would have no choice but to buy from me...if they were going to be consistent in their beliefs.

          It's not even that I lied to them, although it was a lie. It's that I took advantage of someone I saw as weaker than me. And to me, that's unforgivable.

          I've taught sales technique to salespeople in many different fields. In the life insurance field, the "We have to pray about it" objection comes up more often. A similar objection is "God will take care of us".

          A few times, I would give the technique as I gave it those many years ago. The salespeople would always say how great it was, and I would tell them to use it if they really believed what they were saying.

          The difference was, I never did.

          Why mention that story? Because I think of it, and a few other examples from my past, when I read ads that are brilliantly written...in fact I study them often....but are selling something only the completely naive would believe in or buy.

          And I wonder how the writer, who is obviously very bright and articulate...and thinks rationally....feels when they are writing the ad, or the sales letter. I'm normally a very judgmental person...but to me it's not about morality, but about what happens internally when you are making a case for something you don't believe in.

          Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

          I may consider astrology to be ridiculous while at the same time recognizing that it speaks to a fundamental human need within some people. If satisfying that need harms nobody else, how is it that different to using (for example) Cialdini's techniques of manipulating other cognitive biases while knowing that some of the buyers I sell to will get themselves further into avoidable debt because of what I'm selling? Or cause them to eat more sugar?

          An exceptionally insightful question.

          In fact, we all wear masks when dealing with different people, of different status....

          Is putting your best foot forward a form of lying?

          When I'm polite to my customers, is that a form of manipulation?

          I don't know the answers really. I only know what bothers me. And as to why it bothers me? I don't know that either.
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          • Profile picture of the author max5ty
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post


            When I asked the question about how you respond to "ridiculous offers', about 50% was to read the answers, and about 50% was to see if anyone would really answer at all. It's a question that most people, no matter their occupation, would be insulted by.
            Not sure why anyone would be insulted.

            There are shady salespeople...and there are shady copywriters that write for some real crap stuff.

            I think the only ones that would be insulted are the ones that write for shady crap.

            Can't see how any real professional that has been in the business for a long time and has written stuff that has made companies wealthy would be insulted.

            I've been in the business for almost 40 years and have worked for some of the biggest businesses in the world. Have helped people make money and have made money myself.

            Don't do much anymore as I'm semi-retired...but am not insulted by your question.
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        • Profile picture of the author socialentry
          Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

          Some day, maybe, I'll tell the "page two, Paul Harvey, rest of the story" about the astrology biz.



          Can you actually just make something up and makes sales anyways?
          Or do you have to respect the canon? An exchange I had about a year or two ago prompts this question:


          I came across someone who was really adamant about a particular conspiracy theory so I asked him the most random ridiculous thing I could think of on top of my head.E.g.

          "Do you believe the Canadian government has sent paratroopers back in time? If so do you believe they have exchanged artillery fire with elves?"**

          To my great surprise, he said yes. Not only this, he reaches out by PM and say :
          "Hey, fellow traveler, I can't openly talk about this here, but thought you'd be interested in the link below...Make your own conclusions and remember this is copyrighted by yours truly."

          Also, would you do the astrology thing again if you could? It sounds interesting for the lessons learned, but could you have learned them somewhere else?

          ** (I changed the exact qestion a bit to protect the guilty )
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

            would you do the astrology thing again if you could? It sounds interesting for the lessons learned, but could you have learned them somewhere else?
            Astrology, or anything that has strong emotional connections to exclusivity or "secrets" can be exploited. There is actually more money being made in debunking Astrology, because an estimated 30% of the population "believes" in it (a $2.2 billion service industry), yet the "science" behind it is perhaps many times that amount.
            Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty [New Yorker October 28, 2019]

            Similar emotion-driven "belief" markets can be seen in conspiracy theories, UFOs, religion, politics, ethnicity, geographic regions, sports, occupation, brands, etc. It is not unusual for marketers to sell to all sides of controversial topics.

            Perhaps one of the best examples of market segmentation and emotional appeal is the Procter and Gamble company. They sell hundreds of brands, many of which the only differences are the labels.

            For example, there are over a dozen laundry detergents heavily targeted and branded by Procter and Gamble to widely separate demographics - all with nearly exactly the same ingredients.

            All I do is sell what people want.

            "Every crowd has a silver lining."
            - P. T. Barnum
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            • Originally Posted by myob View Post

              Astrology, or anything that has strong emotional connections to exclusivity or "secrets" can be exploited. There is actually more money being made in debunking Astrology, because an estimated 30% of the population "believes" in it (a $2.2 billion service industry),
              I don't think that's true. If you don't believe in Astrology, that usually means you aren't interested in it. If you do an Amazon book search for Astrology, you'll see that the books on the subject that sell well are all written for believers.

              Books that debunk any belief don't sell well. It's like writing a book for people that don't like chocolate. If you don't like chocolate, you usually aren't interested in the subject.

              I may have misunderstood your statement.

              Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

              Do you use this or Barnum statements when selling or just in copy?
              Mostly just in ads, and just at the beginning of the ad. In selling, you can find out specific needs and wants very quickly, and you don't have to rely on statements that apply to everyone.

              Barnum statements are just used in cold reading when there is no previous knowledge about the victim. It's a way to troll for information, to be used a bit later. But you only do it because the whole premise is that you are using secret powers, and don't need to ask questions.

              In selling, none of that exists.
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          • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
            Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

            Can you actually just make something up and makes sales anyways?
            Or do you have to respect the canon? An exchange I had about a year or two ago prompts this question:


            I came across someone who was really adamant about a particular conspiracy theory so I asked him the most random ridiculous thing I could think of on top of my head.E.g.

            "Do you believe the Canadian government has sent paratroopers back in time? If so do you believe they have exchanged artillery fire with elves?"**

            To my great surprise, he said yes. Not only this, he reaches out by PM and say :
            "Hey, fellow traveler, I can't openly talk about this here, but thought you'd be interested in the link below...Make your own conclusions and remember this is copyrighted by yours truly."

            Also, would you do the astrology thing again if you could? It sounds interesting for the lessons learned, but could you have learned them somewhere else?

            ** (I changed the exact qestion a bit to protect the guilty )
            Well, not sure I understand the question. As MYOB pointed out, debunking the "canon" of almost anything belief based is a market niche unto itself. Give me a good conspiracy, I'll have opposing booths set up across the street from each other (as a marketer without interest or belief ).

            The unspoken public mantra, but one can hear behind some closed doors, is...people aren't all that bright when it comes to what they believe.

            Now, of course Canadians have time traveled, but only a Spec Ops division of the Mounties, who were trained at Area 51 in the States, pretty common knowledge, eh?


            To address the Astrology question, my reply is something like this, only because I like being cryptic.

