How direct response copywriting can help your business
Direct response copywriting has been used throughout history as a way to drive sales, engaging readers in a product or service and pushing them towards a desired action. Direct response lives on today through online marketing campaigns, from emails to SEO landing pages. In this guide from Bamboo Nine, a digital marketing agency in Brighton, we’ll explore the meaning and uses of direct response copywriting, and look at 7 key tips to keep in mind when writing amazing direct response copy.
What is Direct Response Copywriting?
Direct response copywriting is a form of copywriting that aims for an immediate and specific engagement from a reader. Unlike traditional copywriting, which merely seeks to place a product or service within the mind of a reader, a piece of direct response copywriting will end with a clear instruction:
- “Create an account today”
- “Get a no-obligation quote now”
- “Hurry, this one-time deal ends at midnight”
Direct response copywriting dates from the era of print advertising, popularly used within magazine ads and sales letters, but it has many applications and benefits within the digital world. Every aspect of a piece of direct response copy will be tailored around selling, carefully pulling in readers, convincing them of the benefits offered, mollifying any qualms they might have, and finally pushing them to make a commitment.
What Are the Benefits of Direct Response Copywriting?
Direct response copy can be measurable in a way that traditional advertising is not. If, for instance, the purpose of your direct response advert is to sell a product, then you can track how many people are clicking through to the product and purchasing it. With traditional advertising, it’s harder to gauge the influence you have exerted over a purchase. This also means that you can establish the return on investment of an advertising campaign more directly, beneficial to smaller businesses with a limited budget. The specific targeting of direct response marketing means you can also use target marketing to aim at a specific group, such as sending an email to certain people on a mailing list. This in turn will lead to higher conversion rates within that group.
What Types of Direct Response Copywriting Are Used Online?
There is a suite of uses for digital response copy, such as emails, paid ads within a website, or ads on social media. Digital response copy will typically be longer than a traditional online ad, though in many cases an ad will use a compelling headline to encourage viewers to click through to a direct response page. Landing pages on a website can utilise direct response copywriting, such as those used in SEO.
How is Direct Response Copywriting Used in SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, seeks to rank pages on a website within Google for specific search terms, known as keywords. These pages will be optimised for SEO, designed to either drive sales or encourage a reader to further explore a website. When targeting sales, direct response copywriting skills are essential, guiding a reader through your service or product, and convincing them to make a purchase. Combined with SEO optimisation, this means that direct response articles can target common google searches. SEO sales pages, along with keyword targeting blog posts, will be the cornerstone of any SEO copywriting strategy.
What Does Good Direct Response Copywriting Look Like?
When it comes to direct response copywriting there are a few key tips for any copywriter to keep in mind throughout, allowing you to create a compelling, focused piece of writing that is carefully tailored to the desired target audience.
Open With a Great Headline
It all starts with a headline, and bluntly, if yours isn’t up to snuff you’ll be losing much of your audience before they’ve even started your copy. Particularly within online advertising, where you want a reader to click through to a direct response page, a copywriter will need to thoroughly optimise their headline. When it comes to headlines the key is to grab a reader’s attention, which can be achieved in a few ways:
- Promise Something: “A New Garden Office Built Within a Day”
- Create a Sense of Urgency: “Low Prices For One Day Only”
- Solve a Problem: “Say Goodbye to Matted Hair”
- A Compelling Statistic: “95% of Readers Recommend”
When picking a headline it’s important to make something that is simple, to the point, and easy to digest. Headlines are not an ever-fixed mark, and some types of headline may become trite and offputting over time (See clickbait “Doctors are seething”/”This one simple trick”/”Elon Musk shares his financial secrets” type headlines, which many readers would instinctively avoid).
