When it comes to creating a marketing piece, whether for print or online, there are a few things that must be included. Most people are pretty good about including a logo and business name. Some remember to add a website, email, or phone number. But even with the how to contact you, many business professionals forget the why. You have to provide the way as a well as a reason to take that next step. If you’re not including a clear CTA in marketing materials, you are likely missing a number of opportunities.
But First, What Is a CTA?
Ah, acronyms. They’re great when you know what the person is talking about, but when you don’t, you’re just lost. And no one wants to ask. Let’s just nip it in the bud then, shall we?
Your CTA is your call to action.
A call to action, or CTA as we in the know call it, is what you want a prospect to do after interacting with your marketing collateral. Standard CTAs include visiting a website, calling for an appointment, scheduling a consultation, or making a purchase.
Why You Need a CTA in Marketing
It’s great to watch a commercial or read an ad that sparks an interest in you. Advertising agencies the world over strive to create campaigns that move target markets to an emotion, whether that is anger, fear, joy, or sadness. Emotional marketing is everything.
But what if you can’t remember what the ad was selling after you’ve seen it? How effective is that?
Too often, marketers and advertisers create a catchy brochure, a winning slogan, or a beautiful website, yet their audience thinks, “Oh, that’s nice,” and then goes on their way.
At that point, you’ve just wasted a lot of money for no return.
Your CTA moves the conversation forward to the next steps. Sure, you can do something that’s catchy and memorable, but if no one picks up the phone, you’ve lost. You win when you get them to remember the ad or marketing piece AND call you to schedule an appointment or click on the site to buy your product.
3 Rules for Including Your CTA in Marketing
You had to know there would be some guidelines about using a CTA in marketing, right? After all, we can’t have you out there being all willy-nilly with your CTAs! The more effective you are in using them, the bigger your returns will be.
1. Be Super Clear on What You Want People to Do
As you’re in the process of developing your next marketing piece, consider your CTA at the beginning of the project. How does this piece fit into your overall marketing strategy? What do you want prospects to do next?
Most of the time, the next step is not just to buy. For many businesses, a consultation or qualification call is where prospects should start. You need to know what that CTA is that makes the most sense. You can only push people to the next level when you’re clear how it will play out once they take that action.
2. Limit Your CTA to 1 (Maybe 2)
Too often, businesses provide a number of next steps in a first-touch marketing piece. Call us, visit our website, schedule an appointment…the list can go on. In reality, you only want people to do one thing when they interact with this piece. Granted, there are plenty of things they can do, and you certainly can and should include a phone number and email address or website, but if the next step in your flow is that they click on one button, what would it be?
That’s your CTA in marketing this thing. Just one.
Newsletters are notorious for multiples CTAs. Read this, click here, call us. What’s a reader to do? Again, provide the website and phone number, but push them to do just one thing.
Each page on your website could potentially have a different CTA. Just don’t lump them all on the front page.
You can use 2 CTAs when you’re offering alternatives. Some people will call; some people will email. Provide both: “Call or email us to get started!”
3. Tell Your Audience What to Do
This is a common mistake made by many companies. They include ways to reach out and move to the next step, but they don’t actually provide any direction. There’s a world of difference between pointing out you have a phone number and actually telling people to “call now.”
The best stance is to assume that your audience has no clue. They don’t know about you, and they certainly don’t know what you want them to do. Spell it out for them. Some good phrases to get prospects into action include:
- Book now
- Call now
- Schedule your appointment
- Call for a free estimate
- Contact us to get started
- Visit our website to learn more
There are probably others you can think of. Just be clear about what you want them to do.
Your CTA Matters; Use It Wisely
No matter where you are putting your next ad or marketing piece, be sure you have a clear CTA included. The worst thing is when a company chooses to run an ad and doesn’t have a direction or their strong CTA in marketing. Essentially, they’ve just wasted money.
Remember that opportunity comes to those who ask for it, not those who wait and hope.
Ink & Quill Communications provides outsourced marketing solutions for clients in Phoenix and around the globe. Questions about how we can help your business succeed? Schedule a complimentary call and see how 10 minutes can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Prefer to watch? Check out the related episode of The Smart Minute.