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The marketing challenge is always the same: to attract attention, provoke interest, create desire and finally, to motivate action. An effective call to action can be seen as the most critical part of all because it comes at the end of a process of successful persuasion.
The following are proven ideas from direct marketers to help stimulate the response you need.
1. Specify the Action
A surprising number of pieces intended to produce leads or sales leave this step up to the potential client and the result is often nothing. Spell out the action you want, for example, “Pick up the phone right now and call this toll-free number…”
2. Offer an Incentive
Depending on what you are selling, you might try offering a small item of value, separate from your main offer, just for people who call and mention your promotional ad, for example, a free item or drawing for a prize that relates to your product.
3. Make it Motivational
The impulse to buy or inquire has a very short shelf life. Capitalize on the urgency of the problem you solve or set an expiration date for your offer. Make your reader act now instead of later, which usually turns into never.
4. Don’t Ask, Show
Use copy and graphics to demonstrate what you want the potential client to do: Lead the eye with a line and arrow, then circle the box to check; use a handwritten script to prompt the entry on your order form.
5. Repeat the Action, Again
Every different piece in your package should have at least one call to action. Rephrase it slightly each time, suiting it to the context.
6. Keep it Clear & Simple
Avoid including multiple points of contact. At most, offer a choice between two options: a toll-free number and a website, for example. Test contact routes and settle on the most productive.