            As a marketer, "when I was a child I played with childish things", the whole idea of selling anything to consumers, albeit lucrative for many, now looks to me as if I were slaying dragons with wooden swords. But, everyone gets to do their own thang.

            GordonJ

            PS. Some people believe that Napoleon Hill made up most of his stories about Andrew Carnegie and all the other contacts he claimed he had. Some, like billionaire Art Williams, endorses the book while condemning the parts about the invisible guides and the woo woo hocus pocus parts, proving one can have his cake and eat it too.
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            • Profile picture of the author myob
              Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

              The unspoken public mantra, but one can hear behind some closed doors, is...people aren't all that bright when it comes to what they believe.
              Belief has no correlation to intelligence. Emotions are extremely powerful in shaping viewpoints despite what the "facts" may be. Even the most highly educated have emotional filters which may appear to others as a distortion of objective reality.

              Savvy marketers and advertisers exploit this diversity on all sides by appealing to the full spectrum of emotions which are the primary forces in buying behaviors.

              Even in "mainstream" marketing, brilliant people spend $25 million for a Chopard 201-Carat watch, which is no more accurate than a $20 no-brand timepiece at Walmart.

              And very intelligent people spend $19 million for a Bugatti La Voiture Noire car which performs slightly better than a $5,000 used Honda in congested urban traffic.

              People buy emotionally, and justify the purchase "rationally". With AIDA, facts don't matter.
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              • Originally Posted by myob View Post

                People buy emotionally, and justify the purchase "rationally". With AIDA, facts don't matter.
                You also need rationality in selling. Maybe less in marketing/advertising.

                The buyer rationalizes the purchase later (after the heat wears off). But they need to get that rational justification from somewhere. And it's better if I give it to them before they buy, instead of them creating something in the moment.

                Some offers require a heavy emotional element to spark a purchase. (I mentioned burglar alarms and fire alarms earlier). Family portraits is another, weddings...that sort of thing.

                But I've found that having a deep bank of facts (about the offer), and knowledge of how to match these with the customer is at least as useful as getting them all steamed up.

                Your examples of expensive watches and cars are real emotional buys. But the guy selling the high end car better have a deep knowledge of what makes that car worth so much. A knowledge he/she can call upon when needed.

                A simple "This car will get you laid" or "If they see you in this car, they will think you're rich" is enough for some. But most people need at least a veneer of rationale before they will buy.

                The "People buy emotionally" is more true when they have already decided to buy before a salesperson talks to them. So in marketing and advertising..it's more true.

                Appealing to emotion when creating a sale out of nothing is useful, but it's a small part of it.
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      • Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I don't want to offend anyone. But I have a group of copywriters here...

        When writing offers that you know...know are nonsensical....does it bother you?
        Cums a point when pashwaahn smoochies on reason.

        "For sure prolly I could promo this schwango ... but Satan gonna have my soul, plus also mebbe even my TV."

        Tellya, enthoosiasm is an eternally combustible incendary.

        Which is why stuff nevah works out too good when your heart ain't on fire.

        Dunno, but for Moi, when people bein' weasely 'bout stuff, the thrill of desirable horizons bein' lofted into view takes second place to a weird kinda hiss through teeth unveiled real rictusy.
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        Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Claude, my answer to your question is I've been fortunate in
      not having bad products or services cross my desk that I've been
      asked for help to promote.

      However, even those I would turn down, most times, due to me wanting
      to move the potential client out of another "me too" appearance.

      They were not willing to put a penalty on themselves if they didn't deliver to
      above the norm standard that I wanted them to.

      It wasn't something I was asking them to do that I hadn't done.

      I was ok with it because I knew that most aren't prepared to
      make the changes inside their business
      to upgrade their service.

      The good news was and still is,
      for those in the home services business
      if they put in place a service penalty on themselves if they
      don't perform,
      then they become market leaders.

      Nobody else is prepared to do it.

      Best,
      Ewen.
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  • Profile picture of the author ibramster
    Everyone that has contributed, thank you for your input. I started this thread to see if people still see any relevance in AIDA. It has raised some other interesting points along the way and I would not like to see the thread degrade into conversations about pro copy writers do this or that and not the other. Please can we try and have the thread discuss whether AIDA and other such tools are useful tocopy writers of all standards please?
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    fastbusinessgrowth4u.com Direct marketing coach and guest writer. Always looking to network with site/blog and list owners. PM me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
      Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

      Everyone that has contributed, thank you for your input. I started this thread to see if people still see any relevance in AIDA. It has raised some other interesting points along the way and I would not like to see the thread degrade into conversations about pro copy writers do this or that and not the other. Please can we try and have the thread discuss whether AIDA and other such tools are useful tocopy writers of all standards please?

      And that too!
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    • Profile picture of the author max5ty
      Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

      I would not like to see the thread degrade into conversations about pro copy writers do this or that and not the other. Please can we try and have the thread discuss whether AIDA and other such tools are useful tocopy writers of all standards please?
      After about 40 years in the business, and having worked with some of the biggest companies and names in the world, I would just say this...

      it's ok to lighten up and have fun with discussions sometimes.

      My mastermind group of friends (which I've talked about before) has gotten together for a few years. We laugh and joke and have fun...but we've come up with ideas that have created millions of dollars.

      So having said all that...

      AIDA has been around since the early 1900s. The concept was started by Elias St. Elmo Lewis over several years.

      If you're a copywriter/marketer and don't use AIDA you're probably not very knowledgeable about what you're doing.

      You grab their attention and hold their interest long enough to build the desire for them to take action.

      However, there are several variations you can incorporate into the principle.

      You can use the problem, agitate, solution...you can use AIDCA, ACCA...the list goes on. But whatever variation you use, it should always follow the AIDA principle.

      What some don't understand is that it's possible to use the AIDA principle in one photograph, or one picture and a headline...there are a ton of ways to use it without writing long sales pages.

      Some successful companies will use a portion of it over several ads and cultivate the principle over time.

      Everyone that is anyone uses the principle even if it has variations added to it.

      So since I mentioned different formulas, here's an interesting article:

      https://copyhackers.com/2015/10/copywriting-formula/

      Credit was first given to Elias St. Elmo Lewis in the 1925 book, "The psychology of selling and advertising," by Edward Strong.

      The good news is the University of Michigan has digitized it and you can read it for free. It's an interesting read and I'd recommend it.

      https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000475708
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      • Profile picture of the author ibramster
        max5ty I am not going to quote any of your post as it is all awesome. Not wanting to tire anyone out when reading it all as well is another reason. I was quite relaxed when mentioning keeping things on track as I have seen threads decay into chaos and be far away from where they started. I am all for a bit of banter and fun, but let us stay at least a little close to the point of origin.
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        fastbusinessgrowth4u.com Direct marketing coach and guest writer. Always looking to network with site/blog and list owners. PM me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Teright03
    I've been using AIDA in the posts I write for my niche site, and I've got great numbers on "session duration" and "bounce rate".

