Calls to Action, What They Are and How to Use Them

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If you have ever attended a presentation, webinar or class,  you will understand that calls to action (CTAs) in all of your content is critical. Whether it is a website homepage, an event invitation, a product landing page or an informative blog post, a CTA needs to be included. A call to action is just that, a call or request, to get the reader to take an action of some kind.

Make yourself heardUnlike the image here, we do NOT want it to seem like you are yelling at the reader, nor to seem demanding. The content and tone of your call to action will depend on your goals, the type of content and the reader. One reason why I always loop back, in conversations, to your goals, is that we want to align your CTA’s with your goals. If your goal is to get people to walk into your store, your call to action should encourage this. If you are blogging to establish your expertise in a certain area, you want to include follow-ups which reinforce this.

Say you are trying to get people to attend an event you are hosting. The RSVP would be your call to action – you would ask people to respond to let you know if they plan to attend. You might also want to ask people to pass along the invitation to others who might be interested in attending. But you don’t want to have TOO many CTA’s. An RSVP and a request to please pass along the invitation should probably be all you ask. Be considerate of your reader’s time (they may not appreciate what could start to feel like multiple demands) and keep in mind that they too are rushed. As much as you might like to think that people are savoring your every word, many are just skimming – and that can be fine, just be sure the grasp that last request as well. Don’t bog them down or they may skim right by!

You must also be sure to SUPPORT the CTA – if the call to action is to come into the store, be sure to include your address and store hours. If you are asking them to purchase an item, ensure they can click thru (preferably in one click) and purchase that product right there! The RSVP should not be to some website homepage but a registration form for the event in question – preferably with all relevant event info included.

Some basic calls to action might be:

  • Contact us to get started today – including an email address, phone number and any other contact method, if your goal is to get new leads and to get more people into your sales ‘funnel’.
  • Click here to buy this product now – including a link to a page to purchase THAT item – not a page with lots of items, not the homepage of your e-commerce site. Remember, you want to minimize the steps required to fulfill the desired action, preferably getting it down to just one!
  • Donate to support our cause/project/organization – with a link to PayPal or some other donation application where they can pay immediately, to drive donations. In this case, you may also want to include instructions on alternate payment methods including your address in case they want to send you a check via snail mail.
  • Subscribe to our e-newsletter/blog – linking them to your e-news signup form or blog RSS feed, to build your subscriber lists.
  • Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/YELP/YouTube, etc (no, you should not write ‘etc.’! And yes, each platform mentioned should be hot linked to your company profile), to build your social communities.
  • Tell me what YOU think about this topic in the comments below (for a blog or social post) or on our Facebook/ Twitter, etc. page, with a link to the profile page, if your goal is to drive community engagement
  • Register for our event – with a link to the event registration page, to fill seats at an event.
  • Download our e-book/whitepaper/industry report –with a link to a pdf download, to establish your expertise.
  • Stop in to our shop today to see this item up close and personal! – with your location and hours, when trying to increase foot traffic to your place of business. You might also want to incentivize a visit with a coupon or, in the case of a virtual visit, with a coupon code.

I do tend to get hyperbolic when I write (I guess I do use my hands extensively when I speak in person so maybe I am hyperbolic across the board!) so I will often add exclamation marks after my call to action but do what feels right to you and is consistent with the rest of the content. An exclamation point after a call to action on a serious event may feel inappropriate.

CTAs can take various forms:

  • Buttons
  • Hyperlinked text
  • Graphics or a banner


Conclusion

CTAs are critical to your business’s success because it is impossible for your online connections to reach out to you without them. The particular CTA is critical and a great deal of thought needs to be put into writing and presenting exactly the right one. Your connections will be compelled to connect with you and only then will you begin to build your relationship together.

For additional, valuable information on CTAs see the article Tips on Writing a Great Call to Action.

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LisaMarie Dias of LisaMarie Dias Designs works with business owners to leverage social media for profitable growth. Specializing in e-newsletter start up and introductions to social media, she also offers online webinars and live presentations on how to use e-newsletters and social media to grow a business and personal consultations to help clients determine the marketing tools and sites that are right for their needs and goals.

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