What is Direct Response Copywriting and How to Use It to Convert Sales

Jeanne San Pascual

PUBLISHED: Nov. 4, 2020   

We live in a digitally evolving space where people are bombarded with tons of ads and messages everyday…

In fact, the average customer sees 5000 ads in a day

And that’s a lot I tell ya.

Among those 5000 ads, only a few will grab people’s attention and make them want to take immediate action.

That’s why your message could easily go unheeded. It’s either boring or just doesn’t speak to the right people.

So if you’re a business owner wanting to turn the tide around for your business, what are you to do?

Enter direct response copywriting.

What is Direct Response Copywriting?

Direct response copywriting is all about triggering the right emotions so you get them to act then and there. As its name suggests, the goal is to elicit a “direct response” (also known as conversions).

What you want is for your copy to resonate with their emotions so you have a higher chance of closing the sale.

This is particularly essential because today’s customers are always looking for a reason for their purchase decisions.

And what’s behind every purchase decision? Emotions.

Although some people would say, “Oh no, not me, I buy based on logic,” experts say otherwise.

Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman states that we buy based on emotions but justify it with logic. In fact, he says that 95% of our buying decisions happen in our subconscious.

Why Direct Response Copywriting is Important

If you’re a business that sells a product or service, getting past people’s barriers to purchase is vital

And that’s something you can do through direct response copywriting.

It allows you to attract your target audience and tap into their emotions in order to elicit the response you want. It also enables you to frame a selling strategy that positions you as the ONLY answer to what your target market is looking for.

Pretty nifty, right?

After all, it’s every business owner’s dream to have an audience who’s sure and READY to buy…

And the only way to achieve that is to be conscious of how effective you’re selling your brand. 

Smart Tips For Effective Direct Response Copywriting

To make things further easier for yourself, take a look at the below tips that will certainly help you in getting an idea about the efficient way of handling direct response copywriting.

Understand Your Target Audience

The key to a successful direct response copywriting is understanding your ideal customers.

You need to frame who your target is and determine what you need to achieve with your copy. This will later on help you ascertain what CTA or angle would work best to attract your ideal customers.

Take the time out to get to know who you’re speaking to.

Because if you don’t know who you’re speaking to, how else will you be able to know what the right things to say?

When you know your customer, you’ll be able to strike the right chord and you pretty much got the sale (or at least turned then into a fan).

Whether it’s buying the product or signing up for the services, you need to make sure that you’re aware of their preferences. Once you do, you can then mold your message accordingly for better results.

Find Out What the Problem Is and Solve It

The next thing to do is to find out what’s ailing them…

And you need to do that, pronto!

This is easy enough if you’ve crafted your product/service with their problem in mind.

But what if you already have an existing offer that’s not exactly a solution? Or it’s a boring everyday item like a pair of shoes? How do you exactly position your product?

Well, either you dig deeper to find the need…

OR just create the need.

So, for instance, you’re selling a pair of shoes. It doesn’t really solve any heavy problems because after all, it’s just shoes.

But why do people pick a certain brand of shoes over others? When someone’s able and willing to spend almost $100 on just a pair of shoes, you have to look at the deeper needs that influence their decision making.

For the said example, you’ll find that:

  • People pay a premium to wear fashionable shoes so they can fit in or express themselves
  • There are others who also pay a premium to get higher quality shoes that last long
  • There are also those that go for shoes that solve a specific health problem (e.g. plantar fasciitis)
  • Some pay a premium simply because they can afford it

Solving a problem for your target audience is as simple as speaking to what the core purpose of their buying decisions are.

What some brands do is go out and create a need. They convince their customers that they’re experiencing a problem that needs to be solved.

Make It About The Reader

Once you know the above points, the next best step is to make your copy customer-centric rather than brand-centric. 

The main concern of your customers is how your brand can help them—not why your brand is the best.

To do this, mention some key points that address what they’re going through.

Include something relatable and tie that in with how your product or service can provide a reliable solution through your brand. 

This will create a sense of affinity that will draw them in toward your brand.

Rather than stuffing your customers with your brand accolades (not saying you can’t later on), do show them first how you can help them with their problems. 

Get to Grabbing Their Attention

There’s no use having a bomb-ass copy if no one’s reading it in the first place.

Your next job is to make sure your copy gets read by grabbing attention through your headline.

The headline is the first thing that your customer will see in your copy.

If your headline isn’t catchy and worthy enough to grab the readers’ attention, then no matter how effective your copy is, then your message is all for nothing.

In fact, according to research, 41% of people don’t get past the headline.

That’s some sad news but one you don’t have to suffer from.

There are numerous techniques you can use when writing headlines. You can try the “intrigue” them route or go for something specific as:

“Earn over $1,000 in sales with this tactic in just one week!”

The above example uses both—it’s intriguing and offers specific benefits that are bound to interest the reader.

Don’t Get Hang Up on Length

It’s pretty often that people struggle to decide whether to keep their copy long or short.

Although no one wants to read long, drawn out copy—it’s really needed sometimes. Why?

Because copy length is determined based on the price of your offer.

If you’re selling a high-ticket item, people are likely to have more barriers to purchase. Hence, longer copy is needed so you can address each one of those.

It’s just a fact that people don’t like parting with big sums of cash, unless they can help it, of course.

Aside from that, don’t unnecessarily drag your copy just to increase the word count for SEO purposes. 

Don’t Forget the CTA

You could have the most persuasive copy in the world but if you don’t direct your readers what to do next, then nothing will happen. Ever.

One crucial element of direct response copywriting is providing an effective and relevant CTA to make your goal happen.

A CTA is what will compel your readers to take action. 

To prepare a relevant CTA you need to consider a few points:

  • Use a strong command verb (e.g. get, buy, shop, download, etc.)
  • Add something they can be enthusiastic about (e.g, Subscribe now and get 30% off your first order!)
  • Give them a reason to follow through (e.g. Inquire now and get a FREE consultation)
  • Give them a reason why they should do something now (e.g. Buy 1 and get 2 while supplies last!)
  • Keep your CTAs fresh. If you don’t want to go for the tried and tested terms, you can still do something creative and test it if it works. (e.g. Instead of “Apply Now,” try using “Start now for a healthier you!”)
  • Don’t be afraid to get specific because it’s what draws people in. (e.g. Shop today and get everything for under $100!)

Direct Response Copywriting is More Than Just the Sales

Although sales is still the most common goal for those who use direct response copywriting, let’s not forget that it’s really all about getting to know your customers and evoking a response from them.

Since this type of copywriting is more science than art, you have to have a system in place in structuring your copy.

Frame your copy in a way that’s customer-centric and addresses their problems in order to compel them to take action. Add in elements that grab their attention as well as a call-to-action so they know what to do after reading your copy.

That’s just about it!

Follow the above direct response copywriting tips and you’re on your way to better sales!