Calling Your Customers to Action!

You have seven to nine seconds with an email to engage your recipient and get them to click-through to your website and take further action. Some marketers, and many of their clients, feel that the phrase, “Click Here!” is the best – and only – call to action you need. Unfortunately, they are wrong.

While seemingly powerful and fairly simple, this call to action or CTA doesn’t outline the one crucial thing for a reader. All recipients need that ever important question, WIIFM, or “what’s in it for me?” answered. The term, “Click Here!” also fails to tell the recipient what action you really expect them to take. Sure, click is a universal term but what actually happens when you click?

If your email statistics and click-through rates are lacking, take a long, hard look at your CTAs. A weak CTA diminishes your power to convert therefore; an email without a strong CTA is an email not worth sending.

Seth Godin, one of the leaders of permission marketing, refers to calls to action as bananas” and your email recipients are “the monkeys.” The objective is for the monkey to find the banana in less than three seconds (before they give up and leave). “Force yourself to design each and every page with one and only one primary objective. That’s the banana. Make it big. Make it blue (or red). Make it obvious.”

Utilizing this theory, how can you improve your calls to action?

  1. Show the Benefits. What does your recipient get if they click? Here is a good example of an email from Old Navy. The email is about polos and you know it from the image and the text. Great polos at a great price.
Old Navy Polos
  1. Utilize Active Words. Active words cause action. Include phrases like: call for xxx, buy now, register here, subscribe today, or donate now.
  1. Increase Urgency. Limited-time offers, especially with expiration dates, increase your customers’ sense of urgency.
  1. Size Matters … and, in this case, bigger may not always be better. Keep your call to action about 20 percent larger than your company logo so that it stands out, but still remains in proportion to your other design elements.
  1. Use Graphics. Graphic CTAs are more visually appealing and they stand out. You can also incorporate design elements, like contrasting colors and strong fonts, to convey urgency.
  1. Location, Location, Location! Do not hide your call to action in the midst of copy and photography. While there is no hard and fast rule for where to put a call to action for optimal results, it should be easy-to-find and noticeable at first glance. Remember, it should take no more than three seconds to find.
  1. One is not the Loneliest Number. Ideally, you should have one strong CTA per email so that recipients do not get confused and frustrated. If you feel more than one is necessary, do not exceed three actions per email or your customers will run screaming for the hills or at least end up with a headache.
Physical Store Call to Action

As with all of your marketing, keep your message and call to action clear and concise. When in doubt, test it out. Ask co-workers or friends to view your email and quickly identify what they think they should do as a result. As Seth Godin references, if they monkey can’t find the banana in three seconds, get back to the drawing board.

What suggestions do you have for good calls to action? Which ones have generated the best click-through rates for your business?

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