Killer call to action: common traps to avoid

August 15, 2012

A ‘call to action’ is the most effective tactic to convert random traffic into loyal readers and paying customers. It’s the difference between a highly profitable website and a failed marketing initiative. Yet, it’s also very easy to screw it up!

Here are some common mistakes to avoid…

1. Not having a call to action – Give your readers an opportunity to sign up, subscribe or whatever else you want them to do
2. Below the Fold – You shouldn’t have to scroll to find the call to action. Keep it up top!
3. Not authoritative – Speak with confidence and authority, telling them exactly what to do
4. Not specific –Your readers have busy lives; taking action should be a ‘no-brainer’. Spell things out!
5. Too much self-proclaimed hype – Unless a recognised third party puffs you up, leave it out
6. Multiple calls to action – Pick one thing you want readers to do, and design around that
7. Puny call to action – Make it big enough so people can’t miss it
8. No social proof – Lend credibility by proving that other people have taken the action too
9. No benefit to signing up – Highlight exactly what your readers will get if they take action
10. Too risky – Mention it’s free if it is, or if there’s a financial transaction involved, offer a free trial or money-back guarantee to remove the risk and increase action
11. No urgency – Offer it for a limited time, or motivate readers with the fear of missing out
12. Colours blend in – Help them find your call to action easily with colours that jump out
13. No credibility – Earn this, through associations and logo use etc – to entice action
14. Loaded with jargon – Write in words your readers actually use
15. Wrong offer – Offer something your readers really want
16. Undefined sales funnel – Understand how this works… Most likely you’ll be converting readers into subscribers and then subscribers into customers, instead of jumping right in
17. No empathy – Understand what keeps your readers up at night and what they deeply desire? Dig deep and find ways to make their dreams come true
18. No tangible benefit – Make the benefits tangible and your readers’ vivid imaginations will go wild. Just make sure the claim is honest
19. No A/B testing – Test each aspect of your call to action (headline, colour, buttons, location etc) and learn about what gets more people to take action
20. Never studied copywriting – Engage an expert, or develop your skills with the wealth of online and free resources

The fact is, every time your call to action is ignored, you’ve lost a sales lead and you may never get that lead back. A killer call to action makes all the difference!