Three Things Your Direct Response Advertising Agency Wants You to Know

Posted on: 13 April 2015


Direct response advertising can be one of the most effective types of advertising there is. It can also be one of the most frustrating. There are advertising agencies that specialize only in direct response—advertising that is designed to elicit an immediate response from the prospective customer, whether it's a phone call or, more often, a click on a website link.

Here are three things your direct response advertising agency wants you to understand about what they do:

The numbers don't lie.

The best thing about direct response advertising is also its biggest downfall: it is measurable. You can tell, almost instantly, whether or not a direct response advertising campaign is working. If your campaign is not producing the results you want, no matter how much time and effort you've put into it, no matter how brilliant you think it is, you need to change it up.

If your company has a lot invested in a campaign that's not producing the desired results, you have two choices: you can scrap the whole thing and start again, or you can test the different aspects of the campaign to find out what's working and what's not. Direct response is ideal for testing, because you can compare two different elements quickly and easily. Just remember to test only one thing at a time. If you change up the tagline, the colors of your ad and the promotional item that you're offering, all at the same time, you won't know which one is causing the change in your results.

There are only three possible reasons your campaign isn't working.

Either you are targeting the wrong people, offering the wrong product, service or incentive, or presenting it in the wrong way. In the old days of direct mail, these three variables were referred to as list, offer, and creative.

"List" is a bit of a misnomer today, but the premise holds true: it refers to the people who are seeing your marketing message. Now it refers to the search terms that get people to your offer in the first place. If you're not reaching the right people, adjust the keywords you are targeting.

"Offer" refers to what the prospect gets from taking the action you are trying to achieve. If you're collecting names for your email list and you're incentivizing people with a free ebook, the ebook is the offer. If you're selling a product, the product is the offer. If your offer is a freebie, try giving away something else. If it's your product, try packaging it differently, offering a different price point, or including a bonus item.

"Creative" refers to the copy and design of your offer. If this is where your advertising is falling down, you'll need to come up with a new design or new message to get people to click. This is an easy aspect to test, but remember to test only one component at a time to determine exactly what works and what doesn't.

You hired a direct response advertising agency for a reason.

If you chose a reputable, experienced direct response agency, you did it because they know what works and what doesn't, and they won't waste your time or money reinventing the wheel.

Understanding the advantages and limitations of direct response advertising will help you let your direct response advertising agency do their job, and will help your campaign succeed.