Why direct response marketing is lockdown’s unlikely success story


Sabri Suby, founder of King Kong digital marketing agency, on direct response

Sabri Suby, founder of King Kong digital marketing agency

Expert

By Sabri Suby

While positive news stories are few and far between these days, here’s one I think you’ll like: digital marketing is cheaper than ever before, with direct response now a great option. Since lockdown began, there has been a 40% decrease in the cost to reach 1,000 people on Facebook and Instagram.

This huge price drop is thanks to two factors: more eyeballs than these platforms have ever had ever in history, and advertisers being fearful and pulling their ads down. Both of those factors are opening up a whole bunch of inventory that has not previously been available.

Where does direct response come in?

Direct response marketing is making the most of the cheap and plentiful ad space that has suddenly been made available on Google, Facebook and other digital platforms.

As opposed to more long-term brand-building methods, direct response drives consumers to take immediate action, such as download an app, purchase an online course, or buy a product.

Direct response marketing contrasts dramatically with warm and fuzzy ‘branding’ or ‘awareness’ campaigns beloved by traditional marketers: the kind of campaigns that fill the top of the funnel with sunshine and rainbows. Even your average, lazy direct-response marketer will run circles around most traditional branding advertisers.

But don’t just take my word for it: Morgan Stanley analysts believe the approximately $40 billion app install market – a huge direct response sector – was “likely the most material contributor this quarter”. Google has said that “direct response advertising had substantial year-on-year growth through the entire quarter”.

Snap’s revenue came in at $462 million for last quarter, up more than 44% from the first quarter of 2019. Analysts believe Snapchat is better protected from the effects of COVID-19 thanks to the strength of its direct response advertisers.

Direct response is marketing’s fastest painkiller

Digital marketing success boils down to whether you’re selling candy, vitamins or painkillers. Candy is a nice-to-have that people enjoy, but doesn’t solve a burning problem. Vitamins generally have a positive impact over time, but they’re not ‘urgently needed’.

Painkillers, on the other hand, offer an immediate solution to a critically important and pressing problem that needs to be alleviated pronto. In times like these, you don’t want to position your offer as anything other than a painkiller.

Direct response marketing usually offers a painkiller product that people want to buy right now. Thanks to the immediacy of direct response, customers are able to quickly and easily solve their problems, and businesses are able to make quick sales. It’s a win win.

Even if you don’t have an app or an online course to sell, all businesses can create some kind of product that leads with value: a report, a webinar, a cheat sheet, a video series, or a huge discount on a service.

Now is the time to act

One of the best ways to implement direct response marketing is through something as simple as Google Trends data. Type in the three to four keywords that have something to do with your industry, and simply have a look at what’s happening to the search data. Property investment, guitar lessons… a lot of industries that you wouldn’t necessarily predict are getting unprecedented amounts of traffic.

Look at the last 12 months, look at the last 30 days, and see what’s happening to the traffic. If there has been a huge surge in traffic, Google Ads is going to be a fantastic channel for you to get out there and start acquiring leads and customers via direct response marketing.

Facebook Ads are another great way to push the right message at the right time, and to create content that’s incredibly relevant to what people are going through right now. Not only is Facebook traffic up, but the cost to reach people is very, very cheap.

Despite what the news might want you to think, now is not the time to contract. It’s not the time to sit back, hoping and praying that this thing is going to blow over quickly.

It’s time for brands, agencies and marketers alike to take direct action right now to better their situation and to invest in themselves. If you continue to think with a growth mindset, you’ll not simply survive the crisis, but you might even thrive in it.

More from Sabri:


Sabri Suby is the founder of Australia’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency, King Kong, and author of international bestseller Sell Like Crazy.

Having originally founded King Kong in 2014 from his bedroom, Sabri has bootstrapped the company since day one and in under five years has successfully built a team of 63 specialists and a company valued at $30million with a growth rate of 312 per cent.  As a pioneer in the digital marketing arena, his business has impacted more than 250,000 businesses in 42 different countries and has generated in excess of $1.3 billion in sales for him and his clients.

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