Direct Response Copywriting: what it is and how it works

Direct Response Copywriting is the writing technique for the web that makes the user take an immediate action. Also used in our language as a neologism, Direct Response Copywriting is the set of best practices of writing for online sales, so much so that it is also called sales copy .

Unlike copywriting for the traditional web, direct response is also based on the fundamental principles of neuromarketing and intercepts the user’s emotions, needs and innermost desires. Its fields of application are:

  • Sales pages and sales letters;
  • Ecommerce product sheets;
  • Online advertising;
  • Email marketing;
  • Blogging activities aimed at selling.

That of the Direct Response Copywriter is a new digital profession with considerable career potential and it is easy to understand why. However, if specific preparation is required, it is advisable to specialize and train ad hoc, following a course of study that contemplates the logic of digital marketing, the development of excellent writing skills, principles of SEO Copywriting and hints of neuromarketing.

You can work as a freelance Direct Response Copywriter or in a web agency. Lately it is a job in great demand by companies and recruiters, who prefer guaranteed and certified skills. You can certify your skills after attending a Direct Response Copywriting course , which can be used both live online and on demand when you prefer.


In the video I told you about some highlights like:

  • What are the critical issues of online communication today;
  • When Direct Response Copywriting is the right solution;
  • Why and for whom this type of persuasive writing is a great opportunity ;
  • How to become a direct response copywriter;
  • How this digital profession is practiced.

Now let’s see them in detail.

What is Direct Response Copywriting

I anticipated that Direct Response Copy is an evolution of traditional web copywriting with the aim of generating the desired reaction, promptly and naturally. It’s writing to sell, keeping a very narrow focus on the identified buyer persona, leveraging his emotions. Direct response copywriting means talking directly to the decision-making part of the user’s brain.

According to the principles of neuroscience – which give a key to understanding people’s behavior – the unconscious part of the brain is, despite what one may believe, the one in charge of the decision-making process. Most of our purchases are not influenced by rational choices, but by the emotions we feel or that the product promises to give us.

Emotions are produced automatically and very quickly compared to rational thinking. That’s why timing matters, and reducing user reaction time is one of the goals of instant response copywriting.

This does not mean inducing the reader to perform impulsive, unreasonable actions. It simply means:

  • Improve your browsing experience;
  • Help him find the information he is looking for more easily;
  • Translate his emotions into action;
  • Indulge your own desires.

Through the composition of textual and visual contents following the direct response techniques , we go beyond the simple involvement that any good copywriting should cause.

How Direct Response Copy works: 4 fundamental factors

How to do Direct Response Copywriting? The methodology is very broad and the application details of the technique vary according to the starting context and above all the type of customer you want to address. There are some factors, however, that represent essential pillars.

The heterogeneity of these factors will make you understand well that it is an interdisciplinary subject: ranging from psychology to Digital Sales, passing through excellent writing skills and SEO Copywriting skills. The fields of application of this discipline are many.

This technique will allow you to be perceived in such an authoritative way with respect to what you are communicating, as to make the reader want to get in touch with you immediately, trust you, reacting positively and promptly to the invitation you make, for example:

  • Fill in the contact form;
  • Registration for a webinar or newsletter;
  • Invitation to download an eBook;
  • Purchase your product or service.

Getting to know the reader

Talking to your customers, only them: this must be the goal. Use the right tone of voice and possibly respect the principle of KISS copywriting,  an acronym that stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Direct Response Copywriting reader

According to the principle of KISS Copywriting, the writing style must be such as to make the reader feel at ease, in other words you must be very empathetic. Don’t follow your writing style, but hers: use language appropriate to the buyer persona, avoid using overly sophisticated terminology if it is not in line with your typical customer.

Make some ad hoc considerations before you start writing. For example, when you think about writing English neologisms, carefully consider their use based on the age, profession and level of education of the target audience: they are usually more appreciated where there is no great tradition in the use of local dialects – nor great attachment to the nuances of the Italian language – and by younger people.

In short, make targeted considerations and place the reader at the center of your content. Establish a relationship of empathy with him. and most importantly, don’t make him feel misunderstood, frustrated, or undervalued.

Give useful information

In an era in which we are over-exposed to advertising messages, which reach us directly from the web through our smartphones, wherever we are, if you want to make a difference and bring out your business, you must provide useful information.

From the latest analyzes on the queries that users make on search engines, it has emerged that, compared to the past, we tend to write conversational sentences, no longer dry words.

I’ll give you an example: while before I would have written “direct response copywriting” today in the Google bar I write “what is direct response copywriting for?” This gives us a good clue about the behavior of users on the web, that is, who seek precise information, and want to have answers immediately. If they find them quickly, truthfully and completely, they will be satisfied and satisfied. Therefore, do not use the page space to write a promotion made of effective claims. Instead, write useful information, because that’s what the customer is looking for.

Imagine what his problems or needs are, dissect them, take charge of them as if they were your own, offer alternatives, place him in front of a complete panorama, finally propose yourself as a solution to what he is looking for: the reader’s satisfaction will also be rewarded by search engines of research that will read in the permanence on your content and in the actions of the user, your proven authority.

