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Direct-response advertising is designed to get your customers or prospects to become emotionally involved and to take a certain action… such as, call for more information, send in a response card or make a direct purchase.

With institutional ads, you have no way of knowing how effective your ads are because you have no way of measuring how many people respond to them.

So, you have no way of calculating the actual cost of the ad. That’s not good.

On the other hand, because direct-response ads require a person to take a specific action, they have an automatic built-in method of measurement, and you can measure whether or not it is profitable to run that ad again, or if it needs to be changed to be more effective.

Direct-response ads can be integrated effectively into the marketing efforts of nearly any business, and can take the form of mail order, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and telemarketing.

Each of the components of a direct-response ad can be measured and tested separately so you can determine which combination of headline, opening statement, body copy, offer, guarantee, etc. works best.

Here are three simple, but not conclusive guidelines that can help you get the most from your direct-response ads:

Create an attention-getting, emotional-based, benefit-oriented headline.
Start small and test each component separately. Only increase the size of the ad gradually as you determine which combinations work the best.
Offer a free gift for responding. Make sure the offer has a highly perceived value to the reader, listener or viewer. Consider things such as special reports, free tapes, booklets, introductory seminars or initial consultations.

Remember that the only reason you ever run an ad… any type of ad, is to evoke an immediate and qualified response from your customers or prospects.

You want and need this feedback, and you need it now, not six months from now. How else are you going to know if you should continue running this particular ad, or if you should change some component of it?

You’re in business to make a profit, not just to tell others about your wonderful products. Your ads have to work. They must work. They must produce results that can be translated into dollars.

That’s the entire reason you run them. That’s the entire reason you’re in business.

Change your advertising efforts from a cost into an investment… a profitable investment with a measurable return, by changing all your advertising and promotional efforts to direct-response. It can ad significantly to your bottom line, and will be one of the best moves you can make.