Please tell me what to do: Remember your call-to-action

Remember a call to actionMy phone rings and the person on the other end is asking me if I’d review their Web site. He/she says something like, “I paid a lot of money to have a Web site created & I loved the design. However, time has gone by and I haven’t had any inquiries . . . responses . . . sales.”

As a copywriter, I go to the site and am surprised by what I see or I should say, what I don’t see. One major aspect that is missing is the CALL TO ACTION. And, I don’t mean on one page. I mean a call to action on all the pages.

It may sound obvious, but it is vital that you tell your readers what it is you want them to do. Should they send for more information? Should they call or e-mail you? Do you want them to subscribe or register online?

And, this doesn’t just apply to websites, but to any marketing materials such as brochures, catalogs, direct mail, etc. For instance, in an interview published in the October 2010 edition of Deliver, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing had this to say, “. . . you see so many ineffective uses of direct mail – pieces that don’t really offer a call to action, a place for someone to get more information. . . ”

So, look at your content and see if you’re incorporating any of these 9 tips:

1. If you have a toll free number, say so and highlight it in larger type.

2. If you take Apple Pay, PayPal, Square, Zelle, and/or credit cards, list which ones you accept.

3. If your product is sold by direct mail (yes, that still exists) ask the reader to fill out the order form and return it in the mail. Include a self-addressed envelope for their convenience. Put order forms in catalogs and reply cards in mailers.

4. If your product is sold at retail make sure you include the name and address of your store. Obvious, you say? I’ve seen ads that omit these important details. Perhaps you might include a coupon in your ad and ask the reader to clip it out and bring it in to you.

5. If possible, give prospects an incentive for responding NOW. Can you include a price-off coupon, a time-limited sale, a discount to the first 100 people who order, a free gift?

6. Make it easy for them to take action. On your website, include a button/link to the registration page. If you’re a retail store, include your company name, address and phone number. Include store hours and your various locations (if it applies).

7. Give them the opportunity to order for friends. If you’ve ever attended an online program you may have come across an offer like this, “Register now, bring a friend and your friend gets 50% off.” A colleague of mine holds live events and his early-bird offer is “Buy your ticket now at this special savings and bring a friend for free.” Both are great ideas.

8. Give them the opportunity to spread out their payments. Pay $997 today or 3 easy payments of $347.

9. Let them know their satisfaction is guaranteed. A written guarantee relieves risk, especially when selling through mail order or on the Web. Read about 4 ways to write great guarantees here.

When discussing this with one client he said, “My phone number is on my Web page.” And, it was – in tiny type at the bottom of the page. Nowhere did the content say “call me today,” or “drop me an e-mail.” If you want to hear from your prospects, visitors to your site, clients, etc. don’t forget to tell them so.

Take another look at your marketing materials. Yes, your phone number might be in there along with your e-mail. However, it’s not enough to just put them in there and hope for the best. Ask your prospects to respond and make it easy for them to do so.

Want to give me your thoughts on the subject? Drop me a line because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million and here’s to your sweet success.