Recently I asked what people would like me to blog about. I wanted to know what sort of information would help them with their copywriting and marketing. As a result I was asked about writing calls to action – the subject of this week’s blog.
What is a call to action?
A call to action is a written instruction to the reader telling them to act on the information received. Depending on the situation, the call to action might tell them to phone today for best prices, to buy now, or to sign-up for a newsletter. The call to action might direct them to another page on your website or your brochure.
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Why is a call to action important?
While it might seem glaringly obvious that you have to contact the company if you want to buy their product or service, people do need to be encouraged to act. If you don’t include a call to action in your marketing copy, you run the risk of losing the sale.
Whatever marketing copy you’re writing, be it a website, a sales letter, or a brochure, you should always include at least one call to action.
Where to place your call to action
Traditionally, most people will put a call to action at the end of the copy. This is appropriate in a letter, but less so in a brochure or on a website. If you put a call to action at the end of your brochure or at the bottom of your web page, can you be sure everyone will see it? The chances are they won’t. This is because we scan read marketing copy initiall, to see if it’s of interest. Then, and only then, will we read it! Your readers will ‘cherry pick’ and only read the information of direct relevance to them.
To get over this problem, you may need to include more than one call to action. For example, you might need several if you are writing a long page of copy for your website. To avoid too much repetition, it’s important these calls to action are worded differently. They can be inserted in the middle of a paragraph – this works well if you are directing the reader to another section of your website or brochure: e.g. “phone 01608 642845 now or visit our copywriting services page for more information.”
Why a call to a action should be ‘imperative’?
In grammar, an ‘imperative’ verb is used to express a strong command. As an adjective, ‘imperative’ means of the utmost importance. Both apply when it comes to a call to action. You are commanding your reader to act and it is of utmost importance that they do it – NOW!
In some situations, perhaps when used with a special offer, it is even more important to act quickly. You might only have limited supplies of a product or the offer might expire on a certain date.
What should your call to action say?
You call to action should always include words like ‘now’ or ‘today’. Use an imperative verb such as ‘act’ now, or ‘phone’ today. It is not enough to gently suggest the reader gives you a call sometime … when they get round to it. They won’t!
If you want your reader to phone you, always include your phone number in the call to action. If they have to search your website to find it, they might not bother and you will have lost your opportunity. If you want them to send you an email, include your email address. Don’t make it hard for people to respond!
Examples of calls to action
Buy online now to claim your free gift! But hurry – stocks are limited. (The words ‘buy online’ would be hyperlinked to direct the reader to the online shop)
Say ‘I love you’ with chocolates this Valentines Day – place your order today by calling 01608 642845 or by email. (If this call to action was on a website, the word ‘email’ could be hyperlinked)
Compelling copywriting will increase your sales. Claim your 10% discount on our standard copywriting rates. Phone me today on 01608 642845 or send me an email now. Don’t delay – this offer expires on Friday.
Blog post by Joy McCarthy