    It does a great job of retaining readers and selling the next click at the end.
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      It does a great job of retaining readers and selling the next click at the end
      Absolutely does as it provides a logical order to follow and go in. We may make a buying decision emotionally but the brain follows a logical process.
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      fastbusinessgrowth4u.com Direct marketing coach and guest writer. Always looking to network with site/blog and list owners. PM me.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I do not fear the copywriter who has mastered 10,000 formulas. I fear the copywriter who has practiced one 10,000 times.

    For me, that formula is AIDA.

    Great to see this group is still alive and kickin'!

    P.S. Hat tip to Bruce Lee.
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    • Profile picture of the author ibramster
      Hat tip to Bruce Lee
      Rick did you know that he got that from his trainer Ip Man?

      I agree wit you though,and another formula I use are the 5 steps as they marry exactly to AIDA and may even give a little extra, although not perfect, clarity to AIDA>
      Signature
      fastbusinessgrowth4u.com Direct marketing coach and guest writer. Always looking to network with site/blog and list owners. PM me.
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

        Rick did you know that he got that from his trainer Ip Man?

        I agree wit you though,and another formula I use are the 5 steps as they marry exactly to AIDA and may even give a little extra, although not perfect, clarity to AIDA>
        Then hat tip to Ip Man.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    You asked for opinions. Mine is, it is STILL a good form to pour your concrete into, however it has variations.

    In 1960 I was taught the AIDCAS formula.

    Attention, Interest, Desire, Conclusion, Action and SATISFACTION. My mentor emphasized the S, because that is where the money lies...a satisfied customer, who makes referrals, who buys again and again, who has a nice lifetime value to you.

    So, I'm kind of hard headed about leaving the S out of any and all formulas.

    AIDA is like a mold, you will get the same thing out of it in shape and form, although the substance of it may be different. You can pour cement or rubber into a star shaped form and get two very different things from the mold.

    A form or mold holds things in place, it helps it take and hold shape. Without it, then you end up with a big blob, or goop but unless that is what you are going for, it creates a lot of slop and mess.

    Since 1960, I have mostly eliminated all of it, except for the A and S. So today, my personal structure is ATTENTION all the way to SATISFACTION.

    Sure, there are probably the steps, the parts and pieces, maybe dozens of them like a puzzle or a Lego structure...

    But I focus on the RESULT, and only hold one thing in my mind as I write. Is this holding or keeping their

    ATTENTION

    And will they be satisfied when the final piece is dropped into the puzzle or that magnificent Lego thing comes to life?

    The instant, the very moment, the split second their ATTENTION wanes, it is over, done, kaput.

    I believe most good and even great copy writers develop a flow to their writing, some of it very planned and some of it instinctual from success, which takes their reader by the hand and doesn't let go of it until the SATISFACTION part comes into play.

    If you prefer a more violent grab them by the throat approach, as old time salesmen did, and do battle, wage war, and do the dance of getting them to YES...do your thang.

    There are other structures, some get complicated. But even those can often fit into the form of AIDCAS...

    Like STORYTELLING/storyselling.

    Ever leave a movie theater unsatisfied? Ever invested a lot of time only to be disappointed (like millions of Game of Throne fans were).

    The so-called HERO'S JOURNEY, with the call, refusal, the mentor, the obstacle, the bad guy, then the bigger bad guy, then the baddest of the bad...when all hope is lost and Snidely has your gal on the tracks and the train is a coming...

    And you make it there just in the nick of time.

    Story structure and Hollywood are very FORMULAIC, hard to get a movie made that doesn't follow the tried and true.

    But once in awhile, in both Hollywood and in Marketing, we encounter BREAKTHROUGH...something different.

    Something that goes against the grain of the formulas. Something that works so well, it becomes a de facto "formula" which others try to use, usually without success.

    Movie making, storytelling and copy writing should begin (my opinion) with the

    END RESULT

    in mind. Before a word is written, the outcome you want, the reaction you need, the response you are after must be clearly identified and known. And if you begin at the end of AIDCAS...

    with SATISFACTION, and work your way back to the beginning of a well defined TARGET market, and you know how, when and where to get that TARGET across the bridge to a satisfactory conclusion...THEN,

    you begin to write.

    GordonJ





    Originally Posted by ibramster View Post

    Hi all, Looking to see peoples opinions on AIDA and if they think there are any better structures to use out there?
    AIDA is very popular and I use a 5 step system that marries perfectly to AIDA.

    This is is...
    Introduction - headline and opener - Attention

    Short story - who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it - Interest

    Presentation - biggest features after the headline and to strengthen
    the benefit in the headline - Desire

    Close - ask for the reader to take the desired action - Action

    REHASH - this is used to consolidate the sale and reduce refunds

    Yeah I know there is an extra bit but it does marry to AIDA.
    Still, do you use AIDA or something else that you prefer?
    Ian
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    @myob - thank you for your feedback.

    Odd as it may sound, I checked my email before viewing your post...

    so happens there was a replay for a webinar from a guy that used to post here. It was all about making money in the "sneaker" market.

    I have a very hard time sitting through a webinar so I just kind of skip ahead a lot and get the main points of an hour and a half webinar in about 5 minutes. $1000 and you can join. Had never heard anything like this. Not my thing, but for those that want to spend $1000.00, I guess you can join. Just mentioning that because I then read your post and it was about Nike.

    But yes, Nike blew up big when they signed Michael Jordan...Adidas had turned down the contract. Probably something Adidas wish they could go back and redo.

    I have mentioned this before...there are a lot of different jobs in the copywriting field. A lot of the newer copywriters think it's all about sales letters. There are copywriters that do everything from food packaging design to music promotions. Pretty much they cover anything that can be sold through words in one fashion or another.

    You have very good taste in cars. However, Walmart is my favorite place to shop so the two you mentioned might be overkill.
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  • Profile picture of the author zenithclipping
    AIDA still working. Most of the marketers still using this to promote their product/service.
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    If I was to look back at the money making ads I've written for myself and clients, I have trouble finding an AIDA formula or similar one.

    They include, but not limited to, lawn care,
    carpet cleaning, helicopters, and jet lag pills.

    Others may find a formula, I didn't use them as a template or consciously use them.

    The carpet cleaning ad put the carpet cleaning guy into a category of one, whereas the lawn care ad killed off the biggest frustration dealing with lawn care guys.

    Very strategic thinking rather than "let's write an ad".

    Different approaches for different market conditions.

    The helicopter ad was more aspirational
    whereas the jet lag pills was hard hitting on the cost of jet lag.

