What Is A Direct Response Copywriter? Everything You Need to Know
- What Is A Direct Response Copywriter? Everything You Need to Know
- 3 Things Direct Marketers Should Know About Direct Response Copywriters
- Direct Response Copywriters Are Business Consultants
- Direct Response Copywriters Are Brand Specialists
- Direct Response Copywriters Are Salespeople
- What Does a Direct Response Copywriter Do
- Analysis of The Project
- How to Pick the Right Copywriter for Your Business
- Request an Information Package
- Ask Around
- Pick Someone Whose Writing Style Matches Your Brand
- Hire Someone Who Matches Your Marketing Needs
- Hire Your Next Copywriter
As a direct marketer, you may have hired a direct response copywriter already. But do you know exactly what to expect when you work with a DRC? I drafted this article to help you understand:
- What a direct response copywriter is
- What a direct response copywriter will do for your business
- How to hire the right copywriter for your business
Starting today, you will understand that direct response copywriters are more than writers with a fancy title. You will also get a grasp of their role within your company. And you will have a system in place to hire the right DRC for your business.
3 Things Direct Marketers Should Know About Direct Response Copywriters
Drawing from the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years and my experience as a direct response copywriter, I have listed three things I believe direct marketers need to know to understand direct response copywriters:
Direct Response Copywriters Are Business Consultants
Notice that I used the term “business consultant” instead of “marketing consultant”. And that’s because of one of my philosophies about business…
Marketing is EVERYTHING.
Because your marketing influences everything you do business-wise. Therefore, since your marketing should always be about your customer, and direct response copywriters are customer detectives, you can then consider direct response copywriters to be business consultants.
A direct response copywriter can highlight in your campaigns what they customers love about your business – putting an emphasis on those benefits they wish. DRC’s can also bring up to you what the customers don’t like or care about your business. And you can use that information to make your business presentation even stronger.
Direct Response Copywriters Are Brand Specialists
This one may go over some direct marketers’ heads because
- The focus put on DRCs is to sell products
- There are copywriters out there called “brand copywriters” (AKA retail/agency copywriters)
But, for a direct response copywriter to succeed in their goal of persuading the prospect into buying ASAP, they must present the brand to the prospect concisely. That’s where the direct response copywriter highlights their brand-building skills.
One misconception about branding these days is that it must be either grandiose and Hollywood-esque, or a 60-second standup routine. that is not what branding is about.
Branding is about making an entity synonymous with a prospect’s desire. “How do people react when they hear your offer’s name or see its logo?” is the question you should answer for effective branding.
Think of it like this:
- A coffee product that you think of when you want to make your mornings better = good branding.
- A car insurance company that you think of when you want to laugh = not-so-good branding.
And one of the goals of a direct response copywriter is to create that connection between your offer and the customer’s wishes. If the DRC can make that connection effectively… there’s your brand-awareness.
And direct response copywriters can do this without a multi-million-dollar budget or ha-ha jokes.
Direct Response Copywriters Are Salespeople
This one is sort of a given, and that’s why I saved it for last. Because a DRC’s bottom line is your bottom line. You usually hire a DRC to write a sales letter or a landing page for your website. And what you expect is for that copy to generate as many leads or sales as a salesperson would.
That’s because a direct response copywriter approaches their writing as a salesperson approaches their chosen profession.
Direct response copywriters take their time getting to know their prospects. They understand what makes them tick – what they want, need, or love.
Once the DRC understands the prospect, then they create the connection between product and customer. Direct response copywriters study every aspect of the product they’re promoting. And they look to find every single way that customers receive help from making the purchase. The strongest connection (AKA the most important benefit) becomes the focal point of the copy.
It’s not after making that connection between prospect and product that the direct response copywriter begins their writing. And as I said earlier, their approach is the same as a salesperson.
First, the direct response copywriter looks to get the attention of the prospect. They could do this by asking a question or presenting them with a problem that makes the daily routine harder to execute. Once the DRC has the prospect’s attention, they will look to get them to engage with them. The copywriter might ask more questions, tell the prospect a story they can identify with, or bring in some facts that the prospect could find interesting.
