Tips for your call to action (CTA)

By Scott Gebler, Marketing Manager

23480274281_b98af48783_zThe call to action (or “CTA”) might be the most important element of any marketing communication piece – and it doesn’t always get the attention and consideration it deserves.

Here are some tips to make sure your marketing pieces are getting the most out of their calls to action:

Determine what you’re really asking for.

This might sound simple, but there can often be a lot more to it than just asking your audience to buy, buy, buy.

The unique sales cycle of your product or service (along with the position of your audience within that sales cycle) is key in this regard. Lower costs and shorter sales cycles can be more direct in their calls to action – whereas big-ticket items with drawn-out sales cycles can’t.

In other words, if you’re trying to sell a $10,000 piece of equipment, it’s a pretty safe to say that it won’t happen with a “Buy Now!” button on an email. Your ultimate goal is still (obviously) to get them to buy – But the real question you need to ask yourself is what’s the goal of this communication if its not directly asking for the purchase?

Do you want them to visit your website for more info? Do you need them to get in touch with a sales rep? Is the marketing more about brand/authority building?

It can actually be counterproductive to hit your audience with extensive content and a drawn-out pitch up front (losing their interest in the process) when your real goal might be getting them to a landing page to capture their contact info, etc.

Benefits, not features.

It’s marketing 101 – “Sell the sizzle, not the steak!” – but try to work it into your call to action if possible. This might mean something as simple as turning a “Buy now” button into “Get results.” Anything that can make the message more about your audience’s benefits and less about your company/product/service’s features is helpful.

Make the call.

Once you’ve determined what you want your audience to do how to ask for it, don’t over-think it: Ask them in clear, concise language: Learn more. Improve (X). Act now! Download whitepaper. Call us. Get started. 1-Click registration. 30-Day free trial.

In print, make your call-to-action high-contrast, or use one of your secondary colors to make it pop. The same applies to web and email marketing – but especially so on buttons. Modern digital audiences are trained to recognize and respond to buttons directly adjacent to the primary content.

Call again.

There’s a line that you don’t want to cross and become too overt, but having multiple, varied calls-to-action is always good.  In an email, for example, this could mean combining button ads, text links and linked images.  Some of your audience might respond better to link in a well-written line of text, while others are drawn to the brightly-colored button.


Photo credit: Joe The Goat Farmer:

As the company’s marketing manager, Scott Gebler is responsible for advancing all of North Coast Media’s brands and their related products to both advertisers and end audiences. He has more than 10 years of experience in Cleveland-area corporate marketing departments and advertising agencies and is a 2004 graduate of Ohio University.