One of the most effective marketing strategies for any bar and restaurant business is direct response marketing. When done right, it can leave a very positive impact on your business.

There are numerous ways to execute this type of marketing strategy. But what does it take to create a direct response marketing campaign that delivers results?

Let’s start with the basics.

What is Direct Response Marketing?

Before diving into its effectiveness and what campaigns you should focus on, let’s first define and explain what direct response marketing is.

Direct response marketing is a marketing tactic designed to evoke an on-the-spot response – prompting a possible client to take your offer. Compared to other types of marketing, it requires little or no waiting time to see measurable results.

Direct response copywriting includes multiple attempts to get the target audience to take the desired action. Actions may differ from each campaign and could be about buying a product, availing a service, or filling out a lead form.

A well-done direct response marketing campaign should generate leads and sales at a higher rate than other forms of marketing.

What Should an Effective Direct Response Marketing Campaign Include?

If you want to create an effective direct response marketing campaign, here are the four main elements it must have:

  • Personalized message. The only way for direct response marketing to be effective is to target a carefully chosen audience. In that way, you can personalize your content to address the needs and pain points of anybody who consumes it.
  • Clear and compelling content. A direct response copy isn’t going to work if the reader can’t understand it. Avoid using jargon and confusing language. Make it clear and precise. Don’t forget to make a compelling argument to make your reader take the desired action. In this context, research is crucial in supporting the argument and oftentimes uses psychological triggers to compel people to act.
  • Sense of urgency. Since direct response marketing is intended to get an immediate response, it’s imperative to build a sense of urgency. You can do this by incorporating a countdown on the page or articulating a deadline for a promo or deal you’re offering.
  • An irresistible Call-to-Action. While it’s normal for marketing to have CTAs everywhere, some need to be much more compelling than others. In direct response marketing, you will need a CTA that is personalized, clear, and direct. It should highlight a single action that your customers can take immediately.


Remember to include all these four elements in your campaign, and the chances that it will elicit the response you want will be good.

6 Direct Response Marketing Campaigns that Deliver Results

As with anything, there is no right or wrong format in doing direct response marketing. Some campaigns may work better than others. As a restaurant owner, it’s your job to choose the type of campaign that will resonate with your target customers. After all, they’re the ones you want to impress.

Here are six effective direct response marketing campaigns that you can use in marketing your restaurant:


  1. Contests or Giveaways


Everybody loves a freebie! Contests or giveaways can be a terrific way to generate leads or get new people to dine in your restaurant.

If you are introducing a new drink or menu, running a contest can also be helpful. You can use this campaign to generate interest in your upcoming product.

In writing for this, you must indicate:

  • Requirements before entering the contest
  • Rules and prizes
  • Benefits of the prizes


  1. Referral Programs


Referral programs are one of the most preferred marketing tactics and for good reason. Consumers tend to likely buy a product or use a service four times when referred by a friend. Brand loyalty is also evident when consumers discover a restaurant through referrals.

Direct response marketing can be an effective way to generate referrals. Most likely, your customers would expect a reward in return for a referral. As a reward, you can offer discounts or offer free drinks or maybe a free dessert on their next restaurant visit.

  1. Social Media Ads


Social media works on the same frequency as direct response marketing – people on social media emotionally engage with content the same way the direct response marketing campaigns do on their audience.

Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram offer affordable options that you can use to run a direct response marketing campaign. You can utilize visuals of your menu or restaurant through Stories. Visually beautiful content can also trigger action from customers.

Creating dynamic ads paired with a compelling story (you can try using your restaurant’s history, or a memorable celebration that happened at your restaurant) to reach and engage your target customers can trigger your customers to take the desired action.


  1. Upselling


The Sunk Costs Fallacy is a psychological phenomenon that encourages people to continue on expenditures and investments once money, effort, and time have been made. For such reason, upselling is highly effective when it comes to direct response marketing.

In upselling, restaurants target customers who have made an initial purchase by offering an “upsell” – a related offer that adds value to the purchase already made.

Train your staff to upsell in your restaurant by persuading your guests to purchase more expensive or higher margin items and add-ons.


  1. Text Messaging


With a 98% open rate, text messages are more likely to be opened than email. It’s also a great format for short direct response marketing campaigns aiming for an immediate response.

Direct response texts must include links that will allow the recipient to take the desired action with just a tap of the finger.

If you want a customer who hasn’t dined in a long while to dine in again, you can use this technique. You can offer straight coupons on their inboxes that they can immediately redeem that can be used on your restaurant for a limited period.


  1. Chatbot Messaging

Another direct response marketing technique that you can utilize is chatbot messaging. You can program a chatbot on your Facebook Messenger to interact with your customers on your restaurant’s business page.

Chatbots can make product recommendations and link to special offers for people who are messaging you.

Direct response marketing can be a bit tricky but promises incredible results. The key to successfully creating campaigns is to make sure all required elements are present and you are providing clear and compelling actions for your customers.