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What is a Direct Response Copywriter? 

As a financial services marketer, you may have hired a direct response copywriter already. But do you know exactly what to expect when you work with a DRC? As a professional direct response copywriter, I have found two articles that answer the question “what is a direct response copywriter?” 

The first article, titled “What Is Direct Response Copywriting? 6 Real-Life Content Lessons From This Form Of Copy” was written by Julia McCoy for The article focuses on how direct response copywriters (unlike brand copywriters) look to persuade prospects into acting at once. 

Julia presents in her article six lessons she had learned from direct response copywriters – featuring David Ogilvy. Julia highlights the importance of why direct response copywriters should know and understand their audience, why they keep things simple, and how they create a sense of urgency in their campaigns. The article also has examples of real-life long-copy by large corporations – like Apple and Adobe. 

The second article was written by Neil Patel for The Crazy Egg. The title of the article is “5 Things to Learn From Direct Response Copywriters”. 

In this article, Neil goes over the effectiveness of direct response copywriters over time – going back to Claude Hopkins and toothpaste.  Among what Neil covers in this article, there’s why direct response copywriters test everything, why they use long copy, and how direct response copywriters make your advertising appealing right from the get-go. Neil also presents real-life examples of direct response copywriting for products like Dove and Palmolive. 

3 Things Financial Services Marketers Should Know About Direct Response Copywriters 

Drawing from these two articles, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, I have listed three things I believe direct marketers must know to understand what is a direct response copywriter: 

Direct Response Copywriters Are Business Consultants 

Notice that I used the term “business consultant” instead of “marketing consultant”. And that’s because one of my philosophies about business is… 

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 the customers love about your business – emphasizing 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 marketers’ heads because 

  1. The focus put on DRCs is to sell products 
  1. 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 to get 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”; 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 Is a Direct Response Copywriter? 

Starting today, you need to understand that direct response copywriters are more than writers with a fancy title. DRCs are brand specialists as well as business consultants. But most important, direct response copywriters are salespeople looking to help you increase your sales. 

Do you agree with my answer to the question “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! 

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