“What is a direct response copywriter?” This is the question I get asked most of the time. Second only to, “What is a copywriter?”
A direct response copywriter writes a copy to sell at the first instance of a prospect seeing the ad.
There are no 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 7th touch. The job of a direct response copywriter is to sell NOW! Sorry for my expressed enthusiasm, I get excited when it comes to my favorite form of copywriting.
Who needs a direct response copywriter?
What I love about direct response copywriting is the evoking of emotions to elicit actions from a reader.
In direct response copywriting, the writing is colloquial; it is crucial everyone can understand. An impossible task if you’ve been raised by grammar Nazis or English professors. In which case, you have no chance of writing sales copies (I joke).
When it comes to direct response copywriting, forget what you’ve learned in English. There is no place for grammar girls and boys here. The copy must flow, easy to read, and understand.
What you don’t want your reader to do while reading your copy is to stop. And, think about the words or how beautiful the typeface is.
“Oh wow, I wonder what font he used? It is so beautiful!”
“What does ‘colloquial’ mean? “
“What is a ‘pompous’ bastard?”
You don’t want them saying “Wtf?!?”
Direct Response Copywriter’s Copy
Clear and concise writing is needed when it comes to these types of direct response copywriting.
Frankly, I classify direct response copy as any method which solicits action immediately. They can be sales letters, emails, or landing pages.
A sales letter is a type of direct response copywriting. Emails can contain a short form of direct response copy to incite the reader to click on a landing page. The landing page can sell a single product or service or branch off to multiples.
Direct Response Copywriter Loves Sales Letters
Let’s have a look at sales letters. Sales letter consists of a heading, lead, body, and offer.
The heading is an essential element in your copy. If you can’t garner attention, who will read your ad? No readers, no sales.
You need to spend a great deal of time, conjuring up punchy and eyeball-grabbing headlines.
Yes, headlines, plural. Come up with about 5 -10 then decide the best 2. Then I recommend an A/B test.
The second most crucial element in your copy is the offer. A good offer can save a bad copy, but a good copy can’t save a lousy offer.
You wrote the best copy in the world. You hit all the emotions; the reader is nodding their heads in agreement until they read your vile, repugnant offer.
An offer not benefiting the reader will not pull any purchase. Your offer should be huge that, if they don’t buy now, they will die.
I will go more in-depth about sales pages in future blogs.
Writing emails is not as difficult as writing sales letters. Yet people like Ben Settle makes a boatload of money doing solely, emails.
HOW. Well, all you need is a product/service that caters to people’s needs. Solve their problems and deliver it to the right people via email.
This is why having an email list is vital to any business.
As a copywriter, your job is to compel the reader to click through to a landing page by delivering a short, punchy, email copy. The landing page could be a sales letter, informational, product page, or any page your client desires.
Typically, landing pages has a single link. Headers and footers are hidden as they only serve as a distraction to the primary goal.
A landing page is where you want your potential customer to be directed to, from your Facebook ad, Google ad, or similar.
The link is usually a sales page asking for, well, a sale.
It can be used for lead generation.
There are some copywriters, similar to Ben Settle (email only), who exclusively do one aspect of copywriting.
You need an attention-grabbing headline, compelling copy, clear C.T.A.
It’s a click-through page for e-commerce. I did this often when I owned and operated 4 of my online stores.
Facebook ad or Google can be daunting at first, but, after dozens of ads, you’ll be a pro.
By the way, if you require Facebook ads copy, click here to see why I am your Facebook guy.
How To Become A Direct Response Copywriter
Becoming a copywriter is easy. Being a profitable copywriter is the hard part. It helps to have a good grasp of the English language but it’s not a prerequisite. There are two paths you can take to call yourself a copywriter.
Work In House
This is one way to become a Direct Response Copywriter. Join an Advertising Agency, Marketing Agency, Publication Agency, or any business hiring copywriters as a junior. The pay is not great, but the wealth of information you will learn—priceless.
I can recommend a publishing company that is influential in turning average-looking guys like me to handsome and debonair ad men. That is Agora Financial.
