Direct Response Marketing [Pt. I] Why It Must Be Your Proprietary Style As a Small Business Owner

There are two prevalent terms in our current business realm, that had they been slithering vipers, would’ve already bit you in the face. These two are called Direct Response Marketing and Direct Response Advertising, and today we crack them both wide open.

Direct Response Marketing

This is your time to get the real low-down on these two integral concepts, and employ them for maximum cash flow in your life.

We’ll start off with a base education for the newbies, and perhaps an uncomfortable shock for many business veterans that started 100% in the digital world, This might get uncomfortable if you now know only one way of operating.

It’s about your strategy and tactics, and it’s about time.

This is Part I in the Direct Response Marketing Series.

You are highly encouraged to read Part II on market research and insights afterwards, which expands upon choosing your ideal customer for maximum conversions.

This uncomfortable shock might feel like suddenly realizing you were the recent four-course meal for 20 mosquitoes, after the fact…

The reason is, this hits close to home for most marketers. Marketing tactics, (like religion and theology) often get closely intertwined with the business owner.

And a person is hardly separated from his or her business.

In fact, there may be no actual separation, as many authors have already stated.

But if you can bear with the facts and push all of that aside, we’ll conquer any visionary blind spots you hold about Direct Response Copywriting and marketing, sharing some of the best copywriting tips today.

Let’s jam.

Where Direct Response Copywriting Came From, Why It’s Useful Online & Why Everything You’re Doing is Flat Out WRONG


So there’s a chance you’re new to the term Direct Response Marketing.

The reason is that all sorts of ads, webpages you’ve visited, and pieces you’ve gotten in the mail contain Direct Response Copywriting.

And the majority of them that you keep seeing over and over again?

Yeah, they work. As in, they rake in greenbacks.

Otherwise, they wouldn’t be repetitively run out to the same lists and frequent the same spots all over the ‘net.

Some of those ads can run for weeks, or even months, losing money… because of a very dialed back-end system. But we’ll get to that a bit later on in this series.

For now, what we’ve got to do is identify the term Direct Response Marketing.

Direct Response is exactly that: marketing, copywriting, or advertising that elicits a response.

Plain and simple.

Whenever you’re asked to click on a landing page, to visit a website, to pick up the phone, or text in a code to a hotline, you’re witnessing Direct Response in action.

All the hype you’ve probably heard about “awareness marketing”, “getting your name out there”, or “establishing authority/credibility” is mushy.

Not to say you don’t need authority in your market, or should never build contacts in your network, but the overall aim is very misguided.

The people you hear this advice from are usually trying to spread this same ol’ stuff to get their name out there to establish credibility, blindly following some other blockhead’s conventional advice.

Why Advice Like This Is Mushy As A Cupcake, And What to Do About It…

The fact of the matter is that this advice is simply unfounded.

The reason people are focused on all the wrong things is because they took their attention off of what was measurable.

Try to go up to the bank teller and deposit authority and you’ll get carried away by nice men to a padded room. Go up to the nearest ATM and withdraw a little “awareness of your name”, and your card somehow gets declined every time.

It’s the strangest thing!

Yet every day, gurus espouse advice like this in order to either:

a) keep you dumb, wanting, and buying more.

b) try to prove to you that they’re successful, getting their initial success off of your ignorance

Either way, it ain’t pretty.

In my experience of actually building businesses online, E-commerce, consulting, and otherwise… I’ve seen how this advice keeps people stuck.

When I work with clients who don’t yet have their own solid grasp on this topic, it’s one of the first distinctions we clear up.

Why? Because it’s absolutely pivotal.

We’ll get to why Direct Response Advertising is the only type of marketing you need when you’re still small in a moment. Right now, let’s clear up whether or not you’re still a “small business owner”.

Ask yourself, do I have less than five employees, and/or, am I doing less than $500,000 annually?

If the answer for both is yes, you’re still an S.M.B. (small to medium business).

