Five Critical Questions in Creating Direct Response Advertising

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

In my advertising industry career, I’ve tended to resonate to the strength of direct response advertising. It’s not appropriate for every situation, of course. But where and when there’s a good fit, it’s one of the most powerful and effective tools.

The reason: Direct response is advertising that gets results. And when it’s done properly and professionally, you can target direct response with precision and measure its performance.

But…it’s not easy to do it right. There’s a lot to creating the proper blend of message, media, audience, offer and a dozen other considerations that ultimately spell success.

Consider the longer definition: Direct response advertising inspires a prospective customer (for healthcare, a prospective patient) to take an immediate action, such as calling for an appointment, requesting additional information, clicking through to a landing page, opting in to an email list, or placing an order.

And the acid-, bottom-line test is in measurable results. Wow. Easier said than done all the way around. But here are some valuable tips to successfully creating effective direct response advertising that will get you across the finish line holding the checkered flag.

Five question blueprint for a direct response ad…

Regardless of the intended media, before you put pencil to paper in creating a direct response ad, have a clear answer to these five critical questions:

What is the target audience’s problem? It’s not about what you want to sell, it’s about what the audience needs or wants. Begin with a sharp awareness of the problem and how the audience feels the pain.

Why hasn’t it been solved before? Consider what factors exist with the audience between the problem and a solution. Is it cost? Time? Competitive considerations?

How will their life look once the problem is solved? What are the benefits, and in personal, individual and emotional terms, how will the recipient perceive those benefits?

What is different now? What is the unique selling proposition (USP) of the product, service or provider? What factor(s) differentiate the offering from competitors or other solutions.

What should the audience do now? Exactly what do you want the audience to do next? What is the Call-to-Action step that motivates immediate action and brings them closer to the purchase?

Insightful answers to these questions will provide a blueprint for creating effective direct response advertising. If you’d like some help with this, please give us a call. And for more on this topic, see: 7 Insightful Tips for Better Healthcare Marketing Direct Response Results.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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