A call to action [CTA] is a concise phrase that you include in your copywriting and marketing material that not only encourage your readers to do something but it demands it! The term itself gives it away – it’s a strong directive that ensures action. The action that you want taken are practical steps that will ultimately lead to a sale, a booking or a purchase.
Examples of call to actions include:
An effective call to action offers urgency. Create urgency to play up to the natural instinct that humans have – the fear of time running out or missing out on something (also known as the scarcity principle). Tell your audience exactly what to do and when – words like today, now, straight away, before too late…
Pick one of your benefits (not a feature) to the consumer and use that as a call to action. For example, a benefit of good copywriting would be that it improves your SEO ranking. Therefore, I could use this benefit in my CTA like this:
Check out this video from Marketing Experiments on the power of a "micro yes" when it comes to call to actions.
Where do you include call to actions?
Include them on each page of your website, each blog post or content article, videos, social media posts, enewsletters and direct email campaigns and in person. Each of your webpages and marketing emails should have between one and three call to actions.
Place one within the first half of your webpage/email/marketing collateral but not directly at the top, as your readers will want to read some credible information first. It's also wise to place one at the end of your copy, to remind and instil your message.
Tips on writing a great call to action:
Don’t forget to include your call to action on your webinars, infographics and presentations or slide shows. You can also verbalise one if you are giving a talk but don’t give more than one. It will most likely be ‘go to my website for more details’.
Here are two clear call to action examples on big business's landing pages:
Do you think email marketing (that’s your email newsletters, EDM and email automated campaigns) is dead? Are you mistakenly believing that you need to invest all your time into your social media marketing?
You might be doing your business a disservice because according to MarketingSherpa, '72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.' Those kind of stats are just too hard to not experiment with, let alone ignore. Not only does an enewsletter provide an effective way of communicating new and existing services or products you have but it will ensure clients/customers feel connected, attended to and will encourage click throughs to your website and social media channels. Here's six reasons why email marketing is important.
But almost everyone has an inbox overflowing with various enewsletters, so it’s important to fill yours with interesting and relevant content. Not sure what to include in your enews?
You may like to experiment with this formula
30 per cent teasers
50 per cent quality information
20 per cent direct promotion
Examples of what to include in an enews
Make sure you set up your template so that every enews includes:
Here's two more important factors to a good enewsletter:
Sporadically—every four to six months—make your enews purely about the readers, cut out the promotion and offer quality content and/or a free product or service or ask them a question to invite conversation.
Include a clear call to action. Make your readers do something. That could include going to your website, booking an appointment or providing you with feedback. Aim to have at least three calls to action per enews—even if they are the same. Read my enewsletters here.
Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey
You may also like... How to write a great homepage
A copywriter is a professional writer that will write your marketing material (whether that be for your website, blog posts, brochures, social media marketing, enewsletters, media releases, adverts and a whole range of things). A copywriter is an expert in writing and will pen persuasive words in a way that is potent for your marketing plan.
Why hire a copywriter?
I’m going to be straight up here: almost everybody thinks they can write. This isn’t the truth. Let’s get real about this so you don’t do your business a disservice. An exceptional copywriter can position your business, services and products as memorable and leading the way, outshining your competitors and as something that people just MUST HAVE. With the art of the persuasive word, professionally written copy can increase sales.
The beauty of a copywriter is that they are able to step back from you and see the best in what you offer and know how to tell the world about it. Often, you can be too close to your own offerings to effectively describe what you do.
Copywriters are more than just writers. I come from a marketing background, so I know how to effectively promote something – whether it’s yoga classes, property or balsa wood – directly to your potential or existing customers, influence their decisions. I also have a genuine understanding of SEO, making you more easily discoverable online.
An awesome copywriter can make anything – and everything – sound thrilling.
Perhaps best of all, in my view, a copywriter will write with great grammar and spelling, giving you more credibility and readability. If the first contact new customers have with you is a poorly written website or Facebook page, how can they expect you to be professional when delivering your services? Go on – choose three websites at random and you will easily be able to tell which has been professionally written and which has been written in haste by the business owner.
