Increase Conversions With an Old Sales Model

You have trained hard and optimized your content for keywords (SEO basics). You’ve gained respect from your peers (link building), and have battled your competition and fought your way to the top of the search results (queue 80’s training montage). Now comes the championship fight – but it’s not against your top competition. It’s to convert those hard won visitors into customers.

So how do you convert visitors into customers? Make use of the AIDAS formula. There is nothing revolutionary about this age-old idea (it was conceived by psychologist E.K. Strong way back in 1925). There’s a reason it’s still around – because it works. AIDAS is best shown as a funnel:

Attention: Attract the customers’ attention.

You will only have a few seconds here. Having strong headline copy with an appropriate design emphasis or an intriguing image is most effective.

Interest: Get the customer interested.

Sell the benefits and advantages that the customer will enjoy with purchasing your product and or service. Include features if needed but make them less prominent in the design.

Desire: Make them want it.

Tell the customer how it will solve their problems or how it will make them feel.

Action: Tell them how to get it.

Provide clear calls to action and make it easy for the customer to purchase, signup, and or donate.

Satisfaction: Make those customers happy.

While this doesn’t directly increase conversion rates, it is vital for your business. Provide stellar customer service and two things will happen: the customer is much more likely to become a return, and they will recommend your business to friends and colleagues. Provide poor customer service, or worse, make them angry enough to share their bad experience. “Hell hath no fury like an angry customer with a Twitter account.”

AIDAS example in action:

The Mission Bicycle Company’s website is a good example of the AIDAS model in action.


  1. Attention: A well photographed, interesting image with their product dead center grabs visitor’s attention.
  2. Interest: A strong headline details why you should care about their product, and lets them know that they can afford it.
  3. Desire: Showcases recent custom bikes to inspire potential customers.
  4. Action: Lets the customer get started designing their own bike.
  5. Satisfaction: Lets customers provide feedback, suggestions, ask questions and lets general visitors see how satisfied their current customers are.

Obviously every product and service is different and will require a unique application of this formula, but remember this is the Web. You can easily test variations to see what will be most effective for your business. Google even provides a multivariate testing service for free.

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  1. Benin says

    Hi Joel, I really like the way you broke the AIDAS model down by illustrating the elements of a single webpage. Oftentimes when we see someone explaining the AIDAS model its usually correlated with a series of different functions such as PR, SEO, PPC, Landing Pages, and so on until the user reaches the end of the funnel. So to see it described in such a practical manner is just a breath of fresh air.

  2. Joel Cudmore says

    Thanks Benin!
    I think the we are coming to the point where it’s critical to truly succeed that you pay close attention to both search engine optimization and conversion optimization. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the first result in Google and have my eye’s assaulted with horrible design that just makes me want to instantly close the site (I admit that I am a design snob… but hey it’s my job!)

  3. multivariate testing says

    The benefits of a more holistic optimization and marketing approach can be extended beyond content used to attract leads and sales. There other types of search that can drive or benefit business including customer service related content, job listings and news content. Each has it�s own audience to consider and therefore, a different context for optimization.

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