Definition of Direct Response Marketing And Why You Should Be Using It

Virtually every marketing approach is geared towards achieving a specific response from the target audience. Direct response marketing is primarily concerned with making the response more immediate.

Sometimes prospective customers can be reluctant to respond to your advertisements even though they appealed to them. The reason for this may be that the marketing strategy employed doesn’t propel them to take instant actions. This can impede quick conversions.

Direct Response Marketing seeks to address this by using value proposition and call-to-action. It can also cater to any type of business goal. In this article, you’ll find the meaning of direct response marketing, its channels, as well as techniques you can apply to enhance your Direct Response Marketing.

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What is Direct Response Marketing 

Direct Response Marketing is a marketing strategy designed to provoke an instantaneous response from potential customers. It is often targeted to a specific audience, to make them respond in a specific way; call a number, join a community, make a purchase, visit a blog, etc.

Rather than wait for your potential customers to make a move when they probably feel like it, you can use a call-to-action to incite immediate action. The goal is to drive the prospect from the place of contemplation into taking an action right away.

If you’ve ever had to sign up for a course or join a group through your Facebook page, that’s a typical example of direct response marketing. Calling to join a radio program is another manifestation of direct response marketing at work.

An attraction of this marketing tool to businesses is that it doesn’t require intermediaries. The infomercial enables you as a seller to access consumers who may like to purchase their products.

During an infomercial, the phone numbers to call or website to visit are usually displayed on the screen. With this, the prospect already knows what to do to purchase your products. Over the radio,  you can mention the number the potential customers can call over and over again during the program.

Also,  this strategy enables you to track your ROI and this in turn helps you measure your results. For instance, you can know how many people purchased in a day using a specific link and through a particular online medium.

Direct response marketing uses a vast variety of media like the mail, radio, DRTV, print advertising, the internet, etc. It can also drive about any marketing goal, irrespective of the niche.

Benefits Of Using Direct Response Marketing For Your Business 

Unlike other channels of distribution, such as retailing, direct marketing depends less on the quality of the brands. It chiefly leans on the value proposition, offer, communication, target customer, and the choice of channel.

This might make it easier to market your products even if your business is new. Some of the advantages of direct response marketing are:

You Can Track the Progress and Results

One key feature that differentiates direct response marketing strategy from others is that It makes it easy for you to track the results from every campaign. With this, you can compare between campaigns and know which works best for you. 

Let’s say you are using an online tool for your marketing campaign. Your ad promotes a 10% discount for everyone who orders your product within the next 24 hours, from any of your social media handles.

You can link each handle to a particular landing page. That way, you’ll know the number of sales that came from the ad and which sales came through which handle. This explains why the 800 numbers used for infomercials often change between different infomercials. 

Easy to Measure Success

The ability to track your sales from a direct response marketing campaign makes it easier to measure its success. From the number of sales derived from a specific campaign, you can know which is more efficient to use.

This is where Split-testing becomes remarkably needed. You can test two or more different campaigns at the same time to see which is more effective.

You’re Targeting a Particular Segment 

Targeting a large audience sometimes can be burdensome, and may not produce the optimal result. With direct response marketing, your campaigns are custom-tailored towards a specific audience who might need your offer.

This way, you’ll focus your energy on a more interested audience and most likely generate more sales. That is not to say that every other segment is neglected. You can run other campaigns to reach them, but your focus for every campaign is on a particular audience. This can ensure efficiency and better results.

You Make a Specific Offer

Aside from targeting a selected audience, direct response marketing enables you to compel the response of your potential customers using specific offers.  To increase your chances of conversion, you design the offers to be attractive and tempting.

The target of the offer is also towards a particular product. You can also use discounts and other promotional incentives to attract customers and encourage conversions.

You may also use a copy, which usually clearly spells out the value of the offers by stating what the customer can benefit from them. When you back a specific enticing offer with a clear call-to-action, it has a high tendency to convert and generate sales.

You Can Influence an Immediate Response From Your Customers

You can attach an expiration date or deadline to your specific offers to bring your customers to take immediate action.