There are other stipulations, but revenue and company size are most important, to keep it simple today in Part I of the Direct Response Marketing Series.

And for this type of business owner, the alternate approach to guesswork and hope is using data.

The Data is Your Map. Find It, Study It, Mark the X, and Follow Where It Leads

Part of what makes Direct Response the real deal, is its sturdy foundation on data.

The numbers matter and are the main point of adjustment, influencing executive decisions.

Data is the opposite of mush cookies and cupcakes.

But most entrepreneurs “follow their hearts” and intuition when it comes to selling their wares.

For some reason, they’ll only gut-check markets.

They’ll waste countless months of their precious life building a product nobody wants.

And they never simply walk out the door with pen and pad to, oh I don’t know, maybe chat with the people they’re selling stuff to?

It baffles me. But it happens everyday.

So what’s the fix? Having a gander at the actual facts!

Take a look at facts in the form of:

– market data,

– sales analytics,

– vital website metrics (K.P.I.s – Key Performance Indicators),

– the entrenchment of the competition*,

– looking at competing offers, and

– previewing a myriad of sites in your market

Some sites you can gain a big-picture assessment from include: for SEO and competitor analytic purposes

– Your own Google Analytics to see what your audience does

The DMA (Data & Marketing Association – formerly, Direct Marketing Association) for back-linking, organic niche-entrenchment  of the competition, etc.

– Sites like Baymard to review the world’s online UX & data benchmarks, etc.

… plus countless more.

Know the realm before you hop in. Let data speak louder than all.

No guessing, no hoping.

Rather than wasting time groping around in the dark for the light switch in your underwear, stubbing your toe on every confounded hard object…

There’s an Easier Way: When You’re Small (And Even When You’re Big)… Use Direct Response Advertising!

The best way I can explain the instant method to use the power of words, is to ask for a response, right there and then.

A major principle in life is don’t ask; don’t get.

Therefore, if you’re spending your limited advertising and marketing budget on “showing people your stuff”, or “getting your name out there”…

There’s a fantastic chance you’ll run out of money before the results show up!

Back when I was drop-shipping, I began just spouting off random product facts in my product descriptions.

These were boring and logical, because I had no grasp of sales. When I picked up Direct Response Marketing and copywriting techniques, dialing in my sequences, asking for the sale, (surprise surprise) my sales started going way up, and quickly.

I went directly for what I wanted (mentioned in my secrets to building wealth article here), and didn’t accept any other possibility.

You simply don’t have the budget to play with that these multi-billion dollar corporations do. You need action, you need results, and you need them fast.

Here’s a question to ask yourself:

Your site, business, or brand offers positive transformation, yes?

Then it follows that the only way your people can experience what you offer is through a sale.

Without sales, it’s impossible to deliver the highest transformational value.

Because we don’t value what’s free, we won’t be anywhere near committed to doing what’s required for results.

Trust me, I’ve seen it both ways:

– Massively valuable, transformational, groundbreaking resources out there for free, and

– Cheap crap taking up top spaces in the marketplace that hardly offers anything real

Yet you know what?

There’s a far higher chance of someone actually taking action with what they paid money for. Even if they get the most tested and proven course, book, or product, they usually won’t do anything with the information if it’s free.

That’s why I explained to you in Secrets to Building Wealth [Pt. II] – How to Become a Copywriter the different levels of pricing structures, and the client commitment that follows.

99 out of 100 times this is true.

On top of that, the one moving the cheap crap almost certainly holds a better grip over Direct Response Marketing principles than you do.

But the average business owner is still stuck trying to justify and feeling subtle guilt. Sad to see the good guy missing the mark, but totally unnecessary.

This is mostly mindset stuff, and the overview goes something like this:

1 – They’re scared what people might think of them or their prices

2 – They don’t know how to do something, so they “test the waters” with an unbelievably underpriced offer *

3 – They lack the necessary previous results (and therefore confidence) that their stuff works

All of this combined is why most people stay stuck, underpaid, and stressed the hell out.

