Tips on Writing a Great Call to Action

Updated: June 01, 2010

What is a Call to Action?

A Call to Action is what you want your readers to do after they have finished reading your content. It can be a link at the bottom of your content upon which you want them to click to lead them back to your website. It can be a link asking them to connect with you on one of your social media channels. It can be a request asking them to subscribe to your newsletter. This is usually accompanied by a free offer, for example, a free Ebook or White Paper, to entice the reader to carry out the call to action.

As it is, some of your business's website readers will read your content and that will be the end of it. However, others will read on and want to either leave comments or communicate with you privately. Many of your readers will also want to share your content with other people and a Call to Action is very important so that more and more people will want to visit your website, which, in turn, will hopefully generate more business.

It is important for you to make it as easy as possible for your readers to interact with you. If you want your readers to subscribe to your business's website or newsletter, ask them to do so and show them how. If you are selling a product and/or service, give them a simple way to do that. If you have some content that you want your readers to vote on or rate, request that they do so.

Why is a Call to Action important?

Motivating your readers: Many people are reactive rather than proactive. They will respond to your Call to Action only if you tell them to click on the link or tell them to respond to another one of your requests. Of course, this should have an incentive with it. If you encourage them to leave a comment at the end of your article and express their opinion, they will do it.

Action propagates more action: When your readers see that other people are responding (or taking action) to your content and to the discussions that follow the content, they will be more inclined to respond also. They will see that it is simple and fun to start or jump into an already-existing discussion.

The following are some tips for writing a stronger and more effective call to action.

  • Use a variety of Calls to Action: Sometimes, it is advisable to use different Calls to Action in different articles, depending on the context of your article and what you decide you want your readers to do in response to your article. As you try different types of Calls to Action, you will figure out quickly which ones work best for you. It is important to continually try to improve what you have. Remember to always have the marketing principle WIIFM (What's in it for me?) in mind when it comes to satisfying the needs of your readers. Some examples of effective Calls to Action are
    • Please visit our Facebook Fan page to learn about what happens behind the scenes.
    • Join LinkedIn group "X" to be able to interact with other cutting-edge, subject matter experts in your niche.
    • Follow us on Twitter to be the first to take advantage of our new promotions.
  • Write an obtainable and easy Call to Action: You can run a contest where you offer great prizes and have a high-quality audience that you have selected carefully. Your contest rules are 1. The contestant should write a blog article that links back to their website. 2. The contestant should generate (or have generated by others) 10 comments on their article. 3. The contestant should get their article retweeted 3 times. This is a good example of a contest where the rules are difficult to follow and it is not fun to play. If you run a contest like that, you probably won't get a large number of participants. If your contest rules are simple and easy to follow, you will have a much better chance of getting people to join in.
  • Write an obvious Call to Action: Explain clearly what you want the reader to do. After sharing valuable content with your readers, your ROI (return on investment), if you will, will be their continued and loyal connection to you and your business. They will know to connect with you from what you say in your Call to Action.
  • Don't offer too many Calls to Action in one article: If you offer too many Calls to Action in the same article, you will confuse your readers. For the best results, you should keep everything simple and to the point.
  • KISS: You should use the KISS (keep it short and simple) principle when it comes to writing Calls to Action. Simplicity is the most effective approach. With regard to your goods and/or services, you should show what you are offering, list the price(s), state which problem it will solve for your customers and your customers' needs and then strongly encourage that they do business with you through a strong Call to Action.
  • Urgency: Your Call to Action should communicate a sense of urgency. When your readers read your Call to Action, they should be left with no doubt about what you want them to do right now. For that reason, "Click Here" is not a strong Call to Action because it gives them the option to come back later, if ever. "Buy Now" or "Add to Cart" are stronger and will get you more immediate action
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