ask the expert | How can I make my call to action more compelling?

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today we have a guest post from our expert partner in coywriting: anne maybus from clever streak, answering a very important question...

How can I make my call to action more compelling?

If you are wondering why the orders aren’t coming in thick and fast, perhaps you need to take a look at your call to action.   It could be that you don’t even have one.

I think too many of us believe that a good call to action is hard to write but really, all you have to do is ask people to do something.  Think about it.  How hard is it to say “Please Share” on your Facebook post?  It’s not hard at all and yet it brings a great response.  Try it.

When you want people to take a specific action, you have to tell them what to do.  Make it easy for people. The more specific you are, the more likely it is that they will do as you ask.

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Ooh I bet you are tempted to click that, aren’t you?

It’s got some good things going for it. 

It is visible.  It’s big and clear with a button coloured in that urgent fire brigade red that makes fingers itch as soon as you look at it.  Even the text is big and easy to read.

It uses clear, simple wording.  No big words, no confusion.  It has a simple message that tells the reader what to do.

It offers a reason to click. Those ‘click here’ and ‘buy now’ buttons have their place but there is more to a call to action than that.  Give your readers a reason to push the button (or take that action) by showing them the benefits.  It’s the answer to the “what’s in it for me” question.  The report is targeted at people who aren’t succeeding with their current calls to action and the thought going through their heads is ‘What am I doing wrong?’ so that is what I have tapped into.

Choose your words.  A touch of urgency is a good thing.  Strong words like ‘NOW’ or ‘Ending Soon’ add some pressure to the call.  Just don’t use them on every call because it can look very salesy.

Position it carefully.  Make it obvious and keep it towards the top of your page where it will be seen as soon as the reader lands.  Don’t crowd the area around it with text or competing images.  It needs to stand alone.  Depending on what the call to action refers to, you might consider putting it on every page of your site. Pop over to MailChimp and have a look at their pages.  They’ve placed a button on their most important pages.  At any time the reader decides they are interested there is a clear step to take right there in front of them. 

Now, there is another step involved here.  That big button up there is designed to take you to a page where I can encourage you to give me your details in exchange for my free report.  That means your call to action has to be hyperlinked.   You’d be surprised at how often I’ve clicked on a call to action only to find that it doesn’t work or that it takes me to the wrong place.   Straight away you’ve lost me.  I know this seems like an obvious thing to think about but it only takes one page to be renamed or moved and your link is broken.

So now it’s your turn to take action.  Go over and look at your website.  Do you have a call to action?  If you do and it isn’t working, start crafting a new one.  Test and test again until you create one that hits the nail on the head.

Anne Maybus has a mission to banish the dullness from business writing. She believes that your business deserves to have personality shining out of every word. She writes content that catches your reader by the eye and pulls them pupil-first into the wonderful world of your business. Visit cleverstreak.com and on facebook and twitter too.