'HOW TO WHY' SERIES: SEVEN
You’ve made your promise. You’ve made your case. Your audience believes in you. Now, what do you want them to do? This question is deceptively simple. The first reaction is, well, buy my product. Or hire my services. Or, support my idea. But, unless you have a contract in hand, your customer across the table, or in the check out line, or just pressing ‘purchase’, how do you prompt the kind of action that will lead to gaining and retaining them as a customer or champion. You can have a beautifully designed web site or brochure, an exquisitely produced video, and an irresistible direct mail piece or banner ad, but there’s no clear call to action. The recipient has to guess what you want him to do. You can’t assume that your customers will know why they should act, how they should, or when they must act.
Take a look at the vast number of late night infomercials. They work. They pound away at the viewer to call a toll-free number with their credit card number in hand. And if you call right now, they’ll also provide you with a free gift with your purchase, but only if you act immediately. This formula, as annoying as the experience is, works. And it can work for you, even if you are in the most elegant of message settings, whether you are communicating on the web, over the airwaves, in a print ad, or at a fundraising luncheon. The shift from ‘annoying’ to ‘attracting’ happens when your call to action is led by a noble purpose.
Your call to action can be remarkably easy, such as “order today.” Or it could be an ongoing, planned out step-by step process. If your intent is to prompt a purchase or contribution, try to skip the “call for more information” and directly ask your audience to purchase your product, enlist your services, or support your initiative.
Let your primary audience know when and how to contact you. Unless you’re involved in a unique or time-sensitive marketing endeavor, it’s best to create a sense of immediacy. Customers forget quickly, so the sooner you can get them to respond, the better. Also, traditionally call-to-actions lines come at the end of a marketing message. Put your call to action throughout your story. Do it with the passion you unearthed when you captured your purpose. Your purpose-led call to action must be sincere, genuine, and from the heart.
An effective call to action can change results 20 to 30 percent. Make sure your call to action is sensitive and respectful of where your audience currently is in your relationship with them. This could mean that your call to action is evolutionary. Are your customers learning more about a problem? Experiencing a demonstration? Studying data? Presented with a time-sensitive offer? Is your call ‘action-oriented’? Does it ask, “learn how” or “learn now”?
Here are some examples of often-applied calls to action:
Call (number) to learn more.
Call (number of specific person) and speak to (actual name) to learn more.
Call to make an appointment.
Call for a free consultation.
Call for our free brochure.
Call for our free video/DVD.
Call toll free and order now.
Call toll free and order now and save ($)
Call toll free, order now and get (premium). Visit our web site to learn more.
Visit our web site and download a free brochure.
Visit our web site and click ‘free’ for your special gift.
Visit our web site to learn about our trial offer.
Redeem this coupon.
Visit our showroom.
Make reservations tonight.
Make a donation by writing to:
To volunteer, call -
For a free kit, call or write or visit our web site.
You get the message. There are myriad ways to prompt action from your audience. Sometimes it can be very specific and price or time sensitive, other times very general and philosophical/values based.
What Is Your Call to Action?
Look at your business. Look at your purpose. Review your competitive and collaborative climates. Get to know your primary audience and other audiences as well as possible. Look at your promise to that audience. Look at how you have earned their trust and belief in that promise. Based on these observations, what is the ideal next step you want your audience to perform? Is it simply a matter of visiting your web site to learn more about you? Or are you in a place where you are asking for the sale or donation? How do you make that happen in the most pain-free way for your audience? How do you make that happen so that you begin to build a long-lasting relationship? What’s your call to action? Is it one easy step? Or is this the first step in a long courtship? Make sure your call to action reflects the values of your business. And make sure it is something you can deliver and fulfill. Once you have that in place, you can begin to answer the question ‘What is your true voice?’