What Is Direct Response Copywriting?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 25, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customer persuasion is an important aspect of advertising. In direct response copywriting, writers influence potential customers to make decisions by creating content that is persuasive, concise and compelling.

Understanding direct response copywriting can help you learn how to create engaging copy that motivates people to purchase goods or services. In this article, we explain what direct response copywriting is, who uses it and how you can try direct response copywriting in your advertisement copy.

What is direct response copywriting?

Direct response copywriting is a kind of copywriting that aims to influence an audience to take action. This action could be anything from donating to a charity or signing up for a subscription service. Direct response copywriting typically includes a well-written headline, long-form content and a call to action that encourages a potential customer to make a decision quickly.

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Who uses direct response copywriting?

Copywriters who work on marketing teams use direct response copywriting. Typically, their primary goal is to convert people who are interested in products into customers. Copywriters often achieve short-term success for a brand or a product by designing copy for landing pages or sign-up pages. Other types of direct response copywriting include:

  • Brochures

  • Fliers

  • Magazines

  • Product descriptions

  • Newsletters

  • Sales pages

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Tips on direct response copywriting

When creating direct response copy, you can follow the tips below to make your writing more effective:

Study the market

To write copy that incites action, you should understand your customer market. Studying your audience can help you choose which tactics to use in your writing and which topics to write about. Some research tactics you can use when evaluating your market are:

  • Calling a client and asking to interview them

  • Reading similar copy

  • Studying industry trends

  • Researching how potential customers respond to similar copy

Use a persuasive tone

You can attempt to influence people into purchasing your product by using a persuasive tone. An effective way to write persuasive copy is to illustrate how your product fulfills a need that a potential customer has.

For example, if you're writing copy for a food brand, you might emphasize how purchasing a sandwich could satisfy a person's hunger. Illustrating realistic scenarios that are solved by your product may motivate a potential customer to make a purchase decision.

Create an attention-grabbing headline

You can influence prospective customers before they read your content by creating a compelling headline. You can write a captivating headline by:

  • Emphasizing the benefits immediately: Copywriting attracts potential customers by emphasizing how a product can benefit someone who purchases it. Making this the forefront of your copy can help you persuade a customer to continue reading, which can lead to conversion.

  • Using simple language: Copywriters often design simple headlines that are easy to read. Using straightforward language in a headline can help a potential customer understand the subject of your content quickly.

  • Imply compelling details: Removing a few details from your headline can help pique your audience's curiosity and encourage them to read your article.

Consider using images

Whether you're writing a blog post or a landing page, using images can help you persuade potential customers to make a purchase decision. For example, if you're advertising a company-hosted event on your landing page, you can demonstrate the value of the event by including photos from a previous event. Consider using compelling images that may create an emotional response or attract attention. Some additional examples of the types of images you can use are:

  • Images with bright colors

  • Photos that are relevant to your product or event

  • Pictures that reflect your company or brand

Use personal language

Addressing your audience personally can help encourage people to become customers. Rather than focusing on a product feature in your headline, consider referring to the user's experience instead. You could do this by:

  • Describing how a product can make life easier

  • Explaining how a product accelerates a process

  • Illustrating how a service affects how a person feels

For example, if you're writing an advertisement for gum, you might use personal language to describe how long a customer enjoyed the gum and what flavors they experienced. Using personal language in your direct response copy can maintain a reader's interest, which can help you persuade them to purchase a product.

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Use a call-to-action

You can add a call-to-action at the end of your direct response copy to persuade potential customers to act as soon as they have finished reading. To help you achieve this goal, consider developing your call-to-action first, then writing your piece. This can help you structure your piece to support your call-to-action. You can use your call-to-action to share important information with readers, such as:

  • An exclusive discount to a potential customer on a particular page

  • A time-sensitive offer, such as an offer that's only valid for a few hours or minutes

  • A benefit available to a limited number of potential customers

  • A product or service that's available for free on a specific page

Give sufficient detail

Indirect response copy, such as a TV commercial, often aims to raise customer awareness about a product or service. In comparison, direct response copy seeks to provide people with extensive information so that they can make a quick decision about whether to purchase a product or service. Direct response copy typically provides both information and evidence for potential customers to consider. Some elements you can use in your direct response copy to inform your customer include:

  • Examples from real customers such as quotes, testimonies or reviews

  • Research results

  • Recent statistics

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Try writing both long and short sections

While short sections can convince a potential customer to read your direct response copy quickly, you can also write long sections to provide more information. You can create a short headline and call-to-action to encourage your audience to read your copy and take action promptly. For the rest of the piece, consider writing long sections, which can increase your customer engagement and improve your article's search engine ranking.

Revise your copy

After creating your first draft, consider revising the copy multiple times before submitting it. Direct response copy often contains multiple elements that you may create in several writing sessions. Rereading and revising can help you improve your content's readability, which can ensure your audience understands your message. Consider revising your copy from the perspective of the potential customer, then adjusting your copy to ensure it's easy to read.

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