Only joking, Agora can’t do anything about your appearance but can improve your copywriting.
Don’t let the name fool you. Agora does handle not only Financial accounts but also another substantial money-making industry—healthcare.
Just imagine how much a company with a foothold on these two giant industries, make?
Agora runs a copy camp (not sure about regularities) which teaches people from all walks of life on how to write copy.
I think this is an excellent way of starting your copywriting career. Not only will you learn from the best, but your credibility as a copywriter will increase 10fold.
Kyle Milligan was broke, no money, no car. One sunny day, out of the blue, he saw an Agora ad for copy camp. He took the initiative and dedicated one year of his life and worked for Agora. He produced 7M for Agora within a year, which made Agora happy, and Kyle, in terms of royalties.
By the time of this writing, Kyle Milligan is still in-house for Agora. Fell in love with the people, I guess.
You can watch Kyle Milligan’s YouTube videos if you want to follow his lead.
It doesn’t have to be Agora; I’d say working for any agency will boost your credibility to prospects.
Attend The School Of Hardknocks
This is the school I attended to become a copywriter. I didn’t set out to be a copywriter; it was the by-product of owning four online stores. In my college years, I started blogging websites about food, travel, and gaming.
My first attempt at online entrepreneurship was blogging. Writing articles for my websites to establish some presence in Google, back then, it was a chore.
I wrote dozens of articles, and each time, it was a struggle. Not due to insufficient writing creativity but rather boredom. You see, I was young and in a different mindset compared to today.
My blogging life was not a success.
Fast forward more than a decade and a bit…
I had my shares of life experiences; it is time to work. I was 36.
My venture to e-commerce was fueled by my desire to make it as an online entrepreneur.
Look, I am not going to sit here and tell you how many successful businesses I’ve had. Instead, I will tell you of my failures.
Running a business to be profitable is not as easy as one would think. Running it aground is.
I owned a slew of eCom stores, so many, I can vaguely remember.
Why did they all fail?
Entering the business world with the mentality of easy money was the worst thing I had done.
As I learned throughout my entrepreneur journey, it is freaking complicated, stressful, and this doesn’t change even when you “make it.”
Also, another one of my faults is my A.D.D. I seriously have a problem sticking to one shiny object. Shiny object syndrome is real and experienced by many entrepreneurs. Once you eliminate this, your chances of succeeding increase exponentially.
I’m sorry for going a little off-topic here, but I think this little adlib is beneficial to some if you ever decide to freelance and start your own business.
I was putting context into how I learned copy. As mentioned, I did not surf the internet one day and decided I am going to be a copywriter. To sell my products to a higher degree, I needed to learn how to persuade people with my writing.
The difference selling in-person to online is that you get direct feedback from the customer.
This was when I Googled “how to sell products online” and came across “copywriting.”
The first thing I did was bought copywriting books. I didn’t just buy 1; I bought 5.
Reading books was great to understand the basics of copywriting. Of course, I then implemented everything I learned to my online business.
The way I write product descriptions, website contents changed since acquiring the knowledge of writing good copy. I even stopped calling it “product descriptions,” instead, I call it “copy.”
Having your own business when you are a copywriter is propitious.
Just imagine not having to hire copywriters to write articles for your website. Do you know how much I charge for a sales letter? Scratch that, do you know how much A-list copywriters charge? Minimum of 10K and businesses are willing to pay that amount because they know their R.O.I. will be higher.
It’s just how business works. Spend money to make money. I am willing to spend $100 a day if my profit quadruples. Heck, even if I don’t make a sale but score leads, I’m happy.
The bulk of my copywriting experience was operating my online stores for 3 years. Writing articles, product descriptions, creating landing pages, Facebook ads, Google ads, and email sequences. Not only did I just learn copywriting but running businesses require extensive knowledge of marketing.
Being able to write great copy is for naught if no one reads it. So I studied books, YouTube, search online for marketing 101.
You can be an expert at anything if you are willing to put in the effort. The information is right there for you at your fingertips. It is up to you to employ its purpose.
