Writecombination Marketing
by Andrew Knowles
22-Sep-15

Why your call to action does not work


Struggling to get people to respond to your sales offers and promotions? Frustrated by a low response rate to your attempts to get sales, sign ups or even just clicks?

Maybe it’s because when you give out a call you don’t make it really easy for people to TAKE that action.

(For the many of you who don’t speak marketing, a ‘call to action’ is that little phrase that tells you what to do next having read an ad. Usually it’s something like ‘Buy now’ or ‘Click here’ or ‘Call now’).

Imagine receiving an email from someone you regularly buy from. Say a wine club (yes, I buy a bottle or two from time to time), or an airline or a clothing brand. They’re telling you about a fantastic special offer – a great price on a product that you want.

Below the emotionally seductive headline (the best marketers know how to grab your feelings, not just your eyeballs), the evocative images and the teasing paragraphs there’s a big red button of a box that says:

GET IT NOW! VISIT OUR WEBSITE!

While your left hand wrestles to pull your credit card from your wallet, your right hand delivers a juicy ‘click’ on the button because YES – you want to buy now!

Nothing happens. No change. You wait.               

Then it dawns. The red box isn’t a button; it’s a red box with a message saying ‘Visit our website’. Does it say ‘Click here’?

No it doesn’t.

That’s because if you want to grab this deal, you just need to do what it says in the big red box.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE!

Yes, you need to find your own way to the website. Except, chances are you won’t, because between heading off to the site (typing a link in a browser or navigating to the icon or whatever is your route) something else will pop up to distract you.

Diverted elsewhere, you never return to that offer. It was, fleetingly, irresistibly attractive, but now you’ve moved on.

Of course, the scenario I described never happens, does it? Of course there’s always a clickable link from an ad directly to the checkout pages. Who wouldn’t make it really, really easy for customers to buy?

Unfortunately, many businesses DON’T make it easy for customers. Browse around any number of small business websites and you’ll find web pages inviting people to buy or to get in touch, without providing an obvious route to taking that action!

Why would you invite potential customers to make contact with you and then not give them a phone number or email address? Or even better, a live chat option?

The moment you leave people to find their own way to your page of contact details, or to your checkout pages, you’re inviting them to get lost. And many of them will do just that because their phone will ping with a message or a call and you’ve lost their attention, probably for good.

Do yourself a favour. Take a look at your website, your marketing mails and your social media posts and ask yourself: “Is there anything I could do to make it even easier for customers to respond to my call to action?”  

By Andrew Knowles

Other posts that will be of interest to you:

Managing your social media: Hootsuite v Tweetdeck

3 ways to find the time for social media marketing




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