The 10 Commandments of Direct Response Marketing – and Why You Shouldn’t Break Them.

Written by | Direct Marketing

Whether marketing happens online or off, there is one thing every smart integrated marketer worth their salt is after: They want the customer to respond.

So let’s review the 10 commandments of direct response marketing, as covered in one of the most authoritative books on the topic, No BS Direct Marketing by Dan S. Kennedy, a top marketing consultant and legendary copywriter. Here’s a quick look at Kennedy’s guidelines, as shared on the GKIC website:

1). There Will Always Be An Offer or Offer(s)
In order to get consumers to stand up and take notice, come up with an offer “…that tells the consumer how your product can enhance their life, solve their problems, make their day better etc, and the steps they need to take in order to reap the benefits.”

2). There Will Be Reason To Respond Right Now
It’s called direct response marketing for a reason: you need your customer or prospect to respond RIGHT NOW. What sort of offer will spur them to action?

3). Clear Instructions
Don’t make your customers guess. Tell them exactly what to do next!

4). There Will Be Tracking And Measurement
As Dan Kennedy writes, “Tracking means accurately collecting all the information you need to determine what advertising is working and what isn’t, which offer is pulling and which isn’t, what marketing has traction and what doesn’t.” In other words, tracking equals paying careful attention to ROI!

5). Branding As a By-Product
The suggestion here is that integrated marketers at smaller companies can’t afford the luxury of branding campaigns. Stick to call to action offers “that are designed to motivate qualified leads to step forward and take action.”

6). There Will Be Follow-Up
We’re not just talking about a one-time follow up based on a lead. Treat that lead like gold and as the beginning of a valuable relationship. Why? Because, “There are fortunes in the follow-up.” For more on lead nurturing, check out these proven strategies.

7). There Will Be Strong Copy
When all is said and done (and written), “your copy must be compellingenough to get your prospects to take immediate action. Your vocabulary choices should aggravate your prospect’s problems so much so that they can almost feelthe pain, and then soothe them immediately with whatever it is you’re offering, and how it can solve their issue.” And by all means don’t let bad grammar derail a powerful offer: Take this quick tutorial.

8). In General, It Will Look Like Mail-Order Advertising
Master marketers Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer “suggest making a swipe file of mail-order newspapers and magazine advertisements that show clear calls to action. Next time you construct an offer, flip through the file for inspiration.” And let’s be clear: We’re not saying you are doing mail order. We’re just saying that these timeless principles still work. In fact, you might wish to explore the latest strategies that blend traditional and digital marketing.

9). Results Rule, Period.
It doesn’t’ matter what integrated marketers think. All that counts is what the customers think. “If you make sales, then your strategy has worked. If it doesn’t make sales, scrap it.”

10). Keep Your Business On A Strict Direct Marketing Diet For At Least Six Months.
Dan Kennedy says it best, anything that doesn’t conform to the prior nine rules, do not let it in at all. Just say no. And bar the door.

Granted, these 10 direct response commandments are built around tough love, and they are definitely old school. But why not check out the tried-and-true disciplines Kennedy recommends – and let the results speak for themselves.

Last modified: September 21, 2017

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