You’ve crafted some beautiful copy, you’ve invested in some beautiful professional design and you’ve considered your online presence. Your website is up, you’ve customised pages on the appropriate social media spaces and you’ve committed to writing regular blog posts and sending out regular emails.
But there may be one very simple thing that could be impeding your efforts from bringing in the results you desire.
Have you been very clear about how you want people to respond? What you want them to do?
Do you have a very specific call to action tied to every piece of communication you write?
It’s not about selling
Calls to action are not only relevant when you’re overtly selling something. Sure, there are times when you want to be direct and encourage people to “book now” or “buy tickets” or “shop here”. However, we all know how irritating it can be when you’re constantly being pushed to part with your money.
Marketing is not just about pushing products and services. Good marketing is about building relationships and, as with in our personal lives, this involves give and take. It’s a process that involves getting the attention of the right people, establishing rapport, building their trust and offering them something of value.
Let’s look at each of those steps in turn and consider what relevant calls to action might be.
Getting the attention of the right people
The idea of finding your voice is to be clear on what makes you unique and then use that to filter through to the group of people who will most resonate with and benefit from, your special way of approaching things.
Calls to action in this context are useful for confirming that people have come to the right place by reaffirming who they are. You may encourage them to “read more” or “sign up for emails” or “book an appointment” and add a qualifying statement to that call to action. For example, if you target athletes, you might encourage them to join your email list with, “sign up for strategies for top performance”.
Once you’ve found our ideal audience and we’ve got their attention, you need to establish a connection with them so that they stick around. You need to remind them why you’re such a good fit for them. In this case, you might not even share or direct them to your own content! For example, if your niche is working with athletes – you might come across useful articles elsewhere, that will be of interest to them. These might be to do with areas you don’t cover yourself. If you’re a massage therapist, these articles might have to do with nutrition, sleep, training, gear etc. By sharing them, you show your audience that you are interested in their lifestyle which tells them that you will be serving them from a holistic perspective. You then become the go-to person for all their athletic-related needs. When sharing other people’s content, it’s very important to do 2 things:
- Attribute the source (a bonus is that this may also put you on the radar of the person who wrote the content and may lead to you accessing their audience as well, expanding your reach. If on social media, find their handle and mention them if you can.)
- Add a note. Share why you think the link is useful or ask a question. This then serves as the call to action. We rarely ever click on links people share when they don’t add a personal perspective or comment!
We build trust by being consistent (i.e. by regularly showing up and doing what we say we’ll do) and by establishing our authority in our specific field.
Calls to action in this context are useful for:
- Sharing successes, case studies and testimonials and encouraging people to “read more success stories/case studies/testimonials” on your website.
- Sharing images/snippets of publications where you’ve been featured and encouraging people to “pick up a copy” or “read the full article here”.
Offering something of value
Even here the messaging doesn’t have to all be sales-y. There are ways in which you can offer your audience something of value, beyond selling them your product or service. In fact, we highly recommend that you do this. This is why we’re so big on creating great content and using social media, blogging and email marketing to share it. So calls to action here are useful for:
- Driving traffic to your blog post or website – you might intrigue them with a topic you’ve written about and then encourage them to “find out why…” or “find out how …” when they visit your blog/website.
- Expanding your reach – you might ask people to “share” something with others who might benefit, or to “tag a friend”.
One thing at a time
In most instances, it is better to have one clear call to action in any given place. Otherwise, you risk people not taking any action, because they are paralysed by too much choice. This applies for web pages, emails, social media updates, flyers – pretty much everything.
However, there are some cases where you might have several calls to action related to one topic. For example, perhaps you have an event coming up and you’re encouraging people to sign up for it. That’s the main call to action. However, you may have identified that there are different things that will motivate people to sign up. Thus, you might also invite them to “see pictures from last year’s event”, “read testimonials from past participants”, “check out Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)”.
With the next social media update, blog post or newsletter you write, consider how you can insert a clear call to action and observe how your audience responds.
Your newsletter is the sign-post to your website, and your website is your online home. They both deserves some extra attention. Every time you write, you need to consider:
- What do you want people to do next?
- How have you guided them towards that action?
- Do you have a call to action?
- Does your call to action need to be clearer?
- What happens next?
Simple actions such as links and buttons can make all the difference. But the first thing you need to do is be clear.
Tracy and Lulu