Direct Response Marketing (DR marketing) refers to a marketing technique that focuses on the audience’s response. DR marketing drives potential customers to take action, which can help generate instant sales.

The main strength of a direct response campaign is how it’s easily trackable and measurable. The success of a DR campaign can be seen by the audience taking action. This is also called ROI tracking which marketers can use to adjust their strategy.

In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about DR marketing. I will also discuss how to do it effectively to get an increase in conversions and revenue.

Components of Direct Response Marketing

To build an effective DR marketing campaign, marketers must learn the crucial components of DR marketing: the offer, information, call-to-action, and urgency.


When creating a direct response advertisement, make a specific offer to the audience. Try to understand the audience’s pain points, as it mainly answers their needs, desires, frustrations, and fears. The offer can be a free trial, discount coupons, and giveaway programs.


Back up the offer with supporting information. Marketers must explain why the audience should accept the offer while also highlighting the benefits of the product. Since advertising can only grab 8 seconds of the audience’s attention, the message must be straightforward and easily understandable.


The call-to-action (CTA) – is a sentence that moves people to do something. Without a CTA, direct response marketing won’t have a hook sentence to encourage the audience to perform an action.

An example of CTA’s can be “call now,” “buy at discounted price,” and “use this coupon for free products.”


Communicate a sense of urgency to the audience. This encourages them to act as soon as possible and increase conversion rates. A direct response marketer usually applies time-limits or supply limits on campaigns to drive the audience to take quick action.

How to Start an Effective Direct Response Marketing Campaign

Now that you know the important elements, I will guide you on incorporating them into an effective direct response campaign. I will also include some examples of direct response ads as resources and inspiration.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

As direct response campaigns are meant to drive actions, it’s crucial to learn about the target audience.

Naturally, direct response campaigns will benefit from learning the pain points of the audience. Identifying them will give useful information that you can use to set an effective strategy that would definitely catch the target consumer’s attention.

Stitcher, for example, launched a “recommended for you” email marketing campaign, where they sent personalized emails on podcast recommendations available on their service. Each recommendation was tailored according to the interests of the audience.

This was possible because Stitcher carefully analyzed its audience and optimized its marketing content to suit different interests. By answering the offer element, Stitcher has identified its target audience’s wants and needs and catered to it.

2. Define the Goal of the Campaign

Having a clear goal on what you want to achieve will help you plan out the strategies to incorporate and measure your campaign’s success.

For example, Kit Kat Chunky sent direct mail flyers that said, “sorry, we couldn’t deliver,” as if they missed a package. The back of the mail included instructions on where to redeem a free Kit-Kat Chunky bar.

kitkat chunky flyer informing recipient of missed mail as campaign

In this case, Kit Kat’s goal was to build awareness of their new product and invite the audience to try a sample. Beginning with that goal, they customized a successful strategy to secure the audience’s attention. The goal was proven to be successful as 87% of the recipients redeemed their mail flyers.

3. Choose the Right Platform

It is essential to choose the right platform that suits your campaign and can help make it stand out.

The most popular platform is Facebook ads, because it is easy to target audiences and measure outcomes through Facebook analytics. There are also browser pop-ups with a conversion rate up to 50.2%, direct mail with a 42% average of audience engagement, and email marketing.

Ikea, for example, chose direct mail as their platform and sent their annual catalog with a 3D pop-up card of LACK, their best-selling coffee table. Direct mail made it possible for the campaign to hint to the audience about the simplicity of assembling IKEA products.

ikea pop-up card that unfolds to show a mini table

4. Establish the Call to Action

Now that you have the platform to deliver your message, emphasize what you want the potential customer to do. After all, the point of direct response marketing is to use a call-to-action sentence that encourages action.

A great example of a clear call-to-action in a direct response ad is Netflix. They highlight information about the benefits of their services in a few short words. Then, they directly invite the potential customer to come experience for themselves with the CTA, “try it now.”

netflix homescreen with see what's next and try it now as their CTA

Another point worth mentioning is how there is a single CTA on the advertisement. Multiple CTAs, such as social media account promotion or a “contact us” button, might distract potential customers and hinder them from clicking on the CTA.

