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5 Biggest Mistakes Direct Response Marketers Make

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, Sep 23, 2019 @ 10:00 AM |


If you’ve read our blog in the past, you know that we are big proponents of direct response marketing, particularly for SMBs. We sing its praises because direct response marketing is highly trackable while at the same time offers quantitative data and actionable insights. Direct response is also incredibly affordable, creating a direct link between your advertising dollars and revenues driven.

But, as with any other marketing tactic employed, direct response requires marketers to follow certain guidelines in order to get the ROI they hope for. Sadly, many marketers are making some very common mistakes. Are you one of them?

Mistake #1: You Have No Offer

Leave branding to the big wigs like Coca Cola and Nike. You’re not spending money so people recognize your brand – you’re spending ad dollars to get near instant results. And by results I mean GETTING THE SALE.

When creating your direct response campaign, focus on making an offer that is too good for your target audience to pass up. This will compel your audience to take action.

Mistake #2: You Have an Offer but No DeadlineBusinessman standing with umbrella keeping orange arrow concept on background

Not only do you want your target audience to respond to your ad, you want them to take action AS SOON AS they see it. In order for people to take immediate action and not wait a week or two to give you that sale, you must include a deadline in your offer.

Do you have a limited supply of your product? Does your offer end after the weekend? Make it clear to readers that if they don’t respond now, they are going to miss out on something of immense value.

Mistake #3: You Haven’t Included a Clear Call-to-Action

If you think your ad is ready to launch, think again. Yes, you have a great offer and yes, you’ve told your target audience that they have a limited time to respond to said offer before they miss out. But now you must tell them in no uncertain terms EXACTLY what steps to take next.

Do they need to pick up the phone and call to schedule a free estimate? Do they need to print a coupon for an in-store BOGO special? Do you want them to like you on Facebook for a chance to enter a free giveaway? Don’t make them guess – tell them clearly what actions to take.

Mistake #4: Your Copy is Vague

As I mentioned a little earlier, brand advertising and direct response advertising are very different beasts. While brand advertising copy has room to be clever, creative and even a little vague (in an avant garde sort of way), direct response copy must be sharp, compelling and grab the prospect’s attention immediately.

How do you write direct response copy that converts?

  • Know your audience’s problems and pain points
  • Focus on how you can help, not on how great your solution is
  • Lead with benefits, not features (calls won’t get dropped VS latest xyz smartphone technology)

If your budget allows, we always advise clients to work with an actual copywriter instead of winging it themselves. The results will show in your ROI.

Mistake #5: You’re Not Tracking Results

How do you know if a campaign is delivering or not if you’re not tracking results? Consider using 1-800 numbers in your print ads as well as tracking URLs and QR codes. Only through data analysis can you determine if you’re on the right track. So track!

Without question direct response is one of the ABSOLUTE MOST EFFECTIVE ways for SMBs to get their message in front of the right audience and get that audience to convert and convert NOW. If you haven’t had much direct response success, read through this post again to see if you recognize any mistakes you may have made.


Media Space has strong direct response roots. If you want to start getting big results from your campaigns, we have the knowledge and years of experience to get the job done. Contact us today and let’s get started.

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