Call to Action: 5 Techniques to Turn Contacts into Commerce – by Dana Sparks
Have you heard the phrase, “Call to action?” Is there a call to action in all of your marketing materials? How much business are you missing by not including some sort of request in everything you have online and in print?
A “Call to Action” is a response you want to solicit from a customer. That response could be a phone call, an email, attendance at a seminar, etc. Without this call to action, your marketing efforts will not translate into new business. It’s vital, therefore, to create an effective call to action. The action you wish someone to take is vital to your business planning as well because it will focus your efforts and give you a means to measure the effectiveness of your various marketing efforts. Below are 5 Techniques for Effective Calls to Action.
1. Set the Scene – Before you ask your public to do something, you must set the stage and create a scenario with which they can identify. You want to describe a situation that your client is in and show a potential problem with where they are now. Then in this same scene, you describe how they will benefit from taking your action. The public must recognize that they have a need which you can fulfill. For example, “think foreclosure is your only option?” or “have a growing family and need a larger house within your budget?”
2. Give an Incentive – Sometimes you have to “sweeten the pot” a little bit to entice someone to act. You have seen many adds that will offer a discount if you act within a limited amount of time, offer two for the price of one for a limited time, etc. Specific to real estate, perhaps you could offer a “free list if foreclosure properties,” or a “no obligation market analysis” if they respond to your call to action. “See More” is a great one to use. If you have a potential customer on your website and they want to view properties, allow them to look at two without requiring a registration and then when they click on the third property, have your registration page pop up. Or allow them to look at one photo of any listing but to view more than one photo per listing, they must “Sign Up to See More!”
3. Use active language – It is important to make your call to action obvious with your language. Use words such as CALL, BUY, REGISTER, ATTEND, TEXT … words that encourage the public to take some sort of action. Create urgency by limiting the time of your offer linguistically… “time-limited offer” “first 50 to subscribe” “register early for free gift”
4. Placement in Your Marketing – You want your call to action to stand out on the page whether that page be in print or online. Use a bigger font, a different color, and spaces before and after the words that describe what you want your customer to do. Additionally, you want to have your call to action on all places of your marketing pieces. This is especially important for websites. If you want the public to register with their email address, put a hyperlink to the registration page on every page of your site and in the signature of your emails.
5. Follow through when they act – There is no quicker way to lose potential customers than by not following through on what you say you are going to do. If you promise a free list when they give you an email address, make sure to provide that list. Also, be prompt when you receive that registration, phone call, text, etc. If your call to action is a phone call, then you had best answer your phone when it rings! It is a good idea to answer the call to action immediately including an auto-response email such as “Thank you for……” How many times have you called in to a customer service representative of a service provider and they put you on hold. Consider that at least they typically have music playing or a recorded voice that says “someone will be with you shortly.” Without these feedback, you wonder if anyone is there or if they hung up on you! The same is true of your customer, if you do not immediately answer their action with a response, they will wonder if you are still in business!
Samples: “Free download of Market Statistics” “Search Properties for sale” “Search Entire MLS” “Click to find Luxury Foreclosures” “Order Now” “View Listings” “Search Now” “Find Out More” “See More” “Sign Up” “Attend Seminar” “Follow me on Twitter” “Like me on Facebook”
Conclusion: An effective call to action will keep that “pipeline” of potential customers full and will also create a measurable return on your investment. If you have on a direct mail piece “text ‘Realty’ to 770-919-8825” and you don’t get any texts, then stop wasting money on those postcards! If however, you have a website with the call to action being, “enter your email address to find out what your house is worth in today’s market” and you get a ton of emails, then you should definitely do more online marketing (& prepare a bunch of CMA’s!)
So…. READ THIS NEWSLETTER every week and you will improve your business! 😉