Why Direct Response Marketing is So Important for Local Businesses

Author: Cassi Lowe | Date: December 23, 2022 | Campaign Stage:

Direct response marketing is a type of advertising that solicits an immediate response from potential customers, such as clicking on a link, making a phone call, or visiting a location.

Specificity is the key to great direct response marketing. Your goal is to make it clear what you want your prospect to do, and why they should do it. In the article below, we'll cover why this is powerful for local businesses.

Short Buying Cycle

Most local businesses that serve the general public in their community operate within a short buying cycle. These types of businesses include restaurants, service providers, and retail stores. People make very quick decisions about whether to become a customer or not. This is different from a typical B2B buying cycle, which can take weeks or months to close a sale. With a short buying cycle, a business owner can make an offer to a local audience and generate new business within hours or days.

Immediate Results

Because of the short buying cycle, direct response marketing can produce immediate results. A common mistake I see often is business owners spending money on advertising for "brand awareness." Most local businesses don't have nearly a big enough budget to justify brand awareness campaigns, the way national brands are able to do. The general public's attention is spread too thin for these types of campaigns to make a measurable difference.

However, through the use of direct response, brand awareness is built up as a side effect. Brand awareness by itself won't pay off immediately. But if you make a specific offer that brings customers through the door right now, it will also bring awareness to you company in general.

Earn Long-term Business

When you make an offer such as a sale or promotion, it brings in customers right away. Once they are "in the door" you have the opportunity to turn them into long-term customers. Many local business owners have a high quality product and great customer service. They just need to have the chance to prove this to more customers. If they are able to generate more new customers quickly, then can turn them into repeat buyers through continuity programs, referral promotions and other tactics we discuss in the Continuity phase.

Review the Data

With direct response marketing, you have access to data which will show you if your campaign was successful or not. Unlike branding campaigns, it's easy to see how well the campaign performed. Either your audience took the action or not. Knowing this data can help you in future campaigns.

If the campaign didn't perform well, you can use the data to figure out what went wrong. Maybe the target audience wasn't focused enough, or maybe the call to action wasn't strong enough. If the campaign went well, you can keep using it until it stops working.

Maximize the Budget

Knowing if your campaigns are working or not allows you to maximize your budget. You can easily cut the campaigns that don't work, and focus your time and money on the ones that do work. With brand awareness campaigns, it's impossible to know how well they are working, and you risk losing a lot of advertising money.


If you're using direct response marketing tactics online with digital advertising, you can use the data you collect to create retargeting audiences. When someone visits your website, you can set a pixel to "follow" them online. Using this pixel, you can show your ads to people who have already visited your website or clicked on an ad. This is effective because they are already aware of your business. You can start building brand awareness this way, while still using direct response tactics.

How to Get Started with Direct Response Marketing

It's important to always start with Strategy first. Once you know who you're targeting, what their awareness level is, and what your proposition is, you can create an effective campaign.

Next, you'll want to know the answers to these questions:

  1. Who specifically is this offer for?
  2. What is your hook? / How will you grab their attention? (This could be a discount, sale, limited time offer, etc.)
  3. What is your call to action? (Come to your store, enter their email address, call you, etc.)

Once you have all of this information, you can put it together to create a campaign that will elicit a response and get people to take action.

Author Bio:
Cassi Lowe is a marketing strategy consultant based in Indianapolis, IN. She's the main curator for the Open Source Marketing Project. She has over 15 years of experience in the web design & marketing field.

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