* Not initially a bad idea, but getting stuck here forever is *

Get Unstuck: Gaining Traction With Data Reporting

The way you can get out of your self-imposed mush-cake ways is by applying a little old fashion sales and marketing. Bringing the old, tried and tested into the online world.

This copywriting technique isn’t new, but it’s something that more modern marketers need to be doing.

When “getting your name out there”, and slinging business cards around isn’t paying the rent, you may want to consider this as an alternative to hanging with Jack, Jim, and Johnny, drowning in their bottles.

One of your first priorities is to grab at will the old sales letters and books that you can find, and submit them to memory through repetition.

The old Direct Response Ads raked in millions of dollars, and Gary Halbert‘s “Coat of Arms” letter was known to be mailed over 600 million times.

Mind you, this was far before the Internet, and the distribution methods were severely limited compared to what we’ve got now. The reason this stuff works is because it was leveraging human psychology without any of the shortcuts and luxuries we have today.

In other words, it was hard work. Profit and residual income TODAY from the hard-won lessons of YESTERDAY.

You’ve got to get the thoughts, back-end processes (positioning, angles, hooks) and flow sequences of great ad men ingrained into your own psyche.

What Direct Marketing Kings Like Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy & David Ogilvy Have to Teach You

Direct Response Marketing

Everyone spouts off this hand-copying old Direct Response Ads advice. It’s basic, but necessary. It helped me tremendously when I was first getting started in my Direct Response copywriting journey.

But something they never talk about, is getting a deeper perspective on the whole thing, like I needed.

Prior to studying these copywriting and marketing tactics, I wanted to learn how I could originate sequences that made people reach into their wallets and buy.

My initial thoughts…

So, you mean I can write words on a screen and go withdraw cash from the ATM? Whoa.

To me, I viewed that as a superpower laden with responsibility, and a real win-win.

But I wanted to be the originator, not blindly copy the originators.

So this education was absolutely necessary for me to do first, because I was somewhat naive to human psychology before this. I can confidently say that without these first steps, I wouldn’t have been able to get excellent results for my clients.

But if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to actually become the source of new and great, inspiring ideas. This is 1000 light years ahead of copying and desperately trying to piece things together.

This is being on the cutting edge, jutting out far ahead of your would-be competition, and having others follow and copy-clone your stuff.

Sound impossible? Not at all.

Here’s how to do it…

A Solution to Marketers Who’ve Got It Backwards: The Inverse Marketing Pyramid

Listen, if you’ve got the whole direct marketing thing upside down, there’s only one that can fix it. I created it out of necessity, because I saw too many of my clients doing things backwards. It’s a sad fact that most businesspeople try to apply tactical actions that they don’t fully understand yet.

For instance, people start out to learn Facebook advertising, or how to write Direct Response Copy, without knowing the underlying reasons that make it work.

Writing copy that sells or building out your targeted audience, are concepts based on truth that doesn’t change.

This is why I created the Inverse Marketing Pyramid.

What comes far before tactics is the strategy.

Before the strategy, rightly comes correct reference points.

So building off the correct order looks something like this:

1) First Learn About Human Behavioral Economics

Learn about things like game theory, societal and educational influence factors, heuristic triggers, emotional control and cognitive dissonance.

This is laying your base for understanding why people do what they do and how to influence them.

It shows you how people might act in different scenarios and for what reasons, thereby making you hyper-aware when you create marketing pieces.

2) Next, Educate Yourself on Real-World Applicable Psychology & What It Looks Like In Your Own Market

People are the same in many ways. You can predictably use psychology to help get your message across efficiently.

It’s your job to find out what’s influencing the sale and opinions of your particular consumer. Things like scarcity, urgency, exclusivity, authority, relevance, social pressures and proof, etc.

