Ten Commandments of Direct Response Copywriting

10 Commandments of Direct Response Copywriting

Rules are made to be broken… right???

Well, yes and no… I mean I consider myself to be as much of a rebel as anyone.

BUUUUUUT, here’s the deal: You’ve gotta KNOW the rules, before you can start BREAKING THEM.

So, my righteous ladies and gents, I’m going to officially take you to school in this powerful blog post.

The topic? One that’s EXTREMELY close to my heart as it is THE thing I specialize in…


Yep, I got bitten by the direct response copywriting bug WAAAAAY back over a decade ago. At the time I was struggling BIG TIME as a rookie real estate agent. And I SUCKED at it. I pretty much couldn’t give a house away.

So, I started searching online for any secrets of HOW TO SELL  This led me to discovering the GREAT John Carlton – direct response copywriting legend. To say I then fell down a “rabbit hole” would be a MAJOR understatement.

Soon, I was reading every classic book on copywriting, taking multiple online courses and even had the INCREDIBLE pleasure of learning directly from the greatest email copywriter of all time – Matt Furey. And Ted Nicholas.

Oh, and my new direct response copywriting skills soon led to me becoming a MILLION DOLLAR real estate agent.

Most cool was that due to my personal success, I was hired to write sales copy for my brokerage. Then the other agents came to me and I was helping them list and sell more houses with my direct mail sales letters, website copy and emails.

Hey, life was going GREAT, right??

Well, it was until my mom suffered a debilitating stroke. Being incredibly close, I had to be by her side during her recovery.

And that meant NOT being available to be out showing houses and meeting with clients.

That’s what led to me “AHA” moment…

I Decided to Go All In On Becoming a Freelance Direct Response Copywriter

Fast forward seven years later, and I’ve had a killer career so far working with small business owners, large companies and lots of aspiring entrepreneurs. I’ve helped many double or even triple their sales and profits.

(If you’d like me to do the same for you check out the details of my copywriting services here).

So, with all of that “backstory” out of the way I’ve written this post to be your ultimate RULES OF ENGAGEMENT for having as much success as possible… as fast as possible, with this SUPER-POWER called direct response copywriting.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what makes “direct response copywriting” so special – it’s all about getting an IMMEDIATE and POSITIVE action from your reader, listener or viewer.

You go RIGHT FOR THE KILL (figuratively of course) instead of a long term branding plan.

Before we get into this, just a word of warning as this is POWERFUL STUFF.

So, please only use what you learn here for good 🙂

Get excited as we jump head first into…

The 10 Commandments of Direct Response Copywriting

Now, I’m certainly not saying these are the ONLY commandments to follow, but I do think they are the most important.


Commandment 1: Back Up Every Claim 

Think of every statement as a promise to your reader. And what’s a promise without proof? Empty, right? Just like in a courtroom, you’ve got to present evidence for every claim. Don’t just say it – prove it.

Now, why should you care? Well, it’s simple. Providing reasons builds trust. It tells your audience, “Hey, I’ve done my homework. I’m not just throwing words at you.”

This tiny shift? It’s a game-changer. Because when people see you’re genuine? They begin to trust you. They lean in a bit more, soak in your words, and find themselves agreeing with you.

The real magic? When you’ve got their trust, they’re ready to take action. Maybe it’s clicking that link, buying that product, or just sharing your content. Whatever the action, reasons make it more likely.

In a nutshell? Reasons are your secret sauce. Pour them generously over your content to bolster your arguments. Lead your readers closer to that ever-important call to action.

Ready to make your words more impactful? Always back them up.

Commandment Two

Commandment 2: Write With Passion

Alright, my friends, time to turn up the heat with Commandment 2: Unleash Your Passion!

Enthusiasm is your secret weapon in crafting irresistible copy. Ask yourself, if you’re not buzzing with excitement, how will your readers feel the spark? Let your passion shine through in EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE.

So, why is being passionate non-negotiable? It’s because passion is magnetic! When your excitement is genuine, it’s palpable, almost jumping off the page, inviting readers into your world of enthusiasm.

Passion spreads like wildfire. Your energy COULD and SHOULD  light a fire in your readers’ hearts, compelling them to explore further, pay attention, and then answer your call to action.

So, don’t hold back! Let your passion flow freely, infusing energy into every corner of your message. When your enthusiasm is the driving force, your narrative becomes irresistible.

When you write with zest, your readers can’t help but be ensnared by the story you’re weaving. They become part of your energetic journey, more inclined to follow where you lead.

In essence, passion isn’t just an ingredient; IT’S THE MAIN COURSE.

