how to make an effective call to action

Time to read: 3 minutes. Here is a proven way to make an effective call to action on your blog, LinkedIn or elsewhere. If you need a business lead or a sales transaction you can get it … AND increase conversion. Follow these success principles: 1) Make a call to action exactly when the prospect feels an urge to act. (I’ll give you a Cheat Sheet so you can do it) 2) Make calls to action by affirming the customers’ right to decline it. Believe it or not, this can jack-up “take rate” conversion. Here is how to make an effective call to action.

Create confidence that piques curiosity

Your call to action will not work UNLESS you’ve piqued the reader’s curiosity within your blog. Period.

We cannot talk about placement of your call to action until we cover how to get readers hungry for one. It’s more effective to pique a reader’s curiosity—so they act on your offer.

Ultimately, you need to persuade readers to give up names and/or email addresses. Readers are on their guard. They don’t want to surrender themselves to you.

So you must give them something they want, right? Wrong. You’ve got to get them confident in themselves FIRST.

This is the part most marketers miss. 

Making your call-to-action too early doesn’t give prospects the chance to think, “hmmm… this guy/gal is smart. I’m going to try these tips. I bet I can do that too!”

You’ve got to get them confident in themselves. THAT is your goal, first.

When readers get confident in themselves your words become MORE persuasive—because you’ve given them CONFIDENCE.

If your words give clear “next steps” that sound (and are) do-able customers get confident in themselves, and you. This creates hunger for MORE. More confidence. And the only place to get that confidence?

Your offer. (what you’ll exchange for a business lead)

Wondering how to make an effective call to action? Build hunger for more of what you’ve got. This way your suggestion to act is welcomed!

If your post doesn’t do this you’ll fail

Everything you write must show customers exactly how to achieve a goal, solve a problem or avoid a risk. Step-by-step, show them how to increase their success rate.

Your blog headline and first paragraph must:

  • grab attention with a “big promise” (to fix something or guide toward a goal)
  • hold attention by delivering on the promise FAST …
  • let the reader scan the post (commit to reading!)

For more tips on how to do this consider taking this free video training course.

Can you solve a problem? Can you give buyers a life-altering experience or bring them closer to reaching a goal? Can you steer them clear of a risk they’re taking but don’t even know about? Don’t think in terms of what you’re selling—write about whatever your prospects need help with. Ok. Now we can talk about how to make an effective call to action, very specifically.

Placing a call to action made easy

Getting responded to is easy. Just create a craving for more of something you know customers are already needing help with.

WARNING: If you don’t follow the above tips I cannot guarantee the following will work for you. Otherwise, here is a practical way to know WHEN to make the call to action and how to get better conversion.

How to create anticipation & desire for your offer

Prospects will be nearly hoping for your call to action IF you gave advice, tips and guidance in ways that created more questions in their minds.

Here is a Cheat Sheet on creating desire for “more of you”:

  1. Get right to-the-point when writing. Don’t make readers wait for the solution, short-cut or amazing insight. Hit ‘em with it.
  2. BUT, when it comes to all the juicy details of your remedy or “better way” take it slow. Slow enough to encourage more questions. In doing so …
  3. be specific. Be action-oriented. But avoid being so complete that readers become totally satisfied with your words.

Give away enough “how to” knowledge to create hunger for a short-cut—a faster, easier way for prospects to get ALL the details, skills, knowledge, tips or short-cuts in one fell swoop (your offer).

Where (exactly) to put that call to action!

As you continue to reveal more-and-more in your blog post, video or other content, there will be a point where it feels natural to offer prospects a short-cut. In addition to having built hunger for of you, it will just feel natural to you.

This is where you insert a Web link to a focused opt-in lead form page on your Web site. You can do it via a text link and/or a graphical call-to-action. For examples, check out nearly every one of the blog posts on my site.

WARNING: Don’t be crass but DO be direct. You’ve worked hard to get here. All that is needed is a clear call-to-action that is:

  • casual in tone (are not pushy) and suggestive (“this might help you if you are serious about _____”)
  • in context with how the discussion is flowing
  • promises a short-cut: free, step-by-step instructions, a way to learn a new skill, avoid a risk, make a decision etc.

Increase conversion by asking for “the no”

You can get more response by affirming prospects’ right to say “no thanks” to your offer. Seriously. You may not always practice this but occasionally try it. Make calls to action that affirm your customers ability to decline your offer.

What, Jeff? Say what? I thought we were talking about how to make an effective call to action!

Hear me out. Present it confidently. Let prospects know you’re making it because it will help them … BUT … be sure to reaffirm your prospects’ freedom to choose.

Doing this indirectly says to them: “I am not threatening your right to say no. You have free choice.”

Get more response (and better conversion to lead) by affirming prospects’ right to say ‘no thanks’. It takes ALL the pressure off prospects and increases “take rate.”

That’s how to make an effective call to action. It’s all about how you set it up. That helps dictate when to do it!

Photo credit: Tax Credits.

Jeff is the authority on starting conversations with busy people. As founder of Communications Edge Inc. he teaches a proven, effective technique to spark buyers curiosity in sales outreach & marketing messages. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe. Jeff served as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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