Are you running direct response ads? No? Well, you should and I'll explain why below. Whenever you do advertising for your business, you should have one goal in mind: conversions. This includes all the people who need your thing today, and all thouse who will eventually need your thing, someday. You want to elicit responses and prompt your market to take action on your offer, whatever it is. However, how many times have you run an advertising campaign only to receive a few clicks and one depressing lead?Chances are, the principles of direct response marketing don't emanate in your advertisements. In direct response advertising, the entire point is to get potential customers to respond to your ad immediately. This means including a call-to-action (CTA) that's impossible to say no to with an offer that's too good to refuse. The truth is that you can riddle your advertising with as many CTAs as you want. However, this will not necessarily translate into conversions. Crafting direct response ads is both an art and a science. The art comes from direct response copywriting which is the use of persuasive, powerful words and mind-blowing angles. Conversely, It is a science because you need to know the intricacies of human psychology and neuroscience to actually persuade people. Unless you have both in your direct response ads, you're bound to a result of poor engagement and measly returns. You can't afford that as a growing business in the residential home service industry. Wizard of Ads™ is here to prevent that from happening. Here, we'll share with you everything there is to know about writing direct response ads. Keep reading.
What are Direct Response Ads?
Direct response ads are a form of advertising that aims to elicit a quick, specific response or action from users. Take note of the keyword "specific". By publishing direct response ads, you want readers, viewers, or listeners to take the action that you want, immediately. This could be to purchase your products, book a call, or sign up for a service, etc. That said, direct response marketing is the polar opposite of traditional marketing. The normative system of marketing focuses on building relationships and establishing brand recognition. In direct response marketing, businesses focus on driving conversions through ads to acquire customers, generate sales and a quick ROI. The key is in the immediacy of the response. Ads are direct, to the point and focused on a specific CTA. Nonetheless, I believe that striking the right balance between direct response marketing and traditional marketing is key. In their groundbreaking book, the Long and the Short of It, Binet and Field teach us you must invest 60% to 70% of the budget on branded endeavors and 30% to 40% of the budget to entice the “today” sale. Allow me to explain. Say, you bagged an HVAC installation gig through your direct response ads. Anyone who had their HVAC installed will have the unit maintained and repaired eventually. You want to be the business that gets both the installation and maintenance service. Only a healthy mix of direct response and traditional marketing will enable you to do this. Why ?Because you didn't skedaddle after you got their coveted yes. You built a long-lasting relationship that got them committed and invested in your business. In other words, you can't have one or the other. This is especially true in a tightly competitive landscape like the residential home services industry. Your lifeblood is your club memberships, and only both traditional and direct response marketing can give you that. If you're struggling to craft killer direct response ads for your business, Ryan Chute from Wizard of Ads® can help. Book a call.
To some degree, recruitment ads are a form of direct-response ads. No other comes close to explaining their similarities than Roy H. Williams, in one of his Monday morning memos. In April 2018, Roy published a 60-second recruitment ad from Morris-Jenkins Plumbing and Air Conditioning from Charlotte, NC. The ad reached a staggering 19 percent of the entire Charlotte population in a span of three days. Listeners heard it an average of 6.3 times and cost only seven-tenths of a penny for every repetition per person. These are incredible feats and all, but the most important component of the ad is their wonderful copy. I won't mention it here so as to avoid plagiarism. My point is that Roy H. Williams hit the trifecta that broke the science of direct response ads. The advertising message he crafted had these three elements: remarkability, credibility, and urgency. We'll dig deeper into why these characteristics are important in a bit. Here are the tidbits that made the recruitment ad a head-turner:
- "Would you like to make one hundred thousand dollars a year?" This a truly remarkable message, considering the median salary of plumbers in 2021 was $59,880. Plumbers get immediately hooked when they hear these numbers.
- "You hear Morris-Jenkins on TV and radio all the time." Everyone in Charlotte knows who Morris-Jenkins is very well and they have a wonderful reputation. This line reminded listeners who was talking. Morris-Jenkins’ immense credibility wiped away the skepticism that plumbers may have from the previous promise.
- "Be at Morris-Jenkins this Saturday at 8 a.m. for a confidential interview." While their CTA is not to be at Morris-Jenkins within five minutes, they still displayed a sense of urgency. The interview was one-time. If a plumber missed their chance, they'll have to wait for another announcement.
