Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Why is a "Call to Action" so Critical to Your Digital Marketing Efforts?

It is surprising the number of entrepreneurs that disregard the importance of a “Call to Action” (CTA) in their digital marketing efforts. Perhaps they simply do not know what a call to action is, forget to create and use one, or just plain do not think it is important.

A call to action is nothing more than a prompt - a prompt to get your customers to take a preferred action or do something that you desire them to do, like buy your product or donate to a charity. You could prompt your customer to take some other action such as visit your website, request a free copy of your latest CD or magazine issue, or sign up for your weekly newsletter.

A call to action prompts your customer to take a desired action, resulting in a preferred outcome. The concept has not changed since we have entered into the digital marketing age. It still has the same basic components as direct mail campaigns or Yellow Page ads did:

1.     A “no obligation statement” that removes or reduces risk and gives the customer the confidence to buy, such as “for a free 30-day, no-obligation trial…”
2.     Specific instructions on what to do next such as “click the button below.”
3.     Encouragement to respond right away or lose out: “Don’t wait! Offer ends this Friday at midnight.” In other words, a timeline that inspires the consumer to act immediately for fear of losing out.

Put together, the components listed above might sound like “For a free 30-day, no-obligation trial, click the button below. Don’t wait! Offer ends this Friday at midnight!” Many digital marketers use this type of CTA, because it is a revolving one. At 12:01 the next Saturday morning, the call is style valid, unless it was really meant to expire on a specific date.

A call to action should be placed on every piece of marketing communication, whether in print or digital media or even in a cold call (should you be so lucky to make it that far in the call). Without it, the entrepreneur has wasted money on the entire campaign. Simply putting a product or service out there without asking someone to buy it is akin to installing a swimming pool in your backyard and then not asking anyone to go swimming. It looks pretty, but it goes unutilized.

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