They won’t presume that they can always visit your website anytime to take the necessary step. Rather they see the offer as an opportunity which they should take advantage of as fast as possible. 

You Have the Opportunity to Follow Up With Multiple Touchpoints

A successful direct response marketing campaign allows you to follow up with your new customers, using their email addresses and other key information. You can keep in touch with them and provide them with outstanding customer service.

In addition, you’ll get the chance to cross-sell or upsell them in the future.

You Have Access to a Wider Audience 

Having a large database is important for marketing. It increases your chances of making more sales. Direct response marketing allows you to capture information from even people who are not your customers.

This is possible through email marketing.  It also helps you to know who responded to the offer and who didn’t. 

Channels For Direct Response Marketing 

There is a wide range of tools for effective direct response marketing. They include:

Direct Mail

Direct mail refers to communications with potential customers via the postal service and other delivery services. You can send direct mails to customers based on different metrics such as location, income, buying pattern, age, profession, etc. 

Direct mail comprises but is not limited to free-trial CDs, advertising circulars, pre-approved credit card applications, and catalogs delivered by mail to businesses and homes. For example, if someone shows interest in artworks, you can send them direct mails to notify them when new artworks are available. 

Direct mail is often refined into targeted mails so that advertisers can send out emails to a particular set of people. These people become the target audience based on the assumption that they are most likely to give a positive response. In refining the direct mail, you use the database analysis, and mails that use the database are known as “advertising mail” or “admail”.

Online Tools

With the increase in digital technology and tools, the use of online channels for direct marketing is getting more common.  

Online channels use Display Ads, which are interactive ads that appear on the Web next to content on Web pages or Web services. Customers can click the ads to respond directly to your message or to get more information about your product, program, etc. Forms include videos, static banners, floating units, and pop-ups.

Another tool common to online channels is the Search tool. Search Engine Optimization allows your product or service to have a popular ranking among listings in search engines. As a result, whenever a potential customer enters a relevant search term, your product or business will appear.

This makes it possible for ads to be delivered to customers following their previous searches. Search engine optimization is also used by marketers to drive traffic to their sites.

Social Media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook are also key online tools for direct marketing. They provide a platform for marketers to communicate directly with customers using created content to which customers can respond.

Email Marketing 

Sending marketing messages through email is one of the most commonly used direct marketing strategies. Email Marketing is popular because it is relatively cheap to use, from the cost of designing to the cost of sending the message. 

With email marketing, marketers can deliver messages at any time, and also effectively measure responses.


Another common form of direct marketing is telemarketing, a strategy that allows marketers to contact customers by phone. Its major benefit to businesses is increased lead generation, which can enable them to boost their customer base and sales volume.

Successful telemarketing service providers often prioritize generating more “qualified” leads with greater chances of getting converted into actual sales.

However, following a critical review of the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) in the United States, the National Do Not Call Registry was created in 2003. This is to let consumers choose whether or not they wish to receive telemarketing calls at home. 

Direct Response Television 

Direct response television, DRTV for short, has two basic forms: a long-form and a short-form. The short-form is the most common form of direct response television. It refers to the common 30-60 seconds commercials which incite  an immediate response from viewers; visit a website or call a number.

The second form, the long-form usually lasts up to 30 minutes to 1 hour, with a detailed explanation about a product. It is often referred to as an “infomercial”.

TV-response marketing is regarded as a form of direct marketing because it stimulates viewers to call a number given on-air, in response to an advertisement.

A cheaper alternative to the direct response television, which is usually expensive, is the direct response radio. It uses the “call now” prompt tracking mechanism, often with a toll-free phone number, or a special Web URL.

Direct Sales

Direct sales is another direct response marketing method that sometimes is more effective in generating sales than the online approach. Direct sale is a  marketing strategy that puts you right before your target audience. It can be at a conference, at a trade fair, etc.

It only becomes direct response marketing when you make your offer to the consumer and also let them know how to fulfill the offer.