Although this may not be the case for all copywriters (and is certainly not a requirement), I am also an award winning creative writer (having written many short stories, poems and a novel), so the art of storytelling is in my veins. And as customers become more and more saturated by content these days, they are craving authenticity and genuine storytelling. See also: how to keep your content crispy.
Most of what we are commissioned to write is written to sell. We believe in and live the “art of the sell” using only so much as our words.
When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it “creative”. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product,’ David Ogilvy.
This may vary mildly depending on what you want written but the most likely process will go like this:
Then you can relax as I squirrel away for a time and work on the copy to the deadline we’ve agreed upon. This is the “go time” for me and where I spend hours researching, taking notes, writing and rewriting, proofreading and editing and maybe, just maybe, watching Netflix (some of my best ideas have come from television shows!)
You’ll be emailed the work (usually in a Word document) to review. I offer a revision with all quotes but I rarely, if ever, have to do it but I want you to know that the option is there because there’s no point with you being unhappy with the copy.
Then you can do whatever you need to do with the writing – upload it to your website, email merger, letterhead, social media platforms. It's then time to enjoy the benefits of meticulously crafted copy.
Now be honest, that was a lot less painful than you thought, right? Certainly a lot less painful than agonising for weeks or months over writing your homepage or blog posts. There we have it – the mysteries of working with a copywriter solved! If you have any more questions, drop a comment below or send me an email.
‘Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling,’ William Bernbach.
BONUS: learn to write terrific headlines that will make people click
You may also like... Keeping that content as crispy as you can
Copywriting and business writing is markedly different to writing a poem or writing something sweet in your grandmother's birthday card. It has a specific focus and uses a particular set of skills to increase sales, draw in new customers or clients or set you apart from your competition by demonstrating that you really know what you're talking about.
We've already looked at why content writing (and blogging) is excruciatingly important for your marketing plan, so now we're going to discuss how you can write really well in all your professional marketing communications (such as your website, blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts etc, because you're doing these all regularly… right?)
Writing well to promote your business is crucial to its success. In a digital era of fast paced communications, you need to get your message "bang on" immediately or clients will drift elsewhere along the fast paced current of the online communications river. Below are some starter guidelines for both online and off line writing. Keep these in mind the next time you write something that the public will see.
Use persuasive words
Ideally, you want people to do be doing something, to take action. Even clicking on a link is taking action. Use words as your triggers and cues.
According to Copyblogger, the top five most persuasive words in the English language are:
Here's a really comprehensive list of influential words you can use.
Correct grammar and spelling enhances your credibility and affords trust in what you are saying, ensuring a smooth read that will not distract readers from absorbing your message. If you neglect to take care of your proofreading, potential and current clients may wonder where else you neglect attention to detail.
Let it breathe
Put your writing aside for at least twenty four hours – a week if you can afford the time. Putting distance between you and your writing only improves its quality. You may learn something new that is pertinent to the topic at hand in that time- especially since it will be the forefront of the mind. And you will easily identify errors and poor structure once you've had a chance to have some distance from it.
Write in the second person
Write as if you are directly speaking to one person/client, rather than a group of people or nobody. Direct what you're saying by using terms such as "you", "your" etc, which will not only personalise your message but give the reader the ability to "try on" what you are saying to them and they will be more readily willing to absorb your message – particularly if you are persuading them to invest in your product or service.
Use confidence in your language. Replace terms such as ‘you may' with ‘you will' or ‘why not try' with ‘invest now'. Refer to the list of persuasive words above if you get stuck.
If you're not completely (three hundred and twenty per cent) sold on your product or service and the results that it will deliver, how can you expect a potential customer to be?
Twitter is a charming tool for this as it forces you to convey a message in less than 140 characters. To enhance your brevity, imagine how you would turn any message you are writing into a tweet.
Be clear, get to the point immediately and ensure you cap off your communications with a short summary of what you have written.
Be clear with yourself throughout the process - from the start (or before) of writing until releasing it into the world. What is the exact purpose of what you are writing? Be excruciatingly clear with yourself. Is it to attract another ten clients? Is it to be recognised in your field of expertise? Is it to voice your opinion on a current issue? Write this purpose at the top of your page or on a sticky note where you can see it and keep referring back to it as you write. Clarity = better results.
If you incorporate all these tips into your business writing and copywriting, you'll soon see more success than you thought possible!