A direct response copywriter is a person who writes the text for business brochures, adverts, flyers, websites, emails etc. This could be written in several different styles depending on the nature and intent of the piece.

Marketing agencies hire an advertising or freelance copywriter to write text for their clients to meet a corporate brief. Without generalising too much, this particular type of copywriting acts as the assistant with the design and brand taking centre stage. The brand and message are key.

Direct response copywriting takes a completely different approach. The brief is to write text that invokes a response from the reader. The words are crafted to push the emotional triggers to lead the reader to perform a specific action, whether it’s to pick up the phone and make an enquiry or take out their credit card and purchase a product or service.

The difference between the two methods is in the tracking. Direct response copywriting requires a mechanism within the piece that ensures the business owner understands and monitors the performance of the marketing. As the saying goes ‘if you can measure it, you can manage it’.

In contrast, brand led copywriting is unmeasurable because its task is to deliver information or raise awareness.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the marketing methods successful direct response copywriters will enjoy creating:

Email Marketing

There are a number of challenges to overcome with email marketing.

1)      Most importantly – getting the recipient to actually open the email

2)      Once opened, capturing the reader’s attention and leading them by the hand to the next stage, which is

3)      Getting the reader to take action and perform a task to move them to the next step in the sales & marketing funnel

Website Copy

Too many web pages are boring and switch off the reader.  Typically you have just 9 seconds to capture attention and encourage a visitor to read on.

They can also lack the keywords within the content which are critical for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) purposes.

A good copywriter is able to forge a union between readability and the desired keywords so that the Google, Bing or Yahoo search engine algorithms understand what the page is about – at times, a very difficult task.

There are specialist copywriters who offer SEO article writing services, which, combined with direct response copywriting skills ensure the content is strong, speaks to the reader and still provides the all-encompassing ingredients to move the reader to action.

Sales Letters

As an offline marketing tool, a sales letter enables a copywriter to focus on the message and engaging the reader without the distraction that keyword requirements demand.

All good sales letters or direct mail, contain direct response marketing drivers and triggers with the goal of helping the reader make a decision and take action.

Some businesses consider sales letters a thing of the past, however, with email open rates dropping mainly due to spam concerns, a well targeted sales letter can easily out-perform many online business marketing strategies.


Flyers are sometimes seen as the annoying advertisements delivered with free newspapers, handed out at events / shopping centres or dropped through your letterbox. Many remain unread and typically get placed straight into the bin.

The content needs to be eye catching enough to get the reader to perform one of 2 actions:

1)      Place in a drawer for future reference when the household needs your product or service

2)      If the timing of the flyer delivery is just right, read it and take action

Advertising or Ad Copy

A good direct response copywriter understands how to make every word earn a place in a very crowded and limited space.  Crafting a sales message that provokes an action is paramount and requires a lot of skill.

Do you have favourite direct response marketing method?