How to Build a Better Call to Action

By Jack LaRue
 
I'll admit it: It has happened to me. It has probably happened to you too. You launch what seems like a foolproof marketing campaign. It's well thought out, well planned, and well executed. You sit back and wait for the customers to flock to your door  and nothing happens. What went wrong? 
 
The first place I look is the call to action. It's the most important component of any marketing initiative. Without it, even the best-laid marketing plans won't work. 
 
Fortunately, it's fairly easy to create a call to action. Just ask yourself: What do I want my audience to do as a result of my marketing communication? Sure, ultimately you want the customer to make a purchase. But that's usually too much to ask from a single marketing piece.
 
It's much more effective to think of one specific action you want your prospect to take. Do you want them to call you? Click on a link to your website or a landing page? Return a business reply card? Your entire marketing message should be designed to do one thing: get the prospect to complete your desired action. 
 
Here are some tips that can make your call to action more effective: 
 
Make it clear – Be very clear and specific about what you want prospects to do. Don't leave it up them to decide. Don't offer too many choices. Make it clear, even to people who may just be skimming your marketing piece. 
 
Make it easy – If you want prospects to visit a website, provide a link. If you want them to call you, provide a phone number. Yes, these are obvious, but I've seen plenty of marketing pieces that leave them out. 
 
Make it measurable – Ultimately, you need to know how successful your campaign was. How many of your prospects took the next step? How does this compare with other marketing initiatives? 
 
How do you prefer to be contacted by new marketing prospects? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or something else? Please share your comments below.
 
Read more marketing articles by Jack LaRue.
 
About the author:
Jack LaRue is the senior vice president of myPay Solutions at Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting.

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