Direct response marketing
Direct response marketing is low-cost, has high ROI and is suitable for SMEs.

As much as 71% of consumers are frustrated when their shopping experience feels impersonal and generic.

It is probably why small business marketers, with their limited resources and lack of industry experience, face challenges when it comes to generating leads and ensuring a steady ROI.

One solution to these problems? Direct response marketing.

This article shares direct marketing definition before diving into its benefits, specific best practices and the most suitable channels for direct response marketing.

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What Is Direct Response Marketing?

Direct response marketing is a type of marketing that encourages potential customers to take immediate and very specific actions to quickly generate leads.

Its purpose is to evoke an immediate response from the target audience and motivate them through a clear call-to-action. This can be anything from opting in to newsletters, booking a schedule or placing an order.

Direct marketing is low-cost and highly optimized for ROI. While traditional marketing primarily aims to raise brand awareness, direct response marketing is geared towards producing measurable results.

Direct response marketing uses a wide array of channels, such as digital platforms, social media, TV, print media and so on.

What Are The Benefits Of Direct Response Advertising?

Direct response marketing is particularly effective for small businesses, although this strategy works for medium and large enterprises as well.It helps SMEs generate leads and traffic, get a good return on investment and secure enough budget — the three primary marketing challenges according to HubSpot’s 2019 State of Inbound Marketing report.

A successful direct response marketing campaign can do so because it:

  • Focuses on lead generation
  • Gets faster response rate through fear of missing out (FOMO) techniques
  • Is low cost, trackable and delivers measurable results
  • Opens a direct communication channel with high-quality leads

Let’s elaborate on some of these benefits in more detail.

  • Simple tracking and measuring of results: In direct response advertising, it’s easy to monitor which campaigns prospects and leads come from. Knowing which ads and which channels are the most effective lets you distribute your budget to more effective campaigns.
  • Identification of qualified prospects: Prospects that opt in to direct response advertising show interest in your brand. Your sales team can focus on nurturing these interested prospects down the sales funnel instead of wasting efforts on cold leads.
  • Establishing direct lines of communication: Directly communicating to your prospects enables you to form stronger relationships with qualified leads. You acquire more information about them and promote your brand in a way that is relevant to them. Getting in touch directly is a major advantage when closing sales.

6 Direct Response Marketing Best Practices

Here are proven strategies to make your direct response marketing campaign a success:

1. Custom Targeting and Compelling Messaging

US consumers see between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day. In order to grab their attention, your direct marketing needs a compelling ad copy, targeting them strategically on different channels at the right time.

Furthermore, 80% of consumers are willing to do business with a brand that interacts with them through personalized messaging.

Personalization in targeting your specific groups of consumers generates the best results, so knowing your audience and what they respond to is the crucial aspect of direct marketing.

2. Prominent And Specific CTAs

Since direct response advertising is about making prospects take specific actions, such as signing up for a white paper, attending an event or watching a demo, your messaging should encourage them to do so.

Therefore, direct marketing requires a clear, bold, enticing call-to-action that lets consumers know what they need to do and what they’re getting in return. Using creative texts on CTA buttons instead of the generic “Submit” or “Learn more” copies and placing them prominently on the screen are keys to making standout CTAs.

3. Sense Of Urgency And Fear Of Missing Out

A sense of urgency and fear of missing out (FOMO) are two strong psychological mechanisms that inspire prospects to act quickly and boost conversion rates. Direct response marketing uses time limits (“offer expires on Friday”), scarcity (“only 5 items left”) and competition (“be among the first five to get a special price”) to entice urgency in prospects.

4. Easy Response

Make it a breeze for your consumers to respond to your direct response marketing materials. Boost your conversion rates with forms that require fewer fields to fill, files that take less time to download or support line that is easily accessible via the phone, like chatbots.

5. Regular Follow-Ups

Direct response marketing offers value in exchange for the user’s action, but it doesn’t end there. Ensure that your marketing and sales teams continue to engage with your prospects in order to move them down the funnel.

It can be placing leads into a nurture campaign or following up regarding a potential sale are some steps to include when setting up a direct response campaign.

6. Customer-Centric Approach

Direct response advertising is more about your customers and less about your brand. Focusing on your audience’s pain points and why your services are beneficial to them yields much better results over time.

For example, you can offer a downloadable document on a topic that is of interest to them or encourage them to sign up for regular blog updates that provide relevant solutions to their issues.

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4 Most Effective Direct Response Advertising Channels

Direct response marketing applies to a wide variety of channels. However, the four items below yield the biggest benefits for this type of advertising.

  • Direct response TV: One of the most widespread ways of selling products via direct response marketing is through infomercials or direct response TV. Also, buying a TV spot during a popular event watched by many can get you more viewership with a high potential of leads.
  • Direct mail: Memorable direct mailers that entice readers to respond when they open their emails is an effective channel for direct response marketing.
  • Digital marketing: The online space provides some of the best opportunities for targeted advertising that generates a response from the audience. Measurable results and customizable costs ensure that you spend your marketing budget optimal to your business objectives.
  • Radio & billboards: Targeting customers out-of-home or wherever they may be with a catchy phrase and call-to-action is another effective and most commonly used direct response marketing platform.

4 Highly Efficient Direct Response Marketing Examples & Techniques

Just like there are the most effective channels and platforms, there are the most powerful techniques for direct response marketing.

1. Upselling

Upselling is encouraging buyers to purchase an upgraded and more expensive version of a product they have or to buy one that will complement their latest purchase. It is easier to sell to an existing buyer than to a potential customer, which is why upselling is a very powerful technique for driving sales.

One way upselling is used in direct response marketing is by asking customers if they would prefer the upgraded version of the service/product they are buying before completing a purchase on your website.

Just remember that clearly communicating the benefits of this upsell is not enough. You should also make it very easy for them to go to the proposed product/service and add them to cart, as suggested in the above best practices.

2. Chatbots And Social Media

AI or human-powered chatbots help you communicate with your customers in real-time, which is extremely beneficial when they are in the middle of a purchasing decision or need a major issue solved.

Chatbots as a direct response marketing tool drive engagement and motivate clients to take action through direct communication.

Combining chatbots with social media is particularly effective in that regard. A Facebook Messenger chatbot that interacts with your interested prospects can offer your latest products and services within Facebook. Not to mention, social media provides you with vast customer data suitable for a more personalized targeting of your audience.

3. Lead Generating Pop-Ups

Direct response advertising is particularly effective in generating valuable leads and one of the best methods for doing so is via website pop-ups.

Let say a visitor is interested in what your website offers. You can use personalized pop-ups to encourage them to join your email list and build a relationship with them using a succession of highly targeted emails.

4. Referral Programs

Word-of-mouth marketing is extremely powerful: 92% of people trust the recommendations they get from the members of the family, their friends or colleagues.

Referral programs are one of the best examples of word-of-mouth in direct response marketing. An example is a campaign in which you can ask your current customers to refer your products to their friends and, if they do, they get a discount.

You can send them an email that invites them to take part in the referral program or ask for referrals on your “Thank You” page following the completed purchase.

Direct Response Marketing Takeaways

Direct response marketing is one of the most effective methods for encouraging prospects to take the desired action. Because it is low-cost and optimized for ROI, it is one of the most suitable marketing methods for small businesses and startups.

The basic principles of direct response advertising are:

  • Personalized messaging
  • Prominent calls-to-action
  • Sense of urgency and FOMO
  • Easy response and follow-ups
  • Customer-focused approach

Direct response marketing can be used on multiple channels, but direct response TV, direct mail, digital marketing, billboards and radio are the most suitable platforms for this type of marketing.

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