In my Local Area Marketing and Get More Face To Face Sales presentations, I talk about making it easy for the customer to buy. One element of this is a clear instruction on what you want your customer to do. In essence, a good Call to Action.

Without knowing it, we are surrounded by Calls to Action. Think of some of the commercials you have seen or heard, or interactions you may have had at a shopping centre. You will have heard:

“Call in the next 15 minutes and get a bonus ….”
“Use EFTPOS when you next go shopping.”
“American Express, don’t leave home without it.”
“Have you had your Inner Health Plus today?”
“Did you want fries with that?”
“Did you want to take advantage of our 2 for $5 chocolate bars?”

So what makes a good call to action? Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules. Each target market and each buying modality has a different approach. While there are no hard and fast rules, there are definitely some key principals to be considered.

Start with the Call to Action
When preparing an advert, writing an article, creating a commercial you MUST know what your call to action is before you start. Knowing the call to action will help sculpt what you are creating. The body of your content will be providing the evidence to support your reader or prospect to take action.

Make the Call to Action Crystal Clear
Quite simply, confused minds never buy. So even if you are giving something away, a confused person will not claim it. Having multiple actions or confusing statements around the action will prevent people from taking it. Separate the call to action from the body of the text or the initial information so there is no mistaking exactly what the audience is expected to do.

Have a Strong Why
For anyone to take advantage of the offer, the Why needs to be strong for them. It can be evidence of success, a free trial, a discount, additional bundling of items or even a guarantee of results. Different audiences will have different drivers but you must be clear on what will appeal to your target market and build that in to the call to action. The why may be initially mentioned or alluded to in the advert or article copy to get the audience ready for it. Whatever the reason, it has to be attractive and offer value to the audience.

Lay the Foundation for Action
Let’s be honest, a simple line saying “Call Now” will not bring about action. The foundation or need for action has to be built into the copy to make it happen. Infomercials are brilliant at this. Essentially, you need to highlight the problem that your product or service will solve. Your target audience needs to see their own pain in the copy. You can then show them how you solve the pain or get them to take action to find the solution to your pain.

Mind Your Language
Use the appropriate language to describe the urgency of the offer. This not only relates to the words you use but also to the emotive sense you create. Direct the audience to take action with words like:

  • Call
  • Buy
  • Donate
  • Register
  • Order
  • Discover

You can create a desire for the audience to act using phrases like:

  • Register in the next 5 minutes for....
  • Order now and get a free gift
  • Call now and you also get…
  • Be one of the first 10 people who…
  • To get your free copy of….
  • For a limited time only…

Deliver on Your Commitment
Too often business are so focussed on getting the prospect to act, they forget to respond. If you are offering something for the first 15 who respond, be sure you deliver it. One of my wives once got excited by an infomercial for some Victoria Principal cosmetic. She called and was advised that the phones were incredibly busy and they would call back if we left a number. We never got the return call and they lost a significant sale!

It can be easy to set up technology to respond to your enquiries giving the free ebook, download or special report. Make sure you systemise your response (whether you use technology or not) so that EVERYONE gets what they are promised. If you don’t deliver on your promises, it will not take long for your name and that of your business to be mud in the marketplace.

Research Your Customers
Clients often ask “What is the best offer to encourage prospects to respond to a call to action?” The answer lies with your customers. They know exactly what their problems are and what it will take for them to act on them. Using a simple tool like Survey Monkey with the right questions will tell you what the burning desires or problems of your customers are. Use this research to craft your Call to Action.

Test It
Too often businesses create a call to action and then rest on their laurels. You need to test your call to action to see what works best. This means having two slightly different Calls to Action. Monitor the response that each one gets and then select the best one. Then you can again create a slight change to the call and split test it also. The aim is to develop a call to action that consistently feeds leads and qualified prospects into your marketing funnel.

Do It!
Your next step is to include a call to action on your next piece of marketing copy. Use these guidelines to create something and then slowly but surely tweak it until it gives you optimal results.

Author's Bio: 

About the Author:

Warwick Merry is the Get More Guy ( - a motivational speaker and trade show specialist. A professional speaker, consultant, coach and trainer renowned for his high-energy presentations and seminars, he ignites an inexhaustible passion to Get More out of life.

Visit his site to sign up for his Get More Goer - weekly thought of inspiration and visit for your free CD on how to double your exhibiting and sales return.