Now then, what's with these three elements? Let's discover below.
Remarkable, Credible, and Urgent Ads
Again, direct response advertising is anchored on offering immediate specific actions. This is a quality absent from non-direct response advertising. "If that's the case," says plumber Joe, "let's just add a CTA button in all our advertisements." A respectable attempt, but a heartbreaking one when he realizes his ads yield little to no conversions. His strategy overlooked one problem: what makes him think his ads are persuasive enough to actually drive that action? Remember that sales happen when an alignment of principles occurs. Similarly, you can only persuade someone when you know what makes them tick and attack from that angle. It is basic science, and it tells us there are three things: remarkability, credibility, and urgency. These three are the combined secret sauce of successful direct response ads. Let's explore them further below.
Let me ask you something. Which is the more interesting news?
- "Elon Musk spotted driving around town with the newest unreleased Tesla model."
- "Elon Musk's newest unreleased Tesla model was stolen."
Okay, I agree, it sounds harsh but anyone would probably say B, right? But why? Because it's more remarkable. It tickles the right spot and piques our interest better. After all, so what if he drives around town with a new Tesla concept model? That's normal and quite frankly, no fun. You only truly access the realm of remarkability when your ads go against the grain. Adding a story that shatters the system and a fact that breaks the status quo is what people want. Saying that plumbers can earn $100 thousand is interesting, and truth be told, mouth-watering, especially for plumbers who earn half. What remarkable value do you offer that makes you stand 600 ft. above your competition? Do you have a perfectly fair competitive advantage that elevates you above the Sea of Sameness? That's your “remarkable.”
Another pillar in the success of direct response ads is their sense of credibility, particularly, of the one speaking. In the case of Morris-Jenkins, their many successful services and commercials have cemented them atop the industry. One mention of their brand name and every plumber is all ears. Here's the thing. For businesses that are only starting out, your credibility may be nowhere to be found. Does that mean you can't produce successful direct response ads without being a household name? No, not at all. However, you do need something to show for when people begin wondering about your credibility. This could include but is not limited to:
- A website with an appealing user interface and a smooth user experience
- An optimized local listing in Google Business Profile
- Optimized, authoritative, and value-dense content throughout your website
- Good and positive reviews
- An active social media page
- Desirable company culture and work ethics
With these elements, your business can rival even more popular brands in the direct response marketing scene.
Finally, what makes direct response an action-driven approach is the pinch of urgency garnished throughout the ad. In Roy H. Williams' ads, he indicated a clear time, date, and place for the plumber and HVAC tech interview. Naturally, anyone who missed the date loses their spot among the Morris-Jenkins ranks. That's the sense of urgency the ad creates. With a desirable offer, you reclaim the power of decision-making away from your customers. You back them into a corner where their only choice is to take action now or miss the chance forever. One of the biggest drivers of urgency is having a sale. While I'm not all for lowering prices, I do believe in its power when done strategically. In the residential home service industry, you could try a limited-time offer for your club membership. Of course, list down the advantages of your value proposition.
What if a Direct Response Ad is Not Working?
The success of direct response ads is anchored on the presence of those three elements. Conversely, the absence of either one or two means your ad may flop.
- If the ad is not remarkable or does not have a remarkable offer, people will not talk about it.
- If the ad or you are not credible, your words, like static noise, will go over your listeners.
- If the ad is not urgent, people take away the purchasing power from your business. They will decide when they want to buy. Sooner or later, they'll forget they ever came across your ad.
Direct Response Marketing vs Customer Bonding
Direct response marketing is distinct compared to customer bonding. When you bond with someone, you aim to build bridges and break barriers with someone. You're not after a quick buck. You want to be friends with them. You can only do this through constant association, hence the term "customer bonding." Customer bonding can be done in a variety of ways like through content or newsletters. They're not after your customer's cash, rather they simply want to introduce your company to prospects. Messaging that bonds with customers are the building blocks that make your direct response ads successful. You want to focus more on customer bonding ads, content, emails and social media posts than exploit direct response ads. As Roy H. Williams puts it:
"Customer bonding ads build long-term reputation and relationship. Direct-response ads erode it."
In other words, use direct response ads sparingly in your business and focus more on customer bonding fronts. Newsflash, Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads® can do both for your company. If you need an advertising expert to make your ads for you, book a call.