So you have decided that your advert must have a call to action in it.
A call to action is a persuasive argument designed to have the prospect take an action. It is generally built around a benefit to the prospect (buy now and save 20%) or the fear of missing out (don’t delay SALE – limited to floor stock only).
A call to action differs to a branding strategy in that you are chasing an immediate measurable benefit, a sale or the ability to communicate directly with the prospect.
Why use a call to Action?
It is the old adage “strike while the iron is hot”. The longer a prospect deliberates over the purchase of a sale or product the less likely they are to purchase or respond. That’s not necessarily because they don’t want it it’s just that the moment has passed, life has got in the way, their circumstances change or they find an alternative. Your goal is to interrupt all of this and force an action.
What action are you chasing?
You want to be able to either:
- Capture the lead so that you can continue to nurture your prospect
- Convert the lead in to an immediate sale
Which call to action (CTA) reason is right for you? Either and both, it just depends on your product and where the prospect is in the buyer cycle. Let’s take a look.
Convert the lead
You might use a CTA designed to sell a product or service in the following circumstances:
- It is easy to understand or sold across many outlets; refrigerator, TV, BBQ
- It is relatively cheap and low risk; shoes, sports equipment, fashion items, alcohol
- The timing is right, the prospect has a need; spray tan, suit hire, travel package
- Trust is strong and the prospect is a long way in to the buyer cycle; software, banking products, auto mechanic services
Capture the lead
You might use a CTA designed to collect information on the prospect in the following circumstances:
- The buyer cycle is a lengthy one involving lots of touch points; real estate, renovations, legal services
- Trust is critical to any sale and can only be earnt over time; kitchen, awnings, financial services
- Your strategy is to collect prospects data so that you can grow their business value; wine, subscriptions, business software
What does a strong CTA look like?
Remember you are creating the fear of loss or the excitement of receiving added value. Additional value is easy to create. You might offer a discount, upgrade, add value or reduce risk. The fear of loss comes about through imposing a deadline or indicating scarcity such as limited stock or the number of customers.
Let’s take a look at a few call to actions that you could use in both print and digital advertising. Remember language is important you are trying to generate an emotion that leads to a sale.
Buy now and receive free delivery
One time offer, never to be repeated ….
20% off on all dining room tables but only until ….
Register your details and we’ll send you ….
SALE, all floor stock must go
Book today and we’ll upgrade you to ….
Offer only available to the first 10 customers, call now
Free trial but only if you sign up this month
With over 5000 happy customers what have you got to lose? Call now.
So there you have it, tips on how to write and when to use a call to action. They are a very powerful tool in advertising but just one of many.
A word of warning. Know your market. In some circumstances a discount based call to action can actually work against you. Some socio economic groups actually push back fearing that the discounted service or product is inferior. If the discount is excessive it can make people reluctant to purchase believing that there is something wrong, it is an old model or they will be caught out somehow.