KNOWLEDGE BASE Direct Response Marketing In Germany

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


 Direct Response Marketing (Dialogue Marketing) for Germany


Even though Germany has strict data protection guidelines, direct marketing, direct response and dialogue marketing activity are alive and well in Germany.


What is direct response marketing?

Globig Description: Direct response marketing is a form of marketing designed to solicit a response from your target market that is specific and quantifiable.

Well crafted direct response copy motivates people to do things such as purchase, call to order a brochure, sign up for your email newsletter, register for something.

For small to medium-sized businesses with limited marketing budgets, we recommend that all of your marketing have a direct response element. Talk to us about creating your Globig Expansion Plan

Germans receive an average of two pieces of direct mail per week and for active mail-order households, this can increase to three to five pieces. Direct response emails are also popular and effective, despite Germany’s/Europe’s more stringent double opt-in standards. Please see the Globig Email Marketing section to learn about email marketing regulations.

Organizations that are serious about developing Germany as a “stand-alone” market, will have the greatest chance of success if they tailor all their activities to suit the specific market situation. When planning an expansion to Germany, the following areas are worth careful consideration.


Direct Response Best Practices

It’s all about the lists

The best lists are of prospects and current customers that you’ve gathered yourself from your inbound marketing efforts such as website, blog articles, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, white papers, e-books, and events where people have opted-in (double opt-in is required for many EU countries) to receiving more information about your company.

Globig tip

What is double opt-in?

Double Opt-in is when someone signs up for your email list.  The first thing you do is send a confirmation email with a link that must be clicked before they can be added to your list. If someone does not click the link, they will not be added to your list. This entire process must be tracked and documented in Germany just in case you have to prove that your email recipient voluntarily signed up to your list. You will want to store the actual email conformation, the IP address and the confirmation date and time in your records.


There are many advantages to double opt-in including:

Only people who are truly interested in hearing from you will double opt-in, so your response rates will be much higher from those who have done so (we’ve seen differences up to 20% higher with double opt-in).

The next best type of list is where you partner with complimentary businesses via event sign-ups where prospective customers specifically ask for your company information via a double opt-in email or other sign-up process.

Some lists that you need to test carefully are those that are rented or gathered via contests and give-away’s, since the real reason for signing up may not be in line with learning more about your company. Those lists typically won’t perform as well as internal lists. Rental lists from List Brokers do play an important role in new customer acquisition for many companies and in Germany, there are thousands of lists available for email and direct mail marketing. Available lists can include mail-order lists, magazine subscribers, organizational memberships, and many others. Remember to follow the email regulatory requirements in Germany found in the Globig Email Marketing section if you are going to use this type of list.

Because Germany is a smaller market than the US, you’ll find that lists are typically smaller and also more expensive.


Payment methods

While the use of credit cards is growing in Germany, the preferred method of payment in Germany for mail order and other direct marketing is bank transfers within 14 days of delivery. You’ll want to make sure you are able to take payment using the preferred methods in each country. There is some additional risk for bank transfers and if you’re marketing to a customer base that is higher risk, credit cards may still be the best option.



After having a very targeted list, the creative execution and copy is critical. Direct response marketing must be localized for Germany and having local direct marketing expert assistance is very important even for B2B. Mailing and emailing direct response marketing materials in a foreign language will not be effective.  Use a good translation service to ensure your message is clear and feels authentic to Germans after verifying that your message will be enticing to your German audience.


Data storage

Germany has specific data storage and data transfer requirements. You can learn more about them in the Globig Data Protection Regulations section.  But even with tight data storage and transfer regulations, your direct campaign can flourish even in a stricter environment with support from professional direct marketing experts.  


KNOWLEDGE BASE Direct Response Marketing In Germany