One time I was checking out the blog of someone I respected and whose book I had read … and she wrote about how professional service providers should not be using direct response copywriting to sell their services.

I objected to her idea.

But the more I’ve thought about it over this past year, the more I’ve come to a nuanced position about this.

As a direct response copywriter, I know there are some cases in which direct response copywriting is inappropriate.

When should direct response copywriting be used–and when shouldn’t it?

When we’re talking about direct response copywriting in its broadest sense … copywriting that simply asks for a response of some kind … direct response copywriting should almost always be used in advertising and marketing. With the exception of taglines, some press releases, and a limited sphere of marketing materials.

But when we’re talking about direct response copywriting in a more restrictive sense … as a style of copywriting with a number of different elements such as urgency, scarcity, guarantees, and general “sales pressure” … I find this should be used primarily in the following circumstance…

…Where the product or service is an impulse buy: those concerning hobbies …those that promise to improve a health condition … those that concern relationships … those that concern exciting career opportunities. And the like. Anything that touches us deeply and that we would potentially rush out to buy. You shouldn’t use direct response copywriting to sell low-passion products and services.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use direct response copywriting for lead generation, even with low-passion products and services. The principles of direct response copywriting can be applied to low-passion personal services, for instance, when you’re offering a lead magnet that is higher on the passion index.

In other words, in most cases you shouldn’t sell your financial advising services directly through direct response copywriting–but you should offer the free special report on “10 Dumb Mistakes Smart Investors Make” through direct response.

See the difference?

(And yes, I know, I sell my own direct response copywriting services through direct response. But it’s appropriate in this situation, since by doing so I’m demonstrating what I’m selling).