Perfecting Calls To Action
posted by Stuart Cumming ~ 04/03/14
Category: Marketing
The "Take 10" concept from Marketing Profs is a great way for time-poor marketers to cover a specific topic in enough detail to make a measurable difference. And so it proved when award-winning direct marketer Lois Brayfield of US agency Jack Schmid dissected one of the most fundamental of all marketing actions.

These days we bombard the customer with so many social communications often we and the customer lose sight of them actually doing anything.

The IBM Institute found that 60-65% of business leaders believe that consumers follow brands on social media sites because they want to be part of a community. Only 25-30% of consumers agree.

In "Crafting The Perfect Call To Action" Brayfield brings her wealth of experience to bear to remind us that our prime job is getting the customer to do something - whether that be hitting the buy button, picking up the phone, filling out the order form or driving to the store.
So let's have a quick look at the basics:

A traditional decision funnel starts out with the meaningful Call to Action which ultimately ends with closing the sale.

The question isn't what will get the customer to order as the first step. It's more about what will get the customer to first base and how will that lead them to an order?

It's a matter of building a hierarchy so that customers know what to do first - make it the simplest path possible to get the sale. Perhaps even eliminate some channels, such as social, which may be distracting and actually get in the way of the sale.

As a checklist, Brayfield suggests:

- Never assume ANYTHING

- Don't be boring

- Appeal to customers' needs

- Defer to customers

- Keep it simple

- Be authentic

- Identify the problem and promise a solution

- Personalise

Finally, never be arrogant. Just saying "Follow Us" or "Like Us" is very company-focused rather than customer-focused.

That's not to say that there isn't a place for social media but merely listing social media sites doesn't create any expectation in the mind of the customer. Try promising a benefit for the customer's investment of their time and effort.

Perhaps for a furnishings and accessories retailer, add the promise "Discover your design style! Find decorating tips or find help for your next project. Follow us!"

Continual testing and research is the key. Find out the most important thing for customers and work that into the call to action.

Brayfield recalls Tony Hsieh's (founder of online shoe retailer Zappos) "ICEE" strategy of engagement. Unless your call to action involves one of the following, the customer won't be motivated:

- Interesting

- Compelling

- Entertaining

- Educational

The importance of engagement is hard to over-estimate. In 2011, Forrester research found that "brands able to engage prospects at a meaningful level are 63% more likely to convert to a purchase activity later."

As with so many successful marketing strategies, good calls to action are simple. Even have a backup or "second CTA" so if the first threshold is too high there is a lower, more attainable option.

Make it easy for the customer to understand what you want them to do and make it easy for them to do so. Coordinate all efforts so that there is a consistency of approach and thought.

Her final message? Consumers are being bombarded with multiple messages and multiple tactics; to get customers to do something, keep it simple and give them something to care about.
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