How to write a hard working direct response advert

| November 16, 2009

ironingBe clear, be concise, be brief and shout LOUD!

If you want your advert to pull in enquiries and sales – and why else would you bother advertising? – your copy and design need to be carefully constructed.

Here’s the basics.

  • write a short, eyecatching, inspiring header
  • put the header at the top of the ad using a large font size
  • don’t use fancy typefaces, they just confuse matters when you need to look sleek
  • compress your sales message into as few words as possible – no more than three short sentences
  • make it as exciting and stimulating as you can but avoid sounding like bad American direct mail
  • put your sales message below your heading, set in a font size that’s easy to read at a glance
  • write a strong, compelling call to action and put it below your sales message
  • include contact details – in your order or preference – at the bottom of the ad, again using a nice, readable font size

As you can imagine, a successful direct response advert is rarely a pretty thing.

Loud headlines, easy to read text and prominent contact details don’t often make for a minimalist masterpiece. And you won’t win any design awards. But it’ll bring in more business than a complicated, airy fairy, verbose ad using a stylish yet fiddly font.

In other words, leave the pure brand advertising to the big boys who have more spare cash than commercial sense. All illustrated by an advert I made earlier, just for fun.


Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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