Commandment Three

Commandment 3: Only Write to One Person at a Time

Now, picture this. You’re at the local sports bar hanging with a good bud.  You’re just chilling and having a good time talking about what’s going on in your lives. That’s the vibe you want in your writing.

When your reader feels you’re chatting only with them on a personal level, walls come down. Their ears perk up. They lean in. And in that moment, you’ve got their full attention.

Remember this – general messages often get a general response. But a personal touch? It’s a magnet. When your words resonate, it’s as if you’re giving them a reassuring pat on the back, saying, “I get you.”

Now, here’s a twist. By writing for just one, you actually cast a wider net. Everyone reading thinks, “Wow, this speaks to me.” That’s the beauty of it. It’s like you’ve shared an inside joke, a private wink.

In short, keeping it personal is your ticket in. It’s how you engage, captivate, and motivate.

It’s about making every single reader feel they’re your one and only focus.

Commandment Four

Commandment 4: Our Only Purpose is to GET THE SALE

There’s no room for being “SUBTLE” in copywriting. Your goal is all about generating a sale or driving a specific action.

Every element of your copy, from the very first word to the final call to action, should have this objective.

Why is this so critical? It’s because clarity leads to power. When you keep your focus on the sale, your copy becomes a precision tool. It’s like a laser-guided missile, honing in on the target without distraction.

Getting sidetracked by secondary objectives, dilutes your message’s impact. It’s like a ship veering off course, missing its destination. Your readers might get lost along the way.

So, always remember: direct response copywriting is about getting results, and the result you want is the sale. By relentlessly prioritizing this objective, your copy becomes a potent force.

It drives readers toward a SPECIFIC ACTION. And with unwavering PURPOSE.

Commandment Five

Commandment 5: Write Like You Talk

Ever been stuck in a conversation that felt like deciphering a foreign language?

Jargon and fancy terms might sound impressive, but they can also muddy the waters. KEEP IT REAL.  Speak in your writing like you’re chatting with a buddy over a cold brew at a baseball game.


People crave genuine interaction. It’s comforting, relatable, and creates an instant bond.

Now, doesn’t mean compromising on professionalism.

It’s all about striking a balance. Find that sweet spot between expert and everyday chatter.

Instead of saying, “We shall endeavor to assist,” go with “We’ll help you out.” Same message, but one’s a lot friendlier.

In this fast-paced world, people skim, scan, and move on. Your job? Hook them with familiarity.

Make them nod and say, “Yep, this person gets me!”

Commandment SIX

Commandment 6: Always Establish Authority You Sell

Imagine walking into a car dealership. Two folks approach you. One’s a newbie, the other’s a seasoned expert with years under his belt. Who are you more likely to trust?

That’s right, the expert. It’s human nature. We lean towards those who know their stuff.

So, when you’re penning down that copy, remember, you’re not just a writer. You’re an authority, a go-to person in your niche. Your words should echo expertise and knowledge.

Why? Because trust is currency. When people believe in what you say, they’re more likely to jump on board.

Let’s get real, my friends; establishing authority isn’t about flaunting big achievements or using complex jargon. It’s about showcasing real value, providing insights, and solving problems.

It’s about making your reader think, “Wow, they really know their stuff!”

Ever read something and felt the confidence behind each word? That’s authority.

When you write with authority, you’re not just selling a product. You’re selling trust, reliability, and peace of mind.

Here’s a nugget of wisdom – don’t just tell, show. Share anecdotes, experiences, and real-life examples.

Let your reader see the depth of your knowledge.

It’s like showing your cards and saying, “Look, I’ve been around the block. I know what works.”

In the end, authority is about building bridges, forging connections, and earning trust.

Commandment Seven

Commandment 7: Admit Flaws With Your Product or Service

Here’s a truth bomb – nobody’s perfect. Not you, not me, not the products or services we sell.

Admitting flaws doesn’t diminish value; it builds trust. If you openly discuss your product’s limitations while highlighting its strengths, that’s something REFRESHING your customers will remember.

Now, let’s get real. It’s easy to sing praises and sweep the flaws under the rug. But honesty? That’s golden.

When you own up to the limitations, you’re saying, “Hey, we’re transparent, and we value your trust more than a quick buck.”

That’s a connection right there!

Transparency is the name of the game. It creates a bond, a feeling of “THEY GET ME”.

And guess what? People buy from brands they trust, flaws and all. It’s like having an open conversation with a friend – no masks, no pretenses, just real talk.

But remember, it’s not about focusing on the negatives. It’s about striking a balance. Highlight the strengths, address the limitations, and showcase the solutions.

Show your readers that while not perfect, you are THE REAL DEAL.

