How to write a Call to Action
Buy this product. Read this blog post. RT [Retweet] for the chance to win. These are what we call a Call to Action.
You can’t get away from messages like these. The easiest way to describe a Call to Action is a phrase that encourages your readers to perform a specific action; usually to buy a product or sign up to an email newsletter.
Make an offer they can’t refuse
Not to sound like a weird, Mafia-type; you need to create an offer your readers can’t refuse.
Example: Sign up today and receive free delivery on your next three orders
Everybody likes to get something for nothing, and if you’re offering free delivery for a product you’re selling, then customers are more likely to browse your shop. This is especially true if you’re trying to gather more information on your customers for future marketing campaigns.
Play on their F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out)
Creating a sense of urgency with your readers is another way to create an effective call to action. Most people have an inherent Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) and don’t want to be left behind.
Example: HURRY UP! There’s only three places left on our exclusive content creation course, sign up now or be left behind.
However, you don’t want to use the same Call to Action repeatedly, especially if after four weeks of marketing there are still only three places left on your course. It makes it look like no one wants to take part.
Solve a problem, and provide an attractive solution
Think about the problems that your readers or customers have, and how you can solve it for them. If you’re establishing yourself as an expert in a specific niche, then your readers are coming to your for your advice and experience.
Example: Feel like your social media posts aren’t creating enough interest? Then sign up today and we’ll show you how to Tweet your way to the top.
The problem is that their social media posts are being ignored, you want them to sign up to your marketing campaign, and the solution is that you’re going to give them practical, easy-to-follow instructions on how to encourage more interaction with their followers.
This links into all of the points above. In the digital content industry, there’s a lot of debate about the pro’s and con’s of giving away free products just to get people signed up to your website.
Example: Sign up today to receive our free eBook on content marketing straight to your inbox. 300 free pages of expert advice, hint and tips.
One opinion is that giving away a free eBook devalues your brand in the hope that you gain followers and email subscribers, and you’re in danger of getting email subscribers that don’t care about what you have to say, they just want a free eBook.
The other side of the argument is that you’re providing your best content for free, and this establishes trust with your audience, making them more likely to purchase any products you create in the future.
Make it STAND OUT
Making your CTA stand out from the rest of your content means that readers are more likely to remember it. If you’re creating an infographic, then have the CTA in the centre, with a lot of white space around it. Draw the readers’ eye to it, and make it stand out.
Use your active voice
You need to use language that encourages your readers to take action NOW, not whenever they feel like it.
Good example – Sign up today and receive a free eBook with 300 pages of exclusive, never before seen content.
Bad example – If you sign up for my marketing you’ll get a free eBook about content marketing.
The first example is giving the reader an immediate incentive to sign up; the second example is giving them an indefinite amount of time to become a subscriber. Unlike the Terminator; if someone says, “I’ll be back”, they probably won’t be.
Don’t be too pushy with your tone though, you don’t want to come across as rude or too “salesy”, treat your audience with respect but incentivise them to take action before they miss out.
So there you have it, our practical advice on how to write a call to action. If you want to apply your newfound knowledge, then take a peak at our “5 content must-haves for your business website” post for more advice on how to engage readers and increase traffic.