In any kind of marketing, whether your are using broadcast, direct mail, or social media, one of the most important parts of a campaign is a clear and compelling “call to action” (or CTA). It’s a directive for your audience to follow in order to take action immediately. After you’ve hooked your audience, a CTA gives them the payoff they want. They’re on an emotional high from your hook, they’re convinced by your supporting information, and now they are revved up and need to take action.
While the CTA may be the shortest part of your content, whether it’s a video, graphic, or blog post, it will make or break all your hard work of creating the hook and supporting information. A CTA could be a request for your audience to subscribe to your newsletter. You may be asking your audience to call their representative. Or perhaps your CTA is a directive to make a change to their life or habits. Whatever your CTA is, it needs to be engaging and it needs to be very clear, and it needs to be followed by a link to your website (preferably to subscribe, if you have or ever plan to have an email campaign).
There are really only two parts to a CTA:
- The directive statement.
- A link or a form to fill out.
However, many people waste the first part in focusing on the second. A common call to action I see is at the end of videos, for example, is:
To find out more, visit:
Dry, am I right? So I’ve compiled a list of important elements to consider when creating a compelling Call to Action:
- Use action language
The first thing you need to create a compelling call to action is juicier language. Even if you changed “Find out more” to “Change your fate today. Subscribe for the tools you need at www.thisisawebsite.com”. Think of different ways to say the same thing and ask your colleagues which makes them feel more emotional impact.
- Relate your CTA to your content
If you just created an infographic about the effects one single person can have on the environment, and you want the audience of that infographic to make changes in their behaviors, you will want to be a little more specific than the above examples. Something along these lines would be pretty compelling and convert audiences for later campaigning: “Save the environment today - Start recycling now. Want more tips like these? Subscribe and stay updated at www.4SiteStudios.com.”
- Use positive language
A call to action is, effectively, a command. People are more inclined to follow commands that make them feel like they have power over the situation. Instead of “Don’t waste time, act now!” Wasting time is inherently negative. How about, “You still have time. Take the wheel and call your representative!” Again, you’ll want to relate it to your content, but the point is, positive commands drive action.
- Make sure you give your audience somewhere to go
Regardless of whether or not your CTA asks for active participation on a landing page or social media, it’s important to have a link of some kind that directs traffic back to your website or social media profiles.That way, they know where to go if they have questions or just want to find out more about you.
- Be specific!
That means being clear and short. If your CTA is a paragraph long, you will probably lose traction. If there are too many steps in your directive, you will probably lose traction. In order to get the most action from your CTA, try to keep it short and to the point.
- Avoid “More”.
“Learn more...”, “For more resources...”, etc. If the word “more” is involved, there’s a good chance your call to action is not going to be as effective as it could be. Relate it to the material in the content and use active, positive words.
Take a look at this fantastic example from Air B&B: