As every good marketer knows a call to action is an essential component to get a customer to take the next step towards engaging with their business. Calls to action can be presented in many different ways but all of them are designed to get the customer to make moves towards a purchase. This might include “click here” or “call now” or “request your free trial” among others. In fact if marketing materials do not contain a call to action of some sort then arguably they are missing the point. Basically a call to action lets people know clearly what they need to do next.
Talented marketer Simone Serni believes that a call to action is so important that in 2015 she created a helpful list of ways to make sure that a call to action is compelling and this was published on Medium.com. As she explains:
“As a marketer I have to come up with call to action activities multiple times a day for product ads, content pieces, company assignments and more”.
She describes the challenge of coming up with different ways of getting customers to take action and that is why she produced the list. Her list can be helpful to apply in a social business that has a strong digital presence.
The first item on the list is creating a short, sweet message that encourages people to take immediate action. For example: “Need help with your SEO? Our expert is available now free of charge to talk to.”
This is compelling for the customer as it suggests that it is possible to get a quick solution and something for free. It is argued that emotions are always helpful in calls to action as well, and this can help to inspire someone to take action. Another approach along similar lines is to inspire emotions of pride for using the company’s products. This can help people to feel motivated to buy.
From a more negative perspective focusing on playing on people’s fears can help them to take action and it is argued that this is often used in campaigns for public health such as getting people to stop smoking or wear seatbelts in the back of the car. Personalising a message can conversely encourage positive feelings towards a brand which may inspire a person to take the next step.
Sometimes it is necessary to create a call to action that will target a specific group or niche. In this case a recommendation is to make the call to action context relevant so that people are inspired to act. An example is: “How often does your company hire cars for business? Show your boss what you’re made of by suggesting our new cost efficient service. Look now!”
Another call to action type might involve honing in on the specific problem that the customer has. For example: “Got a nasty problem with bugs? The longer you leave it the more they will multiply. Sign up for our spray now!” This shows the customer the urgency of taking action as well.
Other calls to action are very practical such as showing the customer very simply how the service works in basic steps that are made up of few words. Alternatively you could focus on emphasising the features that make your service or product better than the others on the market. Empathising with the customer to show them the benefits of what they will get after they take action can also form a powerful call to action that many businesses use all of the time. Of course one benefit is often cost savings as people love to save money, and a good deal or a promotion can often present a strong call to action that gets a good response.
Another potential opportunity is to make the advert into a game, where any person may have the chance of winning, because again people like to think that they might get something for free, and it is fun to see if you will win. Along similar lines, when there is the chance of a bonus, such as buy one get one free, or three for the price of two, this can lead people to take action, since people do respond well to freebies.
Another approach is show people rather than telling them. Showing people that they will become part of a group that they aspire to be part of if they take action is also very effective, especially for perceived luxury products.
With all these ideas you shouldn’t be short of a call to action for a while!
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.