Stan Gershengoren | Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing campaigns are specifically designed to prompt immediate action from their targets. If you are more familiar with branding campaigns, which use a more subtle, long-term approach to driving sales, this more direct and aggressive strategy may seem a bit foreign and, perhaps, intimidating. However, while branding certainly has its place, direct response campaigns can often, be more effective in terms of converting prospects into customers, especially for small or mid-size businesses that are working with a tighter advertising budget.

Direct response campaigns can also be more straightforward in terms of tracking your ROI than many other marketing strategies. When a prospect becomes a customer by responding to a direct response ad, you’re able to track exactly which ad, placed on what media, was responsible for that conversion. This is also a valuable advantage for businesses with tight budgets, making it easy to measure the effectiveness of advertising materials and platforms.

Those reasons, while compelling, are high-level reasons for employing effective direct response marketing campaigns for your business. The actual deployment and management of these strategies is where everything comes together and breeds success. The first things to grasp, are the basic characteristics you need, to build each direct response marketing campaign, including:

  • Compelling Headlines and Content – The primary purpose of direct response marketing is to send existing or potential customers compelling messages that drive specific actions. To fulfill that purpose, your content needs to grab their attention, which means composing bold, interesting headlines. It also needs to keep their attention long enough for them to absorb your message and feel motivated to act on it, which requires strong and engaging sales copy.
  • Targets Specific Audience/Niche – While many marketing strategies are all about reaching as broad an audience as possible, with direct response marketing campaigns, your best conversion numbers will be had by targeting people with the greatest likelihood of becoming customers. Direct response marketing is a more personalized approach to sales/engagement, and that means creating campaigns that target prospects in specific age groups, geographic areas, professions or social groups that are most likely to engage with the products or services you offer.
  • Makes Specific Offer – Direct response marketing is, like other marketing strategies, meant to build positive impressions of your products/services in the minds of potential customers. However, it is important to keep in mind that the chief goal of this approach, is to compel your prospects to action – right now. That means that your copy needs to make a specific offer to get your prospects interested in taking the next step, whether that is making a purchase, signing up for a free report, subscribing to a newsletter or clicking through to your blog or website to learn more about your company and its products/services.
  • Clearly Outlines Benefits – Your content must make a compelling case about the benefits of responding to your offer. That means appealing to your prospects in a very personalized way, focusing on their needs, problems, interests and desires. In short, your audience needs to know how your products or services can do for them, how they can solve a problem, meet their needs or make their lives easier or more satisfying in some way.
  • Includes Clear Call-To-Action – The call to action is the final nudge to push interested prospects towards action. It must present a very easy way to respond to your offer – a phone number, online contact form, subscription link or product information/purchase link, for instance. Your call to action should be designed to capture as much information on your prospects as possible for follow-up purposes.
  • Built-In, Multifaceted Follow-up – Short-term follow-up is important in converting one-time purchasers into return customers or providing the nudge that unconverted prospects, who are leaning towards becoming customers need to take the leap. Including secondary offers in your follow-up contacts – which can be done by phone, text, email or some combination of these methods – is a great way to generate more conversions from those contacts. Longer-term follow-up can be beneficial for prospects who have expressed interest but have not yet taken that next step in response to your primary or secondary offers. Hearing from you once or twice a month can often convert these prospects over time.
  • Built-in Performance Tracking/Analysis – You’ll need to be able to track which materials and platforms are generating prospects, leads and customers and just how many they produce. That means building efficient tracking and analytics tools into every step of your marketing plan.

Once your campaign is designed, tested and launched, managing it effectively means monitoring the results closely and continually. You will need to track responses from every point of outreach to prospects. This will not only help you determine which ads, materials and platforms are performing well and which are not but will also help you gain greater insight on the needs, preferences and motivations of your target audiences. Among the more important metrics to track from all contact points are:

  • Immediate sales generated by campaign
  • Responses that indicate potential future sales
  • Responses or leads that go cold, failing to generate sales

This is key to running the most cost-efficient campaign, since it provides you with the information you need to quickly drop or revamp any ads or materials that are not performing well. That benefits your bottom line by the reducing time and resources you spend on ads, content and/or platforms that are not panning out for your business. It also provides` the means to maximize use of those ads and other content that are performing best, yielding the highest numbers of leads or sales, which also boosts the cost efficiency of your marketing plan.

The overall outcome of effective design, tracking, maintenance and management of your marketing campaigns is the ability to continually tweak your approach to sales or lead generation. This works to ensure you are able to make the most of each dollar you spend on marketing. The one constant that in your campaigns is, and should always be, test, test and test again.