One of the most challenging parts of marketing is to create compelling calls to action that don’t make it seem like you are hard selling your future customer. After all, nobody wants to be sold something, they want you to help them solve a problem they face, and do so efficiently. The more efficient your call to action makes this process, the easier it will be for a lead to become a customer. So, what is a good call to action, and how do you create one? Defining Your Call to Action A call to action can be anything that you want a customer to do as a result of your marketing. It can be as simple as subscribing to your newsletter or starting a free 30-day trial of your software. Your call to action can also be an invitation for the lead to visit your business or to use a coupon for a discount off of your product or service. Not every marketing campaign has a call to action. Some are created simply to facilitate the expansion of your brand recognition and incite greater customer awareness. However, every marketing campaign has a goal of some sort, and often that goal is to get a customer response to some kind of call to action. This goal, or call to action should be clearly defined so that results are clearly measurable. This is one way you can measure the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing efforts. If each of your programs has a specific call to action, you can tell by how a customer came to you (which call to action they answered) exactly how they saw your brand message. Thus defining your call to action and marketing goals, you can then move forward to the next step. Choose Your Delivery Method Once you have defined your call to action, you need to deliver it to your customer somehow. There are several ways to do this, and each could have its own instructional article to go with it. However, we’ll describe them briefly here: Physical Advertising Physical advertising includes several things like print ads, digital signs, posters, television ads, and signs. Contrary to many opinions, this type of advertising still pays a significant role in consumer decisions. Major companies spend millions on it every year. Print Ads: These ads used to be all about circulation numbers until web ads came along. Now they are more about relevancy and circulation numbers, but can be quite affordable if you shop around. This is an easy way to deliver coupons and other offers. Digital Signage: Digital signs are a way to display ads with specific calls to action that are relatively easy to change, display at the ideal time for your business, and draw immediate attention. They appear in several places from restaurants and stores to buses and shuttles. They can play a valuable role in delivering your calls to action. Posters: These work for very specific businesses, events, or sales, but they can useful if used properly. Location and timing are both key elements, but including websites or SMS short codes can help you track their effectiveness. Television Ads: While national ads can be expensive, local ads can be affordable. Just make sure you have them professionally made and you have a clear call to action. Physical advertising has some great advantages, in that you can reach your customer where they are and when they are ready to buy. They are still a great delivery method. Web Ads Web ads are one of the most common delivery methods now, whether that is through Google Adwords, Facebook or Amazon ads, or other social media advertising. The advantage, of course, is that you can deliver a clear call to action to your leads that they can act on right away with a simple click. The disadvantage to these ads is that users are often using ad blockers, and there are so many web advertisements out there that they have become white noise. This means that your ad and your call to action must stand out for users to click on them. This also means that they may be expensive depending on the category you are operating in. Car insurance is still one of the most expensive categories, at something around $128 per click. This means that your call to action presentation is key, because a low conversion rate can be quite costly. Your Website A simple way to present your calls to action is through your own website. There are some key things to remember about this presentation method though. Have a professional design. Websites, for users and for search engines, need to be all about user experience and must be mobile friendly. Create a professional website design and make sure your site is the best it can be before you start adding calls to action. Your website is often your first impression, and you don’t get a second chance at that. Avoid full screen pop ups. Not only do users not like these, neither does Google, and your site can even be penalized for using them. Create great content. If all your website contains is multiple calls to action, a reader will quickly bounce away. They want information as well, and that is how you get them to follow your call to action. Content creates trust which creates customers. The responses to your calls to action will only be as good as the website they are on, so don’t skimp on one. Invest in yourself and show your customers that you value them and their time. Landing Pages Landing pages are usually not a part of your website, although they may have the same domain name. They usually contain one call to action without all of the menus and other parts your full site has. The call to action is usually simple and direct, and can be done quickly. These include downloading a free e-book, starting a free trial, or subscribing to a newsletter. Landing pages should share a consistent look with your website, but be much simpler. A solid call to action is the only purpose of these pages, so craft them with that in mind. Keep Consistent Branding Once you have chosen your delivery method, it is important to keep in mind that no matter what that method looks like, your brand should still be recognizable within it. This means more than just your logo, but lettering and fonts, colors, and even message. These make your brand recognizable even from a distance. This consistency inspires trust in customers. Although we love new things, we like to know they are from a brand that is consistent and trustworthy. Think of how quickly you recognize the Pepsi logo even if the word Pepsi is not in the middle of it. Your brand should be just as consistent and recognizable. Have a Clear Message Your call to action needs to be clear. There should be no confusion about what you want the lead or customer today. “Visit us today for 50% off all blue tags” is a great example. The call to action is known right away: “visit us today.” The reason why is also clear: “get 50% off.” The final piece tells the lead exactly what to look for: “blue tags.” “Subscribe to our newsletter, and get a free e-book” is another. The call to action is clear: “subscribe to our newsletter.” Why they should do so and what the customer gets in return, or the incentive, are wrapped in the next part: “get a free e-book.” Of course, this would be coupled with what the e-book is about, letting the lead know what your brand is about. This giveaway mentality is how you activate the law of reciprocity: if you give your leads something of value, they are more likely to buy from you. Keep it Simple Finally, keep your call to action simple. All of the examples above are not only clear, but they require only a simple action on the part of the lead. The more steps the lead has to follow, the less likely they are to follow through. This defeats the purpose you are trying to achieve. Whether that is to get more subscribers to your newsletter, get traffic into your store or restaurant, or get them to read one of your blog posts. Users will shy away from complex processes, including shopping carts and having to fill out a whole bunch of personal information. Want newsletter subscribers? Collect a first and last name and an email. Later on, when that person becomes your customer and purchases from your store, they will willingly provide you with plenty more information you can use to fill in your demographic profiles. Of course, we know it is necessary to have a great call to action, but we need to know how to create them. By defining your call to action, choosing your delivery method carefully, keeping consistent branding, having a clear message, and keeping that message and the process simple you can make turn prospects into customers with confidence.