That’s it. The secret to writing a call to action (CTA) is a sense of urgency. You should have already told the reader why they want what you’re offering; your call to action is the chance to tell them how to do it, and get them to do it now.
Why is the Call to Action So Important?
If your customers don’t act now, then they might forget why you’re so great. Leave them to remind themselves, and you could lose a sale. So you want them to do it now, and the call to action is the time to tell them.
How to Add Urgency to your Call to Action
- Cut the fluff. No room for pleasantries here. Cut out all words that you don’t need. The more the reader has to read, the less time you have before they switch off.
- Use urgent words like ‘now’, ‘today’ and ‘free’. Again, don’t try to be pleasant. Literally tell your readers what to do and they will react.
- Be super-concise: keep it to five words maximum. The shorter the better.
- Use short words. Churchill once said: “Little words move men”. Shorter words are easier to read (or scan) on screen. Write a call to action using small words and they will take less brain power to process.
- Include a timeframe. Is your offer only open for a limited time? Make this clear, either on or near your call to action.
- Use verbs (active words). Literally tell your readers what to do. Do you want them to try, buy, sign-up, download or donate?
- Stay consistent. Use the same words on your call to action as you have in the destination page. For example, if you say ‘Sign up to our newsletter’ in your call to action, don’t then call it a subscription in the next page. You may know it’s the same thing but your reader doesn’t, so just call it one or the other the whole way through.
- Choose relevant words. Does your call to action accurately describe where you are taking the reader? For example, if you say ‘download’, are you taking the user directly to a download page? If you say ‘sign-up’ or ‘join us’ are you directing them straight to the registration page, or are you sending them to an information page? If it’s the latter, then ‘Find out more’ would be a better option.
Why Does this Strategy Work?
Your readers see or listen to hundreds of adverts a day on the television, online, radio or in print-based media. Most of these adverts rely on the customer to do most of the legwork, by visiting a land-based store, browsing a website or calling. Online copywriting is unique in that we can get customers to react immediately, without them even moving from their computer screens.
Writing clear and urgent calls to action makes use of the immediate nature of the web. It tells your reader what to do, when to do it and takes them straight to the information they need. They really can act right now, and a great call to action will get them to do it.