A lot of younger marketers look down on direct response copywriting as old fashioned.
What’s ironic about this is that a large percentage of the marketing activity on the web today is direct response.
In simple terms, direct response is: you send or show something to a consumer, and they respond directly, usually to get something you are offering.
In the 20th century, direct mail was the king of direct response marketing. Other important direct response channels included magazine and newspaper ads, telemarketing, and TV and radio commercials.
But now, with the increasing use of web marketing, we find direct marketing alive and well all over the internet.
Just a few examples:
>> Emails offering the download of a free white paper or ebook are classic direct response, because there is a specific offer, and the user must respond to take advantage of it.
>> You search Google and see both organic results and paid ads. Both have hyperlinks that lead to pages with content and offers.
>> Blog posts with links to sites or landing pages are native direct response advertising.
>> Many e-newsletters do more than just give free content; they also advertise paid offers, and these online ads are direct response.
>> Almost all web ads – banner, pay-per-click, and text – are direct response ads.
>> Hyperlinks in the “about the author” blurb in online articles converts these content messages into direct response native advertising.
>> YouTube and Facebook are loaded with digital direct response ads.
>> And I’m sure you can think of many others I left out here.
A few takeaways:
…Younger marketers as a rule are somewhat more conversant than older Boomers in the nuances of many digital marketing techniques, from programmatic advertising to online video.
…Older direct marketers often have a firmer grasp of the fundamentals of persuasive copy – and therefore their digital promotions often get higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. We also know what works from decades of testing.
…Direct response marketing and digital marketing are not in conflict; in fact, most digital marketing is direct response marketing.
…Integrated campaigns of offline and online marketing generally get greater response rates than either by itself.
…When I was a newbie marketer in the late 1970s, we newbies respected and learned from the old pros. I am not sure that is true today to the degree it was back then.
… Calls to action (CTAs) are almost universally direct response offers.
… In print, follow-up mailings increase total response; online, this is accomplished with auto-responder email series.
About the author:
Bob Bly is a freelance direct response copywriter who has written for more than 100 clients including Thompson Cigar, Remedy Health, IBM, AT&T, and Agora. You can download a free sample chapter of his new book, The Digital Marketing Handbook (Entrepreneur Press, 2018) here: www.bly.com/digital