Direct Response Copywriter on Results

I've been working with a local restaurant to help them boost their business. The owners are friends and I'm planning strategy and executing the tactics. It's not really what I do. I'm a direct response copywriter and, as such, I'm usually just the writer but I like the restaurant and I like the owners and staff so it's fun to run a campaign.

Six months ago, they had no opt in email database. In fact, no database at all. To build the database, I used the oldest trick in the book: something free on your birthday. For the restaurant, you get a free dinner and dessert on or near your birthday.

In six months, the restaurant has 1,421 opt in emails and people are taking advantage of the irresistible offer. Here are the benefits to this small restaurant in a hard-to-find location that needs a steady flow of business:

  • Friends tell friends. Viral marketing.
  • Friends bring friends to their free birthday dinner. This means a steady flow of people who are discovering, or rediscovering, the restaurant. The 'newbies' join the database to get their free dinner.
  • At least four parties--with more than 10 people--a week.
  • Increased sales of 'refreshing' beverages. High margin business.
  • The ability to promote specials and events to the database. It's an excellent and inexpensive way to keep the name of the restaurant in front of people.
  • Very soon, they'll be able to start selling gift certificates. Gift cards really help a restaurant increase revenue.

The manager regularly has a wad of receipts from people who are taking advantage of the free birthday dinner. Most restaurants use 'branding' advertising; these restaurants waste money on advertising in magazines and mindless coupons.

I'm using some simple direct response techniques. Direct response copywriting is part of the equation. While the emails we send to the database are fun, they also request a specific action. Here's an example of an email. If you live in Charlotte, here's the opt in form so you can get your free dinner.

Open rates for the emails are 31%. The average on the email provider we use is 15%.

It's really exciting to help this wonderful business and to see the delight on the face of the owners. They are seeing actual results from the investment in the promotion and in my services.

Whatever the size of your business, use direct response marketing techniques.


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. I increasingly specialize in sales pages and landing pages. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.