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 PayPal and credit cards, list which ones you accept.

3. If your product is sold by direct mail 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? Share yours in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million and here’s to your sweet success.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. Making it easy for the prospects/customers is of paramount importance!
    That’s how it works for me too: do I have to search a lot, browse through pages to find contact information, have to double-guess, or generally jump through hoops? Well, off I go, thinking to myself that “this guy/gal might just not be so professional after all,” or “will it be *that* hard to contact them after I (buy/hire/etc)?”

    Service providers and marketers must make very obvious the fact that they respec their prospects/customers’ time and peace of mind.
    Helene Poulakou recently posted…Top 10 Greek Mythology Stories updated Wed Jul 3 2013 2:14 pm EDTMy Profile

    • You bring up a good point Helene. If it’s a challenge to figure out how to contact someone when you’re at their web site, how easy/difficult will it be to reach them later on?
      And, as you suggest, it’s a good for them to demonstrate that they respect your time and efforts. Thanks.


  1. […] digital age, is not simply to remember to use calls-to-action (although, if you’re not using a call-to-action at all, you’re really missing the boat!), but to make them more […]

  2. […] 4. Get them to respond. Of course, last, but not least is your call to action. Don’t forget to tell your prospects what you want them to do. Should they complete & return the order form, dial a toll free number, click on the “buy now” button? Check out my blog post on this topic at […]

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