As a marketer, you’re no stranger to playing the long game. Chances are that your strategy includes content creation, link building and some other tactics that, although effective, takes time to generate results. But business waits for no one so you also need a way to get measurable results now. That’s where direct response copywriting comes in. What is it, what does it look like, and what can it do for your company? Let’s find out.
What is direct response copywriting?
As you may know, copywriting in general is writing to persuade. The term direct response copywriting is more specific, though. It refers to writing that prompts readers to take immediate action. A staple of both traditional and digital marketing, it can serve many purposes including:
- Driving customers to a brick-and-mortar store via direct mail
- Getting new email list subscribers
- Supporting social media marketing campaigns
- Driving e-commerce sales
Some copy exists mainly to make an impression so that you remember a brand later and are more likely to engage with it. On the other hand, direct response uses psychology to get you to take a specific action right away. This could be anything from signing up for an email list to becoming a customer.
In any case, the sole goal is to prompt immediate follow-through. How do skilled direct response copywriters achieve this goal? Let’s explore three best practices they use as well as some examples you can use to hone your copywriting skills and create your own direct response campaigns.
3 direct response best practices worth remembering
Generally, best practices are more like guidelines than hard-and-fast rules. However, there are a few best practices for effective direct response copywriting that will never fail you.
1. Personalize your copy
The more you personalize your copy, the more powerful it will be. Why? People have their own needs, goals, and desires in mind. So, to motivate them to act, it needs to be clear how a reader will personally benefit from whatever you’re offering. Rather than talking about your target market as a whole, speak to each individual specifically.
What individualized, customer-centric copy looks like:
Take, for example, product descriptions. Often, they only speak about the product but not to the potential customer. Jarvis’ Pain Agitate Solution (PAS) template provides an easy fix.
Imagine that you were trying to sell an ergonomic desk chair and needed a compelling copy. Inputting a few product details would generate several copy ideas that could be used as-is or combined to create a personalized and persuasive product description.
A brief, personalized description created using the different AI outputs might look something like this:
“Sitting at a desk all day is hard on your body and can leave you uncomfortable or, even worse, in pain. Been there? Most desk chairs don't provide the support you need to maintain good posture, which can cause back pain and other health problems.
The Best Office Chair has been designed by experts using the latest technology. It features adjustable lumbar support that conforms to your lower back for maximum comfort during extended periods of sitting time. Order the Best Office Chair today to say goodbye to discomfort and pain!”
Not only does it speak directly to the reader in a relatable way, but it also touches on their pain points and benefits that would appeal to them.
2. Provide well-rounded information
Since direct response aims to get readers to act immediately, those readers need to have enough information to feel comfortable taking the next step right away. And the less familiar they are with your brand or offer before they read your copy, the more true this is.
So to build trust and give your audience what they need to make an informed decision, include the following in your copy:
- Research and statistics from credible sources
- Use cases and examples to show how your offer is relevant and useful to them
- True stories and case studies that show the positive outcomes of taking the next step you’re recommending
Yes, adding these details may make your sales copy long-form, which some recommend against because “people may get bored.” But, as long as the information is clear, engaging, and dialed into the most important selling points, long-form copy is fine. You shouldn’t feel boxed into short-form unless it’s necessary due to character count restrictions.
What specific copy looks like:
To continue with our office chair example, let’s say you wanted to add some additional information to the description to drive sales.
Using the Persuasive Bullet Points template available in Jarvis, you could add details on the most desirable outcomes of using the chair, as well as some proof of its effectiveness.
Seeing the top benefits and statistics at a glance, along with the mention of expert designers and top-notch technology, would make this chair more appealing than alternatives. The same concept goes for whatever you’re actually marketing and selling.
3. Highlight a single call-to-action (CTA)
Last but not least, your copy should promote the single most important next step you want people to take.
If you give people several options, they’ll have to do extra legwork to figure out which one is best, which can be frustrating and time-consuming. It can even stop people from taking any action whatsoever, as can failing to include a call-to-action (CTA) at all.
What a strong CTA looks like:
How could the call-to-action for our office chair description be improved even more? By running the original CTA—"Order the Best Office Chair today to say goodbye to discomfort and pain!"— through Jarvis’ Content Improver.
It’s a fast way to get ideas for making your ask more compelling. In this case, it involves reiterating problems being addressed, the positive outcomes, and even the incentive of free shipping for people who order immediately.
Jarvis also features many other templates that can help you write a wide variety of high-converting direct response copy when used along with best practices. Everything from emails and sales pages to social media copy, ad copy, and beyond.
3 real-life direct response copywriting examples
Want to see the best practices above in action in real life? Here are three examples of big brands nailing their execution.
Google gave an excellent lesson in personalization via its promo email for the Pixelbook Go laptop. Not only is “you” used repeatedly but the rest of the copy also highlights the features that would be most convenient and attractive to each reader.
Just as their message focuses on a singular reader and what they would gain from buying a Pixelbook, your copy should speak directly to each person about what they’ll be most interested in.
It’s important to give people all the information they’ll need to feel comfortable taking the next step. Semrush’s landing page is a textbook example of how this should be done.
- Various dropdowns with feature descriptions
- Screenshots of its tool
- Impressive details on its data and number of users
- Awards it has earned
All of the above are trust builders that you can use to increase the effectiveness of your copy and get better results faster. Written and video testimonials also work well.
Also essential for effective copy is a single, rock-solid call-to-action. MasterClass has done an excellent job of this in the hero section of its homepage. All of the copy points to a single next step—sign up. And instead of a vague ask like “sign up here,” it uses specific language like:
- “Learn outdoor skills from an expert”
- “Get access to 100+ of the world’s best”
- “Start learning now”
As you write calls-to-action for your direct response copy, remember to limit yourself to just one and to be crystal clear about what you want people to do.
Mastering direct response is easier than ever
Direct response copy, which is rooted in psychology, is designed to get results now. That being the case, it takes a fair amount of skill to execute well. Or, at least, it used to.
Instead of having to hire a pro direct response copywriter—either in-house and full-time or freelance—you can now become a great copywriter yourself in no time. With the best practices we covered in mind and with Jarvis in your arsenal, you can create effective high-converting copy in minutes and for far less than the cost of hiring a direct response copywriter. Start a free trial of Jarvis today!