Direct response marketing is a sales technique designed with the goal of evoking an on-the-spot response from customers and encouraging them to opt in to the offer provided by the advertiser. The biggest difference between direct response marketing and other types of marketing is that seeing  measurable results requires little to no time to see in the case of direct response marketing. Advertisers are able to access the performance from the moment the campaign is launched. The delivery of a call to action is facilitated by direct response marketing with the help of an online or direct interaction with the customer.

Direct Response Marketing: All You Need to Know

What is direct response marketing?

Direct response marketing is a type of marketing that generates a specific and measured response which is a result of a consumer’s direct response to a marketer. Direct response marketing could be found nearly in all forms of advertising, including TV commercials, print marketing (magazines, newspapers, etc.), radio spots, websites, and online ads. By creating an irresistible offer, advertisers push prospects through all marketing channels and generate leads. Lead generation is a process of converting strangers and passers-by into paying customers. The desired response massively depends on the goals of a specific ad. For instance, in exchange for the free offer the advertiser may ask a prospect to sign up, share contacts, register on a website, and so on.

In comparison to traditional advertising, which focuses on raising brand awareness and promoting a brand image, direct response campaigns expect the return on investment right away. With brand advertisement, it may take months or even years until consumers start recognizing the company’s logo and start making purchases, whereas direct marketing is all about instant deals.

What are the key components of direct response marketing?

The advertising which is carried out as a part of direct marketing is intended to sell products immediately. As a result of that the advertisement and the buying decision tend to be consecutive. A good direct response advertisement needs to trigger instant feedback from the customer. If it doesn’t do that, it’s a failure. A good direct response advertisement must possess the following elements:

  • An offer

An “offer” is a combination of factors such as the product itself, the cost per unit, trial period, terms, optional features, guarantee, incentives, future obligations, time of delivery, quantity limit, shipping and handling, etc. Very often, the aim of the offer is not to sell anything. Instead it aims to get the prospect’s interest and lead him to the next action, such as requesting a free demo version of the product. In most cases, the offer is designed to appeal to the prospective customer’s emotions, desires and fears.

  • Information

For a direct response ad to work successfully, it must contain a sufficient amount of information to aid with the immediate acceptance of the offer. The amount of information needed in the ad depends on how famous the product is. Advertisers on average have a maximum of four seconds to grab the prospective customer’s attention. In order for that to work, the message conveyed through the direct response advertisement must be personalised, relevant and persuasive. Advertisers should try to provide the different reasons that the customer should see value in the product/service and go ahead and purchase it. It’s absolutely critical to highlight the value of the product/service on offer. If possible, it should also contain information which elucidates its value over other competing products/services.

  • Call to action and means of response

A successful and effective direct response advertisement should have a very clear call to action. The purpose of that is to urge the prospective customer to do something specific. Some excellent examples of effective call to action are as follows:

  1. Use this coupon at the counter;
  2. Follow the link below;
  3. Contact us immediately by calling this number;
  4. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter;
  5. Share an image/article/ad with your friends;
  6. Download free trial/beta version of the product;
  7. Sign up for a mailing list;
  8. Buy now and receive a discount, etc.

Typically, advertisers include multiple options for response, such as toll-free number, email, website, etc. Marketers often use expiration dates and deadlines to create the sense of urgency and hurry their audience to act as quickly as possible, almost impulsively.

What are the benefits of direct response advertising?

  • Generating immediate ROI (return on investment) – Direct response advertising revolves around quick reactions and generation of immediate revenues from instant sales. With programmatic advertising, media buyers can determine the price for one impression at a time and bid only on those impressions that bring value.
  • Trackable performance – Based on a user’s response in the form of  clicks, sign ups etc. an advertiser can determine the ad and media that generated that impression. When buying through DSP (demand-side platform), advertisers can determine whether ads are effective, which target group is affected by the ad the most, what is the engagement rate, what amount of clicks is generated daily and so on; all data is simply displayed on the dashboard.
  • Measurable outcomes – Since advertisers possess the precise knowledge when it comes to which ads are getting the best responses and how much revenue is being generated by them, it’s easy for them to evaluate the performance of a campaign. Because of this, direct response is a great way to test the scale of consumer responses with the help of a small test campaign before launching a full fledged campaign. In digital advertising, advertisers measure campaign outcomes via DSP’s granular, real-time and compare the different metrics.
  • Targeting specific audiences – Branding campaigns tend to target everybody in order to fulfil their goal of promoting brand awareness. When buying digital ad space through RTB (Real-time bidding), advertisers deliver relevant ads in front of the right person in the right context and at the right time.
  • Precise segmentation – By purchasing a list of potential customers, marketers can create  more personalised and effective segmentation strategies for different categories such as new car buyers, clothing shoppers etc. Programmatic advertising enables the advertisers to use specialist ad networks that specialise in the type of content they wish to cover (fashion, travel, sports etc.). These websites would then be grouped into vertical channels and sold out to advertisers who wish to reach out to people interested in these topics. Alternatively, some ad networks sell audience segments built on demographic, behavioral data or user interests.