Updated May 8, 2015
I recently saw a blog post in which the author was promoting a product. They explained how they used it and why they liked it. They were leading me right to a sale. It was workin’.
But then, the last bit of their post was about Facebook. It was somewhat related, but they ended the post with “Join me on Facebook!” and included a link to their Facebook page.
It made me sad. Why? Because they are likely trading product sales (income) for Facebook Likes (no income).
What is a call to action? Simply put, a call to action is telling a reader, visitor, or potential customer exactly what you want them to do.
For example, “Buy my ebook!” is a good call to action on your ebook sales page. “Sign up for my newsletter!” or “Pin it!” are calls to action too.
An unclear call to action (“Here’s my ebook…”) or a non-call to action like (“Thanks for visiting my page about my ebook…”) are ineffective. Here are some tips…
1. Determine what you want your reader/visitor/potential customer to do ahead of time
Put some thought into this. Figure it out beforehand so you know what you’re aiming at and you know how best to craft the call to action on your post, page, button, etc.
Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Then say, “Sign up for my newsletter!”
Do you want them to buy your ebook? Then say, “Buy my ebook!”
Do you want them to visit your blog? Then say, “Visit my blog!”
2. Be clear and concise
Ask your visitor very succinctly to do that very thing (“Click here,” “Buy now,” “Enter your address,” “Leave a comment,” etc.). Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t couch it in flowery or wordy language so they get derailed. Be straightforward.
3. Be repetitive if necessary
Ask several times so the call to action doesn’t get lost. If you have a long ebook sales page for example, insert a call to action at various points in the page. You’ll have to be careful not to cross the “spammy” line here but don’t let your call to action get lost in the verbiage either.
4. Tell them how
Don’t just tell them that they should do something, tell them how to do it, especially if it’s not immediately apparent. The link you want them to click, the form you want them to fill out or the button you want them to follow should be very clear. (See my blog button tips as an example.)
5. Eliminate competing calls to action
Don’t let your main call to action get lost among 10, 15 or 25 other distractions.
For example, if you’re selling an ebook or another product, consider making your ebook sales page a single column page. Not having a sidebar means fewer distractions which might take them away from a purchase. You want them to follow the link to buy your ebook. You don’t want their eyes to wander to the sidebar and follow the ad to someone else’s site…and never buy your book!
6. Remember that you will have numerous calls to action so think about each one individually
You might have a call to action on your blog, one on your ebook sales page, one in your newsletter. They are likely to be all different.
If someone lands on a blog post, maybe you want them to comment so you’ll say “Leave a comment” at the end of your post. And then on your ebook sales page your call to action is most likely “Buy the book.” And in your newsletter you might want someone to “Click here” to visit your blog.
Think about each of your main objectives and create a call to action that is appropriate and powerful for each.