The right way to write

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Direct Response writing is quite different to the kind of writing they teach in your average English class at school.

To write successful direct response copy, you have to be firmly committed to the purpose you have in mind.  You have to have the courage to break the rules when necessary and the finesse to know how - without making yourself look like an uneducated yahoo!

After all, the purpose of direct response writing is – direct response.

What does that mean?  Basically, it means that you want your reader to respond, right NOW.

That requires you to:

  1. speak to a pressing need
  2. offer an immediate solution
  3. convince them that this is the BEST solution
  4. tell them how to respond
  5. reiterate the solution
  6. ask for a response and advise how and when to respond

Direct response writing has to be to the point.  It also has to expose the underlying emotions the reader feels about the specific situation.  So, it has to be emotive, logical and persuasive.  That’s sometimes hard to do without bending grammatical rules.

Using the following headline as an example, let me illustrate what I mean:

Original Headline:

Most people do not save enough for their retirement and need to go back to work.

Direct Response Headline:

95% of people retire broke.  Will you?

As you can see, the direct response headline is more urgent, more powerful and more personal.  It evokes a more powerful response than the original.

If this was the headline for an ad, the rest of the ad would concentrate on painting the picture of the desperate situation most retirees face, then offer a solution and tell the reader how to get it now.  They’d be left in no doubt that they needed this information immediately to help them ensure they didn’t end up in the same awful predicament as the ‘other’ 95% of retirees.

The ad would make it easy for them to respond immediately by offering a phone number, email address and any other viable response option.

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