Direct Response Marketing Techniques 

These are suggested ways you can improve your direct response marketing, to generate more conversions and sales.

#1. Use Facebook Ads to Drive E-Commerce Sales

It is a clear fact that you can use social media as a prominent tool for direct response marketing in recent times. Facebook is one of the most effective and commonly used social media tools for marketing generally.

You can design your Facebook direct response marketing ads to clearly display the offer and explain what makes them unique. When a customer clicks the ad, the link takes them directly to your website. You can also create a copy that outlines the usefulness of the product. 

Very importantly, you should design the landing page to specify the status of buyers such as “First Time Buyers”. This can help you track the results of the ad campaign and calculate ROI.

#2. Use Refer-a-Friend Programs to Increase Customer Base

Refer-a-friend campaigns that are focused on creating a specific action: invite your friend to join, can help grow your customer base. This technique often uses attractive offers to incentivize the customers to send an invite to their friends.

For instance, the offer can be a free product, a discount for any intended purchase, or even a bonus for each referral.

#3. Direct Response Marketing For Driving Upsells

Sometimes, winning over new prospects to make a purchase can be a lot more tasking than convincing existing customers to buy again. You can pay more attention to your existing customers, creating new ways to entice them with every new product.

You can use friendly emails to notify them of a new product, outlining the unique features of the product and assuring them of a great user experience. This can provoke an instant response of checking out the product and perhaps, in the end, placing an order.

#4. The Use Of Phased Campaigns to Drive Action 

Direct response marketing is concerned with driving a specific action with a single CTA. Sometimes, however, this approach might not achieve the desired results, especially with skeptical customers. 

Guiding the customers through different phases of the campaign that gradually lead to the main action may be a better alternative. For instance, you can start with a “like our video” CTA, then proceed to “sign up for a newsletter” which enables you to send them relevant information. 

Then you  can further move to ” watch our video”, and use a 10% off coupon to seal the deal. The goal is to get the customer more convinced about the product with every phase so that taking the last step won’t need much persuasion. With this, the customer gets more convinced about the product at every phase, taking the last step won’t need much persuasion.

Phased campaigns allow you, most essentially, to keep track of customers’ behaviors and responses to each phase. Hence, from this observation, you can know which next step to take as you drive towards your goal.

#5. Drive Direct Response with TV Commercials

Infomercials are one of the most traditional, and effective examples of direct response marketing. 

Infomercials are effective because hey make use of testimonials from customers to portray their ability to meet the needs of the target customers. Again, during an infomercial, there is usually a constant reminder of the call to action. These strategies increase their potential for converting.enawith a constant reminder of the call to action, they stand a huge chance of converting.

The call-to-action can be  “call now” or “visit our website”, with their phone number or web address displayed on the screen all the time. In addition, they can also create time-bound rewards to get the customers to take advantage of the campaign.

You can decide to use this potent option to boost your direct response marketing.

#6. Take Advantage of Direct Mail

Direct mail, though an outdated form of marketing, due to the introduction of digital media, remains an effective means of attracting instantaneous response. According to a report of 2018, direct mail prompts the highest response rate in comparison to other digital direct marketing channels in the United States.

While direct mail is basically for mail campaigns, it can also be very effective for driving online actions. Since it uses customers’ data, you can also decide to use this data to create a highly personalized campaign targeted at bringing customers online.

When you’ve done that, then make them an irresistible offer that will drive them to take action. The database can help you categorize the customers so that you can design your offer to target each group’s needs. 


Direct response marketing is very helpful in terms of making campaigns have a sense of urgency. The fear of missing out on a huge opportunity often drives the potential customers into taking prompt action.

To be successful with this marketing strategy nonetheless, you need to be specific with your offer and audience and create promotions that excite the target audience. Also, you need to make it easy for the prospects to take advantage of the promotions.

One comment

  1. Rather than wait for your potential customer, you can use a call-to-action to create immediate action. The goal is to drive the prospect from the place of contemplation into taking action right away. Thanks for sharing!

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