Whenever I come across some amateur marketing, it invariably has forgotten to include a call to action. And even when the marketing teacher runs through a list of all the elements you need to include to make your marketing campaign a success, the call to action is at the end, like an addendum or an after-thought.
But for me the call to action is probably the first thing you need to think of. When planning anything, always remember the result is what you should work from, the end product or the final outcome, and none of this would be possible without a call to action.
Don’t rely on assumption
Every marketing strategy is put together for a reason, whether to get more sales, bums on seats at your next event, find another paying client or to make your mailing list a bit bigger. If you’re clever you would have set objectives (SMART goals that include factors to measure the outcome and have a time-frame for accomplishment), but what you really need to think of is the incentive or reason why people will want to buy from you.
The most obvious thing to be aware of is that you should never assume the recipient, reader, audience, customer or website visitor will do what you want them to do. If you have worked hard to create a really pretty advert, a superb product that you think is excellent value or your service is second to none, this won’t induce an immediate and final response within minutes of it going live or being printed.
Tell them what to do
Customers usually aren’t marketing savvy. They aren’t programmed to think strategically, or to understand immediately what they are supposed to do. To the business or advert creator it may be obvious: here’s all these lovely things that are available, so why aren’t these customers falling over themselves to click on this link or type in this URL into their browsers?
The answer is, why should they? What’s in it for them? What is the immediate benefit that would prompt a “must react to this now or else I’ll miss out on something wonderful” reaction? Customers are self-centred, they only care about themselves and certainly not a jot about the company or business. So advertising or marketing promotion must take advantage of this phenomenon rather than despair of it, and use their call to action to entice or encourage the response they strive for.
An integral element
That’s why the call to action should be considered first. The campaign should be build around it. It should be an integral element that enables the final outcome to happen, and a lot more focus should be centred on it, with the campaign’s copy written to force the customer to journey towards it. Only then will the consumer do what you want them to do.
So next time you see a leaflet, pamphlet, advert or piece of direct marketing without a call to action, or one that is so tiny and insignificant placed at the bottom (“Oh, we’re suppose to have a call to action, where can we squeeze it in?”), only despair if it’s one of yours. And if it comes from your competitors, rub your hands with glee, as you’ll know their campaign is bound not to succeed.