When I first started my copywriting training one of the biggest challenges I faced was trying to understanding what’s known as ‘The call to action’
A call to action is part of your written text which prompts your reader to take some form of action.
That action could be for your reader to subscribe to your blog/newsletter, download an e-book, make a telephone call, sign up for a 30 day free trial, follow you on Twitter! I’m sure you get the message.
You want to compel your reader to do something after they’ve finished reading your content. Strong call to actions will convert visitors to your website into potential leads, which can then lead to greater sales and business opportunities.
Before I started my training, all of this was totally new to me. Writing seemed more about providing information, telling a story; it was never about producing content with the aim of forcing people to take action.
It seems so obvious to me now but the call to action is one of the most important principles of copywriting.
It’s a real skill being able to produce content that forces your reader into action, but it’s something that becomes a lot easier once you understand the principles behind a good call to action.
You should ask yourself these three questions before you start writing.
- Firstly, who’s your audience?
- What’s the purpose of your content?
- What do you want the reader to do?
That’s your starting point. Once you’ve got those three questions out of the way, you can begin focussing on creating your call to action.
Good call to actions should include some of the following:
Make your call to action effective
Make sure your call to action is clear and stands out for your reader.
Your reader needs to know immediately what’s in it for them. What are they going to gain from your call to action. For example – is there a special offer or discount available for a limited period, which your reader can take advantage of?
Can you offer your reader something that’s going to improve their skills or knowledge in an a particular area. Always have in mind the benefits you are trying to convey to your reader.
Create urgency and desire
It’s good to create doubt in the readers mind that if they don’t act now, they could be missing out on something.
Why do they need to take action now? Why not later? You need to answer these questions for your reader, and by doing so give them greater reason to take action.
Your call to action should be tempting
You want to be creating interesting and compelling content that tells your reader exactly why they should be spending time reading your website.
Remember readers are more fickle on the internet, and it only takes a second to click away onto another site. Give them a reason to stick around.
Reasons to return
Give your reader a reason to keep coming back to your website.
You could do this by promising exciting new content in your next blog post. You could be running an online competition starting next week. You might be producing a series of articles that will help improve or develop a skill or discipline relevant to your industry which your reader really needs to know about.
Engage your audience
Think of ways of engaging your reader rather than just talking directly at them. How can you get them to participate?
Ask them to leave comments, get a discussion going, vote in an online poll.
Ask your reader to share your content – it could be through a twitter re-tweet or a ‘like’ on Facebook.
Readers want to be part of the discussion, they want to contribute to the content that’s being created. Look at giving your audience the chance to do this.
There’s some of the key points I think are crucial when creating your call to action. In saying that, you might not agree, or you may think I’ve missed some points out.
If you think that, then great. My call to action is that you should leave a comment and tell me what call to actions work for you and why.
Come on – I want to hear from you!