Create urgency

 Direct Response Marketing create urgencyTo get the user to take an immediate action, you need to make sure they feel the urgency. If a service or product is always available, under constant terms of sale, why on earth would he decide to take action right away?

Push the reader to action, now!

One of the most important concepts in direct response copywriting.

It goes without saying that if you were good enough to touch his emotional strings to the point of making him want your product, he himself, driven by infatuation, will not want to wait.

Certainly, however, small expedients, such as a notice of scarcity on the quantity of the product or a short-term promotion can facilitate the completion of the decision-making process in less time.

Remember that the time factor is essential to hit the instinctual perception of the reader: this will work in your favor.

Convincing to action

The intent of direct response copywriting is to get the prospect to stick with your website. To do this, you have to capture his attention right from the first line of text, from the title. In truth, this applies both to a more substantial content, such as a blog article, and to the title of an email, in an email marketing campaign.

Even within your ecommerce site, both in the blog section but, even more so for each product sheet, you will need to provide this type of writing, inserting useful information and quick and clear paths to purchase. In Google Advertising campaigns , in addition to an appropriate composition of the ads, the effectiveness of the Landing Page will be enhanced by direct response copywriting.

The title or heading is the preview of what you are proposing to your potential customers and which will allow to activate the slippery slide mechanism (to put it in the manner of Joseph Sugarman, a great copywriting and direct marketing expert) which means “slippery slide” .

In essence, slippery slide advertising refers to the fact that, if you apply direct response copywriting techniques , the prospect will be encouraged to read you from the first line to the end of the text.

After having intrigued the potential customer, given him useful answers, encouraged him to act quickly, you will have to give him a direct channel of contact with you or towards your product. The decisive moment and last pillar of the persuasive writing technique is to create a virtual place where the action can take place. Therefore, insert a button through which he can reach you or quickly find the product he is looking for, simply with a click.

Be careful though, because even this last phase of the customer journey needs underline techniques: invite him to click on the link with a Call To Action (CTA) : dispel any hesitation with an exhortative phrase, a real call to action . When writing a CTA, remember:

  • Be brief and incisive;
  • Maintain an exhortative but gentle tone;
  • Speak actively and positively.

You’ll need to clearly write the action you want the user to take, using exhortative verbs while being careful not to come off as aggressive. Use a different font than the content text, maybe a different color. In this way the CTA will be evident and scroll-proof.


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Why Direct Response Copywriting Matters to Businesses

All those who want to sell a product or service on the internet will find  instant response copywriting an effective tool. More generally, it is useful for those who want to get in touch with their target audience, using the web or social networks.

Therefore, it is useful for:

  • Companies;
  • Online shops ( E-Commerce );
  • digital freelancing;
  • Freelancers;
  • Bodies or Associations.

Every time you want to bring the user to conversion, convince him to leave his data or to buy as soon as possible, you have to apply these particular  persuasive writing techniques. In every good sales strategy there are many factors that lead to the final result. Well, direct response copy must be part of your content marketing strategy : shortening the buying process will mean more sales opportunities and will maximize ROI (Return Of Investment).

Making Direct Response Copywriting a Profession

Direct Response Copywriting writing to sellIf you love to write, and what you’ve read so far has intrigued you, know that the direct response copywriter is one of the digital professions with the most promising prospects because it is highly sought after by companies.

If you know how to convince users to click on a sales page, bring out your emails in customers’ inboxes, intercept prospects and make lead generation , thanks to effective advertising campaigns, to push sales thanks to writing, then your competence will be easily measurable and your compensation will correspond to a positive ROI for those who have hired you.

You can also become a direct response copywriter by working as a digital freelance , provided that you are able, in any case, to constantly update yourself on SEO writing trends and specific ones for direct response.

Learn to manage your time and become a web freelancer!


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Writing to Sell: Tips and Readings

Since this is a complex and interdisciplinary topic, in order to learn more quickly how to apply direct response copy techniques , I want to advise you to deepen the subject by reading as much as you can about what has been written and developed to date. Among the best known authors, of which you can buy books and find articles on the web, I want to point out Joseph Sugarman, undisputed master of sales through words, Dan Kennedy, who wrote very interesting texts on magnetic marketing, David Ogilvy and John Caples, historical fathers of ‘advertising.

You can already find a lot of information about it on the internet, but if you want to deepen with more complete readings, know that in the best editions, you will have the opportunity to purchase digital upgrades at the same time as the book.

Below, however, I want to offer you some mini-guides on topics related to direct response copy, which can help you complete the picture of this discipline and its possible fields of application.

Reading, updating, is so important in this humanistic but, at the same time, transversal discipline. Having good training, knowing the latest trends on the subject, will allow you to develop your own methodology and be unique and effective over time.


This discipline, daughter of traditional copywriting, is a concrete demonstration of how much digital professions are growing and evolving into ever more refined and specific tools today. I hope I have given you some useful information and food for thought on your job prospects. Learn more by requesting free strategic coaching .

Don’t stop if what you’re doing isn’t enough for you. Remember, many of our choices are made with the heart, emotions speak to us more than rational thought. If you feel you can do more, follow your instincts, which are rarely wrong.


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