What is Direct Response marketing?
The central idea behind direct response marketing is to create an immediate benefit for your prospect coupled with a sense of urgency and a ‘call to action’ (what you require the prospect to do – e.g. get £5 discount if you respond in the next hour).
If your product is complex and the customer needs to be educated about it, you are best to suggest they should call a telephone number, visit a website or join a mailing list.
Although direct marketing is usually associated with mail, magazines and television, it can be supported by virtually any medium: billboards, print advertisements, online ads, indoor and outdoor advertising, you name it…
In this article we will mainly focus on direct response campaigns that generate qualified leads for your products. In future articles I will discuss how to develop customer databases and build customer relationships through direct marketing.
How does it work? Success in direct response campaigns is measured by ‘effectiveness.’
As long as there is a budget at hand, anyone can produce an ad and send it out there. For the direct marketer, this is just the first step.
The direct marketer will include very specific calls to action: e.g. call a specific telephone number. This number is often set up specifically for the marketing campaign, so that every single call can be ‘tracked’ as a response to the campaign.
How do I create a campaign with a high response rate? On average, a direct -mail letter gets a response rate of 6.7%. That means that for every 1000 letters you send out, you can expect 67 responses. A door drop has an even lower hit rate: a measly 5% will get in touch with you. 40% of all direct mail is immediately put in the bin, and a telemarketing centre making outbound calls typically will achieve a 5% response rate.
However, if you follow a couple of simple rules, you can beat these odds.
To be effective, you must clearly define your core objective.
A direct response campaign has three elements:
– Creative – Fulfilment
You’ll get 10 seconds maximum to convince your prospect. So, keep it simple, because no-one will take the time to read a lot of dense text to find out how exactly they can benefit!
The creative is a striking message that identifies the product you want to sell, and highlights its unique benefit, e.g. ‘cheaper car insurance for women’. If they don’t get what is so unique or how they could benefit from your product in the title, they will not read on. Keep the extra copy short, bullet pointed and relevant to the question: ‘what does the customer get out of this’. Make sure your advert is professionally designed. Research shows that advertising pieces with close ups of friendly faces have a higher response rate.
The media you use: this could be television, radio, outdoor, indoor, online. You choose. Usually products have three media that will work well for them, and all others should be discarded. Make sure you know what works for you. I’ll write a separate article on this in the near future.
Fulfillment – this is often where direct response marketing campaigns go wrong when executed by a rookie. You’ve sent out 1 million mailers, and because you are a genial marketer, you receive a 50% response rate. 500,000 people are on the phone, wanting your product. But you’ve only got 3 members of staff manning the phones, and no-one can get through to you. Plan how you will deal with the response to your campaign, make sure all the logistics are set up to deal with a flood of responses! Alternatively, you can control the number of responses, e.g. by advertising region by region per month.