You may have heard of the “call to action” as being a technique used by sales representatives. It’s a method for getting your prospect to take the next step after listening to a sales presentation. It’s also known as “asking for the order.”
You know when you hear the salesperson make one of these statements that you have just heard a call to action:
- How many [type of product] can I write you up for?
- Is there any reason why we can’t do business today?
- Is there anything I have left out that would help you make a decision?
- Would you like to order [Model “A” or “B”]?
- What color would you like?
- We can have [name of product] delivered to you on [date]; would a morning or afternoon delivery be better for you?
As you can see, all of these questions lead to the customer being asked to do something. They are “called” to “take action.” The call to action isn’t confined only to verbal exchanges between a sales representative and his or her prospect, though. You can see a call to action used in newspaper and magazine ads, as well as brochures or flyers that are delivered to your home.
The Call to Action in Print Advertising
In print form, the call to action takes the form of the customer being informed about a special offer. The advertiser may “sweeten the deal” by giving the customer a coupon that they are to take with them into a store or shop with online. Most people like to think that they are getting a good deal or are being offered something that the general public is not able to access.
The offer is being used as a “hook” to get the customer interested in learning more about the company’s products or services. The call to action is where the customer is told how to take advantage of the offer being made. In print ads, it can take the form of telling the customer to call, visit the company’s brick and mortar location, or go online to take advantage of the offer. They are asked to take the next step to get something that they want.
Call to Action Online
The idea of a call to action also works when you are planning your web site. When you are doing so, consider the psyche of the average Web surfer. Actually, you can divide people who go online into two major groups. The first group of Internet users are looking to surf online. They are interested in skimming different web sites for tidbits of information that they need to know.
This type of Internet user will scan a web site quickly, and if they don’t see what they are looking for in the first few seconds, they click away from the site and move on to the next one. Even if they find a web site that has information they find relevant or helpful in solving a problem or resolving an issue they are having, they don’t have a lot of patience with it. They move on quickly to a new web site where they don’t have to “work” to find what they are looking for.
The second group of Internet users are people who are using the Internet like a virtual research library. They already know what kind of information they are looking for. The good news about the second group is that they are closer to the point in the buying cycle where they are going to take action that is going to benefit your business. They are ready to buy your products, hire you or your company to perform a service, or sign up for your mailing list.
How can a call to action help your web site for each of these groups? For the Web surfer who is “just browsing,” the call to action on your web site helps to keep them there. Your goal is to encourage visitors to spend some time checking out what your site has to offer, and using this tactic is a good way to engage the visitor. Some ways that you can include a call to action on your web site that will appeal to the casual visitor is an invitation to sign up for your newsletter, a free e-mail course, or to be notified when your site is updated. (You already know that you need to keep your site stocked with fresh content on a regular basis.)
The person who has done the ground work already and is trying to make a buying decision will also respond to a call to action. You want to make sure that you do everything you can to get them to make the decision to buy right now. The call to action makes it easy for them to do so, because you are telling them exactly what you want them to do. Keep in mind that people who are using the Internet expect to get what they want with a minimum of fuss, and this idea applies to both types of Web surfers. When you are using a call to action, tell the Web surfer exactly what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to comply.
Examples of a Call to Action
Here are some examples of a call to action that you can incorporate into your Web site text:
Tell the customer to order now because the price will be increasing on [blank] date. (Then actually increase the price at that point.) If you are going to use this tactic, choose a date that is within the same calendar month. Setting an end date that is too far in the future means that the customer will not act on your offer right away.
Include something extra if your customer placed the order immediately. This could include a free upgrade or a gift that complements your product or service. To encourage them to make a decision right away, use the words “while quantities last” or “for a limited time” as appropriate. Another good strategy is to give your new customers a free trial or charge them a special introductory price for a time. This will encourage them to buy from you now.
When you are considering how to work a call to action into your web copy, be sure to include words and phrases that create a sense of urgency in the reader. Avoid giving your site visitors the impression that they can take their time and get back to you whenever they decide to. You want to encourage the potential customer to take the plunge and become a paying customer…right now.
So don’t wait to start incorporating a call to action into your Web copy. Tell your site visitors exactly what you want them to do. Call right now. Operators are standing by. Click on the “Buy Now” button. Get a quote today. You get the idea. Put the call to action on your site today and see your profits increase accordingly.