    Again, for those who study formulas you probably can see patterns amongst those ads if you read them.

    I start from what are the market conditions first so that I can meet them head on.

    There's no going back into the ad by me to see if it ticks off the AIDA formula.

    Best,
    Ewen
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    • Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

      I start from what are the market conditions first so that I can meet them head on.
      Best,
      Ewen
      I assumed that anyone you sent your pitch to already was qualified in some way, or was segmented...except for ads in mass media.

      But AIDA can be interpreted so broadly that it would apply to anything.

      1) you see an ad/sales letter/brochure.
      2) something about it interests you
      3) the more you read/watch, the more interested you become...until..
      4) you buy it.

      Pretend I'm looking for a girlfriend'

      1) I would get her to notice me.
      2) I would be funny, or likable to her in some way.
      3) She would find me interesting.
      4) We go home together.

      See? AIDA.
      But of course, there is far more to it, no matter your approach. I cannot imagine a newbie reading an article about AIDA, and then actually having a clue about selling or marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author JPs copy
    I remember reading about AIDA in Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter. AIDA has had a bunch of derivatives since then.

    When it comes down to it, you can't be boring. You gotta come to the table with interesting stories and points, and have a great call to action.
    Signature

    John Peters | Email Copywriter
    Latest post: Why selling gets a bad rap

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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Probably like most of you, I sign up for just about everything there is just to see how good their copywriters are...

    One thing that I always find interesting are these psychic sites. I must admit they've got some pretty convincing stuff...and it always seems directed right to me. Go figure.

    They know how to work the whole AIDA thing pretty well.

    So supposedly I've got some good fortune coming my way soon. For $14.95 I can get the exact dates and find out how to maximize my chances.

    Their whole thing reminds me of the Barnum effect. You remember that right? Say stuff that covers just about everyone, but make it seem personal.

    So while I was driving my Range Rover to the local little airport where I keep my plane, I was feeling that some of you are on the verge of a major breakthrough.

    You have struggled and now all that you've worked for is about to be worth it.

    You want to be liked and you have a tendency to be critical of yourself.

    You know you have a lot of creativity that you haven't used yet.

    You tend to be worrisome and insecure inside.

    At times you're wondering if you've made the right decision.

    Some of you I have no doubt will become very successful...after decades of being in marketing I can predict which ones of you will make it just by how you respond to these three questions. I have a near 100% accuracy rate in predicting whether you'll be successful or not. Click here to see what my almost 100% prediction will reveal about you.

    Ok, well there isn't a list, but just wanted to see if I could get your attention and build up enough interest for you to take action. You clicked right?

    Anyways, these psychic sites have some killer copywriting and I'd suggest you sign up for some just to read their stuff. I'm not psychic and don't send them any money, but it's still interesting.

    Lesson is if you want to get someone's attention, talk about them.
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    • Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Their whole thing reminds me of the Barnum effect. You remember that right? Say stuff that covers just about everyone, but make it seem personal.

      So while I was driving my Range Rover to the local little airport where I keep my plane, I was feeling that some of you are on the verge of a major breakthrough.

      You have struggled and now all that you've worked for is about to be worth it.

      You want to be liked and you have a tendency to be critical of yourself.

      You know you have a lot of creativity that you haven't used yet.

      You tend to be worrisome and insecure inside.

      At times you're wondering if you've made the right decision.


      Some of you I have no doubt will become very successful...after decades of being in marketing I can predict which ones of you will make it just by how you respond to these three questions. I have a near 100% accuracy rate in predicting whether you'll be successful or not. Click here to see what my almost 100% prediction will reveal about you.
      .
      I love hearing these Barnum statements. What's interesting to me is that people believe that they are the only one these statements apply to.

      These are similar to the statements made by a hypnotist to induce a hypnotic state.
      You make statements that are true, but sound like you are the one creating the reality....

      Like; "Hold out your arm in front of you. You'll start to notice that your arm is getting heavy"...as though it's the hypnotist that is making your arm heavy.

      In selling, a similar method I use is to rapidly ask a series of questions, and the first one they say "Yes" to, I say "The reason I asked that was..."
      And they immediately forget the 6 or 8 prior questions that they said "No" to.

      It makes it sound like my offer was created just for their needs...and nobody else's. I have to do that live. I don't know how to do it in print.

      But Barnum phrases? Yup. It makes the sales letter/offer feel like it's created just for them.

      In an experiment I watched. James Randi talked to a college class. He had them all write their birth date (and other information) on a sheet of paper. Everyone handed them in.

      He then went in the other room, and brought in an envelope for every student. It was going to have their evaluation (It was based on their horoscope).

      Everyone sat silently reading their evaluation. At the end, Randi asked "How many feel their evaluation was 90-100% correct?" Nearly every hand went up. The students were astounded by how much the evaluation captured their personality.

      Many students thought this was proof that Horoscopes were real.

      Then Randi said "Everyone pass their evaluation to the person next to you".

      They were all identical. They were just a bunch of Barnum statements.

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      • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        <snip>

        It makes it sound like my offer was created just for their needs...and nobody else's. I have to do that live. I don't know how to do it in print.

        But Barnum phrases? Yup. It makes the sales letter/offer feel like it's created just for them.

        <snip>

        In print, one way on a forum is to create a "fill-in-the-blank" post (FIB post). We seem them on occasion here in the forum. I see them on Facebook all the time.

        The FIB post has a purpose.. create engagement.

        The FIB posts here on the forum can range from simple to sly. When I see them I typically quote the post and replace the keywords with a blank line, e.g. _____. Then I comment that the post is a FIB post. The Original Poster is caught red handed and the thread is usually closed.

        Facebook is another story. The caliber of the majority of the Mods (if any) usually miss it and people get caught up in what I call a scam. By the time a Mod does take action it is usually too late - the damage is done.

        If I had a email list I would send emails in the morning, I'd send emails in the afternoon, I'd send emails in the evening, all over the internet...
        vs.
        If I had a _____ I would _____ in the morning, I'd ______ in the afternoon, I'd _____ in the evening, all over the _____...
        vs.
        If I had a hammer I would hemmer in the morning, I'd hammer in the afternoon, I'd hammer in the evening, all over this land.

        I may be wrong.
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Max,

      Please forgive me. But I have just taken a closer look at your future. You see, the first time I rushed, and although I saw the magnificent alignments about to take place, I simply forgot to tell you about them.

      You do know you possess some very rare, hidden traits?

      Max this is a personal letter just for you. Note this came by first class mail directly to you, no mass mailing or third class mail with a computer sticker. NO, this is just for you Max.

      But please, please Max, keep what I am about to tell you a secret, OK? This is confidential and intended for your eyes only.

      BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

      I recently posted in a Facebook group, a popular dead copywriter lives there, and pointed out how much work there is on the fringe.