Pull in the Reader
When a reader opens a page of direct response copywriting, the hope is that they are intrigued enough by the headline to read on, but at this point intrigued is the only thing they will be. The purpose of the article or email is to convert them into a customer, which is a multi-stage process, or journey if you will. This means stating the value of your product or service, its unique benefits, maybe the outrageously good offer currently running. It also means addressing concerns, be they durability, price, or breadth of service. Every part of the copy should be focused on turning a reader into a customer by the time they reach the end. Pulling in the reader can also be accomplished through the use of the second person, directly engaging them within the article:
- “When you get behind the wheel”
- “Keep your family safe”
- “Something you’ll need to see to believe”
These types of word choice makes them imagine themselves with your product, seeing the various benefits it could bring to their life.
Understand Your Audience and Product
While this is true of all advertising, within direct response you’ll be intricately pitching a product to a specific audience. Having a clear understanding of what your product is and what makes it great will show within your copy, as you explain to a reader how your product or service is essential to them. Understanding who is going to be reading your copy is also essential, with rigorous market testing utilised throughout the advertising industry to ensure engagement. Knowing your audience means knowing what sort of language to use, their level of foreknowledge on the subject, their pain points, and the types of messages they will respond to. Direct response copywriting allows you to target very specific markets, making it essential for your copy to also be tailored around this.
Connected, Compelling Copy
This seems obvious but is something to keep in mind throughout the writing and editing process. Your copy should be compelling throughout, brisk, engaging, and conversational if necessary. It should also interconnect, with an opening that establishes the rest of the piece, and body content that flows from one selling point to another. There should be no lulls within it, or points where a reader could find themselves wandering away from your pitch. You are trying to write something that a reader will consume in its entirety, that engages them on a journey from one point to another, ultimately ending in a call to action.
Avoiding waffle is not necessarily about absolute brevity, more about not repeating yourself, and making your piece precisely as long as it needs to be. If you’ve written a compelling introduction, talked through the key benefits of your product, assuaged any doubts a reader might have, and ended with a concrete pitch, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve written 200 words or 1000. If you’ve stated a point already, you don’t need to repeat it or underline it. Waffle will cause a reader to lose interest, potentially jeopardising the piece.
Keep up the Pressure
Direct response is about immediate, specific engagement. At the end of a piece of a direct response copy, you’ll be intending for a reader to commit to whatever it is you’re selling. This means that your copy needs to be a speeding train with one destination. Keeping up the pressure can depend on the audience, with some techniques (such as “Last minute offer” type content) working better for certain industries, but regardless of if you are selling timeshares or garden trowels a piece of copy should be constantly ramping towards its ultimate goal.
An Engaging Call to Action
Probably the most important aspect of a direct response article after the headline is the call to action (CTA). A call to action is a direct prompt for a reader to do something:
- “Get a no-obligation quote today”
- “Sign up today to get your first three months half price”
- “Call now to find out how your business could benefit”
By this point you should already have made a convincing pitch for your product, stating it’s value to a reader. The purpose of the CTA then is to jolt them into action. They should be brief, clear, and urgent. Using words like “Now” or “Today” will help to stress to a reader the importance of immediate action. Online, instead of simply using words like “Submit”, it can be effective to use something more exciting:
- “I want to find out more about this amazing offer”
- “Yes, I want my free E-Book”
With a CTA you should always go above and beyond, optimising to maximise engagement.
Quality SEO Copywriting From Bamboo Nine
Direct response copywriting can be effectively used within an SEO campaign to drive sales for a company. Bamboo Nine, a Brighton based digital marketing agency, offers a comprehensive suite of SEO services, bringing tangible benefits to a huge range of companies. Our SEO copywriters can make keyword-driven sales pages, talking a reader through the benefits of your company, discussing how your products could improve their lives, and ultimately pushing for a sale. Having quality landing pages that will rank for relevant keywords can generate sales in the long term, unlike traditional advertising which requires continual investment to reach viewers. Our SEO team can offer a range of services, such as technical improvements, keyword research, link building, and more, helping brands to establish a presence online and grow their business.
Find out more about our SEO team and the benefits we can bring to your business today.