The first couple of months owning my store was dead slow, no sales, and I was morose. I can remember the joyful moment I had my first sale, which uplifted my spirit and kept me going.
While having success in the eCom world, I wanted to pursue my writing. Specifically, sales page copywriting, I love it. So much so that I decided to sell all my stores to concentrate on copywriting. Remember the shiny object syndrome? Well, in a way, this is me focusing on one shiny object.
To further explain my ramblings, learn copywriting by practice. You don’t have to operate an online business; you can do spec writing for corporations.
Have you ever heard of control? In the copywriting world, “control” is the top sales letter. Everyone who writes copy wants to destroy the control. Not just for the apparent benefits, but recognition plays a part.
If somehow, by some miracle, your spec outperforms the best of the best—your in for a profitable ride.
The Problem With Reading Books
Reading books is a great way to build the foundation for copywriting. The only problem when I started writing sales letters was that I never got feedback for my copy. I never knew which worked; it was all in theory. Granted, I wrote copy for myself, looking at them now, I’m horrified.
I wrote copy for clients (lost) I wished I can write copy for now. If only I had someone to critique my copy and correct my mistakes. Much like what a teacher does.
If I had to do it all again, I would have taken up some course that offers feedback for copywriters.
When I was writing for clients initially in the early stages of my freelancing career, I could never retain them. Looking back at my old copies, it is egregious. The clients, surely, thought the same.
The first copy is always bad, but that also cost me landing top paying clients. Lost two, which would have been the only clients I needed to live a comfortable life. But that is all in the past now.
What I recommend for you to do at the start of your copywriting career is to write a copy. Even if you don’t have clients to write for—write—but also get some feedback. The first impression counts.
Online Direct Response Copywriter’s Course With Valuable Feedback
Feedback is critical to your success at writing copy and maintaining clientele. Not only is it hard to land clients, but keeping them is difficult.
Executing and maintaining a high standard copy is the key to having a good rapport and bountiful business with your client.
Initially, your copy should be the best-written piece your client had ever seen.
To ensure this develops, ask for feedback on your email sequence or sales letter.
Whom should you ask? You can join copywriting groups online.
There’s a caveat to this. The first person giving advice is always the least experience. Sometimes I see writers answering questions in the form of a long blog post, I do not do this. Time is precious. Answering questions swiftly and to the point should suffice, but dang, some people go all out.
Which copywriting course you should take?
I’ve enrolled in courses I didn’t need. Just this year, I recently bought a course from Udemy, thinking it will further educate me. Alas, all it did was disappoint. Albeit, I would never have known if I didn’t commit to the purchase.
To save you the trouble and the expense, I recommend taking up “Ultimate Copywriting” course. This is the closest thing to having a homeroom teacher.
I spent close to 1K just on my copywriting education. If I could turn back time, I’d prefer an interactive copywriting course.
Why this course is effective compared to traditional books and videos:
- A book can’t give you crucial feedback.
- Book can’t encourage you as a real teacher can.
- Top copywriter’s hold back their secrets. Think about it; it’s their profession. Why give away their best stuff in a $9 book to undermine their success?
- You get a coach, a teacher, and a motivator.
Don’t do what I did. I had no direction, no mentor, no teacher, to correct my mistakes.
Save yourself the hassle and money. Start your copywriting career on the right path.
Direct Response Copywriter’s Tips
From a direct response copywriter to another, here are some tips. I don’t know where you are in your copywriting career, but these tips I’m about to share with you will get you some, “aha!” moments.
- Once you read all the books, start implementing what you learned.
- Read a copy: not a book, but an actual sales letter.
- Practice by writing copy.
- Sales letters must be understood by a third-grader.
- Write clearly and concisely.
- White space is easy on the eyes.
- Break up long sentences.
- Separate long paragraphs.
- More “you’s” than “I’s.”
- Stuff the adverbs.
- Proofread with fresh eyes.
- Proofread the next day.
- Don’t use big words.
- Ask a grammar Nazi to read your copy. Don’t be obligated to heed their corrections. Thank them and be on your way.