      Now, back in the day, Numismatics and Philatelic enthusiasts are hardly fringe, yet they are hardly thought of when it comes to writing copy. Same for Astrology, Good Luck Charms, Money trees, Love spells and potions, etc. etc.

      Hope they (the new copywriter) stick with all the big popular stuff, where now they compete as commodities for work.

      Those who write (or wrote) for the fringes, never lack work, and they found us out, there just weren't that many people who wanted to sell a money tree.

      GordonJ




      QUOTE=max5ty;11601403]Probably like most of you, I sign up for just about everything there is just to see how good their copywriters are...

      One thing that I always find interesting are these psychic sites. I must admit they've got some pretty convincing stuff...and it always seems directed right to me. Go figure.

      They know how to work the whole AIDA thing pretty well.

      So supposedly I've got some good fortune coming my way soon. For $14.95 I can get the exact dates and find out how to maximize my chances.

      Their whole thing reminds me of the Barnum effect. You remember that right? Say stuff that covers just about everyone, but make it seem personal.

      So while I was driving my Range Rover to the local little airport where I keep my plane, I was feeling that some of you are on the verge of a major breakthrough.

      You have struggled and now all that you've worked for is about to be worth it.

      You want to be liked and you have a tendency to be critical of yourself.

      You know you have a lot of creativity that you haven't used yet.

      You tend to be worrisome and insecure inside.

      At times you're wondering if you've made the right decision.

      Some of you I have no doubt will become very successful...after decades of being in marketing I can predict which ones of you will make it just by how you respond to these three questions. I have a near 100% accuracy rate in predicting whether you'll be successful or not. Click here to see what my almost 100% prediction will reveal about you.

      Ok, well there isn't a list, but just wanted to see if I could get your attention and build up enough interest for you to take action. You clicked right?

      Anyways, these psychic sites have some killer copywriting and I'd suggest you sign up for some just to read their stuff. I'm not psychic and don't send them any money, but it's still interesting.

      Lesson is if you want to get someone's attention, talk about them.[/QUOTE]
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        Max,

        Please forgive me. But I have just taken a closer look at your future. You see, the first time I rushed, and although I saw the magnificent alignments about to take place, I simply forgot to tell you about them.

        You do know you possess some very rare, hidden traits?

        Max this is a personal letter just for you. Note this came by first class mail directly to you, no mass mailing or third class mail with a computer sticker. NO, this is just for you Max.

        But please, please Max, keep what I am about to tell you a secret, OK? This is confidential and intended for your eyes only.
        Hmmm, this all sounds familiar, now I think I know who one of their good copywriters is.

        So one other thing...

        I've also signed up for several T.V. Evangelists newsletters. SOME of the emails and letters I get closely resemble the stuff from the psychics.

        There's a breakthrough coming. Money is headed my way. Miracles soon to be...

        Now, having said that...don't think I don't believe there are some good ones. But, there obviously are some real doozies out there also that know how to make a buck.

        Anyways, the last post I was going to include this link about the Barnum Effect and forgot to, so here it is if anyone is interested:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect
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        • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
          max5ty,

          The time you spent with the "psychics" has paid off, like now, you are inside my head.

          Warning, that is a scary place to be. But onto making moolah with god.

          His name was Rex Humbard, one of the earliest preachers on TV, and he built one of the first Mega Churches here in Cuyahoga Falls, called THE CATHEDRAL OF TOMORROW. And some time back he sold it to another local well known TV evangelist, Ernest Angley, who is now 98.

          In 1960, Ernest Angley laid his hands on me at the Grace Cathedral in Springfield Township, during a fund raising service to complete the church.

          I knew Rex Humbard through my father, a local barber and sort of a lay minister (although he would never have called himself such).

          So, to the TOPIC. AIDA. Money. Mail order. etc.

          Our family PO was across the street from the Cathedral of Tomorrow, and close to the church's box. Now this included both men...

          EVERY day, they would gather their mail in a big cart, thousands of envelopes, stuffed with cash, checks and prayer requests.

          This background to tell you about the copywriters, the men and women (one I knew of) who wrote those direct mail pieces which pulled in millions of dollars, and did and still do for the scores of TV evangelists, some of which need a new jet, so hurry, it is a time limited offer. (Imagine if getting into heaven were a time limited offer, oh wait, it is.)

          A couple of the best ones came out of a group of ad writers here in town, and their roots could be traced back to the KRISTEE products company and a local printer, one on Buchtel near the University.

          Others who can go back to those workshops "Mr. Kristee" held were Gary Halbert, Ernest 'Bud' Weckesser, and Gary's associate, Dennis Haslinger. OH, I was a teenage worker, as a "seed" on the house lists, a story for another time.

          Also attending, the ad men working with the churches. If you take a look at Halbert's work, you may see a lot of similarities with what you have just written about.

          Religion is hardly the fringe, albeit, that opinion can be easily challenged.

          But men of the cloth who could speak from the pulpit have a long history of being able to get the souls in the audience to part with their money.

          Billy Graham was no slouch, and today we see what the power of TV did for those early pioneers.

          I have a nice swipe file of these guys, and although I never wrote for them (although the money was good), I think a copywriter could find some controls that generated millions of dollars, often, 5 and ten at a time. Great persuasion, although, when the bias is so huge and built in, not that difficult to tap into it.

          I have at least 10 different versions of a PRAYER CLOTH from some of the best known people on TV.

          Which brings me to today, and AIDA.

          How will I get the ATTENTION of my target market, with my latest product.

          RECYCLED AND REFURBISHED PRAYER CLOTHS.

          That's right. Sure Hilary had one, but it didn't work did it? So my team has gotten hold of tons of used prayer cloths which were (apparently) defective.

          We've restored them to their original condition, re anointed them with oil and sprinkled with blessed water.

          And we're offering a discount too.

          Anyhow, those writers who generated the millions, and the few that I knew, didn't think of themselves as just copy writers, it is what they did for a greater cause. Now there could have been an atheist in the group, but the people I knew were BELIEVERS and that is a powerful force to be working with when you try to get money from people.

          Aim your A I D A at a starving crowd of believers, and money falls like manna from heaven.

          GordonJ



          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          Hmmm, this all sounds familiar, now I think I know who one of their good copywriters is.

          So one other thing...

          I've also signed up for several T.V. Evangelists newsletters. SOME of the emails and letters I get closely resemble the stuff from the psychics.

          There's a breakthrough coming. Money is headed my way. Miracles soon to be...

          Now, having said that...don't think I don't believe there are some good ones. But, there obviously are some real doozies out there also that know how to make a buck.

