What Is Direct Response Copywriting?

Direct Response Copywriting can be summed up in 3 Simple Words: “Sales In Print”

It entails any form of persuasive writing that’s crafted to influence a decision, whether that be something like purchasing a product, a service, or simply enticing someone to sign up for your newsletter. It also helps to clearly state the value of your product/service (why they should choose you over the competition) & the benefits to your customer. Copywriting in general can be found on homepages, product descriptions, e-mails, ads, and even social media – Anything with the written word.

Here’s some of the topics we will cover below:

  • We’ll expound on the definition on what copywriting is & isn’t
  • You’ll find examples of good vs bad copy (lest you have some bad copy of your own)
  • Some key benefits of implementation (what’s in it for you!)
  • A few actionable (DIY) steps you can implement to achieve results now
  • Finally, a list of books & resources to dive in order to maximize your results

Let’s continue with the one important detail about direct response copywriting; It must have an element of accountability such as a tracking code in order to gauge the effectiveness of the message. Without this, it’s simply copywriting or less effective forms of content writing which don’t have a quantitative goal in mind. When it comes to direct response, there must be accountability.

what is direct response copywriting - travel tourism copywriter

Copywriting, as in sales messages, is everywhere around us; we’re constantly bombarded with all sorts of slogans & offers but many go unnoticed because they lack some important principles we’ll soon go into. Without implementing these principles into your “copy”, it tends to fall flat, sound stale, & loses the attention of your prospect. This is because the value of the product or service isn’t being presented effectively. Bad copy means less sales, less credibility, & overall poor brand perception when compared to your competition.

One last word about copywriting & what it’s not.
Writing sales copy is different from “copyrighting” which refers to intellectual property rights (see Copyright.gov). They are two completely different things.
Copywriting is also not about writing clever slogans or writing colorful headlines as much as it’s about influencing a profitable outcome for ALL involved (The writer, your customer, and of course, you). A smart sounding tagline might make everyone chuckle but if the reader drops off there & skips out on the rest of your marketing message, maybe your marketing dollars could be better spent elsewhere.

Good Copywriting vs Bad Copy (Please Don’t Be The One!)

In short, bad copywriting tends to focus more on the company & how great they perceive themselves to be without presenting any sort of benefit to the customer or client. Sometimes it’s simply non-existent, or other times it’s bland & doesn’t inspire the reader to take any sort of beneficial action.

Good copywriting however, clearly identifies the company’s value proposition & what’s in it for the reader. Not only does it present benefits, it can also accurately identify the customer’s fears, worries, or anxieties, & provides an effective solution while eliciting an emotional response (very important).

Let’s start this comparison with a fresh cup of coffee, a bad example of copy we found online (brand name emitted), and a description in a similar format that we created ourselves.

Bad copy:

Blends & Espressos
Direct Trade
We didn’t adopt direct trade practices because it’s a trendy way to do business – we introduced the concept to the coffee industry. Our commitment to direct trade allows us to cut out unnecessary importers and exporters and enables us to truly partner with our growers. We meticulously collect data, insights, and best practices from all of our partners and share them to improve overall quality. We have built meaningful relationships with our partners and obsess over quality every step of the way.

thrive vs survive bad copywriting

Good Copy:

Awaken Your Senses With This Creamy Aromatic Blend
A Traditional & Nuanced Coffee Enjoyed For Generations

Flowery & fruitful notes await within its silky texture & compact crema.
This full-bodied coffee features a profile composed of the finest Arabica beans that’s absolutely delicious.
It’s crafted with roasted hazelnut, hints of brown sugar, & all the flavorful harmony of Italian espresso.

What are you waiting for?
Grab your favorite book off the shelf, lean back in your most comfy seat, & snuggle up with a cup. Indulge yourself in a rich symphony of taste with every sip.

good copywriting matters

Good vs Bad Summary

The 1st version lacks any sort of benefit or promise to the consumer. It doesn’t paint a picture of the outcome that they will receive & doesn’t grab the reader’s attention with its taglines. What it does do, is centered solely on the company, its partners, & the “collection of data”. Here’s just a few points to consider that we think would help improve the description:

  • What are the benefits of direct trade? Is that something I can feel good about?
  • Who are your growers? What makes them special?
  • What are the “best practices” that you use after collecting said “data & insights”?
  • How does this brand define “quality”, what is that special something that makes them stand out from the rest?

The 2nd version we wrote immediately begins to paint a picture in the reader’s mind & has an appeal to the coffee connoisseur & tradition. The description that follows is concise & continues to paint a picture while describing what the coffee is composed of AND what the consumer can expect. Best of all, there is a clear call-to-action followed by an appeal to comfort & enjoyment of life.

Why Every Business Needs This (To Come Out On Top)

If you’re not implementing some level of copywriting into your business, you could be missing out on your full potential. Here’s some of the benefits you can expect when you improve the copy on your homepage, your advertisements, your e-mail sequences, anywhere that you have written text can be optimized for better results.

