What is Direct Response Marketing?

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The competition to get more clients to notice and purchase through you gets more exhausting each day. If you don’t use the correct marketing strategy, that is. 

No matter if you’re just starting your business or you’ve had one for decades, choosing the right marketing strategy seems always to come hand in hand with several questions. 

How much is it going to cost?

What’s the best way to target my customers?

Is it going to work?

Is it a waste of money? 

This article is going to discuss one of the more proven methods to success – direct response marketing. If you’ve been looking into marketing strategies for your business, we’re sure you’ve come across the term direct response marketing. 

Keep reading to find out exactly what it is, the pros and cons, and why you should implement it now. 

What Is Direct Response Marketing?

If you thought it was direct marketing, we wouldn’t blame you. There’s a subtle difference between the two. 

Direct marketing is merely the act of directly contacting a customer without eliciting an immediate response. On the other hand, direct response marketing is packaged with a value proposition, pitch, and a call to action to garner a response from your customers immediately. 

Most people identify direct response marketing with the $44.2 billion direct mail industry; that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The digital age has added more mediums for businesses to get a direct response from their customers. 

Hi, Billy Mays Here

If you’ve ever been awake at 4 in the morning anywhere in the early ’80s to the late ’00s watching television, you’ve heard Billy Mays. The long 30 to 60-second commercials that tell you, “Call the toll-free number to buy now!” 

Infomercials have been a profitable business strategy, with the U.S. market alone standing at $170 billion back in 2009. The strategy is still in play today, but it’s just moved on from your TV set to your computer screen or smart phone. 

Landing Pages

Ah, landing pages. All the work that you’ve put into your paid ads campaign bears fruit here. 

They’re a great example of direct response marketing. You created your landing page for a specific reason. Whether it’s to call them to join your email list, purchase something, get in contact, or download a free e-Book.

While a perfect landing page is something of a myth, there are ways to ensure that you’re getting the most out of yours. An underused strategy is to build a separate landing page specific to a marketing campaign. 

Every campaign is run with a particular goal in mind. Let’s say you run a campaign to get more people to sign up to your email list. When they get to your landing page, if they see a call-to-action to signup, purchase product X, and schedule a phone call, it’ll only confuse them.

When you have a single call-to-action button, conversions can increase by 62%

Our favorite landing page builder is Unbounce. You can start a free trial with them today!

Social Media Ads

The advancement in technology has given way to a new era of direct response marketing. One that may not be as annoying as all the catalogs that used to come in the mail. 

A company that sells newborn baby products might want to target families who just had a baby. Utilizing social media is a terrific way to efficiently target your customers instead of conducting a blanket marketing campaign. 

Regardless of the product or service you’re offering, social media is an efficient method to get your customers to act quickly. Effective social media ads have three things in common:

  • Short, impactful copy
  • Clear CTA
  • Eye-catching, relevant visuals

When scrolling through your feed, the first thing that catches your eye is the image, not the text. But it’s essential to have a relevant visual. 

Because there’s nothing worse than getting stopped by a photo of Harambe doing to macarena only to have the copy talking about the best new weed killer for your lawn. 

The best thing about social media ads is that the cost per acquisition can be lowered over time, you can reach more of your target audience, and it’s entirely scalable when done correctly. 

Email Lists and Direct Mail

The time-old strategy of direct mail such as newsletters and coupons is still effective. Giving your customers an offer through direct mail like a discount or freebie can transition them to join your valuable email list.

An example of this would be to have them provide their email address to receive their freebie or put a QR code directly onto the letter to get them to your landing page. 

A dominating form of direct response marketing has been using email lists. When every $1 you spend can expect to yield an average return of $42, it’s easy to see why. 

It’s a myth that you need to have an extensive email list to be a gold mine for your business. A small list can create just as much profit. 

If an extensive email list is all that matters, you could simply purchase 2 million emails from a broker. That doesn’t mean anything. 

Email marketing is an intimate form of direct marketing that builds the relationship, not eliciting an immediate response. Once that relationship has some form of footing, then direct response emails come to play.  

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Email Deliverability here.

Paid Ads

Paid ads such as Google Ads are a great way to get in front of your audience. Similar to social media ads, paid ads get you in front of the demographic that you choose. By selecting the correct combination of keywords, location, and other demographics when your customer is searching for anything related to your product, your ads will appear. 

This is a great opportunity to take advantage of their awareness and get them to respond at that moment. 

Businesses That Use Direct Response Marketing


If they don’t, they should.  

We’ve discussed the difference between direct marketing and how direct response marketing works earlier, but it’s important to emphasize it again. Direct response marketing is a marketing strategy that can get you faster results by getting your customers to take action right now. 

All the big brands like Nike, Adidas, Papa Johns, and the small mom-and-pop run stores take advantage of direct response marketing. The whole point is to get responses from customers. 

Let’s take a look at LinkedIn, for example. How many posts do you read that end with the user asking for the readers to contact them? 

They have their value proposition at the beginning, their pitch in the middle, and a call-to-action to finish it off. A direct response marketing campaign isn’t over once the strategy is in place. It takes a certain amount of refining to take it to the next level. These include:

  • A/B testing of emails, ads, and landing pages
  • Make the purchase as easy as possible
  • Give a sense of urgency 

Pros and Cons of Direct Response Marketing

The speedy results are the most significant advantage to direct response marketing. But that’s not all. 

Tracking and analyzing your campaign’s performance is vital to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. That comes second to the speedy results. Being able to track and analyze your campaign gives you an edge in seeing what’s working, what’s not, and what to change at a moment’s notice. 

The success of a campaign boils down to your return on investment (ROI). Using direct response marketing techniques, you’re able to break down your ROI to see how cost-effective it was. 

The last advantage is one that we discussed in the ads section above – targeted ads. 

It’s not only Google and Facebook Ads being targeted, but all forms of direct response marketing can be. Since its lifeblood is data, the targeted campaigns naturally lead to higher conversion rates. 

Competition is prevalent in a world where ads, emails, and letters and constantly thrown in people’s faces. But getting creative ads, emails, or letters can create positive brand association and, in turn, spark the most incredible marketing campaign of all time – word of mouth. 

The Bottom Line

It’s undeniable that marketing campaigns can be complicated and take a while to yield results. But the versatile nature of direct response marketing makes it a desirable strategy to have in your playbook. 

Used effectively, it won’t become spam, but rather it’ll turn into one of the most lucrative strategies you will ever implement for your business. 

But every business has its problems that require a solution specific to them. There are many solutions to improve your sales that are not limited to direct response marketing. 

Get in touch with our team for a free audit today. 


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