Calls to Action: The Super-Easy Copywriting Trick You Need to Know

We’d all like to get more orders from our Web sites.

But sometimes, a great product and lots of traffic isn’t enough. It can be pretty frustrating to watch people come to your site or your landing page, and not buy anything. The reason may be that your website is missing something essential: a call to action.

Luckily, there’s a way to fix that. It’s easy, it’s quick, and it jolts people into doing exactly what you want.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Everyone knows what that clapboard in the picture means (even if you’re not in the movie business). It means “go.” In its simplest form, a “call to action” is doing the same thing. It’s asking someone to do something. You’ve probably seen them on lots of web pages. They use words like “call,” “buy,” or “download.”

Writing a call to action is simple

You start with an action word, like “sign up” or “start,” then you tell your readers to do something. Here are a few examples:

  • Get your copy of Write an Ebook in an Hour
  • Click this link for your free sample

Make it urgent

A sense of urgency will increase response. Years ago, a company sent out a mailing with an error. The letter should have said, “respond by Thursday, May 19”. Instead it read, “respond by Thursday.” The error drove sales up by 39%.

If you’re writing a call to action for a webinar, or a series of consultations, stress a deadline or a limited number of places.

Add a bonus

  • Register by Tuesday and receive a free bonus book.
  • Donate $50 and get a t-shirt

Stand out

Make sure your buttons, calls to action, or text is clearly visible. It should pop out against the rest of the page. Use a contrasting color, with lots of white space around it. Don’t crowd the button with lots of other text or graphics. You want people to find it and click on it.

Make it easy

The more steps, the fewer responses. Tell people exactly what will happen: they’ll download an e-book, get directed to a video, or register for a breakfast forum.

Be clear

Too many options can be confusing. 30-day trial, view demo, buy now. Create a clear path: step one, step two, step three.

Test, test, test

This is especially easy on the web. Try different wording, such as “subscribe” vs. “sign me up.”

You can also test buttons against text links, different colors, or different placement on the page. See which link gets the most clicks.

Write calls to action for all your marketing materials. Watch what happens.

Photo: Bart Groenhulzen

A Quick Way to Get More Sales

In April 2007, B to B magazine reported the results of a study showing that 91% of advertisers fall to include a call to action in their ads. So, if nobody is using them, why do you need one? And what is a call to action anyway?

A call to action is just asking someone to do something. It tells people what to do in order to get your product or more information. It can be as simple as, “call me”, “click on a link” or “mail this card.”

If you don’t ask, you won’t receive! And, you’ll stand out even more from those other 91% of businesses who don’t have one.

Without a call to action, your prospects will flounder around trying to figure out how to contact you (and get what they want). It’s a bit like going rowing with only one oar. There’s lots of effort and circling, but not much progress.