Benefits of Copywriting

  • Improves Conversion
    • Copy makes your offer, product, or service more attractive to your customer or client. It’s designed to entice people to take you up on your offer by putting it in more appealing words. Simply, if you’re not asking for the sale, you’re drastically lowering your chances to get it.
  • Brand Positioning
    • Good copy takes brand identity into account & helps to develop more of your company’s image and mission. When done strategically it can help to solidify your brand’s position in the marketplace.
  • Clear marketing message
    • By making the benefits of your product/service, as well as defining who your ideal customer is, you are able to increase the effectiveness of your marketing message.
  • Creates value (for your customer)
    • With a clear marketing message, your customer knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into. They immediately know if your product is for them & what to do if they want to make a purchase; It saves them time.
  • Expert Status
    • If you’re providing all the information regarding your niche, if you’re the go-to source of knowledge, then you’re setting yourself up as the expert in your field. This increases your credibility & trust, making prospects more comfortable in moving forward with your offer.
  • 24/7 Salesman (inbound)
    • Make money around the clock! A well crafted sales letter for example, is a salesman that never sleeps. Whether it be for inbound lead generation, gathering contact details, or making a straight sale.

Copy Basics You Can Take Action On

Copywriting is a skill that’s easy to pick up but can be difficult to master. It’s also something that can be quite expensive depending on the skill level you’re hiring. So if you’re just starting out with your business or don’t have the funds quite yet, here’s a few tips to get you started.
After all, an idea is hardly worth anything without action. Here’s a few tips that you can start implementing today in your homepage copy, product pages, or emails.

  • Always research & know your market.
    • You can start by reading through your own testimonials, reviews (both good and bad) to get an idea of what your customers like & don’t like about your product or brand. It helps to also do this in the market place to discover what prospects are finding valuable in other companies. The point is to uncover more of the needs & desires of your ideal customers.
  • Start with a simple formula.
    • Have a blank document in front of you & no idea on where to start? Try the age-old formula of AIDA – That stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, & Action!
    • You can start by mentioning an interesting fact or figure, something not commonly known to grab attention and segways into the next paragraph.
    • Next present the customer’s problem, their needs, & what they desire. Here is where you make a promise as to how your product or service will be the solution.
    • Follow this up in a new paragraph by creating desire around the solution by laying down all the benefits & what the product will do for the customer.
    • Finally, add a call to action! Ask for the sale, tell your customer where to go, or what to do next. If you don’t have a call to action, then there’s no clear direction on what to do next & the whole pitch will fall flat.
  • Headlines
    • Last but not least, is your headline. This is perhaps the most important part of the copywriting sequence. Your headline must grab attention, filter out your audience, clearly state the #1 benefit of your product, and draw the reader into the rest of the copy.
    • If you don’t know where to begin, you can start by asking a question, using a testimonial, starting with “How To”, or stating something news-worthy.
    • Being the most important part of your message. Changing just the headline on an advertisement for example, can have drastic effects on the results. The headline might seem like the easiest part of this, but do take a long ponder at the message you want to deliver.

Copy Tips For Business Owners

To add some nuance to the writing formula presented above, here’s some more tips to take into account when writing copy that sells.

  • Put the reader or prospect first. Don’t make it all about your company, the machines you use, the manufacturing techniques etc. (unless they offer some sort of direct benefit to the consumer.
  • Write how you speak. Talk normally, there’s no need to sound like you’re a PHD & mind your FK (Flesch-Kincaid) readability score. Keep it somewhere around “plain english”.
  • Paint a picture with your words, be descriptive, let your imagination run wild & share that with your audience.
  • Share your own personal experience. This one can tie in with the point above, but share the details of your own experience, how the product worked for you, what you noticed about it, what stands out, etc.
  • Focus on the reader as a single person, not a group. Speak directly to your ideal customer, don’t write as if you’re talking to a group of people. Reading is an individual activity & so you want to add this layer of personal connection to your writing.
  • Always start with an emotional appeal but speak to both sides of the mind. People make purchasing decisions consciously or unconsciously with their emotions and how the product makes them feel. Reason is then used to justify a purchasing decision, so use both!

This is just a short primer & we couldn’t possibly go over all the things you could implement.
If you want to deep dive however, check out the following list of notable sources that will get you on the right track to sharpening your marketing & copywriting skills – They go hand in hand!

Notable Copywriting Greats & Sources

By optimizing your marketing messages you can drive more traffic to your site, attract more of the right clients to your site, & persuade more prospects to try your product or service.
Here’s a few books we recommend to get a kickstart in learning how to write more persuasively in your business.

  • Scientific Advertising – Claude Hopkins
  • The Art of Plain Talk – Rudolf Flesch
  • The Copywriter’s Handbook – Bob Bly
  • Adweek Copywriting – Joseph Sugarman
  • Ultimate Sales Letter – Dan Kennedy


Direct Response Copywriting Summary

Copywriting is often overlooked but is a foundational element of any marketing strategy & can be an invaluable sales tool that works around the clock to bring you results.
As mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, copywriting is simply persuasive writing, it’s “sales in print”.

Direct response copywriting just means that the marketing piece using said copywriting techniques, is trackable & can be accounted for such as with ads or affiliate links.

The purpose of this article was to educate you on the subject, provide some credibility by showcasing some of our knowledge, and increase our organic traffic using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. To go even further, it’s meant to ultimately attract & generate new leads for our own business here.

Copywriting is easy to grasp & start but like any other skill, takes time to hone.
If you found this article useful & would like one like it tailored to YOUR business & industry, feel free to contact us below. We can create well-researched articles & optimize them for long-term benefits through SEO. The result is an increase in organic exposure to your business, higher credibility among your peers, & a boost to your bottom line that grows over time.

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