5 Ways How to: Call to Action

5 Ways to Drive Home your Call to Action in your Direct Marketing

By Suzanne Doyle-Ingram

Effective direct marketing demands an effective Call to Action. People talk about a Call to Action all the time but do you really know what it is?  You must tell your prospects what you want them to do after they receive your direct marketing piece. Otherwise, you’re wasting money with printing, mailing, or emailing a direct marketing piece that your readers don’t know what to do with.

direct marketingHere’s an example: I took my kids to the fair this summer and while we were waiting in line for one of the rides, my daughter looked up to the sky and pointed, “Look mommy!” There was an airplane pulling a banner through the sky. Neat idea, right? Well, actually it could have been better.

It was for a roofing company. Which company, you ask? I don’t remember because there was nothing to remember about it. It simply had the name of the roofing company. There was no call to action, and not even a website. If I was the marketing person in charge of that direct marketing campaign, I would have added “Call Today to get 15% off in the next 12 months!” People might think, “Well I don’t need a new roof right now but I was thinking about getting one next summer…”

That’s the difference between having a Call to Action and not having one. Ask yourself, When your prospect visits your website or receives your direct marketing piece, what do you want them to do?

What Do You Want Them to Do After They Receive your Direct Marketing Piece?

This is your MWR – your Most Wanted Response. Whatever it is that you want them to do, you must tell them to do it.

Here are five ways to drive home your call to action in your direct marketing:

1. Be clear and concise You send out your direct marketing piece and then what happens? If you want your prospect to pick up the phone and call you, tell them to do it and make your phone number clear and BIG.

2. State it in several places You need to place your call to action in several different places on your direct marketing piece or your website. If you want them to call you, state your phone number in several places in case you have someone scanning the direct marketing piece instead of reading the entire thing. Don’t just put your phone number, actually write “Call Now.”

3. Use as few links as possible If your call to action is on your website instead of a direct marketing piece, make sure your MWR can be achieved by clicking on the fewest links as possible. Nothing turns people off faster than having to click all over the place to get what they want.

4. Offer an incentive If they are going to do something that you want them to do, what are you willing to do for them? On your direct marketing piece, you can add an incentive such as a discount if they call today, or give them a special report for free if they email today or sign up online.

5. Make sure it works! Whatever you decide your call to action is going to be, make sure all the parts of it are working. So if you put a phone number on your direct marketing piece, put your finger on the phone and actually call that number to see what happens. Do your prospects end up in voicemail hell that they can’t get out of? What happens when someone answers the phone? If your direct marketing piece directs them to sign up for a free report, what happens after they sign up? Go through the steps to see what happens.

Test everything!