5 Direct Response Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Daniel Paredes
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Direct response marketing is all about compelling prospects take action now. For small businesses, direct response marketing is the best strategy to compete against massive, global companies such as P&G or Amazon.

Understand this:

If you’re a company with a small budget and rely on sales now to keep your business running. Then you’re in need of direct response marketing.

But first, you need to understand what makes direct response marketing different and effective.

What is Direct Response Marketing?

Direct response marketing is a strategy that persuades prospects to take quick action. It's trackable, measurable, and results take days or sometimes even hours.

It's important to clearly define the action you want prospects to take. It can be to share a post, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy a product. It doesn't matter which action you prompt, as long as it's clear and aligned with your business goals.

Large brands spend hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars on their marketing campaigns.

For example. Salesforce re-invests 46% of their revenue back into their marketing and Oracle 22%.

But, you are lucky. You can use direct response marketing to acquire customers and increase your sales without competing directly with these enterprises. Because what you want is to drive action now.

The 3 Most effective Channels for Direct Response Marketing:

It's not only getting people to take action important. You should use the right channels to reach your target market with direct response marketing.

  •  Messenger. Neil Patel says that it's one of the leading channels with 80% open rates and 56% CTR on average. You can also use chatbots to scale your business.

  • Facebook ads. It's a great way to reach new audiences and grow your business. You can create highly targeted lists of your audience. You can segment your audience based on location, age, gender, and interests.

  • Direct mail. Old school but still effective. Direct mail open rates are 10 to 30 times higher, on average than digital channels like email.

Now you understand what direct response marketing is and the most popular channels to increase your small business. It's time to give you 5 tips that will improve your direct response marketing strategy.

5 Powerful Tips for Effective Direct Response Marketing:

1. Clear Call-To-Action

The purpose of direct response marketing is to make your prospect to take action now. That what a call-to-action or CTA is all about.

Prospects want to reduce brain strain. That’s why your CTA should be simple and clear instruction to prospects.

A call-to-action is effective when:

  • It's simple. Avoid being too wordy with your CTA.

  • It's just one. Multiple actions confuse prospects.

  • It's urgent. Prospects should take action as soon as they read your CTA.

"Try it now" is a great example.

2. Run Direct Response Facebook Ads

With Facebook ads, you can create highly targeted lists of your audience. That means you can segment your audience based on location, age, gender, and interests.

97 percent of social marketers use Facebook to run ads, and 70 percent of them say it’s the best way to achieve their goals.

Targeting should be smart. As a small business, you can use tools such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights. You shouldn't waste valuable time doing it manually.

3. Segment and Target Warm Audiences

Tracking customer behavior is important in direct response marketing. Because it’s easier to sell to warm audiences. People who are already in touch with your brand. People who know you. Or people who bought your products.

A customer has a 27% chance of returning to your store after one purchase. 


If the customer comes back for a second and third purchase. The likelihood to make a buy increases up to 60-70%. (Luxury Institute LLC)

Why shouldn’t you use the same message when they didn’t know you? Each customer is different. Direct response marketing is effective when it’s targeted to a specific segment. There are four big segments.

  • Geographic: based on an area of interest.

  • Demographic: based on variables including gender, age, race, etc.

  • Behavioral: divided by actions and interests.

  • Journey: based on where the buyer is in the funnel.

For example. Your CTA at the beginning of the funnel can be “read my post”. Then you progress to “sign up for our newsletter” or “schedule a demo” before moving to “buy our products”.

4. Use Old School Direct Mail

In this digital era, it’s common for marketers to focus only on digital media. Social media, email, display ads.

But old school direct mail is still a powerful tool in direct response marketing.

Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that

Over 100 million US adults made a catalog purchase in 2016!

And personalised direct mail messages generate 17.6% open rates.

Postcards, flyers, and catalogs are everyday examples of direct mailing. There are cheap and free tools like Canva’s Postcard Maker. They offer several customizable templates for your postcards.

But what if you have an online business? A UK finance partner to Renault, Nissan, and Dacia known as RCI Financial Services used direct mail to drive online actions. That’s right. Old school direct mail used to drive online action.

RCI Financial Services run a direct mail campaign to persuade existing customers to register to its online portal.

They mailed a four-page brochure to over 70,000 RCI Financial customers. The brochure explained the benefits customers would receive if they register their account.

The results…

9.67% conversion rate with direct mail.

That’s better than the average email CTR.

5. Grow Your Customer Base with Referral Programs

Referrals are a powerful direct response marketing tool. People like to talk about their great experiences with your company and products. But sometimes customers need a small push.

According to Invesp.

The average small business gets 60% of its business from referrals campaigns.**And 82% said referrals are the main source of new business.**

Referral campaigns are guaranteed to be personalized marketing. Because people recommend your product to their friends.

92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. (Nielsen)

Referrals can also put in your customers' pockets. They can also save money. Campaigns like “refer a friend and get a $5 discount in your next purchase” are quite popular in e-commerce.


Creating a brand image takes time. Years, in many cases. But many small businesses cannot afford to wait until their brand is recognizable to start making money.

Direct response marketing is a powerful tool for small businesses to engage with their prospects and prompt immediate action.

Want to increase your conversion rate? Implement the above 5 tips now, with a professional copywriter's help. If you want a solid ROI, you should definitely consider hiring a copywriter specialized in direct response marketing.

Daniel Paredes

Daniel Paredes is a copywriter specialized in email copy. In his free time, Daniel is very active and does Parkour. You can follow Daniel on Instagram @daniel.journal

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