Direct Response Marketing

A Complete Guide to Direct Response Marketing

Looking for a way to tell potential customers about your products and services?

Want to compel them to buy right now?

What if your consumers don’t want to purchase immediately?

Don’t you want to nudge them towards an eventual purchase?

Of course, you do!

But if you’re a small business with a limited budget and small staff, your marketing methods must be fast, affordable, and effective. You should consider Direct Response Marketing.

Keep reading to learn about the two types of marketing and the characteristics of a successful direct response ad campaign.

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Two Types of Marketing

    2 Types of Marketing
    Basically, there are two kinds of marketing — branding and direct response. Here’s a brief explanation of each one.


    The brand marketing method keeps a business top of mind by constantly reminding potential clients about the company, its products, and its services.

    But branding is a time-consuming and expensive way to market. It requires a company to saturate the market with messages over an extended period regularly.

    Brand marketing communicates via email, websites, online advertisements, flyers, catalogs, promotional letters, and cell phone text messages. In addition, database marketing and targeted newspaper, magazine, TV, and radio ads are used—outdoor billboards as well.

    Brand marketing usually involves large corporations with multi-million dollar budgets that allow for long-term advertising in multiple media channels.

    Heavy hitters like automakers, insurance companies, and pizza delivery are some of the obvious brand marketers. National advertising by Geico, Papa John, and Apple are examples of brand marketing. These companies constantly run ads so consumers will remember them when they’re ready to buy.

    Brand marketing is successful, but it takes a lot of time and money.

    Smaller businesses simply don’t have the budget to place ads in volume for long periods of time. Therefore, whether rightfully so (or not), for many small businesses, this approach has come to be known as Spray & Pray Marketing.”

    Direct Response Marketing

    Direct response is designed to get an immediate response via direct communication with consumers who may be interested in your product or services.

    Ideally, direct response ads prompt a potential customer to take specific action right away.

    For example, asking a potential customer to join an email list, call for more information, place an order, or visit a website or social media page.

    This method lets you know immediately how effective your marketing is based on the consumer’s response.

    Small companies who can’t afford to wait years for a branding campaign to work can use direct response marketing to create immediate traffic.

    Characteristics of Direct Response

    Characteristics of Direct Response Marketing

    The following characteristics explain why direct response is different from brand marketing. In addition, these aspects show you why it’s the most realistic way for small businesses to reach their prospects affordably.

    Trackable Responses

    Direct response marketing is trackable—it gets consumers to perform a specific, trackable response.

    When a customer joins a mailing list, you know it.

    If someone visits a website, clicks on an ad, or calls for information, you can track the response to a specific ad.

    You’ll know which marketing works and which doesn’t.

    That knowledge tells you how to spend your advertising dollars. It tells you which ads don’t work, so you don’t waste any more money on them.

    Mass media brand marketing tries to increase sales without tracking. It raises brand awareness and reach, but it doesn’t give marketers specific data to inform future marketing buys.

    People may respond to your ads, but you likely won’t know which one actually worked!

    Measurable Results

    Direct response tells you which ads create the desired result. You’ll know how many sales were generated by a specific ad. That means you can measure effectiveness. If an ad doesn’t work, you can drop it! Or, you can rework the elements and try again!

    Call to Action Headlines

    Direct response marketing always has a compelling message aimed directly at the target audience. The attention-grabbing headlines and copy will request a specific, measurable action from the reader.

    Target Audiences

    Direct response marketing doesn’t try to talk to everyone in the way brand marketing does.

    Instead, it narrows the focus of communication to a specific location, demographic or special interest. We call this segmentation.

    Properly segmented messages appeal to targeted audiences with potential interest in the product.

    Specific Offer

    Another characteristic of direct response is that the ads make a specific offer.

    The offer may be a discounted price, or it may aim at getting the prospect to take action, like downloading a report or subscribing to a newsletter.

    The specific offer benefits the potential customer. It focuses on the client’s problems, fears, frustrations, or interests, not on the advertising company.

    This is another way direct response marketing zeros in on specific consumers.

    Brand marketing has a broad, general message that highlights the advertiser.

    Required Response

    Direct response always has a compelling reason for the prospect to respond in a specific way.

    The industry term is a Call to Action or CTA.

    The client is not only asked to respond; they are given a way to do so that allows advertisers to collect the results.

    Methods of responding are designed to be easy and convenient so prospects follow through.

    They may be asked to call a phone number, visit a website, email a form, return a card or use a coupon.

    The response provides feedback on the ad and captures information the advertiser can use to contact the consumer later.

    Initial Follow-Up

    When a direct response asks for details, the transaction includes a reward for the information. The reward may be education, information, or a discount price.

    When the reward is provided, the consumer is notified of a second offer that compels them to take the next step.

    The second request may be to schedule an appointment or visit the store.

    It’s a good idea to attach an expiration date or quantity limit to the offer to prompt a quick response.

    After that, additional follow-up is done via email, phone, or traditional mail.

    Unconverted Leads Follow-Up

    When people don’t respond to the second offer, they aren’t ready to buy.

    Don’t write them off. Sometimes the buyers’ journey takes a long time.

    Stay in touch with undecided consumers. Continue to follow up one or two times a month. You don’t want to annoy them, but you do want them to think of you when they’re ready to buy. Offer your expertise to answer questions and concerns.

    Benefits of Direct Response Marketing

    Benefits Of Direct Response Marketing

    The bottom line is that direct response ads don’t just generate name recognition; They are powerful lead-generating tools that target the people most likely to buy your product and services.

    When done well, direct response marketing is the best way for small businesses to communicate with potential customers from initial interest to final sale.

    Email marketing is one of the most effective direct response mediums available today.

    Our favorite tool for email marketing… Keap (formerly Infusionsoft)!

    DISCLAIMER: Online Marketing Muscle is a Keap Certified Partner.

    Clone the Owner Guide Cover

    Clone the Owner® System

    The Secret Sauce of a 7-Figure Business

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Share via
    CtO Slide Deck - ISSA NA 2023 Event

    ISSA North America Conference 2023

    Want a copy of the Slides?

    Clone the Owner: The Secret Sauce Of A 7-Figure Business

    CtO Guide Cover

    Looking To Scale Your Business?


    Use this proven system to make your vision a reality!

    Scroll to Top