          Anyways, the last post I was going to include this link about the Barnum Effect and forgot to, so here it is if anyone is interested:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect
          Signature
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

            Aim your A I D A at a starving crowd of believers, and money falls like manna from heaven.
            Capitalize on the far more massive appeal of the seven sins (pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth), and the floodgates of hell will bless you, my son. Where there is passion, profits are therein.

            Swipe file from the best-selling AIDA handbook for men of the cloth: "The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get."
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    @Gordon - I've always said one of the most lucrative markets was the spirituality market. People of all races are always wanting to be more spiritual and in tune with things. I'm not necessarily talking about religion...but everything to do with people getting in tune with what they believe to be helpful in their lives. Everyone at some point begins to consider what happens when they pass on.

    I actually got one of those prayer cloths. It was a piece of paper though which I thought was a little chincy. I also got a little packet that contained some kind of water that was supposedly special.

    But yes, those letters are written to definitely get your attention...and obviously they work because I actually Googled one day what some of these "evangelists" were worth and most were in the millions when it came to their wealth.

    There are tons of health products sold that are supposedly helpful...but when some people have exhausted all means to get better they turn to spirituality.

    Regardless of what product a copywriter is writing copy for, it would be wise to follow some of the examples you talked about. They cover the whole AIDA thing like nothing else.

    You've got so many good stories. Maybe you should start a blog and start writing about some of them.
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Some of those prayer cloths are handkerchief size, some a tiny little 2", some a cheap cotton pressed thing...but, all have been blessed in some way.

      You are so right, after the miracle cures of supplements or medicine don't work, many find their knees and send their prayers into the heavens.

      Spiritual is one of the big FIVE paths of life, the others being financial, environment, relationships and mental.

      And indeed, FORTUNES, big and small have been made catering to the spiritual marketplace.

      As for my stories, most have been told and posted years ago at our forum, which has been around for 20 years now, started about the same time as WF. The very idea of blogging tires me out, and makes me want to take a nap.

      So, I will.

      Thanks for always adding interesting discussion to this sub forum, we all appreciate your participation. It is, in my opinion, even though many have left...still the best the WF has to offer.

      GordonJ

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      @Gordon - I've always said one of the most lucrative markets was the spirituality market. People of all races are always wanting to be more spiritual and in tune with things. I'm not necessarily talking about religion...but everything to do with people getting in tune with what they believe to be helpful in their lives. Everyone at some point begins to consider what happens when they pass on.

      I actually got one of those prayer cloths. It was a piece of paper though which I thought was a little chincy. I also got a little packet that contained some kind of water that was supposedly special.

      But yes, those letters are written to definitely get your attention...and obviously they work because I actually Googled one day what some of these "evangelists" were worth and most were in the millions when it came to their wealth.

      There are tons of health products sold that are supposedly helpful...but when some people have exhausted all means to get better they turn to spirituality.

      Regardless of what product a copywriter is writing copy for, it would be wise to follow some of the examples you talked about. They cover the whole AIDA thing like nothing else.

      You've got so many good stories. Maybe you should start a blog and start writing about some of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    @ Claude - I would never write for or fix the copy for a nonsensical product that takes advantage of buyers.

    There are a few gurus out there that are selling crap that pretty much claims to tell you how to make a fortune from selling stuff to others that teaches them how to sell stuff to others so they can sell stuff to others...

    no physical product, just info that keeps the selling pyramid going...and the person selling it has never accomplished anything other than selling crap that teaches you how to sell crap...which obviously to some is a huge achievement.

    Years ago I worked on what was probably the best before/after diet and exercise contest that was ever offered.

    It broke all the records for participation and was hugely successful.

    The supplement company I worked with (which I also used) went from a nobody to a multi-billion dollar a year business. I've seen since then they've wandered into some "iffy" waters, but that's another issue.

    After the contest, I saw some of the participants who had achieved great results were being paid by other programs for their testimonials and before/after pictures. The programs were completely different from the one they had actually achieved results with...and to this day (over 20 years later) some of those before/after pics are still being used in different programs.

    I want to scream out to buyers to beware, but then I also realize some people are just looking for hope, even if it's a false hope to hang onto and push them into making a change.

    There are some in the marketing world that have huge addiction problems. I don't fault anyone for having an addiction because we all have problems...but I wouldn't work with them. They have some great answers, and they're capable of doing great work...but they can't because of their issues.

    Trying to work with them is very frustrating and usually a waste of time.

    Their latest "big idea" has huge return rates and negative reviews...they disappear with their new wealth until they're in need for another infusion of money and have their next big marketing idea.

    The whole online marketing world can have a very dark side to it that very few know about. I find it best to just avoid the whole trap.

    There was a post on here some years ago where someone listed all the top copywriters on this forum.

    A few weeks ago I was clicking on some of the links to these "copywriters" websites. Most were no longer even available. A couple that were still up hadn't seen a new blog post in years. Outdated or non-existent was the general result of my search. One-hit wonders that came along and discovered all the right formulas and catchy words...but faded away because their hype didn't last.

    When you write for hyped-up nonsense products, your staying power fades quickly because eventually, customers realize you're preaching a load of crap.

    The whole astrology, psychic, and spiritual marketing world have both a good side and a bad side. I do believe there is good in them and if used right can have some positive results.

    We all sometimes wonder how a defense attorney can take some cases and defend their client when to us it's so obvious they're guilty. The defense attorney will always answer with, "Everyone deserves a fair trial."

    So, since this post is about AIDA, what gets my attention and causes me to take interest in something (and everyone should use this rule), is when someone like you that has lived what you teach has something to say...unlike others out there that are trying to sell others something without ever having accomplished what they teach.

    The phrase "buyer beware" is so important.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      <sniped to highlight the quote>

      So, since this post is about AIDA, what gets my attention and causes me to take interest in something (and everyone should use this rule), is when someone like you that has lived what you teach has something to say...unlike others out there that are trying to sell others something without ever having accomplished what they teach.

      The phrase "buyer beware" is so important.

      Bravo, well said!
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      I learned early on from a marketing mentor that a sales pitch is like an audition. Just like actors preparing for an audition, the best sales teams memorize the features and benefits of a product to pitch potential customers.

      Good salespeople have a script prepared before pitching a potential business lead, and is continually practicing the script over and over. They need to take a look at how they're practicing their lines and understand what a prospect expects, just like an actor would be sure to understand the role before walking into an audition.

      And just like a good actor, there are always subtle nuances of voice inflection, tone, syntax, dialect, semantics, rhetoric, drama, affected emotion, body language, contextual terminology (hot buttons), etc.

      The same goes for written copy. For example, I write AIDA-format syndicated articles in the "voice" of my targeted audiences using clearly relatable personas within dozens of major markets. These include, scientific, medical, professional, industrial, religious, political, conspiracies, paranormal, UFOs, fringe psychobabble, etc.

