The Power of Direct Response Marketing

June 23, 2012 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Have you ever heard of direct response marketing?

Ever wonder what it’s all about? Who’s doing it? What’s so special about it?

The fact is to explain direct response marketing would take a multiple hour conversation. There are so many facets and details to it that even the best direct response marketers in the world are constantly refining and improving their marketing processes.

OK enough rambling. In short, direct response marketing is a marketing approach whose main goal is to create advertising that causes the prospect to take a specified, desired action. That’s it.

The action can be in the form of a sale, getting them is to call a toll-free number (like you see on TV), having them opt-in to your mailing list, have them fill out a form, etc. The point is that you want your advertising to induce the prospect to do what you want them to do.

Now just to clarify in case you’re wondering; direct response marketing is in direct contrast to what most people know as marketing: branding.

Brand advertising/marketing is by far the most recognizable form of marketing. It is what is most identified with the process that is marketing. Rarely will you ever hear a random person on the street describe direct response marketing as actual marketing.

Why is this?

Well simply because the whole goal of brand marketing is to… well brand. The objective is to get your name/brand out there. It’s to create as much exposure as possible and to get noticed by as many people as possible.

The best metaphor I’ve heard when comparing brand marketing to direct response marketing is this:

Brand marketing is casting as wide of a net as possible and looking to catch as many fish with that wide net as you can.

Direct response is laser targeting a specific group, maybe even a specific fish and focusing on getting that one.

Naturally, one would think that branding is the best way to market right? I mean you’re getting more exposure, getting your name out there, and you have potential for a lot more sales and money right? And to add to that, with direct response you’re only targeting a small amount of people and you have potential for less sales.

So Which One is Better? Branding or Direct Response?

Direct Response: let me explain.

I’d say that the vast majority of businesses in the world are small business. Maybe 80%-90%. I mean when you think about it the big franchises pale in comparison when you put them side to side with all the mom and pops out there.

Now why do I say this?

One of the major drawbacks of brand marketing is the extremely high cost to make those campaigns produce profits. Branding campaigns only work after a significant amount of money have been put into them.

Because of the high cost, brand marketing is tailor-made for big companies who can overcome the initial wave of little to no results until the market finally recognizes them at which point the money starts trickling in.

But do you see how this whole process of high-budget, low initial return marketing is inefficient and simply not worth it for small businesses.

Ever wonder why so many small businesses fail? It’s because in society the mainly held belief is that brand marketing is the only marketing that exists. So what happens? Because of the widely held belief that you have to spend as many advertising dollars as possible to “get your name out there”, small businesses end up spending their whole marketing budgets and end up with no results and little to no sales to recoup their investment. All they’ve basically done is they’ve depleted their marketing reserves and now they have to go into their profits once again to repeat the process all over again. (And keep in mind that this process of getting exposure/getting in front of your prospects only starts paying off once you have done if for a significant time, spent significant money on it, and once people have seen your ad/brand multiple times.

Enter Direct Response Marketing

With direct response every campaign you run should be started to make a profit. That means spend advertising dollars, get a response, make your money back, and make extra money back from what you initially invested in the campaign. Hence, profit.

And after you’ve run a profitable direct response campaign, you can then reinvest those profits and expand your direct response campaign. Could you do that with an unprofitable, slow-to-work branding campaign?

Direct response is a small-budget friendly marketing strategy. It allows David to compete with the Goliaths of the world. It opens the door for mom and pops to take their businesses from failing to thriving.
How to Specifically Use Direct Response Marketing Methods

You must first understand that the goal of direct marketing is to get the prospect to buy or give you their information.

It is never to get your name out their, get exposure, and brand yourself. There is a time and a place to do that but it shouldn’t be done in your advertising.

In your advertising you must lay out a clear direct benefit to your customers. You must make it clear what you have to offer them and how they are going to benefit from doing business with you. Remember, benefits, not features meaning the end result not the cool features that your product contains.

Tell stories in your advertisement if space is provided. People are instinctively inclined to listen to any story being told to them so if you can tell a story, relay it with your product, and make the connection to the sale then your response rate will definitely go up.

Offer a bonus for those who take action. Add something for free on top of what they are already getting. People like to buy when they are further incentivized to do so and when they feel like they are getting a bargain.

Introduce scarcity and urgency in your marketing. When you have offered a bonus you can actually use it to leverage off of your introduction of scarcity and urgency. Having a bonus allows you to then take it away with the technique of scarcity (having a limited supply) and urgency (making them take action within a certain period of time).

Last and most important than all, you must have a call to action in your advertising. You must lead your customers into what you want them to do. Remember, people secretly want to be lead but don’t want anybody knowing that. Knowing this, you must go out of your way and make a concerted effort to make a strong call to action and tell them what to do and make your intentions clear. Doing this will surely increase your conversions so do not forget this last but most important technique.

Direct response is truly the marketing method for the masses and it is massively under-appreciated and underused.

Unless you’re a multi-8 figure company I would strongly advise you use direct response marketing.

To learn more on the system I use to apply these direct response principles and make money visit

Luis Nakamoto is the owner of, a website specializing in marketing training and financial freedom.

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