Direct Response Marketing Channels

Direct response techniques can be applied across many marketing channels, including:
  • Online. The Internet is the great marketing leveler, allowing small businesses to reach global audiences at low cost with minimum effort. Leads and sales can be made through your own website or e-store. They can also be made through paid online advertising. This comes in the form of display ads, promoted social media tweets, Facebook posts, or sponsored content on a relevant blog or website. Customers are directed through a sales funnel that leads to your order page.
  • Email. Email marketing generally is most effective when sent to people who have already expressed an interest in your product or service. Emails should be clear and concise using copy that focuses on benefits rather than features. Be sure to format your emails to display correctly on different types of devices, including different brands of smartphones.
  • Direct Mail. This “pre-Internet” channel is still utilized, although the rise of digital media has rendered it less attractive. It includes catalogs, one-sheets, postcards, and other printed materials sent through the Postal Service. As the cost of postage and mailing materials continue to  increase you will want to maximize your direct mail investment. This can be done by identifying key demographics such as geography, age, gender, income, or other factors specific to your business. Taking this step will only give you a competitive edge, as consumers often toss direct mail right into their waste baskets.  To ensure consumers read your mail, focus on offering something  they want and need.
  • DRTV. Direct response television – commonly known as infomercials – can be an excellent way to reach people who may not spend as much time online. However, producing  television spots does require significant up-front investment. Airtime can be considerably more expensive than online advertising space. As with direct mail, it’s vital to identify your target demographic and buy media intelligently.
  • Direct Sales. Selling directly to consumers through one-on-one sales calls or in-person group demonstrations can still be a valuable approach for certain types of products. For example, Vitamix does a good job with their in-store demos where the host blends  a variety of vegetables and makes drinks that can be tasted on the spot. With this method you don’t get the wide reach of mail or online messaging, but you can capitalize on the emotional connection that  is made by a live presentation featuring a good spokesperson actually using the product. You can hire and manage your own direct sales force, or design multi-level marketing (MLM) systems, in which associates earn a small percentage of each sale made by other associates they have recruited.

Game Plan

  • offers a collection of articles and videos about online selling, including optimizing your ecommerce site for holidays, how to write product descriptions that sell, and how to make your website more click-worthy, among many topics.
  • This article, also from, discusses five tips for direct mail marketing that can be used right away.
  • If your business relies on direct sales, you can find resources, education, research, and industry events by exploring the Direct Selling Association’s website. The same type of information but centered on online direct marketing can be found on the Direct Marketing Association’s website.
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