What Is Direct Response Marketing & Why You Need It

direct response marketing

Learn to implement direct response marketing into your 2022 digital marketing strategy.

Investing in digital marketing, although necessary for long-term success, can be a challenge for small business leaders. Given the fact that digital marketing encompasses a myriad of costly tools and tactics, it can be difficult to stay in control of your budget and invest wisely.

That’s why you need to invest in the right tactics, such as content marketing, SEO and link building, and other methods that will deliver tangible results. One of these tactics should be direct response marketing. Here’s what that means, why you need it, and how you can implement direct response marketing into your 2022 digital marketing strategy. 

What exactly is direct response marketing?

Direct response marketing refers to a marketing method that aims to elicit a quick, preferably positive, response from the customer. There are many goals you can strive to achieve with this marketing tactic, including getting your customers to:

  • Call a number
  • Respond to your email
  • Visit your website or a special landing page
  • Engage with you on social media
  • Refer a friend to earn discounts and special perks
  • Sign up to your email list
  • Sign up for a free trial
  • Buy something before the offer expires
direct response marketing checklist


You can use direct response marketing across a myriad of digital marketing channels, including:

Personalized emails and newsletter content

  • Website copy and landing pages
  • Blog posts and other content on your site
  • Social media, sponsored posts, quizzes, and contests
  • PPC ads
  • Direct messaging
  • And other channels

5 key benefits of direct response marketing

  1. Saving money

Managing your marketing budget should be a top priority. Fortunately, direct response marketing is a great way to save your marketing dollars, as it’s highly targeted and personalized for an exact demographic. The fact that it’s trackable and measurable means that you can optimize your efforts quickly and better allocate your resources.

  1. Generating leads quickly

Direct response marketing is a brilliant way to generate leads because its primary goal is to elicit a quick response. What’s more, this is a good way to generate qualified leads through personalized messaging, new and repurposed content, and truly value-driven offers that the customer can’t refuse.

lead generation marketing strategy


  1. A sense of urgency

Building a sense of urgency, also known as FOMO (fear of missing out) marketing, is an important part of marketing psychology. You can create this FOMO effect through special, time-limited, compelling offers. Be careful, though, true FOMO is not about misleading your customers, it’s simply about communicating your special offers and that supplies are running out. 

  1. Direct communication with leads

Direct response marketing opens up direct lines of communication with your customers. This is your opportunity to improve multichannel selling by engaging your customers across email, direct messaging, and other platforms. It’s also an opportunity for your sales staff to continue the conversation after the initial point of contact to develop a lead and ultimately close the sale. 

  1. Easy tracking and monitoring

Because direct response marketing relies on clicks and other interactions, it’s extremely easy to track and analyze. You can monitor all interactions sparked by your direct response marketing campaigns across all online platforms, and generate actionable insights to improve your messaging, CTAs, offers, and more. 

5 ways to implement direct response marketing into your strategy

Create a personalized offer

Personalization is one of the keys to successful marketing nowadays, and you need to keep in mind that direct response marketing will not work without it. Because this is a highly-targeted, specific form of marketing that aims to produce a quick reaction, you can’t expect to achieve the results you’re looking for with generic content.

People have a hard time acting on high-value, super engaging content, let alone on marketing material that expects them to act in the moment. With that in mind, here’s how you can personalize your direct marketing campaigns:

  • Research your target demographic
  • Identify what they need, but also what they want
  • Know their values and the causes they stand for
  • Identify their preferred tone of voice
  • Find out which type of content your audience prefers
  • Personalize your live communication efforts
  • Monitor your competition and find out what works

You need to keep creating new personalized offers and messaging to keep things fresh and to keep your audience engaged. When it comes to personalized communication, it’s imperative to weave personalization into your customer service and other direct points of communication with your customers. 

This will help them convert quickly, and it will allow your sales and support staff to continue nurturing them until they become loyal brand followers.

Needless to say, you need to eliminate department silos in order to facilitate cross-department collaboration. This will allow your sales, marketing, and support teams to coordinate their messaging and personalization efforts.

This is also important so that you avoid any communication overlap, like people from different departments reaching out to the same customer. Depending on where they are in their journey, different experts from different teams should be engaging in direct communication.

If they are at the top of the funnel, you need to let your marketing staff nurture them until they are ready for your sales staff to take them through the conversion process. On the other hand, when it comes to personalized support, that is your opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. 

Fortunately, you can facilitate coordination, communication, and workflow between departments with an all-encompassing CRM system.

using data to personalize marketing


Create impactful CTAs

Calls to action can make all the difference in your marketing campaigns, whether it’s direct response marketing, blog posts, social media posts, or anything in between. Naturally, if you don’t put CTAs in every piece of marketing material you produce, in your written and visual content, you can’t expect people to act on their own. 

After all, why would they? 

