Direct Response Copywriting for Websites – How Now Wows!

Caleb Gasilao

Author & Editor

Copywriting Team Lead

Published on: Feb 25, 2022 Updated on: May 21, 2024

Copywriting for websites is a craft easier said than done. 

Establishing your relevance online through content marketing is one thing, but getting your audience to do something for you through persuasive copy is another.

What’s more, is that sometimes there are actions that you want them to make immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week, but right NOW. Examples can be getting people to avail of your promos, asking them to subscribe to a newsletter, or upselling them when they’re already on your checkout page.

How exactly are you supposed to do that then? 

Fortunately, there is one type of website copywriting you can do that’s more geared towards your goals similar to the ones mentioned above.

Enter, direct response copywriting.

If you’re a website copywriter or someone who’s just getting started in the craft then let this veteran web design and development company help you learn more about it today. 

Read on!

Different types of copywriting for websites – an overview

To become an effective website copywriter, let’s take a step back and get a quick overview of the major types of copywriting first before really digging into what direct response copywriting is all about.

Note that the following are mostly applicable to copywriting for websites:

  • Social Media Copywriting. Focuses mainly on boosting engagement and relevance through copies that help you establish a connection with your target audience across all platforms.
  • Conversion Copywriting. Admittedly the hardest to do and the most conceptual type among the rest. It fuses various disciplines in your digital marketing framework to create compelling copy that converts and satisfies the customer journey. 
  • SEO Copywriting. Anchored on your keyword research, these copies are geared towards growing the quality and quantity of your website traffic. Its primary purpose is to boost your search performance by satisfying search intent.
  • Email Copywriting. These are email copies sent to your current or prospective customers to nurture the customer journey and eventually encourage conversions.
  • Brand Copywriting. These copies humanize your brand. They are words weaved from your brand story and promise to make sure that walk and talk are consistent across all channels.

Aside from digital marketing resources to help you understand copywriting you can use the previously mentioned as a reference to distinguish what direct response copywriting for websites really is.

The power of “now” in direct response copywriting

In its simplest definition, direct response copywriting is getting audiences to do an action immediately after reading your copy. 

Does that mean as a website copywriter you have to be salesy then? Not exactly. 

For this to be possible, you have to tap into your audiences’ emotions and convince them that what you have is the only solution they’ll ever need.

New York Times bestselling author and copywriting expert Mark Morgan Ford explains this best through what he calls the '3 Fundamental Rules of Selling':

  1. People don’t like the idea of being sold.
  2. People buy things for emotional – not rational – reasons.
  3. Once sold, people need to satisfy their emotional decisions with logic.

The power of “now” in direct response copywriting banks on emotional resonance before rational reasoning. This speaks to your web design 

Let’s take BrandYourself’s website for example. The US-based group offers services that answer the question “how do companies protect personal and private information online?” Their services safeguard your reputation from employers or other people searching for you on the Internet, and security from hackers who might get a hold of your identity. 

Off-the-bat, you can notice the impact of direct response copywriting here. The website isn’t trying to sell you something. It’s just telling you what the service can do to make your life easier. You even get a “Free” CTA to scan your reputation online which comes with a demo.

Instead of being technical about how they actually protect your reputation online, the website copies use layman’s terms for you to appreciate the benefits. It’s simple, direct, and speaks to the emotional resonance of feeling safe and secure on the Internet.

After appealing to your emotional state the website then progresses in telling you the objective importance of the service. These points are justified by logic and reason.

And if objective proof wasn’t enough for you, then maybe social proof will do. 

Did the website copies sell you anything? No. But did it strike a cord in you to choose them as your service provider? Yes, and if you were their target market you’d probably be availing their services as we speak.

Applying the concepts of the 3 Fundamental Rules of Selling to your direct response copywriting can do wonders for your website.

Now, here are the essential steps you need to be a great direct response copywriter.

5 important steps you need to follow in direct response copywriting

Before you go on appealing to everyone’s emotions with your newfound skill, as a website copywriter you need to have the following laid out marketing strategy first: 

  1. Know Your Audience. Customer research warrants another discussion dedicated to the customer experience strategy that you can check out. 

The bottomline here is if you know who you’re talking to then you know what words and language to use. In effect, this already makes your audience feel that they are the target market giving you a foothold into their emotions.

  1. Think about your Big Idea. This is the overriding benefit of your brand. Not to be confused with the unique value proposition or UVP, the Big Idea captures the essence of a world WITH or WITHOUT you.

To help develop this more, try to imagine the before and after state you want your audience to have and how your product or service is the only one that can help them reach their ideal state.

  1. Focus on what emotions you want to tap into. What do you want your audience to feel after reading your copies? There are many power emotions you can choose to drive customer action. However, make sure that they align with your customer research first so that website copies can drive maximum impact.
  1. Wield the Power of One. A common mistake in direct response copywriting is cramming the benefits in your copy. The Power of One focuses on keeping your Big Idea as a singular concept. 

Lead with one idea or emotion, back that up with a single story, and close with a sole CTA.

Remember: You don’t have to say everything about yourself all at once. Avoid the “tossed salad” approach.

  1. Ensure Your 4P’s are in place. Lastly, when doing copywriting for websites make sure that you have the following P’s covered. We’ll use Mailchimp, a marketing automation platform, as an example:
  • Promise. Tell your reader what you’ll do to eliminate their fears, anxieties, or pain points. These are usually your website's headers which encapsulate the idea of a section in your copies.
  • Picture. Let them envision a happy result in choosing you. Use your creativity to describe the ideal scenario for your audience if they have your product or service.
  • Proof. Grounding your promise and picture to be realistic is proof. This can come in the form of reviews, case studies, and other user-generated content that back up your bold statements to make them believable.
  • Push. These are your CTAs and irresistible promos that give your readers an offer they can’t refuse. In writing your CTAs make it easy to read, clear, specific, and urgent.

It might take in a lot of work but if you trust the process then the results of your copy performance will surely follow.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, remember the following when crafting direct response copies for a website:

  • Sell transformation. People don’t buy products or services for the features and benefits they hold. Instead, they buy transformation — moving from a less desirable state to a more desirable one. Always envision a before and after scenario to know the HOWs and WHYs of choosing your brand in the customer journey.
  • Your brand is not the hero in the copies. Sorry, but your customer is. Your role in their journey is to be the avenue for transformation. That’s where your Big Idea, UVPs, and identity as a brand thrives. To quote the copywriting legend Jim Punkre, “A copywriter is the bridge between dreams and things.”
  • Humanize your brand. This is the easiest to say but the hardest to do — that’s why copywriting is important! Humanizing your brand means investing in strategies that bring you closer to who your target market really is. Don’t speak to a crowd, talk to people.

Want to talk more about direct response copywriting? We want to hear from you! 

Drop the Propelrr team a line over at our Facebook, X, or LinkedIn accounts. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for weekly digital marketing blogs to help scale your brand!