Here’s Why, If You Know How to Write Direct Response Copy, Your Future Is Golden

Say the word advertising and most people think of print ads you see in newspapers and magazines.

And depending on how that ad is written it might qualify as one of two types: institutional or direct response.

What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Institutional advertising generally has one purpose … to build up a brand by gaining greater recognition in the marketplace.

One example of brand advertising is the famous Coca-Cola ad done in the 1960’s: Things Go Better with Coke.

The whole purpose of the campaign was simply to get the target audience (anyone who likes soft drinks) to remember the product name, with the hope that next time they go shopping, they purchase Coca-Cola.

The other type of advertising is direct response.

And the main purpose for this type of copy is to drive an immediate response from your prospect.

An example is P.F. Chang’s Farm to Work Sweepstakes, where a prospect supplies their contact information in exchange for a chance to win a trip to Napa Valley.

Here’s the real difference between these two types of ads: It’s the call to action that separates direct response ads form all other forms.

But why does knowing this matter to you?

It’s simple.

For you as a copywriter, writing direct response ads is where you’ll find high-paying clients.

You could even say it’s the “holy grail” of copywriting. Because you’re the copywriter that can help bring in more money and more customers.

It’s actually where legendary writers were born.

One of those legends is David Ogilvy.

Known as the “Father of Advertising,” David was the founder of Ogilvy and Mather, a powerhouse advertising agency that still exists today.

And while the company is known as an advertising agency, his real specialty was writing direct response copy.

David would often say direct response and specifically direct mail is the writing he “cut his teeth on.”

Which explains why he had so much success writing ad copy.

Because he understood what all of the most successful copywriters understand:

That getting a prospect to take action is more critical than just getting the prospect to remember the brand name.

And it’s one of the reasons why clients want to hire direct response writers.

When you have the skills to write this kind of copy, your client knows you understand how to highlight the benefits of a product and not focus on the features.

You know that writing a headline is about getting someone’s attention.

You know that proof is needed in long form sales letters to show a prospect that the product you are selling solves their most pressing problems.

And your clients also know that your writing makes an immediate difference to their bottom lines.

It’s something David Ogilvy knew as well.

In fact, in this video he created many years ago, he makes the point that all general advertising people should first be trained in direct response.

You can watch his whole argument for why direct response is the basis for effective advertising, below:

Watch Video

While he recorded it many years ago, everything he mentions is relevant today.

He shares many key insights that make this video well worth the six minutes, including why general advertisers know very little about their prospects …

Why being “creative” is not as important as understanding direct response …

And why practitioners of general advertising will need to learn from direct response writers and marketers …

Among many others.

But there’s one point in particular David makes that I whole heartly agree with: Writing direct response copy is your secret weapon to success.

And today the opportunities to do so are greater than ever.

Or, as David says to all direct response people who watch the video, “You face a golden future.”

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Published: June 24, 2022

1 Response to “Here’s Why, If You Know How to Write Direct Response Copy, Your Future Is Golden”

  1. Who can argue with the Godfather of Advertising? Everything he says about the industry, the profession, the value it has for society is Irrefutable.

    More importantly, it's a "Cut-The-Crap" blast of fresh air more alive and invigorating today than when he first said it.

    Listening to David now, it's like rising up after being baptized feeling completely cleansed.


    Now, if I could only finish the set up for my new website, I'd be set!


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