It’s Called a “Call to Action” for a Reason

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All the marketing in the world doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if it doesn’t elicit a response from your audience. That’s why it’s so astonishing that so many marketing materials lack the key ingredient to ensure success: a strong call to action.

No one will argue that capturing your audience’s attention is paramount. But once you have it, you must make it 100% clear what you want them to do. How? By having a clear method for prospects to ask for more information, request a catalog, place an order, come in to your store… whatever your end goal is.

So what is a call to action?
A call to action is the specific action you’re asking your prospect/customer to take. It can be tied to a unique offer – such as an instant online discount for signing up for an email list – a simple mechanism that allows clients to “act” on your message, or even an alert to buy now because your sale ends today. It can be as simple as “Call for more information” listed next to your phone number, or “click here to register” with an active link in an email. It can create a sense of urgency with a deadline: “Register online by April 15th and save 10% on your next purchase.” Calls to action will vary from piece to piece, but what’s important to remember is that you always have one.

Print Ads
A large phone number and web address are musts (unique phone numbers and URLs are even better as they can help you track your ad results). Remember, you have a split second to capture someone’s attention, and his or her time is limited. Don’t expect a prospective client to hunt down your company online to find contact information. You never want to make it difficult for a potential buyer to contact you or purchase your product.

Catalog and Brochures
Having your phone number and URL on the outside is great, for starters. But consider repeating it on the inside of a brochure as well. And if you have a multiple-paged catalog, then by all means make sure you put your contact information on each and every spread. Again, every time you make someone work to find a call to action, you are putting up an unnecessary roadblock to making a sale.

Websites
Just because websites are digital vehicles, prominent placement of a phone number and a strong visual to call for more information do two things: One, it offers less tech-savvy individuals an outlet for inquiring about your services; and two, it adds credibility to a website, because customers will know there is a human being behind it.

Direct Mail
The mother of all “Calls to Action” is the Business Reply Card (aka the BRC). This handy little device allows users to quickly (and effortlessly, if preprinted) respond. BRCs are ideal for prospecting to rented lists or older names on your mailing list. From there you can follow up with responders with more focused and targeted marketing communications.

Remember the key to any marketing is to get your audience to respond, and the only way they can do that is you provide a call to action.

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