Direct Response Ads: How to Write the Copy

Direct response ads are an effective marketing tool because the copy compels readers to act. And like writing press releases, crafting direct response ads involves highlight key features, benefits and the like.

The main difference between direct response ads and traditional adverts is they convey a narrative rather than just give the facts.

The “trick” behind good direct response ads is to emotionally involve readers, creating instant credibility by sharing a common story. The common ground established in direct response ads puts in place a conduit between the seller and potential buyers. The net result is breaking down barriers created by the presence of a third party.

Characteristics of Direct Response Ads

The single most important characteristic of direct response ads is answering and overcoming objectives raised in readers’ minds. While it’s not possible to answer every conceivable question in direct response ads, answering the most common will do.

[Direct response ads] aim to generate immediate response from consumers. Typical channels for this type of advertisement include: television, radio, print, phone, internet, and mail. In direct response sales, the consumer directly buys from the source as opposed to going through intermediaries, such as retailers. –GreyTV

To accomplish this, the copy must be largely editorial, while citing facts and figures to reassure readers the product or service in direct response ads is the right one for them.

Including repetition and eye-catching graphics, images or formatted text are also common characteristics of direct response marketing. Headings are present throughout the copy in direct response ads, along with testimonials. In short, the ad is a type of hard-sell, complete with call-to-actions and authoritative sources.

How to Write Direct Response Ads

Now on to how to write direct response ads. Just by looking at the example below can give you a pretty good idea of what constitutes direct response ads. Here are the nut-and-bolts of how to create effective direct response ads:

  1. Define your target market. You’ll have to use language that your audience uses and is most familiar with.
  2. Include a compelling offer. Direct response ads must fulfill a need and give readers a reason to act.
  3. Tell a story or ask a question in the headline. The headline not only has to be attention-grabbing, it has to convince the reader to continue reading the copy.
  4. Make it into a news story. Direct response ads are five times more likely in compelling readers to follow through.
  5. Use conversational language. Speak right to the reader as if it’s only one person and not a group.
  6. Make sure the copy clearly conveys the action you want readers to take.
  7. Use repetition. From contact information to benefits and cons of the competition’s products and services, repetition works.

Below is an example of a direct response ad for a newspaper. Notice it tells a story, answers possible questions readers might have and reassures readers the product/service gets results (click to enlarge image).