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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 27 , 2020

When it comes to action-oriented campaigns, direct response marketing fits the bill.

Here you’ll learn:

  • What direct response marketing is
  • The benefits of this marketing type
  • The components of direct response marketing ads
  • Ways to improve your direct response marketing campaign

Building brand awareness is key to growing your business, attracting new prospects, and continuing to scale. But once you’ve got an awareness strategy in place, the work isn’t done. To turn that awareness into results, consider complementing these efforts with direct response marketing.

After all, doesn’t a marketing method with an immediate ROI seem appealing? That’s what direct response is all about. You create an appealing ad to inspire action and reap instant benefits. Let’s get down to business. 

hawksem: direct response marketing blog

In short, direct response marketing is all about creating an irresistible offer to generate leads and guide prospects down the marketing funnel. (Image via Unsplash)

What is direct response marketing?

In short, any marketing effort with a clear call to action (CTA) is direct response marketing. The direct response approach targets a specific audience and asks that audience to take action right then and there.

A few examples of direct response marketing include CTAs to:

  • Download a free e-book in exchange for contact details via form
  • Share your email address to learn more about a product, brand, or service
  • Visit a website to find a solution to a problem

This technique has to provoke a response from the potential client, from clicking to learn more to sharing contact details.

Unlike brand awareness tactics, this marketing type doesn’t aim simply to keep your company top of mind with your audience. Rather, it educates leads about possible benefits, highlights value, and encourages them to take that next step.

In short, direct response marketing is all about creating an irresistible offer to generate leads and guide prospects down the marketing funnel. This offer can be part of an ad, a blog post, social media post, or an email.

What are the benefits of direct response marketing?

Direct response marketing can be an integral component of a well-rounded digital marketing campaign. It comes with such benefits as:

  • Immediate ROI – these marketing efforts evoke a quick reaction and help companies get more immediate revenue and return on their investment
  • Trackable activity – when a client takes the required action, you know exactly which ad or copy generated the response, which makes the campaign easy to track
  • Measurability – since you know which ads generate responses and how much revenue each one produces, you can evaluate campaign performance, make adjustments, and come up with new tactics
  • Segmentation – marketers have an opportunity to develop effective segmentation strategies to target the right audiences
  • Automation – instead of monitoring clients’ responses manually, you’re essentially turning your ads into sales reps — this goes a long way towards optimizing your campaign costs
hawksem blog: direct response marketing

No matter the offer, it should be concise, clear, and value-packed. (Image via Unsplash)

What are the key components of direct response marketing ads?

The goal of direct response marketing ads is to drive the immediate sale or lead the client down the sales funnel. It doesn’t always have to be sales-forward, but it should always make it easy for the viewer to take that next action. 

Here are some ways to do just that.

1. A clear offer

Your prospect should understand which exact problem your offer solves. This means you need to describe the product or service itself, along with its benefits, guarantees, trial periods, and any other relevant, valuable information.

In many cases, the offer doesn’t sell something but simply leads the client to take the next action, like downloading a free template or signing up for a newsletter. No matter the offer, it should be concise, clear, and value-packed.

2. A strong CTA

The CTA is arguably the most important part of the ad or content you’re offering. Some typical examples of a strong CTA include:

  • “Click the link below”
  • “Use this coupon at checkout”
  • “Subscribe to our weekly newsletter”
  • “Buy now and get a discount on the next purchase”
  • “Download a free trial”
  • “Contact us now”

3. Eye-catching copy

Your direct response marketing ads need to feature a compelling message that sparks a strong interest in your prospects. Attention-grabbing headlines coupled with concise yet valuable copy allows the ad to bring in more clients.  

The most effective copy speaks directly to your target audience using language and terms they understand. 

4. Narrow target audiences

For your direct response ad to bring the highest ROI, you’ve got to be specific about what audience segment or segments you’re speaking to. Generic ad copy just won’t cut it.

To acquire the highest value for your money, invest time in segmenting your prospects into various audience groups, then creating unique ads that target each group. It’ll take more time, but the more targeted your ads, the better your chances are of converting. 

5. A thought-out buyer’s journey

When your user follows the initial CTA, don’t risk the conversation ending there. Rather, you need to have your next step teed up to keep them moving down the funnel and tracking along the path you’ve laid out for them. 

Your direct response marketing campaign can consist of several ads aimed at clients at different stages of the sales funnel. You can even employ remarketing to help those who dropped off for one reason or another easily pick up where they left off. 

direct response marketing: hawksem

Direct response marketing is fueled by high-quality, compelling copy. But because space is limited, you’ve got to pack maximum impact into just a few lines or sentences. (Image via Unsplash)

Need more help improving your direct response marketing? You’ve come to the right place.

How can you improve your direct response marketing?

We’re glad you asked! These expert tips can help take your direct response marketing to the next level. 

1. Make it easy to act

To get the desired response to your ad, you must make it as simple as possible for someone to successfully complete the action. Your form should only ask for the most necessary information, and the CTAs should be attention-grabbing and easy to spot. 

If someone arrives on your landing page and doesn’t see what you promised them immediately, they’re likely to bounce (and, can you blame them?). Make sure you deliver on your promise, provide context, and give users multiple ways to connect with you further.

2. Use time limits

Research shows that people respond to the sense of urgency created by limited-time offers. Think: A pop-up with a countdown clock for how much longer a sale will last, or an email with a coupon code that’s valid for only 48 hours.

You can also ethically capitalize on your clients’ fear of missing out (or FOMO) by letting them know how much of a certain item is in stock or offering a free gift for the first 50 people who make a purchase.

3. Offer free products or discounts

Speaking of a free gift: Freebies are always in style. And they’re one of the easiest ways to get a response from a client. 

Don’t hesitate to offer free trials, e-books, exclusive access, and more. This is also a solid campaign strategy for enterprise-level warm leads you want to convert into hot leads. Who doesn’t love a sweetened deal?

4. Tweak your copy

Direct response marketing is fueled by high-quality, compelling copy. But because space is limited, you’ve got to pack maximum impact into just a few lines or sentences.

So… get to the point! Spend time crafting impactful, concise copy that addresses your audience’s pain points, shows empathy, and offers a clear solution.

Pro tip: The most effective direct response copy focuses on a product or service’s benefits rather than its features. This can be especially game-changing when your competitors’ features are similar to yours.

The takeaway

Direct response marketing is an action-oriented tactic that focuses on the audience’s problems and offers valuable information to provide them with an immediate solution.

This approach is cost-efficient, easily measurable, and highly productive. Follow the advice above to begin creating direct response marketing ads that are set up to convert. 

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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