What is Direct Response Copywriting? + Real-World Examples

A picture of a typewriter. The typewriter was a tool used by copywriters.

Author: Carlos Sequeira

Last modified: March 18, 2022

Are you wondering what direct response copywriting is all about?

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide I’ll walk you through the different aspects of direct response and what techniques provide the best results.

Also, we’ll go over real world examples of companies that use direct response copywriting.

Let’s get started…

What is direct response copywriting?

Direct response copywriting is all about having the targeted group take immediate action.

The desired response that all copywriters want is for the reader to take immediate action after reading the copy.

Knowing how to use the right words to generate the desired response is a skill that will always be in high demand.

Businesses use direct response copywriters to create compelling copy for their products or services.

Furthermore, a direct response copywriter has one goal in mind.

The main goal of the copywriter is to generate the most profit and sales for their customer.

Direct response copywriting is the pinnacle of copywriting and thus the highest paying.

The copywriter is responsible for creating the copy that will attract the prospect, create a desire for the product or service and move the prospect down the sales funnel to make a purchase.

What are forms of taking action?

  • Making a purchase
  • Signing up for an email newsletter
  • Responding to a direct mail promotion
  • Clicking on a link
  • Following you on social media
  • Donating to a charity
  • Signing up for a subscription service

What does a direct response copywriter do?

The direct response copywriter has to create the copy that will move the prospect to take action.

The copy has to move the prospect emotionally, address their fears and find a cure for their pain points.

Copy is not perfect in the first draft.

In fact, several edits have to be done in order for the copy to be effective enough to move the prospect to take action.

Revising and editing helps improve readability and makes it sound more natural.

Direct response copywriting projects include:

  • Online or print advertorials
  • Sales letters
  • Fundraising letters
  • Online sales pages and landing pages
  • Sales emails

To learn more about copywriting, I suggest this article: What is a Freelance Copywriter?

Headlines have to grab the attention of the prospect

A direct response copywriter has to create a headline that will draw the reader in.

Emotional triggers can be used to create headlines that will spark the curiosity of readers and encourage them to keep reading the copy.

In addition, you can write a headline that will give prospects a hint of what’s to come in the copy.

Headlines have to be unique and must make a promise to the reader.

Moreover, headlines can also be specific to the prospect’s pain points or the industry in which the prospect is inquiring about.

For instance, let’s use the headline: Why do 10% of people have 90% of all the wealth?

This headline is specific and makes the reader think about the 10% of people who have all the wealth.

The reader’s mind will be curious and will want to continue to read the rest of the copy.

A direct response copywriter must know the market and customer

Understanding the market that you will be working with begins by having a discovery call with the customer.

Moreover, direct response copywriters take this time to learn about the target audience and what are the customers expectations for the copywriting project.

After that, the copywriter will ask the client for any background materials such as magazine publications, advertisements and brochures that will help them better understand the market and the customer.

After the discovery call and the background materials have been received.

A direct response copywriter begins the process of researching.

The process of research includes searching the internet for information about the industry that the copywriter is working with and finding any relevant information that can help them write stronger copy.

In addition, copywriters study the trends and patterns of the industry they are working with.

Reading similar copy of previous advertisements can help direct response copywriters get a better understanding of the marketing efforts that were used in the past.

To produce copy that motivates prospects to take action, copywriters have to know their market and customer.

Studying the market and customers provides copywriters the background information needed to write a compelling piece of copy.

Long form copy performs better than short form copy

Long form copy works because you can take the prospect along a journey and explain to them all the benefits before they make a purchase.

In long form copy you are not bound by space restrictions and you are free to explain things more in depth.

Additionally, long form copy gives direct response copywriters the opportunity to answer the questions that arise in the prospects mind as they are reading the copy.

In long form copy, copywriters can handle objections and remove the fears in the prospects mind before making a purchase.

Direct response copywriters include testimonials that add to the presentation and feel of the copy.

Furthermore, testimonials help your prospect understand what kind of experience your customers had with your product or service.

When do copywriters use long form copy:

Expensive – When your product or service has a high price and you need the space to explain the value the prospect will get by making the purchase

Feature rich – When you have a product that has a large amount of features and you need to explain the features one by one

Innovative – If your product is new to the market or solves a problem in a different way, long form copy can help you close more sales

Information – When selling information products or online courses you may want to create long form copy to explain in depth the benefits and features of your products

Call to action

A call to action tells a prospect what you want them to do.

A good salesman will tell you that you need to ask for the sale.

Direct response copywriters create a call to action that clearly tells the prospect what are the next steps.

For instance, does the prospect have to fill a form, click on a link, or make a purchase.

Copywriters make this process as easy as possible for the prospect.

Calls to action can be combined with urgency to close more sales.

For example, urgency can involve using a countdown clock showing that an offer will expire within a certain time frame.

The countdown is used to get the prospect to respond or miss the offer.

Calls to action can also be used with incentives such as a free e-book with purchase or free trial of the product or service.

AWeber has an interesting article about the importance of calls to action.

Real-world companies that use direct response copywriting



Clickfunnels is a company that provides sales funnel software.
Clickfunnels uses sales pages as part of their direct response copywriting

The headline
“In less than 10 minutes, you can create what would have taken your tech team weeks to do..”

The headline appeals to business owners who are looking to create a sales page without the hassle of creating the page themselves.

It implies that you are saving valuable time and saving a ton of money from your budget by choosing this service.

The video is showing you, hold on a moment, let me tell you more about this product.

The testimonial is an example that the Click funnels platform works and the customer is happy with the results.

The call to action button includes the statement “Start your FREE 14 day trial.”

It means you have nothing to lose by trying the service.

At the bottom of the button it encourages you to start building your funnel NOW!

Check out this article on How to Sell your Freelance Copywriting Services

Example of using landing pages for direct response



Mailchimp uses various forms of direct response to reach their customers.
Mailchimp uses various forms of direct response copywriting including landing pages

The headline
“Create must-click destinations.”

The headline implies that you will be creating a destination where your business will thrive.

This headline gets your mind thinking about all the possibilities that you can use for your business.

The copy is making a promise to the prospects that it only takes a few minutes to design beautiful landing pages that will make people want to join your audience or buy your stuff.

The call to action button is direct and to the point “Start building”

Final thoughts on direct response copywriting

Direct response copywriting is all about having the target audience take immediate action after reading the copy.

In addition, direct response copywriting is the hardest to master and is the highest paying form of copywriting.

Research about the market and customers have to be performed before starting on the project.

The copywriting process is one that takes time and several iterations before the finished copy can be produced.

Direct response copywriters have to create a headline that will draw in prospects and make them want to continue to read the copy.

Similarly, copywriters use long form copy to explain all the benefits the product or service has to offer.

By closing with a call to action prospects will be more willing to make a purchase.

Contact me for your next copywriting project. There is no commitment or obligation of any kind.