Becoming a direct response copywriter is something everyone in the profession aims for. The simple reason is that direct response copywriters get the most rewarding projects, both in terms of pay and job satisfaction. This is because, unlike writing a brochure or website, the success of your writing is measured. Through tracking how many sales a copywriting message generates, businesses can see in cold hard figures that hiring a highly skilled copywriter is worth the investment.
So how can you become a direct response copywriter? There are a few ways of improving your copywriting abilities to the level that direct response copywriting demands.
To begin with, read all the books by the world’s finest copywriters. This includes books by David Ogilvy, Joe Sugarman, Eugene Schwartz and John Caples. The advice contained in their books continues to be as valid today as when they were written many decades ago.
The second thing to do is to start collecting samples of successful direct response sales copy. It’s easy to find examples online with some quick searches in Yahoo and Google. You can also look in Google images for PDFs of famous adverts and sales letters. After building a swipe file, analyze every sales letter and advert and write down the copywriting tactics used and why the advert was profitable.
Finally, practice makes perfect. Write out successful sales letters and adverts by hand. This helps you to understand the thought process going through the copywriter’s mind when he or she wrote it. After doing that, try writing your own sales letters and adverts utilizing everything you have learned so far.
There are many types of direct response copywriting. What they all have in common is that responses are counted and linked directly to leads and sales. Types of direct response copywriting include:
Direct mail – These are the letters and postcards you get in the post that promote time shares, magazine subscriptions and other promotional deals. In each case, their purpose is to persuade you to react and confirm your interest in the offer, whether done by phone, email or by posting a reply card. While the writing used in direct mail might seem simple, every sentence and word is carefully chosen to get attention and build interest. People receive lots of direct mail each day, so your message must sound appealing to get people to read and reply.
Email – When done badly, email is no better than junk mail. But email marketing can be an effective way of producing revenue if you make the right offer. Writing direct response emails might also look uncomplicated, but being able to produce a punchy, concise email that gets a reply requires a great deal of copywriting expertise.
Sales letter writing – Direct response copywriters are employed to write the very long web pages used to sell training courses, eBooks and other online products as well as for traditional sales letters. Offline sales letters are often shipped with brochures as an introduction and to develop curiosity in the product. These can be just a single page or 10 pages or more, particularly when selling an expensive item. Writing long sales letters that are appealing to read and effective at getting readers to react and buy the product demands a level of writing ability.
Advertorial writing – You may have seen these and thought they were regular articles in a newspaper or magazine. This is because they are designed to look like normal editorial, rather than an advert. The article’s true purpose is revealed, however, with a slick switch to a sales pitch towards the end. A telephone number or response form is another giveaway that what you are reading is, in fact, sales copy.
As these examples of direct response copywriting show, you are going to have to practice and learn a lot to be successful at writing the sales collateral direct response copywriters provide. The hard work pays off though, both financially and with the sense of accomplishment when you make a lot of sales for a client.