After they get the prospect engaged, the direct response copywriter proceeds to generate a desire for the offer. The DRC will present the reader with a variety of ways in which the product or service makes life easier, better, or more exciting for the prospect. And they do it with the benefits the product gives the reader.
When the DRC has the prospect salivating to get this product, that’s where they present them with the call to action – asking the reader to send a check, fill a form, or visit a website for more information.
In Bob Bly’s book [The Copywriter’s Handbook], the first sentence of the first chapter reads…
“A copywriter is a salesperson behind a typewriter.”– Judith Charles, president of Judith K. Charles Creative Communications
You can modernize that quote by switching “typewriter” with “keyboard”; but nevertheless, the important thing is that direct response copywriters are salespeople primarily. And their job is simple: to help your business make more sales.
What Does a Direct Response Copywriter Do
You should fully understand the role of a direct response copywriter in the development of your marketing campaigns. Because copywriters do more than writing.
Here are three things direct marketers need to know to understand the role of a direct response copywriter:
The first thing a direct response copywriter needs to do is dig up as much information about the project as they can. They must look through old marketing pieces to find data that can be useful for writing new campaigns.
If it is a new offer with no marketing attached, that should not be an issue. Because new products and services are usually preceded by a lot of paperwork. Including employee memos, blueprints, and the likes. Just make sure to collect as much information as you can about the offer.
If there’s nothing about the offer that is different from your competitors’, then the direct response copywriter should focus on finding what benefits have not been stressed out by the competition and make them the focus of the advertising efforts. It can be anything from product reliability, economical offer, customer support, or guarantee.
Analysis of The Project
Once the direct response copywriter has collected all the information needed for the project, they should dissect that information and get what’s needed for the assignment.
The direct response copywriter will focus on three things: the offer, the market, and the campaign.
Analyzing the offer, the copywriter should focus on what makes the product or service different than the competition. If they can’t find any unique selling propositions, then they should turn their attention to the benefits that have not been stressed out by the competition yet. And those benefits can be anything from reliability, economical offer, customer support, or your guarantee.
Analyzing the market, the copywriter should try to get into the mind of the customer. Trying to get an image of who they are talking to, so they can then pick the right approach to have a conversation with them through their writing.
And finally, when analyzing the campaign, the direct response copywriter looks for what works, what hasn’t, and what hasn’t become exposed. This information will help the copywriter decide what to include in the campaign, how to present it to the market, and which channels will best do so.
Once the direct response copywriter has collected and dissected all the data, then it is time to sit down and start writing.
Once the direct response copywriter has all the information they need, then they’re ready to start writing.
Here’s where the marketing philosophy of the copywriter comes into play. Because the copywriter’s philosophy is going to decide which route they’re going to take with their writing.
Now I’m going to go off on a small tangent for a second and talk about the two marketing philosophies. Starting with retail…
The Retail Marketing Philosophy
If your copywriter has a retail marketing philosophy, then he won’t be thinking about getting the sale right away. Instead, they’ll focus on trying to assimilate your product with something (they think) the market will find cute or funny – depending on the market they’re writing to. And that’s how you get Geico’s and the majority of Super Bowl commercials you see on TV.
The retail marketing philosophy of marketing carries a couple of negatives with it:
- It’s very cost-heavy because you are trying to attract the people by being flashy – thus you’ll have to spend a lot of cash to out-flash your competitors.
- It’s also not measurable because you don’t know who bought your product because of your advertising and who bought it by accidentally stumbling upon it. Therefore, you never know what works and what doesn’t – so you keep throwing money at that pit in the hopes that are bringing in positive results.
The retail marketing philosophy suits large corporations because they have enough resources to try new (and expensive) tactics to keep their brands in the mind of the consumer. If you’re not a large corporation, you may want to stay away from this until you are.
The Direct Response Marketing Philosophy
On the other hand, if your copywriter has a direct response marketing philosophy, they will apply a sense of urgency to your marketing campaigns. They are looking to connect with the market away and persuade them into taking the deal ASAP. But they don’t do this by swindling the market – they do it by focusing on what the market wants, needs, and loves.
The direct response marketing philosophy it’s cost-effective because it’s not looking to be Hollywood-esque or to win any advertising awards. Instead, its purpose is to gain you as many leads or sales orders as possible.
