One of the most important yet frequently forgotten elements of any effective marketing message is the call to action. You’ve worked hard to create an effective message, filled with compelling content and inspiring language, designed to respond to your key customers’ needs and to pique their interest. Yet without providing them with a convenient and meaningful bridge between your message and the next steps you’d like them to take, your message risks being filed away as simply interesting information in the brain’s “nice to know” category.
In order to make your marketing message “actionable” as well as informative, you need to close the loop with a motivating call to action. The call to action helps you to overcome the basic reality of consumer inertia. If something seems like “additional work,” the consumer may not take the time or expend the energy to go any further in the discovery process. Therefore, to optimize your messaging and facilitate further action, it is critical to highlight a comfortable next step that is simple, convenient and has value to your customer. A well-conceived call to action can make a difference in turning prospects into contacts and contacts into sales.
The article 12 Ways to Strengthen Your Call to Action, by Leigh Dow, and other articles on the subject provide helpful hints for getting the most out of your communications.
Although maximizing the effectiveness of your call to action is not a precise science, there are certain techniques you can apply that increase the chances of your message creating the desired follow up.
- Personalize your call to action — Make it personal by speaking directly to your audience and using words such as “you” and “your.”
- Use key words and evidence-based approaches — The most popular calls to action are those that feature the key words “discount” and “free,” e.g. You’ll receive a 50% discount on your first three months’ rental.
- Communicate the relevant value to your audience — Make sure your call to action answers the all important “What’s in it for me?” question clearly and concisely.
- Make it stand out visually — Use color, special fonts and other visual techniques to accentuate your call to action and make it pop out of your communication.
- Create a sense of urgency — Use language that communicates a time limit or time sensitivity. For example, “If you are among our first 10 purchasers, you’ll receive a bonus package of valuable, free services for the first year…”
- Limit your call to action options — Limit the number of options you give your prospects. Otherwise, you’ll make things more complex and readers may delay acting because they need more time to consider your offer.
- Prioritize your calls to action if you include more than one — At the risk of providing too much information, you can present more than one call to action. But, be sure to make their priority or level of importance very clear to your readers. Show your most important option first and make it larger and more visible.
- Include social sharing options — In this era of social media, be sure to encourage your audience to share your offer with their social networks by including easily visible social media sharing buttons.
By following these proven call to action enhancement techniques, you can improve your marketing communications and increase the probability that readers will take the next steps you desire in achieving your business goals.