Direct Response Advertising (What is it & how to win at it!)

September 10, 2019 | Sean Foo

Direct response advertising is all about driving immediate action that allows your business to enjoy tangible results that are measurable – we are talking about sales, leads and email sign-ups.

While we are all familiar with TV ads and commercials from big brands such as Nike & Coca-Cola, those are brand marketing and is a strategy to stay top of mind in their audience when it finally comes to making a purchase.

And that involves huge budgets that will take months and even years to see a pay-off!

In fact, Coca Cola’s advertising budget in 2018 hit $5.8 Billion or 18.3% of their revenue!

If you are running an ROI focused campaign as a small to midsize business or even a start-up, you will need to see results come in as soon as possible.

Direct response advertising is one avenue that allows you to drive results for your business that makes the most sense for you. These could be:

  • Downloads of your latest e-book
  • Collecting emails for a squeeze page
  • Direct online sales on your new product launch

Direct response advertising is about getting your prospects to take a specific action on your ad that is measurable.

Russell Brunson’s landing page selling his book DotComSecrets is a perfect example of direct response advertising where all the information there is to convince the reader to take action and buy his book.

Viewers who come to this page will understand that is needed about the book and those who are convinced will be compelled to order the book online.

Either they will order or not.


3 Key Advantages of Direct Response Advertising

Companies big and small and turning towards direct response advertising either to supplement their marketing efforts or as 100% of their marketing efforts – and it’s no wonder why!

Direct response advertising allows you to:

1) Experience An Instantaneous Return On Investment

Because of its direct response nature, your ad campaign will immediately bring you results and if it is dollars, you will be able to make calculations to determine if it is economically feasible to continue.

Either your ad campaign converts & pays for itself (with profit to boot) and you increase your advertising budget or is losing you money and you stop it. 

No guesswork needed.


2) Measure & Track Your Advertising For Accurate Optimization

The beauty of direct response advertising is the ability to be measured not just against other ads, but within the ad itself!

You can test and measure variations of your headline, call to action, offers and even the body copy to see which will convert the best. 

By creating multiple ads (each with a differing component you would like to test), direct response advertising allows you to track which ad is directly responsible for giving you each individual response!


3) Test A New Niche or Audience Without A Big Commitment

If you are operating within a certain niche, direct response advertising allows you to test out different audience and verticals to see if your offering is welcomed there or not.

What you want is a quick confirmation, backed by tangible results, if a niche or audience is receptive – the last thing you want is to launch a branding campaign from the start and wait for months without any clear direction to proceed or fall back!

Best of all, with social media advertising through channels such as Instagram and Facebook, you can inexpensively test your hunches with just a couple of hundred dollars.


The 6 Traits Of Direct Response Advertising

If you are new to this form of advertising, it might be hard to put your finger on what makes an ad direct response or an awareness ad.

Here are six traits of direct response advertising that makes it stand out from other forms of ads out there:

1. It Is Trackable

You get to understand where your results (sales, leads, enquiries, email sign-ups) are coming from – all the way to the specific ad that is generating it.

2. It Is Measurable

Because you can track where your results are coming from, you will have the ability to measure the results you get and determine if your dollar is producing enough results to pay for your advertising.

3. It Is Highly Targeted

A proper direct response ad knows it isn’t trying to convert the whole world – but a specific audience or narrow niche.

Correct targeting in both the audience and the ad itself (copy, offer etc) is key for a successful campaign.

4. It Makes A Specific Offer

While branding ads highlight the brand itself, direct response advertising focuses on the end goal offer – one specific offer.

This could be a download of a new e-book, it could be for a free consultation or a physical product.

There is no confusion to the viewer on what is on offer.

5. It Is Benefit Driven

Most successful direct response ads focus on what the reader will benefit from responding to the offer.

By using superior copywriting, direct response ads utilise many copywriting strategies and tactics to showcase all of the benefits to inflame desire in the reader.

6. It Provides A Clear Call To Action

Direct response ads demand a response and they do it through a clear and compelling call to action buttons.

They make it immediately clear to the reader what is needed and how to proceed to get the benefit of the offer on the ad.

It could be to ‘Buy Now’ or to leave their email to join a waiting list or an immediate e-book download after filling in their contact details.

Now that we have established the benefits of direct response advertising and their traits, how can we supercharge our efforts and beat out the rest of the competition?

By focusing on timeless strategies and how they are being used by direct response campaigns that are raking in the conversions (and money)!


