Direct response copywriting is not about building a brand image, or authority for the company as leader in its niche. It is all about getting the reader to do what you want, that is, follow through with the CTA. Yes, direct response copywriting has an ambitious and difficult goal, but decades of use have demonstrated that it can be done.
And, as far as we can speak of formulas, direct response copywriting has a recognisable structure, one which we will share with you right now:
- Start with an Eye Grabber Headline
The headline of your text is the golden key that locks in your reader’s attention. Whatever they are doing at that moment, their eyes must be riveted on your headline, they must stop all activity and want to read all about it. Such a headline should:
- Give exciting news
- Share an incredible benefit
- Appeal to people’s deepest emotions – fear, love, desire of status
- Share a thought provoking fact
- Validate their innate beliefs
To become a master of headline writing, you could start by studying the work of David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather advertising giant. One of his best remembered direct response copywriting pieces had this headline: “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” That was back in 1959, but you would surely click on such a title today, as well.
- Opt For the Long Form Copy
To get people to do what you want, you cannot use shortcuts. You need to take the time, tell them a story, agitate their feelings, provoke their thoughts, and then come up with a solution and validate it with proof. This takes lots of writing – around 2,500 words per article according to marketing expert Neil Patel.
People are not too much in a hurry if they are hooked up on a piece of writing which appeals to their innermost emotions and promises to give them a solution to their most troublesome problems.
- It Is All About the Reader
When you write direct response copy, you only use the second person. There is no “we” as in the company, the brand. Your story should read as if you are face to face with your reader and speaking to them. Direct addressing is the only way in which you can make your audience relate to what you are telling them. They must be able to see themselves in every scenario you depict, and they must feel that you actually wrote that piece of copy with them in mind.
- Push The Readers’ Happy Triggers
Without question, you need to get your readers in a happy place in order to ease them along the CTA path. The top three happy triggers for all of us are:
- We need to feel that we are understood
- We feel good about ourselves when we reciprocate a good deed
- We need to feel like VIPs
How do you trigger these emotions? First of all, by having a deep understanding of the audience, so that you address them in a personal manner. Secondly, by extending goodwill to the readers, sharing with them “secret tips” for a better life, for feeling good about themselves – and they will feel ready to reciprocate it. And lastly, by making them feel special, an elite selected to benefit from your special offer, from insider knowledge, or whatever your copy is about.
- Make Them Hurry Up to Take Action
Direct response copywriting has no value at all if people do not feel compelled to click on the CTA button as soon as they finished reading. In order to trigger this response in them, you need to include a sense of urgency – an offer soon to expire, premium access for just a fixed number of members, etc.
To achieve this, there is only one surefire way: test, test and test the life and soul of your copy. As David Ogilvy used to say: “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”