For example, you can have the most data-driven, actionable article covering an important topic. Still, if you don’t tell people what to do after reading it, they will most likely just leave your website. And that’s the last thing you want.

Instead, you need to inspire them to take action with a powerful CTA, which means:

  • Make the CTA concise, clear, and easy to understand
  • Personalize the CTA as much as possible
  • Demand a single action with your CTA
  • Make the CTA easily accessible
  • Test CTA positioning and optimize it for every marketing channel

When the customer clicks on the CTA, you want to have a clear and straightforward sales process that will ensure they continue their journey towards conversion. 

Create a sense of urgency

As we mentioned before, direct response marketing is a great way to put FOMO into effect. Whether you are focusing on direct response ads or inbound marketing, you can improve your conversion rate optimization by adding that urgency factor to your emails, website copy and landing pages, and other touchpoints. There are several ways to implement FOMO with direct response marketing:

  • Highlight user-generated content to build social proof
  • Highlight shout-outs from influencers
  • Create time-limited discounts
  • Create “until supplies last” offers
  • Offer one-time bundles
  • Optimize your messaging to create a sense of urgency
  • Tell people that others are looking at the same products and deals
  • Highlight the opportunities your customers have missed
only 2 pairs of shoes left


You need to complement all of these FOMO tactics with an opportunity for the customer to make a quick and seamless purchase. In case they miss out on a great deal, be sure to offer an alternative of equal value to prevent them from leaving. 

Always keep in mind that FOMO is not about creating anxiety or eliciting any negative emotions. Creating a sense of urgency is not something that should stress out a customer – it’s something that should simply prompt them not to miss out on a great deal.

That’s where many marketers make their biggest mistake.

So, if a customer does miss out, reassure them that their effort and their will to make a purchase will be rewarded.

You can do that by:

  • Putting them on a waitlist
  • Giving them a thank-you discount
  • Offering free, valuable materials and downloadables
  • Creating a new, unique offer for them based on their browsing history

There are many things you can do to keep them from leaving, but what you should never do is let a customer leave your website saddened that they didn’t act quickly enough. After all, FOMO should help you create a positive brand image, not a negative one.

Create compelling content and messaging

Of course, none of the above can work if you don’t continuously publish and present your customers with engaging, value-driven, and quality-based content. For example, if you tried to improve internal communication in your company, you would need to provide your employees with tools, education, and internal resources to incentivize them to make a change or take action.

You need to do the same for your customers. Make sure to diversify your content offering and mix things up with:

  • Video content
  • Original imagery
  • Infographics
  • Quizzes and contests
  • User-generated content
  • Article snippets and highlights
  • Lead magnets like eBooks, whitepapers, and case studies

The higher the quality of the content, the more effective your CTAs will be. Quality content and CTAs feed each other, and for your direct response marketing campaigns to work, your content needs to provide value to different customer types.

Ensure your content and messaging are optimized for user intent. 

When it comes to user intent, you can distinguish between navigational, informational, and transactional intent. The first one is when a user is trying to find the right page and content on the web. That’s where your SEO efforts will come in handy.

The second one is where the user is looking for credible information and data to educate themselves on an important topic. People who are not ready to buy but are interested in learning more about a product or service will fall into this category. 

The third type of intent is people who are ready to buy. These people don’t need educational content in the form of lengthy articles or explainer videos. What they need is a quick way to compare their options, go over the details of the offer, and make a purchase.

If you want to engage all types of customers and personalize your messaging and content for their unique needs, then you need to keep user intent in mind across all digital channels and touchpoints.

Ensure simplicity throughout the process

For direct response marketing to produce, well, a direct response, you need to reduce customer effort as much as possible. Reducing customer effort is one of the ways to build more compelling funnels and guide your customers towards conversion, and most importantly, towards lifelong brand advocacy. 

After they have clicked on a CTA or have interacted with you in any way, you want to make sure that they can easily move towards the desired action. If that action is a sale, then you need to simplify the sales process as much as possible.

how to measure customer effort score (ces)

Get rid of mandatory logins or pop-ups on their way to the checkout. The fewer obstructions, the better. If you are trying to get them to sign up for a free trial or to download a lead magnet, you need to immediately provide them with those products. 

Don’t ask additional questions, just deliver what you promised. Then, let the lead magnet take care of the rest, and follow up with the customer after a week. 

Wrapping up

Direct response marketing should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy for 2022 and beyond. This is one of those tactics that will help you save your marketing dollars and allocate your budget wisely, and produce a positive ROI. 

But to do that, you need to understand the importance of this tactic and how to implement it into your marketing efforts. Be sure to use these tips to create a winning approach and weave direct response marketing into your strategy.

Don’t forget to monitor these efforts to be able to optimize your approach quickly for maximum results. 

About the Author

Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist. She is passionate about graphic design and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.

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