Direct Response Marketing: 6 Ideas & Top Strategies
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6 Direct Response Marketing Ideas & How The Top Organizations Do It

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Written by Ben Robinson Position
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Direct response marketing has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. In this post, I’ll go over precisely what direct response marketing is, why it’s a good choice for small businesses, and how to engineer an effective direct response marketing campaign.

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What is Direct Response Marketing?

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Direct response marketing focuses on making a sale, whereas traditional marketing focuses on promoting the brand in a general sense and then hoping customers will decide to buy later.

Another way to look at it is to examine the goals of a marketing campaign for each type. A direct response marketing campaign strives to produce a directly measurable result, like new email addresses in a mailing list or new sales made to new customers.

As WordStream points out, direct response campaigns nearly always possess these 7 qualities:

  • Trackable
  • Measurable
  • Targeted
  • Makes a specific offer
  • Clearly outlines the benefits
  • Has a clear call-to-action
  • Personalized

On the other hand, general marketing is not as measurable and just does what it can to make the brand more appealing to customers in the future.

Why Use Direct Response Marketing?

Here are four reasons direct response marketing can be a good choice:

  • It helps you stand up to the big guy. As a small business, it’s basically impossible to compete with big companies’ marketing departments that spend literally billions on traditional marketing every year. If you use direct response marketing, you can personalize your marketing to woo an individual customer and get results quickly.
  • It’s easy to plan — Since direct response marketing campaigns are relatively quick and simple affairs, they’re easy to plan and budget for compared to more expansive traditional marketing campaigns. Since the results are measurable, it’s also easier to use data from previous direct response campaigns to inform your new one.
  • It’s a quicker way to get cash — As a young company, having cash today you can invest is often much more valuable than knowing you will have cash sometime in the future. Because of that, small businesses often appreciate the quick cash (or other results) that direct response marketing provides.
  • You can target specific audiences — If you need to reach a particular demographic with your campaign, it’s a lot easier with direct response. General marketing’s potential to spread more quickly can be one of its most significant benefits, but that greater spread is hard to control.

Direct Response Marketing Tips

Make a Four Word (or less) CTA

Make your CTA direct and easy to digest — I suggest shooting for a phrase like “sign up today” that is four words or less. When you have your CTA in mind, repeat it several times during your pitch, no matter what medium you are using for the campaign. Make sure your customer doesn’t get confused about what they should do to take the next step.

Create a Sense of Urgency

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One of the cornerstones of a direct response marketing campaign is a speedy turnaround. To make sure your potential customer doesn’t drag their feet, you should set a specific time frame to create a sense of urgency.

For example, if you are running an email campaign, include a timer that is ticking down in your email and write something like “this offer will expire in [however much time is left!”

Reach Out to “Warm” Audiences

Getting random people who may have never heard of your business to take action can be very difficult, so it’s better to target “warm” audiences — that is, audiences who have already expressed interest in products like the one you’re selling.

By doing so, you’ll cut your work in half by marketing to people who are already halfway convinced.

Give Away Freebies

People love free things, even if they are things like brochures or ebooks that are free to produce. Of course, it’s much better to provide people with something they actually have a practical use for.

If you give them something for free, they are a lot more likely to reciprocate by providing something of their own, such as their email address or even a few dollars.

Here is a bit more about the business psychology behind giving away free things.

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Spell Out the Results

To make it easier for your direct response customers to pull the trigger on the deal, it helps if you actually tell them what their result will be if they do. For example, “if we can get you signed up, you’ll have access to entire databases of premium leads no one else can get to.” Also, tell them what they’ll face if they don’t follow the CTA you’re offering.

Write a Flashy Headline

The headline or the very first thing you say about the potential deal is the most critical part of a direct response marketing pitch.

You need to get people’s attention and get them to stop what they’re doing to devote their full attention, so you need to hook them somehow. A provocative headline is the best way to do it.

Here’s more info on how to craft a good direct response marketing headline.

I’ve had a ton of success using direct response marketing to build up my client base, and I’m confident you can reach your short-term goals too if you employ these six tips in your next campaign.