Follow Me, Like Me, Order Now … Blah, Blah, Blah

In this new marketing climate, customers are savvy. If your call-to-action isn’t bold and relevant customers will simply ignore you. Consider these six tips when creating a strong call-to-action that will resonate and encourage customers to take the next step of engagement.

1. Build a Hierarchy. Strategy can make or break your execution. Outline your goals and construct a plan that leads customers from A to B. Strategically decide what decision path best fits your customer and never create too many competing calls-to-action.

2. Do Your Homework. Before you begin messaging, spend time in the mind of your customers. Know what truly compels them. Find the “higher order benefit,” the emotional reason they do business with you. What are they seeking? Peace of mind? Confidence? A trusted partner? It’s not just your product or service they’re buying, but the emotional hook. Understanding customer triggers may require research. Once you know what motivates, your ability to craft a message allows you to reach them more effectively and understand not only what they want, but how to encourage action.

3. Make the Call-to-Action a Call-to-Arms. Don’t be passive. The key word is “action.” Ask for what you want, but more importantly, tell customers what’s in it for them. A timid “follow us” or “go online for more” isn’t enough. Be direct and specific. Consider this example if you sold home accessories: Instead of saying “Follow Us!” why not say “Discover your design style! Find decorating ideas, entertainment tips and help for you next project. Follow Us!”

4. Keep It Simple. Make what you’re asking customers to do easy. If the next step to get them engaged is too complicated or not readily apparent, you risk losing them before they can act. Asking customers to use a QR code is asking quite a bit. Don’t use them unless you are offering something truly meaningful on the back-end!

Don’t forget that simplicity applies not only to the messaging itself, but also to the destination. Wherever you are asking them to go, make sure the process is incredibly intuitive or you may as well kiss your effort goodbye

5. Follow Through. Once you’ve asked customers to do something, what’s next? How are you going to move the activity to a sale or another engagement opportunity? You must create a secondary call-to-action on the back-end. If you are asking them to use a QR code, include “buy now” or “call now” buttons to close the sale. If you have an invitation, allow them to RSVP. Do they need to call for more information? Once you’ve gotten them to act, what are you doing to keep the conversation going?

In conclusion: never assume consumers care about your brand. Give them something to care about! Advertising is a necessary evil—if you are going to crash the party, you better bring some Champagne!

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Lois Brayfield; Dean of Creative at Catalog University, CEO J.Schmid