      Just like in the movies, it's just simple FANAFI (Find A Need And Fill It). And of course there are bad actors, but they don't last long. I've been acting like this for over 20 years and still going strong; winning in new auditions everyday.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      I don't think that's true. If you don't believe in Astrology, that usually means you aren't interested in it. If you do an Amazon book search for Astrology, you'll see that the books on the subject that sell well are all written for believers.

      Books that debunk any belief don't sell well. It's like writing a book for people that don't like chocolate. If you don't like chocolate, you usually aren't interested in the subject.

      I may have misunderstood your statement.
      You left out "the science behind it is perhaps many times that amount." from my original quote. ([Astrology alone] is a 2.2 billion service industry) This omission is an important point.

      But perhaps the term "debunking" may be misconstrued as a direct assault on this incredibly powerful belief phenomena.

      I'm just a salesman, but very good at it. My "debunking" is a strategy for getting attention and driving traffic, not to change, judge, or offend anyone.

      I've sold books on Astrology (as in influence on behavior), the "science" of Astrology (as a pseudoscience), and the science of Astrology (psychic synchronicity vs celestial events). There is nearly a universal aggregate interest of this topic.

      When one considers that the Precession of the Equinoxes, for example, which is the scientific astronomical observation that constellations move one degree every 71.5 years, the ancient 12 signs of the "Zodiac" have moved from their positions of influence over thousands of years and are now at best impotently purely symbolic.

      This symbolism and the meaning behind it is what sparked the interest of psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Jung was a friend of Einstein. The Theory of Relativity by Einstein is what ultimately got Jung to consider the relativity of time, space and their psychic conditionality.

      Jung published his thesis "Psychic Synchronicity", that by trying to judge astrology by real-world rules, we ignore the fact that synchronicity occupies a different space. There is a part of the cosmos that we can't see, a realm of reality that consists of material things, and also consists of invisible matter and energy.

      As a Taurus myself, I am aligned with stercus tauri (bull shit).

      But from a marketing standpoint, articles (with full referenced annotations) from my "scientific" point of view produce cross-sales among the "unsure" to staunch "believers" for supporting evidence of their respective predetermined mindsets.

      Leveraging the Amazon algorithm, believers and skeptics alike buy books for examining all sides of the controversy, as well as lotsa other products not even remotely related to the topic.

      This "debunking" marketing strategy works extremely well in any market where there are strong opposing beliefs such as conspiracy theories, UFOs, psychic phenomena, religion, politics, and even commercial brands. You can't change closed minds; you can only change where they go to buy.


      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      You also need rationality in selling. Maybe less in marketing/advertising.

      The buyer rationalizes the purchase later (after the heat wears off). But they need to get that rational justification from somewhere. And it's better if I give it to them before they buy, instead of them creating something in the moment.

      Some offers require a heavy emotional element to spark a purchase. (I mentioned burglar alarms and fire alarms earlier). Family portraits is another, weddings...that sort of thing.

      But I've found that having a deep bank of facts (about the offer), and knowledge of how to match these with the customer is at least as useful as getting them all steamed up.

      Your examples of expensive watches and cars are real emotional buys. But the guy selling the high end car better have a deep knowledge of what makes that car worth so much. A knowledge he/she can call upon when needed.

      A simple "This car will get you laid" or "If they see you in this car, they will think you're rich" is enough for some. But most people need at least a veneer of rationale before they will buy.
      Agreed. However, I market quite aggressively in hotly competitive markets with the assumption prospects already know what they want. The competition provides the facts (features, benefits, etc). My marketing style taps into the most likely existing emotions of experiencing ownership.

      Most of my sales actually come from people who have done extensive product research, read reviews, received all the "specs", etc, but for whatever reason never connected with "just the facts". People will usually find the "facts" on their own, but the best in sales conversions comes by aiming straight for the heart.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        Most of my sales actually come from people who have done extensive product research, read reviews, received all the "specs", etc, but for whatever reason never connected with "just the facts". People will usually find the "facts" on their own, but the best in sales conversions comes by aiming straight for the heart.
        I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. people come in my store to buy a certain brand of vacuum cleaner, or a certain model. Usually in the $600-$1.200 price range.

        I always ask why they are interested in that specific model (or brand).

        Their reasons are almost never rational. They are either emotional (My Mom had one, made in the US) or based on a bias (buying a vacuum not suited for what they want).

        Even if they have read extensive reviews, and done research, their reasons are really based on criteria having little to do with the actual product.

        On the other hand, when I was selling $2,000 vacuum cleaners in people's homes, I had to build a desire to buy out of nothing. It required giving real reasons to buy, creating real value. Little of it was emotional. The closest thing was that I would tie this purchase to previous purchases they made...establishing a habit in their mind.

        I would create openings in the presentation, where they could let emotions enter, creating their own emotional response.

        When I sold to people that had never considered buying what I was selling before I got there, They had to justify their purchase with logic. But they had to do that before they bought, as well as after.

        That's the difference between how I sold and how you sell. (And how I sell now). You are selling to people who already want what you have (or at least have an emotional itch), And I sell that way now as well. But I used to have to create all that myself, within a short visit.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          When I sold to people that had never considered buying what I was selling before I got there, They had to justify their purchase with logic. But they had to do that before they bought, as well as after.

          That's the difference between how I sold and how you sell. (And how I sell now). You are selling to people who already want what you have (or at least have an emotional itch), And I sell that way now as well. But I used to have to create all that myself, within a short visit.

          Back in the day, before the internet people based their decisions on familiarity, word of mouth, etc. Nowadays with the internet just a tap away people base their decisions differently?
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          • Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

            Back in the day, before the internet people based their decisions on familiarity, word of mouth, etc. Nowadays with the internet just a tap away people base their decisions differently?
            No. They just get their information differently.

            Even reading reviews i just sharing a subjective experience. And the vast majority of shared experiences are more emotionally based, or based on tribe identity.

            For example, some people do quite a lot of research online before they buy a vacuum cleaner. (My retail store).

            They read consumer reviews, get reviews from Consumer Reports (and other online sources), they ask friends on forums, Facebook, and watch videos on the subject.

            But these are almost all just personal experiences, shared with others. And personal experiences are always shaded with out expectations, limited experiences, limited knowledge of what's available, biases, brand loyalty, and more.


            The only difference with the internet is that the process is faster and with more available sources.

            Even Consumer Reports tests products in arbitrary ways, tests only a small section of the market, and the testers aren't experts in the industry.

            That's why, depending if it's Consumer Reports, Consumer Digest, or Consumer's Guide, you get completely different recommendations.

            And recommendations by many companies are based on being paid for the placement in a "Preferred supplier list". Online reviews often are accompanied by affiliate links.

