Direct response creative techniques drive digital advertising. On Facebook. On Amazon. In email newsletters and across the Internet.
Look away from your screen and you'll see direct response techniques in everything from PBS fundraising drives to the sample tables at Costco.
If you want action, you need to know direct.
Direct marketing and direct response advertising are the fastest ways for most companies to get clicks, calls and customers. Here are some ways to do exactly that.
Let's start with the basics
The objective of a direct response ad is to trigger an action that leads to a sale. There are many direct response techniques to accomplish that objective, but by far the most important is the offer.
There are two main characteristics that influence the effectiveness of a direct response offer: strength and relevance.
Strength - what it means.
"25% off" is stronger than "10% off." "Win a new Toyota 4 Runner" is stronger than "Win a digital camera." In a direct response context, strength is equivalent to the value or benefit of the offer to the prospect. Generally speaking, the stronger the offer the higher the response rate.
Relevance - what it means.
A free brochure offering "10 Ways To Get The Lowest Rates on Car Loans" is more relevant to people shopping for automobile financing than, "10 Ways To Protect Your Good Credit."
A chance to win a new set of golf clubs is likely more relevant to men than women while a discount on yoga classes is likely to attract more women than men. In a direct response context, relevance is how meaningful or compelling the offer is to the prospect and her lifestyle. Generally speaking, the more relevant the offer the higher the response rate.
- The 10 most effective direct response offers.
- An album of direct response ads in traditional, digital and social media.
- Proprietary creative maxims, theories and techniques.
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Maximize strength and relevance to maximize results
The most common reason direct response offers fail is that they are weak or irrelevant to the audience. That said, you must balance how much you spend with how much you must sell to make a profit. When you make that calculation be sure to consider the long term value of each newly acquired customer. And it is always smarter to start with the strongest offer you can afford.
Here are two of the the 10
most effective direct response offers:
This offer works well all around the world, in Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. And it can be expressed in interesting ways:
- Pay half now, nothing later.
- 50% off.
- Get two for the price of one.
There are many things you can offer for free. Free shipping clicks with web shoppers. Offering a free product sample or the first order for free are both excellent ways to overcome buyer hesitation, objections or concerns.
Offering free information can work especially well with expensive products or services such as vacation cruises. It's also a great way to get sales leads, to build a database of prospects.
Note that free information is the active ingredient in search engine optimization and content marketing. And besides website content, you can offer free information via a variety of mediums:
- YouTube video, DVD or Flash drive.
- Brochure or .PDF download.
- Workshop or seminar, online or in-person.
- Blog or social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Creative tip Spend time - lots of time - brainstorming offers.
There are always new and effective offers to be found, even in seemingly tired product categories.
- Capital One invented the balance transfer offer in credit cards, which helped propel them into the Fortune 100.
- General Motors invented the "employee discount for everyone" offer, which was so successful that it was copied by all the other major car makers.
And after that, GM offered a 60 day "TRY IT. LOVE IT. OR RETURN IT" guarantee. Now that's a compelling offer.
Creative tip: Get your offer up front, in the headline, subhead, lead or opening.