This may come as a surprise, but when it comes to marketing, you have to tell people what to do. What?! Yes, it’s true.
Think about all of the TV commercials you’ve seen over the years that say “Come in and try our fresh-off-the-grill hamburgers!” or the radio spots that end with “Call 1-800-800-8000!” or the big newspaper ads that proclaim “Don’t miss our huge sale!” When marketers tell us about their products and services, they always finish with some kind of command encouraging us to take action—get more info, make contact, try, buy, etc. Marketers tell us what to do next all the time, and we’re so accustomed to hearing and seeing these messages that we really don’t even think about them.
But now that you’re on the flip side and sending out your own promotional messages, it’s time for you to understand the importance of letting people know what you’d like them to do in response. Welcome to the world of the Call to Action, or CTA. All of your promotional social media posts, e-mails, e-newsletters, videos, and other messages should end with a command for receivers to do something in response. (But notice the accent on promotional social media posts. Remember that only about 20% of your social media posts should be promotional in nature; the other 80% are shares and personal notes, right?)
Besides placing the Call to Action at or near the end of your promotional message, you can follow these other tips for success:
- For any given message, pick just one action and be very specific in the wording. Don’t send out a message about your latest edition of prints that says “Contact me for more information,” but also “Subscribe to my e-newsletter so you’re the first to know about future editions.” Two actions become too confusing for receivers.
- Brainstorm a variety of CTAs so they’re handy when you need one. “Visit my website to see my exciting portfolio,” “Register for my workshop today,” and “Please forward this along to a friend who loves art” are just some of the many possibilities.
- When possible, incorporate words that create a sense of urgency or at least enthusiasm or emotion, like “Order your copy of my new portrait painting DVD before it’s sold out!”
- In a longer message, such as a lengthy e-mail or e-newsletter, sprinkle in several CTAs toward the end.
- Make it easy for receivers to take the action by adding links and buttons that take them to your website, order form, subscription form, e-mail program, etc.
Without a Call to Action, your promotional messages come off as simple announcements that don’t inspire receivers to follow up with you. It may seem ridiculously obvious, but you’ll get better results if you remind people of the next step they should take to start connecting with you.
I’d love to hear your Call to Action success stories, so please share them in the Comments box. (Hint: That’s a Call to Action right there!) Let’s connect!