In this article we’ll be discussing the basics of how to structure your offer in order to get a response from your prospects (response meaning to take the action of either buying your product service or providing you with their contact information)
First a few core principles of direct response
With direct response advertising, you need to provoke action. And to do that you must accomplish two important objectives;
- You must move the prospect emotionally.
- You must persuade him intellectually.
Buying decisions are first made emotionally then rationally, meaning we find ourselves wanting to buy a product then begin the rationalisation process of deciding if we should.
In order to effectively sell, we must recognise our first job is to win over the prospect’s heart. Once we do that, then the rest of our job winning over his mind is relatively easy.
Key Elements of an effective offer
- Headline (sometimes a subhead may be relevant as well to provide further context)
- Call to action
If your prospect is aware of your product and realises it can satisfy his desire, your headline starts with your product. If he is not aware of your product, but only of the desire itself, your headline starts with the desire. If he is not yet aware of what he really seeks, but is concerned only with the general problem, your headline starts with that problem and crystallises it into a specific need.
Winning Headline Formulas: The 5 Principles of an Effective Headline
- Address Your Specific Audience (Being vague or general = boring university)
- Highlight the Specific Benefit or Outcome They Desire
- Highlight the Specific Pain They Most Want to Avoid
- Create Curiosity
- Add Urgency
Discover, Revealed & If/Then
This by far is one of our favourite fallback formulas for coming up with effective ideas for headlines quickly. The basic premise is start your headlines with these are your guides
Discover [how/if/when] [specific benefit
Revealed: [exciting benefit]
If ____ then_____
● Discover the 5 unknown secrets to taming your cat training today
● Revealed: Training your cat in 5 simple steps
● If you have an unruly cat and want to completely train them then read every word of the letter below.
The lead is the opening body of text immediately after the headlines, this is what set’s the tone for everything else they read and usually is what drives peoples decisions of whether what you’re offering is for them or not.
When prospect read your leads the following questions are being unconsciously asked inside their mind, “Does this get me excited? Does it make me want to continue with a high level of anticipation?”
Lead your advertisement with a single powerful idea, make sure that the idea creates an emotion, a single emotion, which will compel the reader to respond. Support that idea with one engaging story or compelling fact, Direct the reader to one, and only one, action
Call to Action
This is where you get the prospect to take action, it must be clear and to the point. Incorporate the benefits of taking action if space allows.
Your copy must take your prospect on a emotional journey from initial interest, through to developing the benefits and have them committing to take action.