Monday, June 1, 2015

Calls to Action: Do Something!

Graphic showing an open laptop with a website landing page asking the site visitor to share the site.

The term “call to action” has quite a ring to it, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s a bit of an intimidating ring if you’re not familiar with it. This is unfortunate, as when a call to action (CTA) is done right it can really help you build relationships with the audiences you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts. Let’s break it down…

What exactly is a Call to Action and why does it matter? At its core, a CTA is something that asks the consumer to make a connection with your business, service, or product. CTAs take many forms; you can ask the consumer to make a phone call, download a document or app, sign up for an event or newsletter, get a coupon, leave a comment, or share your online content.

Screen shot of an email from Club W, asking the customer to refer a friend.
Happy customers are often only too happy to share Calls to Action.

A CTA gives your audience the choice to engage with you. If they disregard a call to action, they are not at the point of being serious prospects, which may or may not come in time. However, those consumers who do answer the call to action are interested in what you have to offer, and are more likely to convert into customers so you can focus your efforts on building relationships that will be fertile rather than futile.

Screen shot from, showing a prominent red "Donate Monthly" button positioned immediately above a video.
Visitors to learn about the organization's mission, and have an easy way to donate,
thanks to the CTA "Donate Monthly" button.

Calls to action do not have to be pushy or hard sells. Case in point: a visitor to your website has the option to skip the call to action and continue on to the main site. There certainly are more aggressive CTAs out there, but you can create yours to fit your brand and goals. In December, even Facebook got into the call to action game for Pages. Organizations have the option to ask the viewer to: Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, or Watch Video. A good CTA lets the consumer control the level of engagement, which benefits you because completed CTAs identify solid prospects for you to pursue. 

Screen shot from R-CATS' Facebook page, showing the location of the Call to Action button.
Facebook has gotten into the Call to Action game.

CTAs are nothing if not versatile. They are appropriate for blog and social media posts, landing pages, websites, newsletters, print, radio, and television. For example, in addition to a “Shop” button (which is a call to action), also employs fun and engaging CTAs, such as a recent quiz that asks the site visitor, “Is time travel possible?” Based on a yes-or-no answer, the retail giant generates a list of products that may interest the customer and lead to a sale. 

Screen shot from showing how answering a one-question quiz leads to purchase suggestions. engages customers with a quiz, then makes purchase suggestions based on their answers.

A delighted consumer can be your greatest evangelist, so it’s important to make your calls to action shareable. A recommendation coming from a friend or colleague has the potential to carry more weight with prospective customers than a CTA coming directly from the brand. 

Screen shot from the Sierra Club, showing the ways site visitors can share that they have signed a petition, made a donation, et al.
Share! Share! Share!

With so much competition in both the online and bricks-and-mortar marketplaces, engaging customers and prospects is more important than ever; a visit to your website or store is simply window shopping unless you engage the visitor. Calls to action are necessary, and are very affordable to add to your existing marketing mix – you don’t have to reinvent your entire media strategy to incorporate them.

To discuss calls to action further, or to start using them, just call the team at Brockett Creative Group at (315) 797-5088 (see what I did there?).

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