Ever want someone to respond right away? To an email … a letter … a voicemail … an ad? Whatever it may be, there’s a writing method that elicits an immediate response of some kind. It’s known as direct response copywriting.
Whether you want someone to buy a product, agree to a meeting, or hear out a new idea … Here are 5 things you must do to get people to respond right away:
People won’t respond if they’re not focused on what you’re saying. The very first thing you have to do is grab their attention.
Needless to say, people are constantly distracted. TV, radio, ads, texts, calls, a screaming child, on and on. The first step to eliciting an immediate response is to arrest their attention away from whatever it is they’re doing — or might be doing instead. You could have their attention for a moment and then lose it.
Grabbing attention means compelling them away from alternatives.
Consider an email inbox filled with 35 unread emails. That’s a lot of competition. You have to grab attention to get yours read.
You do this by writing a captivating headline that states a benefit, offers news, and/or arouses curiosity.
Clearly state the importance for the recipient of the message
If a message seems irrelevant, it’ll be ignored. Blocked out of consciousness. By clearly stating the importance for the recipients, the recipients will consider the message relevant to them and engage with it.
Don’t ever assume readers will understand your message is important to them. Bring it to the forefront very clearly. Make it explicit.
Think about the benefit for the reader of what you have to say.
Examples: “This solution could reduce your turnover by 35% within the next three years.” Or “My product will make your life easier by freeing up your time to concentrate on billable work.”
This and the previous strategy could be combined in a good headline. And benefit-rich language should be peppered throughout your writing.
Make a clear offer
Respond now and get __________, or avoid __________. This is what has to be conveyed. Some immediate reward for responding right away.
And the security and comfort of knowing they haven’t lost anything.
You have to make it clear what’s on the line. Can’t be vague. Can’t assume they’re going to know what you’re offering. Give them a specific reason to respond, and to respond now rather than later.
If people believe they can safely ignore a message for a time, they will.
It’s why bills have due dates! And are (usually) paid by that date. “Pay this bill now … or your heat gets turned off!” So to avoid the heat being turned off (or, glass half full — to keep the heat on) that bill will be paid by the due date.
Now hopefully your message doesn’t have all the excitement of a bill — but you want to find ways to create urgency in your writing. Direct response copywriters are great at this. If you can find a natural and tactful way to create a deadline, do so!
Try to appeal to people’s self-interest more than their good will. This is a surer way of creating urgency.
Clearly request the action you want them to take
This may seem obvious enough. But it’s very easy to overlook this rule. Again, the key is clarity. If you want a phone call back, then state so. If you want someone to buy, then make it clear. Whatever it is you’re requesting, make it clear.
Again, don’t assume they’re going to fill in the blank or finish your thought.
Lastly, vagueness or ambiguity in regard to the requested action leads to uncertainty on the part of the recipient. And uncertainty will discourage response, because people generally like to know exactly what comes next.