Commandment Eight

Commandment 8: Respect the Power of Your Words

Ever heard the saying, “Words can inspire, and words can destroy”? It’s the real deal.

Every word you pen holds power, the power to build trust, spark interest, and yes, even to disappoint.

Now, let’s get this straight. Crafting persuasive copy isn’t about fancy language or complex jargon.

Nope, it’s about speaking directly to one person – your reader. Imagine sitting across from them, coffee in hand, and chatting like old pals. Keep it real, keep it honest, and watch the magic happen.

But here’s the kicker – it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.

Tone, my friends, can be a game-changer. Ever read a piece and felt like it was talking down to you? Not cool. Strike a balance, be authoritative yet approachable, informative yet engaging. That’s the sweet spot!

And here’s another nugget of wisdom – variety is your best friend. Mix it up, play with words, keep it fresh. A well-placed synonym, a playful phrase, can make your copy sing.

But remember, clarity is king. Don’t sacrifice understanding for creativity.

Commandment Nine

Commandment 9: Remember What People Are REALLY Buying

Alright, my friends, it’s time to dive into Commandment 9: Remember What People Are REALLY Buying.

Now, let me share a little secret with you. When folks make a purchase, whether it’s a fancy car or a simple candy bar, they aren’t just buying a product. Nope. They’re buying feelings, solutions, and experiences.

Think about it. Why does someone grab that latest smartphone? Sure, it’s got all the cool tech features. But deep down, they’re seeking that rush of excitement, a sense of being current, maybe even being “COOL”.

It’s the emotion, the promise, and the transformation they’re after.

As marketers, our job isn’t just to sell products. Our real job? Selling dreams. Solutions. Better futures. We paint a picture of what life could be like, how problems might disappear, or how joys can multiply.

But let’s keep it real. You have to genuinely believe in what you’re offering.  If it’s a product that uplifts, be its biggest cheerleader. If it solves a burning problem, champion that solution like there’s no tomorrow.

So, next time you’re crafting that killer copy, pause for a moment. Go beyond the features and the specs.

Dive into the real reason someone would reach for their wallet.

What’s the deeper desire? The hidden wish? The unspoken dream? That’s your golden ticket!

Commandment Ten

Commandment 10: Just Get Started

Ever found yourself sitting on a goldmine of ideas, but feeling stuck? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

It’s like standing at the edge of a pool, toes dipping in, but hesitating to jump.

Guess what? The magic happens when you take the plunge!

Taking that first step might feel daunting, sure. But, it’s the starting that stops most people, not the journey itself.

Whether it’s writing that first line of copy, or launching a new campaign, you’ve gotta just get started.

And perfection is a myth. Aiming for it can keep you waiting in the wings forever. So, throw perfection out the window, and embrace progress instead. Remember, every great story started with a single, imperfect step.

And mistakes? You’ll make them. Hurdles? They’ll be there. But every stumble is a stepping stone to mastering your craft. It’s the lessons learned, the tweaks made, and the feedback embraced that shape your path to success.

Your words hold the power to persuade, inspire, and transform. And the world needs to hear them!

So, shake off the doubt, muster up the courage, and just get going.

There’s a whole world out there, waiting to be moved by what you have to say.

In the end, it’s not about having all the answers. It’s about diving in, learning as you go, and making every word count.


These ten commandments are the foundation of effective direct response copywriting. But mastering them takes time and practice. If you’re looking for professional guidance in crafting high-converting copy that follows these principles, contact me.

With over seven years of experience, I’ve helped numerous clients double or even triple their sales and profits. If you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, check out the details of my copywriting services here.

Remember, the right words can make all the difference.

About the Author

Direct Response Copywriter Robert Sean Pascoe

Robert Sean Pascoe is a direct response copywriter and marketing strategist who works with entrepreneurs worldwide to create advertising and marketing campaigns that MAXIMIZE their profits.

He LOVES Rock N Roll, old school pro wrestling, Star Wars and pretty much ANYTHING 1980’s.

With 7 years of freelance copywriting experience and a lifetime in sales, Robert knows how to use the power of words to sell virtually anything to anyone, especially if the market has been properly defined (and you BETTER have that right!).

Robert enjoys primarily working with small business owners to sell more of their products and services through the power of direct response advertising and marketing.

He has written sales copy for companies in such diverse niches as Weight Loss Supplements, Skin Care, Male Enhancement, Local Marketing Agencies, Live Event Seminars, Software Developers, Insurance Agencies, Real Estate Brokerages, Marketing Consultants, and many, many more.

If you need some help crafting a KILLER sales message that puts more of the GREEN stuff in your pocket than contact Robert now.

Freelance Direct Response Copywriter Robert Sean Pascoe

Leave a Reply

+ +