But there are loads of internal factors within the buyer’s mind, including excitement, doubt, fear, future projection, and identity factors, (covered in the Market Sophistication article). This is where it will vary from market to market.

The better you know these, the better your execution (tactic) will fare in the world of results.

3) THEN (And Only Then) Learn About Who Your Target Is, In Terms of Psychographics

Now it’s time to apply what you’re learning to one specific person who will become your customer.

Knowing what your target does for work and in life, who they listen to, what they’re learning, is only their demographic. That’s easy, and what most brands focus on.

But leveraging Psychographics & Evographics is where the gold is. 

Psychographics is a deep concept that deserves studying whenever you enter a market; Evographics is my own creation out of necessity, based on Evolutionary Psychology…

Psychographics taps into things like:

– what unconscious triggers influence them to buy,

– the best colors for your brand marketing (and why they elicit these unconscious triggers),

– what emotional pains the specific person holds, etc.

You must know their deepest desires and aspirations.

Know what occupies their mental free time.

Is it their kids, family, work, their future?

4) After That, You Need to Make the Marketing Message, Angle & Positioning Match Up

This is where the magic happens. If you’ve ever been curious as to why you’re not reaping the results yet…

These are the keys to the kingdom. 

These keys need to come after all the prerequisites. This is the stage that all your previous work comes together for maximum sales, plain and simple.

So far, you’ve learned:

– Human behavioral economic basics, why they buy what they do,

– You know the basic psychological factors that influence all people

– You’ve also leveraged these concepts onto a specific target, thereby uniquely calling them out

Now it’s time to find what makes you different. Why your offer is superior. What you can do that nobody has before, or has yet to do your own way.

This is where you leverage not only the principles you’ve learned about all humans, about your personal target, and what factors are competing for mindshare…

Here’s where you solve their needs uniquely, with innovation.

Tying This Pyramid Back Into Using Direct Response Marketing Principles For Maximum Profits In Your Business

Applying the Inverse Marketing Pyramid to your marketing is the way you get far ahead.

Instead of trying to start at the top of the pyramid, like so many others in your competitive wake, you will jut ahead quickly. You will stand out and be able to market correctly.

And the way you do this is by applying it to the Direct Response Advertising you employ. Your commitment to marketing in this style, especially as a new or small business owner, will pay dividends.

So once you’re able to tie this in with your brand’s normal flow and your market’s natural jargon, you will start seeing serious results.

However, you really need to know what you’re doing and how to apply it at the tactical level.

That takes patience and practice. Two keys highly overlooked in our day and age.

You want to learn this, nailing your marketing with precision, but there are still a lot of unfinished priorities to cover. 

How do you find these targets?

How do you know what vocabulary they’ll respond to?

What do you charge, to whom, and where do you get these visitors?

What’s the best formula to write with for maximum sales online?

These are a few of the massively important questions to ask and answer for yourself before you sit down to write a word. This is the path to profit; all those skipping this path miss the profit.

But I’ve got your back on this road.

This is exactly what’s covered in The Ultimate Copywriting Guide to Selling Anything Online [Vol. I]

People are afraid of the word “selling”, because they suck at it. But remember what I said earlier?

… leveraging Psychographics & Evographics is where the gold is. 

People don’t recognize sales is the #1 most transformative skill for entrepreneurs to learn to (duh) increase sales. And sales (written or spoken) comes down to knowing your target deeply, and delivering on their needs.

But it only comes naturally to about 5% of people. These lucky natural-born-leaders have the ability to sway and influence crowds and one-on-one interactions, getting their way time after time.

But the majority? Not so much.

If you’re part of the 95% like myself, who were never “naturals”, but had to learn, this volume is for you.

It’s only for people who are 100% dedicated to moving their life forward by building a successful business that affords them the freedom they’re looking for.

Get the skinny on it here.

Ultimate Copywriting Guide to Selling Anything Online

Talk soon,

– Your marketing lighthouse, Evan