Growing your business involves engaging more people, so as to build your audience and attract more customers. However, simply putting your business in front of people is not engaging with them. Engagement occurs when action is taken willfully by a person. Even still, conveying the value of your business and its benefit to people will not lead to action either. In today’s busy, distraction-filled society, if you want people to act, you need to first determine the specific action you want them to take, and then invite them to do so. This is what “call to action” means.
What Is a Call to Action?
A call to action is a prompt—either in the form of a phrase or a button— to encourage your target audience to engage with your business. The “call” could mean a button, a phone number, a link, or an image. The “action” could mean anything from purchasing a product, to downloading an eBook, to signing up for an event. Calls to action are used on business websites, advertisements, emails, landing pages, and more.
What Makes an Effective Call to Action?
An effective call to action is one that serves two purposes—one for your business and one for your audience. In terms of your business, an effective call to action is one that supports your business goals and objectives. For example, if you are trying to build your email list, an effective call to action would be to sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.
In terms of the audience, an effective call to action is one that provides direction to your audience. If someone comes into contact with your business, whether via your business website, an pay per click ad, or even a flyer, they won’t take action unless they know exactly what to do and how to do it. A call to action tells someone how to interact with your business.
Call to Action Writing
Call to action writing can be tricky. When writing an effective call to action phrase, you want to resonate with your audience and inspire them to act, but you only have a few words to do so. Here are some key things to consider with call to action writing.
A call to action inspires a user to act not just because they want what you are offering, but also because they feel comfortable taking that action. Specificity removes uncertainty, which is a barrier to action. Be clear about what you are asking the user to do, and what the outcome of that action will be.
For example, if you’re offering an eBook, “download” is a very general and ineffective call to action. On the other hand, “Download the free eBook” gives users the information they need to make a decision. Being specific with call to actions will support best practices for landing pages as well, as it keeps the user connected with the offer being made.
An effective call to action doesn’t just get a user to act, it gets them to act now. Use urgency so that users will feel the need or desire to act quickly. You can create urgency with limited time offers, a finite number of coupons, specific deadlines, and more. Inject urgency into your call to action writing with words like “now”, “today”, “fast”, or “instant”. Just remember that urgency relies on importance. You don’t want to hurry people along, you want to convey to them why acting fast is important to them.
Urgency can increase the effectiveness of a call to action button. For example, in a paid search ad, you might include your phone number, but instead of simply saying “call”, you might say “call now” or “call today.” If you are offering a coupon through a Facebook advertising campaign, a call to action that says “Claim your coupon before they run out!” is likely to get more clicks than one that simply says “Claim coupon”.
Make It Personal
Adding a personal touch in your call to action writing is a simple way to resonate with users more. Say, for example, that one of your landing pages has a form for users to fill out to get a free quote. Instead of “get free quote” for the call to action, use “get your free quote”. Or if the action is to sign up, replace “sign up” with “sign me up”. You may also want to use words or phrases that are typical to your target audience to connect with them on a more individual level. This may be more effective as a niche marketing tactic, since your audience is highly specific.
Show Your Personality
Although they are short phrases, sometimes just one word, or even just an icon, call to actions are opportunities to convey the experience of your business. When you use language in your call to action writing that reflects your sense of humor, shows the excitement you feel about your business, or elicits a particular emotion, you can enhance the experience of the user.
For example, when signing up for a free trial, the submit button might say “Let’s do this!”. This creates the feel of a partnership between the user and your business, and adds an element of enthusiasm. Keep your brand’s personality in mind when writing your calls to action. Just make sure that you use language that resonates with your audience and that they will understand.
So what does call to action mean? Call to action means you want passive onlookers to become active users. It means you want interested leads to become happy customers. Effective calls to action inspire people to act in a way that both benefits them and grows your business.