If you want someone to buy a product, schedule a service, or share an idea you need a “call to action”. In marketing, a “call to action” is the action you are asking someone to take. The problem is that not everyone has a “call to action” that converts and some are outright terrible.

Think about newsletters. We all get newsletters but most have poor calls to action. You and I can both imagine a few newsletters that fit that bill.

It is typical for a newsletter to have a chunk of copy you have no interest in reading. At the bottom of that newsletter, it will have a link saying “Learn More”.

To find out what the “Learn More” link is referring too, you need to read the copy you just skipped because you DID NOT want to read it.

“Learn More” is not a great call to action. In fact, it is almost the worst. Along with “Click Here”, “Read On”, and “Find Out” you can be sure that the conversion rate will be low for any call to action that needs its own explanation.

What you need is a call to action that works in your newsletter, website, Facebook post, or Instagram share. If you want a call to action that converts people to customers you need to slow down, empathize, and engage.

Slow down.

Slowing down is hard. We are all busy and need to get our tasks done. But, that is the trick. Our task is not to post on Facebook or send out that newsletter. Our task is to convert and bring value. If we can not bring value to people they will never be customers.

If you are focused on more channels (Newsletters, YouTube, Facebook…) than you can handle you ran the chance of diminishing your value. Running yourself thin is the best way to evaporate your conversions.

Empathize.

When you are looking to take instead of help, you can not create a great call to action. A great call to action comes out of putting others needs first, not yours. Empathizing is huge because it means we are putting the relationship first. At Robojuice we will say it again and again, “relationships come first”. You need to ask questions like:

  1. What are people trying to do?
  2. What is the perspective of the person I want to reach?

By empathizing you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes. When you are in their shoes you will be in the frame of mind to create a great call to action.

When I was thinking about what to write for this blog I asked myself, “What would help our current clients grow the most?”. I was no thinking, “How can I write to get new customers”.

Engage

I need to remind you because it is very tempting for me too. I can not stress it enough. If you do not slow down and empathize no number of tips and tricks are going to turn out a call to action that converts. Once you have slowed down enough to empathize you will be in the right frame of mind and have the greatest potential to make a great call to action.

Now that is exciting!

To help create an engaging, powerful, converting call to action I have compiled the three most important tools to help you.

1. Be clear.

If you confuse someone you have lost. Your call to action needs to be clear. If people do not know what you are asking them to do and do not understand your product they will not convert.

This is not to say everyone needs to understand your product. Everyone is not your market. You just need to be 100% sure you are 100% clear to the people you want to help.

For example, at Robojuice we want to help companies who understand the significance of the web but do not know how best to grow their business online.

Not everyone understands the significance of the web. And, that is ok. Everyone is not our market and everyone is not your market.

But, you must be clear to your market. While you know your product better than anyone your prospects do not. You need to simplify what you offer in the plainest terms possible. Only then can someone know what you are asking them to do in your call to action.

Being clear is an art and requires a lot of thought. If you struggle with creating a clear message Donal Miller has some great material on the subject and Lee LeFever has a great book called The Art of Explanation both will help you start thinking more clearly about being clear.

2. Save time.

Time is our most limited resource and no one knows how much time they have. When you neglect the importance of time and waste someone’s you break trust. And, Trust is money.

To save time and show respect, get to the point. Your call to action needs to be precise and not waste anyone’s time. A good call to action values a person’s time.

  • On a website for a plumber, a good call to action might only be a short headline, phone number to call, and a button that says “I have an Emergency”.
  • In a newsletter about an event, a good call to action might be two short paragraphs, an image, and a button that says “Register For or Explore the Event”

The point here is that while it is good to clear it is also critical to be concise.

The key here is that your entry points and pathways can be walked through quickly. The destination can be more detailed but do not hang potential customers up by saying more than you need to up front.

3. Understand emotion.

Understanding the emotional state of a person requires the most empathy. Some people are in a position of fear and need help. Some people are happy and relaxed. Other are sad.

In our example of the plumber from before the call to action took into account the emotion of the person.

What is the person feeling when water shooting all over their home? Anger, fear, helplessness? What if you are in that position?

Just for fun lets elaborate on the plumber example. What would the right photo and copy be if a person is helpless? Let’s ask some empathetic questions to pick the right photo and copy:

  1. Do I want to boost my fear or eliminate it?
  2. Do I want to know how quickly help will come?
  3. Do I want to talk to a computer or a person?

If we have empathy we know the right answers:

  1. I want to eliminate fear so a photo needs to show me everything will be ok. A photo of resolution is what I need.
  2. I want the plumber here yesterday. Copy telling me you can be at my home in a specific number minutes makes me feel great.
  3. I want to talk to a person so I need a phone number, not a contact form.

To take thing further maybe you have a button that says “I have an Emergency” and when clicked it asks for a zip code and address. On completing the short form you get the exact amount of time needed to reach you and who the specific plumber is that will arrive.

To have a great call to action you need to understand the emotion of the person and empathize more than ever. The key to empathy is making the customer the hero. If you position yourself as the hero of the story your call to action will lack empathy and will not connect emotionally with the customer.

Get Started

Now that you understand the important pieces of making a call to action that converts think about how you can improve the material you already have in place. You can take these ideas to improve your conversions right now.