Are Direct Response Digital Marketers Really Just Used Car Salesmen In Disguise?

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Author: Jordan Swanson

I’m going to probably upset a lot of direct response marketers with this post… but please understand, this criticism comes with much love. 🙂

Alright, here goes: Stop treating digital marketing like you work in a 1980s used car lot.

Most industries have adapted to the new consumer sales cycle (including many car dealerships)… however, our industry of direct response digital marketing, unfortunately, has not.

Sure, we’ve taken technology like re-targeting and have begun to get more clever with reaching potential customers… but we’re far from where we need to be.

We’ve been spoiled with the simplicity of Facebook algorithms and targeting options. They’ve made it SO easy to get in front of the right customer, that it has made us a bit lazy.

But in full transparency, I’m just as much at fault here. I’m pointing the finger squarely back at myself as well.

Stop Going Straight For The Kill

DR marketers are forgetting that prospects are going to spend time researching your product, fulfilling the need to trust you before moving forward in the sales process.

Yet, many marketers are still going straight for the kill (the sale). They’re driving cold traffic right to the offer.

What they do is create a killer VSL, product page, or advertorial, and send strangers to it and say “Buy now, you’ll really love it. Seriously, it’s an AWESOME product! Yeah, I know, you may not “technically” know who I am, but trust me, I’m legit… please?”

Yes, this approach still works (especially on Facebook) but when you get out into the big boy’s world of media buying with display and native, this approach is killing many campaigns.

As an agency, we’ve focused entirely on programmatic native and display. And as I admitted earlier, we were using the same type of thinking as everyone else… because why re-invent the wheel, right? But this old school strategy was really hit or miss depending on the quality of the clients VSL and their backend process.

So we started to re-think the entire buying process. We looked at conversion journey reports, number of impressions (not just clicks) to conversion, view-through conversions and which sites they came from, cross-device attribution tie in with AdBrain, Drawbridge and Tapad, and more.

What we began to notice is that customers were building their own “trust funnel” before making a purchase. They would search for the brand or product, try to find reviews, check Amazon and spend time checking out the main website in addition to the landing page.

The failed campaigns had eliminated a critical part of the buyer’s journey… building trust.

Buyers RARELY go to a landing page and just buy. They need to understand who they are giving their money too, and if they should they trust them.

Consumers are MUCH savvier today than they were 10 years ago.

Here’s a typical DR campaign:

  1. Send traffic to advertorial or VSL
  2. Retarget non-buyers

Does anyone think this really builds trust?

Yes, I know, this sounds so basic, but companies spending millions a month on display and native are forgetting this concept. However, they can currently compensate for this by having a really solid backend sales process and killer copy on the front end.

But I predict over the next 2 years that this old school methodology will stop working completel. CPM’s are continuing to rise and audience data will be harder to access and limited in scope.

What we did is created a system for building trust with customers while scaling an audience. We do this by taking them on a certain type of journey to purchase that all begins with native advertising. Why native advertising? Because it blends in with the publisher, has higher CTR and helps build brand favorability and trust.(1,2)

It’s a multistage campaign that we call the Customer Trust Accelerator™ System. It includes native, display, video and CTV. When we started implementing this methodology, we began seeing more and more success for direct response clients. For one client, in particular, we dropped their CPA from around $80 to $22.18 within one month while scaling to six figures using this strategy. And this was with COLD TRAFFIC (native and display).

What we’d like to do is give you our system blueprint for free, no strings attached. You can download it by clicking on the button below.

This blueprint is a game changer for those that can apply it!

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

1. IPG Media Lab study of 4,770 participants using eye tracking technology and surveys.

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