Read This! The Infamous Call to Action

by Jennifer Good | October 23rd, 2012 5:06 AM | No Comments

Call To ActionI pride myself on being somewhat well versed on sales techniques. My very first job was in sales, and it’s been a constant part of everything I’ve done since, whether it has been selling an actual product, selling advice or even selling an experience. During this journey, the first thing I learned in sales was a technique referred to as call to action. Most anyone who has learned about sales or marketing should be familiar with this term. If not, here’s a simple a explanation… it’s what you to do ask for the sale. In some cases it may not be an actual sale, but rather whatever the next action you want the person to take. That action is your “sale” or target goal. Some examples:

  • Buy Now…
  • Checkout Here…
  • Add to Cart…
  • Call 1-800-BUY-HERE…
  • Click Here…

Like I said, I’m well versed in sales and most sales techniques. I’ve known about call to action since I was eighteen. However, even with all this experience and know-how, after looking over some of my marketing materials, I realized even I’m not using it as well as I should. In fact, in some places, I’m not even using it all! Once I recovered from my horror, I began focusing on ways I could improve this. I came to the conclusion that if someone who has been trained in this area isn’t using the technique as well as they could be, chances are there are others that could also use a few pointers or reminders about making use of this tool. So, here are a few tips concerning the call to action:

Call to Action is Relevant No Matter What You’re Doing
When it comes to product sales and eCommerce, it’s a little more obvious where and how calls to action occur. However, in the world of blogging, it may not be as obvious. Call to actions range from asking for comments to getting people to fan or follow your social media pages. You may not even realize you’re using it for your personal life as well. Whether you’re setting up a lunch date or deciding what to do for dinner, the call to action is a crucial element to getting things done.

Forgetting To Ask Is Losing You Time & Money
If you don’t ask for what you want, chances are you’re not going to get it. This is true for every aspect of your life from business to personal. The more clear and direct you are about what the “next step” is, the higher the chance you’ll actually get there. In business, forgetting to ask for the sale or next action leaves you open to wasted time and loss of money, because you’re not leading your customer to where you want them to be. You have to double up your efforts to go back, get them interested again and then lead them to an eventual sale. If in doubt, always ask. The worst they can say is no.

Know What You Want Your Customer To Do Next
Obviously, asking for a sale or action only works if you know what action you want them to take. It’s important to consider that a person can really only focus on one thing at any given time. If you have multiple products, you’ll need to evaluate how to present them to your customers so they can hone in the one they need. This is where having a series of goals is beneficial. Come up with all the things you want a prospective customer to do when they visit your website, store, seminar, etc. Now pick the number one goal. That should be your main focus, and it should be where the main calls to action direct your customers. You can then set up secondary goals, each with their own separate calls to action in less obvious areas. It’s much easier to direct actions when you know exactly what those actions are and how important they are to your business.

Be Creative & Unique
Some calls to action will always remain essential, such as “buy now” and “click here.” However, there are quite a few ways you can make even these seem more unique and stand out. You could make large buttons, have arrows pointing to them, and use various text styles, sizes and colors. What’s really important here is not necessarily to be unique for the sake of being unique, but rather to infuse your style of branding and personality into the buying experience. If you want readers to give you more comments, ask thought-provoking or humorous questions at the end of your posts, or hold fun contests for people who comment. Want more email signups? Offer something you know your readers or customers would really benefit from for free in exchange for their email address. Need article submissions? This is another area where contests are a great motivator. People also really respond to humor and imagery, so if it makes sense with your branding and marketing, inject a little fun (or even sarcasm!) into the equation.

Make It Easy To Follow Through
Once you’ve put together your calls to action and placed them in the most responsive areas, you need to make sure it’s easy for your customer to finish the sale. Go through your sales experience and make sure you’re leading your customer all the way through the entire process. If any stage seems unclear or bulky, trim it down and offer clearer explanations. Never assume your customers know what to do.

Now that you’ve read this, examine at your business. Are you utilizing calls to action as well as you could be? Are there calls to action you have in place that you didn’t even realize were there? Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, and discoveries in the comments below! (See there? That was a call to action!)

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