5. Use Compelling Copy

Another goal of direct response marketing is to encourage the audience response to the campaign. Thus, it is important to use words and sentences that drive action and explain to the audience why they have to act quickly.

Below are several tips for creating well-written copy for a direct response ad:

  • Be straightforward. A direct response ad is unlike traditional marketing. Don’t beat around the bush or use flowery language to attract the audience’s attention.
  • Attract with a great headline. A headline can be the first thing that will grab your audience’s attention. Use sentences that pique their curiosity so they will be interested to read more.
  • Drive with information. To gain the audience’s attention and response, make sure that your copy is informative. Emphasize how what you’re selling can benefit them.
  • Use inspiring CTA. let’s say you’re offering a free crash-course and ask your audience to sign up by writing their email address. You would want to use “give me access!” as a CTA rather than a simple “submit,” as it is more persuasive and emphasizing what the audience is getting.
  • Understand your potential customer. Like a great campaign, great copy comes from understanding your potential customers’ wants and needs. Suit your copy to what interests them, and you will be sure to have their attention.

6. Do Giveaway Programs

An offer is one of the main components of a digital marketing campaign. Rather than offering the benefits of products or services in direct response advertising, I recommend doing giveaways.

There are plenty of benefits you can get from giving away to your audience. First, they are guaranteed a first-hand experience on your product or service, which eases the process of conversion. Second, you can get word of mouth going on social media platforms, as giveaway campaigns usually require their audience to share about the program.

Cocoon Medical Spa provides a great example of this. First, they hooked the audience by elaborating in detail on what they have to offer. They also made sure to include a free trial of their product, incorporated encouraging CTA, and made the audience reshare this program.

cocoon spa giveaway flyer offering free beauty holiday in Bali for winners

7. Set a Limit

To answer the urgency element of a direct response campaign, direct response marketers must decide on a limit. It is useful to push the potential customer to act as soon as possible.

To do this, decide on what to limit. It can be a time limit, where programs are only valid for a period of time. It can also be a supply limit, where programs are limited only to a number of people.

After deciding what to limit, make sure to include this detail in the advertisement or the copy. Emphasize it to notify the potential customer, drive their sense of urgency, and motivate them to take immediate action.

4 Benefits of Direct Response Marketing

I have explained what direct response marketing is and how to do it. However, how does it directly benefit you?

  1. Direct response marketing is cost-effective. By ROI (return on investment), it is a good way to know how much a company is spending to reach out to the targeted audience. The results are direct and easy to calculate, making it easy to avoid wasted budget.
  2. It makes audience targeting easy. While brand marketing campaigns are aimed to raise brand awareness, direct response marketing is more specific. It targets people who are most likely to be interested in the product to take action.
  3. From these specific targeted campaigns, businesses can refine information on their targeted audiences and improve their marketing strategy. As direct response advertising results are almost immediate, companies will directly know if their methods are effective or not.
  4. This marketing strategy is also great to keep communication between existing customers for repeat businesses. Directing marketing to existing customers will encourage them to repeat orders and strengthen the brand’s position in their mind.


Direct response is one of the best marketing practices for boosting sales. It is more than just introducing brands, it is emphasizing to potential and existing customers the benefit they can get from our products and make them act on it immediately.

What’s favorable about this type of marketing is how it focuses on two-way communication with the audience. It sees customers as a person and not mere buyer personas whom we can offer anything to. Direct response ads come to the audience as a solution to fulfill their wants and needs.

This type of marketing requires four elements to reach its full potential:

  1. An offer that answers to the wants and needs of the potential customers.
  2. The information that highlights what the customers can benefit from if they accept what our campaign offers.
  3. Direct response ads need a compelling CTA that encourages the audiences to act on the offer as soon as possible.
  4. There has to be an element that inspires urgency to the audience and makes them act quickly, like a time limit or supply limit to the program.

Now that you know what direct response marketing is and how to apply it, all there’s left to do is to get started on your own marketing plan. I hope this article helps. For any inquiries, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below.