So, you need a call to action. That’s a basic marketing requirement – to convert readers of your website and direct mail materials into actual customers, you must first give them a push and ask them to take specific action that will get them started. Whether you want them to make a call, fill out an a form, sign up for a newsletter, or download something free, you MUST ask people to do that specific action or they never will.
A call to action provides specific direction to your users, brings focus to your marketing, and also measures your marketing’s effectiveness. There are many ways to approach constructing an effective call to action – here are some great tips to consider as you get started.
- Active Language
Use active verbs that clearly tell users what you want them to do – Call, Buy, Register, Subscribe, Watch, Donate, Start, Win, Listen, Learn, and Download are all good ones to start with.
- Identify a Problem
Identify a problem that your audience can relate to and position your brand as the solution. Even if you don’t include this in your direct call to action you can use it in close proximity. Remember that a call to action is only as strong as its surrounding copy.
- Create a Sense of Urgency
You want your users to act now and not simply decide to consider and then move on – losing connection with a potential customer is not good. Give them an incentive to act right now. Create a deadline (e.g. Offer expires on March 10th, For a short time only) or offer an incentive (e.g. Donate now and receive a free t-shirt, First ten reservations get 20% off, Like our Facebook page and receive a free e-book).
- Address Obstacles
Everyone know the line from the Geico commercials – “15 minutes could save you 15% or more!” What obviously makes this line work is that it sounds good, it’s easy to remember, and they have repeated it enough that any person who has owned a TV in the last ten years could repeat it to you. What makes the line great though, is that it not only offers an incentive (save 15%) but it also addresses unspoken obstacles that potential consumers may have. Plenty of people may want to save 15% but really not want to talk to an insurance agency, expecting incredibly extensive questions, upsells, and an hour of wasted time. In promising a 15 minute phone call they are promising callers a relatively stress free and quick process.
- Prioritize Clarity
Use clear and concise language – this is not a time aim for complex language or length or perceived cleverness. “Visit our website” is a thousand times better than “Point your web browser toward our home page.” Don’t have three different calls to action that confuse people, if you MUST have more than one, turn to graphics to make the most important visually obvious.
- Make it easy for users
Don’t require long steps, make forms as short and straight forward, provide any necessary information. Make sure to include, phone numbers, website addresses, and maps if you expect customers to go your location.
While beautifully crafted Calls to Action have their place, the most effective are often the most simple. On an e-card website, a simple button that says “Start Creating” is straight forward and let’s your customer know that it is just that easy, no unnecessary signups or paywalls required.