How to write an effective call to action
I worked in sales before I became a copywriter. Sales suited me. I enjoyed meeting people and thrived on the challenge — I particularly liked driving a company car.
Though I had the aptitude and enthusiasm, I didn’t know much at the start. My definition of a good salesperson was someone who was likable and a great talker. Useful qualities, of course. However, it wasn’t until I undertook formal sales training that I learned important sales skills like active listening, setting objectives and, most importantly, getting a commitment.
In this post I explain how to write a call to action (get a commitment). If you find it useful, please share. I also welcome your comments.
What is a call to action?
A call to action (CTA) tells your readers what you want them to do. They need instruction; it’s up to you to give it. Do you want them to phone you? Fill out a form? Make a purchase? Whatever it is, tell them. It’s surprising how many websites don’t include a CTA. It’s like making a sales presentation to a client and then walking away without asking for an order. What’s the point?
Unless your website or marketing material is for branding purposes only, you should include a CTA. I include them on almost every page of my website.Enjoying this post? If so, please share.Click To Tweet
The anatomy of a call to action
Here is an example of a call to action:
Learn how to be an online copywriter. Download my FREE e-book today.
Let’s break it down:
- Clarity — the reader should have no problem understanding what to do.
- Simplicity — Download is underlined indicating a link to the e-book, so it’s simple to comply (by the way, don’t try to download an e-book; this is just an example).
- Includes a benefit — actually, in this case there are two benefits — Learn how to be an online copywriter and FREE e-book. Give your readers a reason to do what you want them to.
- Is in the imperative — this CTA doesn’t ask, it commands the reader. Talking like this in a face-to-face conversation would be rude, but in print it’s usually okay. To soften it you can always add “please.”
- Tells the reader when to act — there is some urgency; the reader is told exactly when to act — today.
Where should a call to action be included?
Well, you won’t be surprised when I say your CTA should be included at the end of your text. After all, it concludes your writing. However, you can include subtle commands embedded throughout the text.
Here are some examples:
- When you download my e-book, you’ll learn vital skills required to be an effective online copywriter.
- If you download my e-book, you learn how to write an effective call to action.
- If you download my e-book, you’ll also learn how to write for search engines.
Don’t overdo it; you’ll drive people away. The idea is to include a few embedded CTAs naturally within your text.
If you found this useful please share. How do you write calls to action? I welcome your comments.