You thought you did everything right. Your home page has a nice video link, your e-book is highlighted and your web form is prominently positioned. But you’re not getting the click-throughs you want, need or anticipated. The problem could be your call to action.
A call to action is the heart and soul of your marketing initiative. Without one, you’ve just wasted your money. Without a good one, your results will come up short. A call to action is the incentive you offer people to take the action you want. Often, it’s to capture contact information to facilitate future activity such as a nurture campaign or perhaps a sales funnel. Here are six rules to enhance your success.
1. Offer an incentive. Everybody wants a good deal. Some people demand one. It’s only natural for visitors to ask, If you want me to do “x” what will I get in return? An incentive also is a gesture of good will and takes the edge off the sales or future sales component of the transaction.
Your incentive doesn’t need to be elaborate or of particularly high monetary value. Content, guides and e-books are always good, in particular providing insight to enhance the business of your client.
Discounts are often used as the incentive, and if your outreach is strictly sales today/right now, a discount can be effective. But if you’re trying to develop a relationship with the customer, once they’re conditioned to receive a discount, they’ll always be expecting one – a phenomenon that can negatively impact your bottom line.
2. Check your verbiage. Your call to action won’t be effective with sloppy wording. Your language needs to be precise and to the point. Customers spend less time reading, so hit and hit hard with your differentiation and unique selling proposition (USP). Answer the “why” immediately and up front.
Your chosen wording should go hand in hand with your incentive. Although not as blatant as the infomercial “but wait!” offer, your main message and your incentive should work well together to follow the AIDA model (attention/interest/desire/action).
3. Video works. In recent years with the advent of technology, society – and your potential customers within it – have gravitated toward video and away from the written word. Words are still important, of course, but video can make those words come alive. This is especially true for educating customers on new concepts or a new company. Remember, you’re reaching new audiences that you want to remember you.
Videos should be kept short, and they should be well crafted. Your face talking to your laptop camera won’t cut it. Take the time and modest investment to shoot a strong, compelling video that can create an emotional connection to prompt viewers to take action.
4. Show your product. There’s no sense being coy when trying to entice your viewers to take a specific action. Ever click on something that looks interesting only to get stuck in a never-ending bunch of words that never seem to get to the point? Don’t go there.
For a successful call to action, show your product. Have no fear of reducing the click-throughs because those who click will have greater interest. You’d rather have fewer leads but higher-quality leads. Showing what you’ve got and explaining how it benefits the customer will be both informational and educational – and real.
Whether through a screen shot, video or another visualization, showing your product provides a visual connection to your call to action. Together, the comfort level for the customer is enhanced, and they’ll be more willing to take the next step.
5. Creative design works wonders. Just as video is worth the investment, so is design. A professional designer can make a page come alive. Proper design can take multiple concepts and turn them into an intuitive path that leads your viewer right to the call to action.
Use of lines, arrows, colors, white space, boxes and all sorts of other design elements can have a major impact on the receptivity of your message. These components can literally take viewers’ eyes on the journey you want them to take. Your design makes you the tour guide of your message.
6. Build trust. By now, everybody knows that their contact information is valuable and sought after. People also know – or at least fear - that as soon as they provide that information, they’ll be inundated by a barrage of unwanted communications. At AFS, we go through great lengths to ensure our members showcase their membership badge showcasing their commitment to higher standards, and since every brand seeks to build trust with their customers, a good place to start is with your call to action.
As you design your messaging, be sure to assure your customers that their information is safe with you and that you won’t abuse the trust you’re asking them to show. Often this effort is enhanced by the incentive you offer (see item No. 1 above), but you still need to guarantee that their information and privacy is safe.
The obvious “no credit card necessary” or “we won’t divulge your email address without your permission” can start you on the road to building an effective and loyal relationship with viewers.
A call to action is a critical component of any marketing message. Follow these suggestions and the quality of your responses should improve dramatically.
Chuck Leve is a 40-year veteran of the fitness industry and proven successful developer of fitness industry associations. Currently, he serves as the executive vice president of business development for the Association of Fitness Studios. He's been involved in the creation and development of some of the most successful trade associations in the history of the fitness industry.