What’s the Call to Action?

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Branding 

When it comes to marketing your brand, there is always a goal. You want your audience to sign up for your newsletter, follow you in Twitter and Facebook, comment on your blog posts, buy your products, and obtain your services. You want them to complete an objective – to like your posts, join your contests, and share them with friends. You want them to retweet your content, repost it on their Facebook wall, repin your pins on Pinterest. Basically, you want them to take an action, which is why using a call to action in your social marketing campaign is essential.

You may think that it’s obvious what you want people to do, but sometimes, if you don’t clearly state it, your audience will nonetheless be oblivious to it. They’ll read your social media posts, but they won’t click to “like” it, nor will they leave a comment. They’ll read your blog post, but they won’t subscribe to your newsletter. This is why you need to give them a push – a direct call to action. You have to encourage people to go a step beyond just reading your entry to actually completing these specific actions that will be beneficial to your brand marketing.

So how do you effectively create calls to action that garners the attention of your audience and makes them complete your objective? Here are some tips:

1. State your objective clearly and prominently

If you want people to take an action, then you need to state it clearly and prominently. In a blog post, for example, you can easily end with, “What do you think? Leave a comment.” This is a direct call to action so that people can quickly realize that you want them to leave a comment about what they think. If you don’t place this action call at the end of your entry, then people are likely to simply read the blog post and then move on without doing anything.

Placing the call to action in a prominent position is also a good idea. You don’t have to put it in all caps, or use a bold font just to get attention. But make sure that it’s placed somewhere that people will definitely see it. If it’s a blog entry, ending your post with the call to action is a good idea since some people may just skim through the post, and they might miss it if it’s in the middle. This also applies to Facebook updates – you can place the call to action either in the first sentence or the last once.

If the call to action is on your website, you should place it in a position that gets attention, and also have it in a different color so that it pops out on the page. Ideally, you should put it high on the page and in a central place so that people can really see it. You don’t want it to just blend into the background where people won’t notice it.

2. Use active language and create urgency

Since you are encouraging people to take action, you should use active language and create a sense of urgency so that people will be compelled to do it now. Examples of some active words commonly used in calls to action include:

– Buy now
– Subscribe
– Register
– Sign up
– Download

And here are some examples on how to create a sense of urgency:

– Limited time offer
– Register now and save
– Today only special
– First ten to sign up will get a free gift

The more active the language and the more urgent the offer, the better. Just remember to always deliver what you promised.

3. Convince people to take the action

There needs to be some incentive for people to complete the call to action. Ask yourself, what will they get out of it? It can be as simple as getting them to think or laugh with you in your social media posts, or getting them to sign up for your newsletter so they can have access to exclusive discounts and offers. It’s essential that they get something out of completing the call to action. Otherwise, what’s the point, right?

When it comes to social and word of mouth marketing, calls to action are definitely essential. Sometimes people need an extra push before they do something, and a call to action done properly will be just the thing needed for them to do what you want them to do.

Make your call to action clear and prominent, use active language, create a sense of urgency, and convince people to take the step necessary to complete the desired action. These are just a few simple steps that will help you engage and connect better with your audience.

“Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks | a word of mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz, she facilitates online visibility services and word of mouth coaching and workshops – taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy, http://buzz2bucks.com.”

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