Far too often, advertisers neglect to include a call to action in their advertisements. What is the purpose of an ad? To get customers or prospective customers to buy your product and/or service! Pure and simple.
Author Paul G. Thomas shared a powerful message about the importance of a call to action in his book, Psychofeedback. Here’s an example he shared: Hold a pen or pencil with two fingers and tell yourself “I can drop this pen” repeatedly until you drop the pen.
Why does the pen stay in your fingers?
The message, like the call to action in your advertising, needs to be more specific. Try this phrase, “Drop it!”
Another friend, author Bob Nicoll – http://www.remembertheice.com/, shares a story that is specific to advertising. A convenience store near where he lived had a sign that encouraged patrons to “Don’t forget the ice.” Bob asked the owner how his sales of ice were. “Abysmal” or something similar was the response. When you tell people not to forget something, what do they do? Forget.
Bob asked for a marker and some paper to make new signs. His signs read, “Remember the Ice!” when he gave them to the owner. When he returned, he asked the owner how his ice sales were, and the owner replied he was having a hard time keeping it in stock.
The lesson in these stories: 1) Tell your customers and prospects what you want them to do.
Be specific. Think about the end result you want from any advertising you spend hard-earned money to put out there. Why would you spend good money and forget to ask for the sale? There are three basic actions to call your audience to do:
- Come in;
- Visit your website; or
- Call you.
Many advertisers use the attraction of a sale to draw potential customers in to their store. Pick up a Sunday newspaper and browse through the ads to get a better idea of what I mean. “Special 2-day sale now going on” or “50-60% off all men’s shoes” or “This week’s specials” are fairly common lures to draw customers in, and the more successful ones are the ads that send a message to act now. “Buy a new Mercedes this Saturday and receive a FREE 60″ wide-screen TV,” is an example.
Ever wonder why retail stores include so many different products in their ad flyers or TV commercials? They want to attract you to come in but they’re unsure of what you really want or need or might be thinking about buying. That’s why they lump a bunch of products together to pull you in.
If you study those ads, though, the direct call to action may be too subliminal.
The call to action where an advertiser sends the consumer to the company’s website can be especially effective with the under 45 demographic. It can work for any age group, but can also be extremely narrowly targeted as well.
Success with this call to action requires that the website have the information the users are looking for in an easy-to-find location. Internet users have little patience. Remember instant gratification? If you’ve sent them to the web for a special offer, that coupon or banner must jump out at them once they land on the site you’ve given them. If not, you’ve probably lost them for good.
The intent is to get them to your site and pique their curiosity enough to get them to do some browsing on your site and learn more about your company and its products and services. The nice thing about this call to action as well is that it is easy to track the volume of traffic being generated by the site and correlate it to the placement of the message. Tracking is beneficial.
The third call to action is to generate a phone call. A professional hair salon or massage therapist, for example, may prefer that clients or potential customers call to schedule an appointment instead of walking in. Some professionals may encourage walk-in traffic, but doctors, dentists, optometrists and other medical professionals, as well as lawyers, accountants, and marketing consultants prefer a scheduled appointment to allocate sufficient time for the customer.
As you craft your advertising messages, think about the desired outcome. If you want the phone to ring, ask for it in a bold headline. If you want people checking out your website, use social media with links and make sure the address is easy to find once they’re online. If you want customers in the store, make sure they know how to find it and tell them to stop in.
Call Brand Irons at (920) 366-6334 for an appointment to clarify the call to action for your business and build your brand.