The internet has made everything into direct response marketing. Mass media like television was all about building a brand. They wanted to build a brand in your mind, so you will remember that brand when you go shopping at the store sometime later.
But today everything is instantaneous. When you shop online, you are looking at the product and buying it right then and there. Sure, you must have a brand, but it doesn’t have to be memorable with jingles, catch phrases and taglines. If you sell on Amazon, you only really need a compelling description of your product and why it benefits your user. What you don’t need is a jingle.
Another element that comes out of the direct response copywriting world is the use of testimonials. Amazon has made great use of these. Every product on Amazon has reviews by regular people. These are much more powerful than a brand. I’ve purchased product in which I didn’t know what the brand was—mostly based on the reviews of other people.
Most products don’t lend themselves to branding. Branding and mass media is great for products that have little benefit for the consumer. For example, Coke has very little benefit to you. It is made up of sugar, carbonated water and caramel coloring—and of course some secret flavoring. So, Coke needs to you use other methods rather than logic to get you to buy Coke. They have to associate Coke with feeling good and having a good time. That’s all they can do. That’s why all of their television ads have people smiling, dancing and singing.
So, building up the brand with their red and white logo is very important to Coke. When they sponsor a sporting event, just splashing their red and white logo stirs up those good feelings. (Also, it doesn’t hurt that the product contains sugar and caffeine –two ingredients that act on the brain’s feel-good sensors.)
But if you were selling something practical like camping equipment, you would need to be somewhat practical. Yes, you need to appeal to the emotional side, but at the end of the day, you need to explain why your canoe is better than the other guy’s canoe. So, when that product is being sold online, you need more than just a brand name, logo and catchy tagline. You need a compelling reason to buy (now) and that’s where good direct response copywriting comes in.
Here are areas where you need direct response copywriting:
Amazon book description
Amazon book descriptions are essentially sales pages that (should) contain a headline, a lead, body copy and a call to action. You need those elements in order to get people to respond RIGHT NOW. Otherwise, people just might go somewhere else if you bore them.
Google turned everything on its head with Pay Per Click advertising. When you place an ad on Google, you want people to give people reasons buy right now. You’re not trying to build up a brand.
This holds true with ads anywhere else on the internet. You are expecting a direct response. The problem is too many companies are stuck in the branding mode. You’ve probably seen many ads that really don’t say anything. And they don’t really have a call to action—leaving you scratching your head.
There’s probably a 90% chance that you have a product that needs direct response adverting. As in the example with Coke, there are very few products that would have the inability to tout its benefits. Your product has unique benefits for your audience, and direct response copywriting is the only way show those benefits in a compelling way.
I’m sure you don’t waste too much time in an email building up your brand. You want people to respond now. So, this is another example of why you need a direct response copywriter. Your email’s subject line is like a headline in a direct response advertisement—it must compel a reader to open the email.
Professional bloggers are getting more and more savvy. They aren’t writing blogs to just write and hoping you like it. They are using direct response copywriting techniques to get people to by their products. They don’t just blog for the fun of it—it’s a business. Blogs about cooking and nutrition have all the earmarks of good direct response copywriting. They have a powerful headline, body copy and a call to action—whether it’s to read another post or to buy something.
And they want you to:
- Sign up for their newsletter
- Follow them on Twitter
- Comment on their blog
This all involves a direct response from YOU. Some blogs do it better than others, but the best ones use the tactics strategies that have been used by direct response copywriters for years.
You Tube Videos
There’s not a lot of people spending time building their brand on You Tube. Most of them want you to go do something now—as in go to their website and buy their product.
You Tube ads
The ads on You Tube are almost always direct response advertisements (or maybe they’re the only ones I’m seeing). They all use direct response copywriting techniques and tactics. Either learn this skill on your own or hire someone who does.
The best profit generating websites no longer just sit there with “content.” They are filled with direct response copywriting techniques and strategies. They want you to act “NOW.” Without good direct response copywriting, you’re not going to get people to response right now.
Nearly every facet of the internet needs direct response copywriting. I’m not saying brands are out but people want to know, “What’s in it for me?” rather than a feel good jingle or snappy headline. They need information. A good direct response copywriter knows that good copy requires lots of research and needs to deliver lots of information for a consumer to buy the product.
Ash Waechter is a direct response copywriter who helps small businesses sell more products and services online. He also writes SEO copy for attracting readers from around the web.