            For example, how did you get the "Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval"?....you advertised in Good Housekeeping Magazine.

            Technology changes. Humans nature doesn't.
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

            Back in the day, before the internet people based their decisions on familiarity, word of mouth, etc. Nowadays with the internet just a tap away people base their decisions differently?
            Back in the day, before the internet, some of the best copywriting and sales practices were based on familiarity, word of mouth, etc. Nowadays with the internet, nearly all copywriters and marketers have forgotten about that, and have fallen into fancy robotic formulas and impersonal Google gimmikery. Nothing else has changed except the speed and technology for real interpersonal connection.

            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            Technology changes. Humans nature doesn't.
            I couldn't have said it better. AIDA hasn't changed; technology has clouded its intrinsic power.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr tick
    What about the PAS formula?

    PAIN
    AGAIGTE
    SOLVE

    ??
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by Mr tick View Post

      What about the PAS formula?

      PAIN
      AGAIGTE
      SOLVE

      ??
      Well, it opens up a lot of questions, like what is their PAIN? Why do you need to agitate it? If someone has acne, do you think telling that person what he already knows is going to help?

      The solve, or solution to anyone in PAIN, should be the first thing seen, they are already agitated enough, and within the AIDA formula, you have to get their ATTENTION.


      "DO THEY CALL YOU PIZZA FACE AT SCHOOL?"

      Are your zits looking like a volcano ready to explode?

      I'm not arguing against your PAS formula, I just think it lacks a lot of explanation on the HOW and why, in other words, it is, my opinion, an oversimplification and AIDA is a more useful path to follow.

      GordonJ
      Signature
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      • Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

        Well, it opens up a lot of questions, like what is their PAIN? Why do you need to agitate it? If someone has acne, do you think telling that person what he already knows is going to help?

        The solve, or solution to anyone in PAIN, should be the first thing seen, they are already agitated enough, and within the AIDA formula, you have to get their ATTENTION.


        "DO THEY CALL YOU PIZZA FACE AT SCHOOL?"

        Are your zits looking like a volcano ready to explode?

        I'm not arguing against your PAS formula, I just think it lacks a lot of explanation on the HOW and why, in other words, it is, my opinion, an oversimplification and AIDA is a more useful path to follow.

        GordonJ
        that's an interesting insight.

        I've made lots (and lots and lots and lots) of sales to people who had no real pain. They had no real need for what I sold. They had no urgent problem that needed solved. They simply wanted it when I was done.

        There are some products that require pain or fear to sell (Fire alarms and burglar alarms come to mind), but even sales training doesn't really need to be sold by agitating their pain. They simply want to sell more, and sell more efficiently.

        On the other hand, if you take the PAS route, I think you could use it to sell almost anything. I just don't know that it's necessary for every offer.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Originally Posted by Mr tick View Post

      What about the PAS formula?

      PAIN
      AGAIGTE
      SOLVE

      ??
      This seldom works as a standalone without first getting attention or driving traffic.

      In some niches, I actually do use the PAS formula where applicable, but it is always within the basic AIDA model. For example, promoting diet plans and weightlifting products (no pain in effort = no gain in results).

      In oversimplified terms, the PAS formula generally spans across Interest and Desire while Attention is accentuated contextually throughout the entire marketing process.

      Getting attention and maintaining attention throughout the sales cycle is critical, especially when prospects are in the early stages (ie pre-need).

      In the highly competitive niches in which I usually market, however, the generic AIDA model is woefully inadequate, although the general format is still widely applicable.

      My sales process expands on the basic AIDA model, often over a period of months for many affiliate products.
      AICPBSAWN; Attention, Interest, Credibility, Proof, Benefits, Scarcity, Action, Warning, Now

      But, that's a whole 'nother story.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    WOKE UP TO ZITS FRIDAT MORNING BEFORE THE SCHOOL DANCE?

    No one will want to go with you to the school dance...

    [SOLUTION HERE]

    Depending on how we word it to avoid the 'Agitate them' we can word it to describe how and why the person is agitated?
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    • Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

      WOKE UP TO ZITS FRIDAT MORNING BEFORE THE SCHOOL DANCE?

      No one will want to go with you to the school dance...

      [SOLUTION HERE]

      Depending on how we word it to avoid the 'Agitate them' we can word it to describe how and why the person is agitated?
      *sob*

      If only I'd had more zits.

      Mighta distracted evrywan from my lousy hair.

      Plus also the lame gawky height spurt.

      Aw gosh, Jeffury -- you helped me feel so much baddah 'bout myself, for sure I will slap on your skin cream!

      Dead cert I will pluck usin' only your J Brand tweezers!

      An' when othah gals ask why don't our lips nevah look sweet & juicy like yours, you abominable monstah?, ima tell 'em it bcs they ugly af ... jus' cos I feelin' so empowahed by this post.

      Winnah!

      Gotta agitate to proliferate, I guess ...
      Signature

      Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Years ago I worked in a remote part of the world supporting some of the brightest minds in the science industry. They all had more than one thing in common, yet the main thing was investing their money. These people made ridiculous money.

    They also shared a frugal nature in that that they spent their money frugally. The majority of them hardly ever spent money on themselves. However, they did not mind spending money on their wives and children. If you didn't know it, when you looked at how badly some of them dressed you would think they needed a handout. Look closer and you realize the clothes were expensive and of high quality, but old and worn out.

    In a discussion with the scientific community's leader, over a chess game, we talked about a separation of the minds between these really smart scientists and the everyday support workers. They simply did not have much in common and the leader wished he could somehow create a bond of sorts. It would be good socially and for business.

    I had an idea and ran it across him. A movement of sorts. Two months later, I purchased 300 custom t-shirts that were relative to scientists and we blue collar workers. Well, kind of. A different twist, if you will, targeted at their emotions.

    Long story short, I came in professional contact with each one of the scientists on a daily basis. Only for a moment mind you - it wasn't all that. And they all received a t-shirt for a promise that they would wear it to work the next day.

    Then that night I went to our local water hole and gave all the locals (mostly non-scientists) a t-shirt for a promise that they would wear it to work the next day.

    Oh, we lived in the tropics only 150 miles above the equator. The average temperature ranged from hot to very hot, so t-shirts were the thing.

    The next day everyone, I think everyone, wore the t-shirt to work. From the elite scientists to we lowly support workers. For the first time, here and there, I noticed scientists and blue collar workers introduce themselves to each other.

    The scientists were flown daily to and from their island of residence to work on a different island. It was all that.

    At the end of the day we held the flights late while the scientists and workers gathered at the water hole.

    The leader told me over our next chess game that it was one of the most emotional events of their lives.

    BTW, I ordered 1,000 more t-shirts, made a nice profit and the scientists gave me a job. MIT no less.
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