Direct response advertising is an advertising and marketing approach that utilizes different strategies to prompt consumers to take some sort of immediate action. The idea is to prompt anyone who is viewing the advertising to respond in a specific manner. Typically, the focus is on urging the consumer to make contact with the supplier as a means of improving the chances of establishing a working business relationship.
An example of direct response advertising would be the use of postcards as a promotional effort. The postcards may announce the sale of a specific item for a limited amount of time. As part of the layout of the card design, the supplier will provide contact information, usually a telephone number or a web site address, and urge the reader to call or visit the web site for more details or to place an order. This approach not only makes consumers aware of the sale, but also provides them with specific instructions in how to pursue the purchase in the most expedient manner.
Flyers and door hangers serve the same type of direct response advertising function. The text and graphics on the promotional material include information that can be used to prompt interested parties to make contact with the supplier. Once that contact is made, the potential for generating a sale greatly increases.
Even advertisements of special deals or discount coupons that are inserted into newspapers fit the description of direct response advertising. With the advertisements, consumers can call or visit the supplier and place an order. The discount coupons can be clipped and taken to a supermarket or other retail setting and used to purchase goods for less than the current retail price. In both approaches, consumers respond to the advertising by doing exactly what the advertiser hopes they will do.
Online direct response advertising is simply a variation of the more traditional methods used in offline situations. Here, the supplier makes it easy for consumers to visit a web site, find what they want, and quickly gain access to a means of making a purchase. Even online banner ads or classified ads that are embedded with links that take the consumer to an order page provide the direct effect of making it easy to go ahead with the purchase. When used in conjunction with other forms of promotion and public relations, direct response advertising can be very effective, while adding little cost to the overall promotional effort.