Could direct response marketing be the answer to your business growth problems? In part 2 of the “Ultimate Guide to Direct Response” series, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of direct response marketing for small businesses. Click here for Part 1.
Direct response marketing is the success secret fueling almost every successful speaker, coach, “guru”, and businessman today who makes his living selling directly to consumers. Tony Robbins? He’s a direct response marketer. Brian Tracy? Also direct response marketer. Timothy Ferris? You guessed it – he’s a direct response man. For centuries, brands have relied on direct response marketing and direct response copywriting to fuel the business.
While I could go on and on about the advantages of direct response marketing, that wouldn’t help you — the business owner — gauge its true worth to you to test. That’s why in this post I’ll break down the honest advantages and disadvantages of using direct response marketing strategies.
Let’s start with the disadvantages first.
The Disadvantages of Direct Response Marketing
There are a few disadvantages to direct response marketing. These disadvantages fall under four categories: effort, efficiency, expense, and ego.
One reason many entrepreneurs do not undertake direct response marketing is that there is a great deal of effort required to do it right. A good direct response copywriter will ask to research for weeks, if not months, before beginning marketing creation. That’s because in order to do the job right and get stellar results, the marketer has to crack open the buyer’s mind and pull out the juicy desires, objections, and emotions. Only then can effective marketing be written.
Another source of effort? The tracking. Direct response marketing insists on being accountable, and accountability requires diligent tracking. Direct response marketers track the cost per lead, the open rates, the click through rates, the response rates, and many other metrics in between. Planning the data collection, managing the data, and then reviewing the data takes time away from other operations tasks.
The next “problem” with direct response marketing is the speed of execution. A full direct response marketing plan may have over 150 separate marketing assets. If you want to just “wing it” and run with whatever comes into your head, then direct response marketing methods are going to feel a bit disappointing. (Mostly because tracking marketing which fails kind of sucks.)
Another complaint of direct response marketing? It’s expensive! Compared to the cost of simply slapping up a website and posting on Facebook a few times a week, direct response can feel expensive at first. For example, Facebook ads will run you at least $10 per day, if not hundreds. Same for Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. And direct mail will cost at least $1 per name once you count printing and postage costs. And none of that includes the cost of the copywriter tasked with writing your converting direct response campaign.
Another problem with direct response? It doesn’t care about your ego. Many businesses want to run pretty yet narcissistic marketing messages like “We’ve been in business for 34 years” or other trite messaging. This type of messaging doesn’t actually work, yet it feels good to run it. Businesses with a lot of ego tend to pick more “branding” oriented marketing methods, which cater to feeling good and not rocking the buyer emotion boat.
The Advantages of Direct Response Marketing
Now, it’s time to look at the advantages of direct response marketing. There are quite a few, otherwise we wouldn’t be in the business of direct response here at Indiana Direct Response Marketing (IDRM). They are accountable, effective, and long-lasting.
First and foremost, direct response marketing is, if nothing else, accountable. Direct response marketers insist on marketing campaigns and copy being held to the standard of DATA. Not gut feelings, not whims, not trends, but quantifiable and irrefutable data. How do we know if a big idea or an approach will work? We test! How do we know if a new approach will beat the existing control? We test! We test and measure until your marketing is optimized for response and effectiveness. And at the end of the day, we tie results to the long-term revenue you gain. Period.
This extreme focus on accountability and results generally means that what is done is actually effective and moving the needle and keeping you in the black. A direct response marketer is a bit like a salesman: a salesperson who can’t close eventually finds himself out of work. The same is true of us: if we can consistently generate leads and revenues for our clients, then we work. If we can’t, we have to hang up our hat. It’s just that simple.
Finally, because direct response marketing is based on data and must actually generate more leads and more revenue for the business, then it often happens that a business will finally create a marketing asset (such as a webinar, direct mail series, or sales page) which lasts for a bit of time. Unlike social media, which must always be new and fresh, direct response marketing funnels could last years. In the early part of the century, there were newspaper ads which lasted decades. Which means that paying for direct response copywriting once could mean years of profit at no extra cost.
At IDRM, we believe the benefits of direct response outweigh the costs. However, only you can decide for yourself. To discover more profit-boosting tips, download our “5 Strategies” white paper today.
What do you think? Did I miss an advantage or disadvantage? Let me know in the comments below.