And you can easily point out what works and what doesn’t due to the application of your CTAs (calls to action). This allows you to keep running with that’s bringing the money and toss aside what’s not working.
Any business – from freelancers to big corporations – can get positive results from applying the direct response philosophy into their marketing. Its personal approach allows you to connect with the market on a higher level. And you’re coming with valuable information, making you an asset to their daily lives.
Now let’s go back to the topic at hand…
Direct Response Copywriting
The direct response copywriter will follow a formula (depending on the market, campaign, and offer) that will allow you (the business) to connect with the customer on a personal level.
But regardless of the formula used, your direct response copywriting should look to achieve three goals:
- Get the attention of the right people by addressing something that interests them in some way.
- Communicating who you are and what you can do for them in a clear and concise manner.
- Guiding them into taking the desired course of action (filling a form, sending a check, etc.)
Achieving those three goals help the direct response copywriter meet the goal: to help you generate more sales.
How to Pick the Right Copywriter for Your Business
What should you look for when hiring a copywriter?
A simple answer to that question would be “your copywriter must be able to sell with their writing.” But let’s dig a bit deeper into what makes a copywriter the right fit for your business.
The most important thing to know when you look for a copywriter is that no certification guarantees that their students are straight-up great copywriters.
Most courses on copywriting layout the foundation to develop great copywriting skills – but it is up to the copywriter to go above-and-beyond and learn advanced techniques to produce great copy.
A good copywriter is also quick on the uptake. This means they know when to stop learning about your offer and service because they have enough information to get the job done.
You should supply all the information possible to the copywriter to do their work. But they will use the information that correlates your product and audience to make your offer more appealing.
Here’s what I would do if I were looking for a copywriter:
Request an Information Package
You want to know your copywriter before you hire them. And a good press kit or information package shall let you know what you must about the person who will write your marketing.
With a copywriter, the information package also gives you a glimpse of their work. You can get a sample of what their writing is like. And if their writing style appeals to you, chances are that copywriter could fulfill your content needs.
Usually, information packages include work samples, a client list, and a sheet with testimonials.
Paper can take anything you write on it. But going deeper into what is like to collaborate with a certain copywriter might be ideal before coming to an agreement.
Once you get that copywriter’s information package, you should take a moment to study their client list. That could be the key to know whether the copywriter you are considering can write your marketing.
Go through that client list in the information package and ask for recommendations. Hear it from the horse’s mouth to make sure.
Pick Someone Whose Writing Style Matches Your Brand
You don’t want a copywriter who writes mostly for medical services promoting your upcoming toy line, do you? Those are vastly different markets – with a different approach to each by the copywriter.
Back in the day, companies hired general copywriters to write about anything – whether they understood the market or not. Because back then, the competition was less fierce. If your product was in front of the right people, the effort to convince and convert didn’t have to be as hard as it is today.
That is why today, copywriters – while they do not necessarily need to understand every aspect of the market – they need to know at least the benefits and features of your offer. As well as what separates you from the rest of the market. Thus, you must require your copywriter to have a basic knowledge of your industry.
Go through the work samples and see if you can envision that writing placed onto your offers and be as beneficial to your brand as they should.
Hire Someone Who Matches Your Marketing Needs
A startup with a limited budget wouldn’t go after John Carlton or Bob Bly. They should hire someone whose fees match their budget.
Today, there are copywriters of all levels of ability, for businesses of all sizes.
If you are a micro or small business. shop around for someone who knows your industry but is starting out. Their prices might be the best fit for your company, and the copywriter will be happy to do your work.
However, avoid service auction sites. Prizes might be cheap – but chances are, so is the service you’ll get. Be careful.
Just look for someone who can show off their work, and whose prizes fit your budget.
Sometimes good enough is good enough. Decide wisely.
Hire Your Next Copywriter
Starting today, you need to realize that your direct response copywriter does more than just typing words on Microsoft Word. Direct response copywriters are salespeople, business consultants, and brand specialists. For them to succeed, they need to know you, your products, and your buyers before typing. And you to succeed, you need to make the right choice when hiring your DRC – basing your hire on the writer’s industry knowledge, writing style, and your budget.
Do you agree with my assessment of what is a direct response copywriter? Whether you do or you don’t, leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you find this article useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!