3 Evergreen Strategies To Enhance Your Direct Response Advertisements

Whether you are crafting your first or 50th advertisement, these five direct response principles will help you maximise their effectiveness & generate results from leads to sales.

1. Focus Ruthlessly On The Sales Copy

Unlike branding and awareness advertising, you don’t really have the time to beat around the bush, you want a response here and now and that is where sales copywriting comes into play – specifically your headline, sales copy, offer and call-to-action.

Headline: The purpose of the headline is to capture attention and to spark interest in your reader – we live in a crowded and noisy world and you will have to grab their attention before anything else.

Sales copy: A powerful sales copy not only highlights the benefits of your product or service, it puts your reader in the driver’s seat and addresses their wants and needs that they face in their unique situation.

Another reason why the best performing direct response ads target just a narrow niche or audience – it’s better to dive deep & truly address a smaller audience than to spray and pray.

Offer: In the direct response world, you only get value (sales, enquiries, customer contact) when you exchange something of value and that is where your offer comes in.

Not only must your offer be valuable, but it also has to be specific and tangible towards your target audience.

Call-to-action: Having a clear and direct call to action is important to guide your reader to take action.

No ambiguity – be sure to provide clear instructions on how to proceed.

Take Ahref’s landing page hero banner for example, by using highly researched sales copy, they infuse their advertising with the power of direct response.

They begin with a powerful benefit-driven headline that grabs the attention of their target audience – online marketers & SEO professionals.

Their follow-up sales copy highlights what is most important to the reader – understanding why their competition is winning and what to do to overtake them.

With an offer of ‘7-day trial for $7’ and an obvious orange call to action button, this helps assist the reader with giving a response – either they will hop on it or not.


2. Integrate Social Proof Into Your Advertising

Establishing trust is essential when you are demanding a response from your audience and the quickest way to do so is by utilizing social proof.

A great way to do it is right at the start of your ad or right at the bottom near the call-to-action button.

From showcasing influencer endorsements to brand mentions and the number of customers your business has, these are great to grab attention at the start to show that your product (and brand) is credible.

Another great way to leverage social proof in your direct response ad is to integrate it at the point of decision – where people might have resistance in taking action, especially if it is a buying decision.

ReferralCandy does this well by adding in a quick testimonial social proof just at the end – next to the call to action button.

By doing some investigation, they decided to use the power of testimonials to address a common concern in their Saas (software as a service) industry – a poor customer experience.

When you integrate social proof into your landing pages or ads, you help address any potential objections your reader might be facing – it could be anything from a lack of trust to a negative perception of your industry.

Use social proof well and your conversions will increase!


3. Match Your Ads To Your Landing Pages 

One of the biggest sins in direct response advertising is crafting a fabulous Facebook ad or Google Adwords ad that gets the click, driving your reader to a landing page…

…and what they see isn’t what they were promised on the ad.

This causes a total disconnect that will plunge your eventual conversions down into a black hole…you don’t want that!

What your prospect sees in the ad is exactly what you should be showcasing in the landing page – with more details and persuasion of course!

Take this Adwords Ad by Monday, they are targeting audiences who have heard of their leading competitor, Trello, and are using direct response principles to get prospects to choose them instead.

With a compelling headline of ‘Why Teams Switch to’ plus a promise of 5 reasons why – this ad is effective in getting the direct response they want – a click to the landing page to find out more.

Once clicked, the ad brings us to the landing page below which thankfully, delivers what has been promised –  5 Reasons to choose their solution.

Not only does their landing page deliver on the promises made on the ad, they effectively use powerful direct response principles that include:

  • Showcasing the various high profile brands they are working with
  • Highlighting the number of customers that are using their platform
  • A clear call-to-action button with the information needed (just an email)

In fact, the more relevant your landing page is to your ad, the lower the cost per click for even higher profitability on your direct response campaigns.


Need Results Fast? It’s Time To Use Direct Response Advertising!

While speed isn’t always everything in business, you have to move fast when it comes to your marketing and direct response advertising allows you to do just that.

Say goodbye to huge budget branding advertisements and say hello to instant results that will bring about what your business needs to grow – leads and customers. 

Whether you are a big or a small business, once you have your direct response advertising strategy down, you will be literally printing money when you predictably spend $2 in ads for $5 in profit.

Who wouldn’t want that!

If you want to supercharge your direct response efforts even further, check out this article where we take you through 9 Key Lessons To Master Your Direct Response Copywriting.


Need A Direct Response Copywriter?

From long-form landing pages to engaging Facebook ads, our direct response copywriting has helped agencies and businesses get the conversions that they want.

Get in touch with us here!

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