Thursday May 25, 2023
We've all been there: Late nights spent crafting what you believe to be the perfect advert, only to have it flop - sinking without a trace into the abyss of indifference. It's frustrating, isn't it?
One of the most common pitfalls I’ve noticed most entrepreneurs stumble into when creating their adverts is that they shout, "Hey, we're here!" but fail to provide a compelling reason for people to take action now.
If this resonates with you, you're in the right place.
The chances are your Call to Action (CTA) might need a bit of TLC.
Why? Let's dive in.
Why a Clear and Direct Call to Action (CTA) is Crucial to Advertising Success
A well-crafted CTA is the magic wand that transforms a passive ad reader into an active participant.
An effective CTA gently nudges the reader to take the next step in your buying process, which, spoiler alert, isn’t always 'buy now'. Unless you sell an impulse purchase item, asking someone to ‘Buy Now’ is a bit like asking someone to marry you after the first date.
More often than not, you’re going to have to spend a bit more time building a relationship, demonstrating your expertise, and developing trust.
Like that elusive naptime routine, building the relationship and trust that leads to a purchase can take a while (hmmm, I wonder why I’m writing this article?!) But we’re not getting into that today.
First, you need to get people into your ‘funnel’. And that’s where an effective Call To Action makes all the difference.
But before we get into the CTA itself …
Understanding ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) in Advertising
It may not seem this way, but what I’m asking you to do here may actually be quite a big shift in how you think about advertising. So I want to make sure you get it.
When I ask most people why they want to advertise with us, they reply (often with some confusion): “To get more customers”. Which is true.
They talk about their ‘Return on Investment’, which is smart – but (and this is a big ‘but’!) what they mean by that is, ‘How much money I will make in direct sales from this advert’.
But, as we’ve already established, when it comes to advertising, 'return on investment' isn’t just about immediate sales.
In fact, it’s rarely about direct sales (remember the marriage analogy?)
Yes, it’s true that you should get some direct sales from a well-crafted advert – but your real ROI will be far greater than that. It will be all the indirect sales you get further down the line.
But only if you get your Call To Action right.
So… if you’re not asking people to buy from you after reading your advert, then what ARE you asking them to do?
Focussing on CTAs that Collect Prospect Contact Details
For most businesses, a successful CTA will be one that allows you to collect the contact details of your prospects.
Why? Because then you get to stay in touch and follow up with them!
Add them to your email list. Give them a call. Drop them a message on social media.
Building trust over time, until they are ready to buy.
Effective CTAs and Why They Work
Ideally, you’re looking for a CTA that enables your prospects to take a small step towards your brand – something that gives them a compelling reason to hand over their contact details without committing much of their precious time and resources.
Here are some some examples:
i) Offer a Free Trial: The magic word here is 'free', but the real trick is the trial. It reassures parents that they can test the waters before committing. A risk-free way to find out if what you offer is right for them.
ii) Offer a ‘Tripwire’ Purchase: The only downside with a free Call-To-Action is that you may end up with more time-wasters. A ‘Tripwire Purchase’ is so-called, because you are asking people to pay for something – but the price should be in ‘no-brainer’ territory. So they still have very little to lose. You will get fewer leads from your advert than with a free offering, but the leads you do get will be much better quality.
iii) Offer a ‘Lead Magnet’: The classic example of a lead magnet would be a downloadable guide, which people receive when they join your email list. You provide valuable advice (and let’s be honest, we can all use more of that!), while in return, they offer their email. It’s a win-win.
But you may be able to get more creative and offer more than ‘just’ a guide. Here are some other ideas:
- Checklists: Create a checklist that helps your audience achieve a specific goal or complete a task. It could be a step-by-step checklist to follow for a particular process, a pre-launch checklist for a product or service, or a checklist for evaluating a problem or situation.
- Templates: Offer pre-designed templates that your audience can use to save time and effort.
- Worksheets/Workbooks: Develop interactive worksheets or workbooks that guide your audience through a specific exercise that demonstrates your expertise.
- Video Tutorials: Create a series of video tutorials that demonstrate a particular skill or teach a specific concept. This could be a screencast tutorial, a how-to video, or a mini online course delivered via email.
- Webinars/Online Workshops: Host a live or pre-recorded webinar or online workshop where you provide valuable insights, teach new techniques, or discuss important industry trends. This allows you to interact with your audience in real-time and answer their questions.
- Quizzes/Assessments: Offer interactive quizzes or assessments that provide personalised insights or recommendations based on your audience's responses. This can be a fun way to engage your audience and offer tailored advice or solutions.
- Resource Lists: Curate a list of valuable resources, tools, or recommended books in your industry. This saves your audience time by providing them with a comprehensive list of trusted resources they can explore.
- Infographics: Create visually appealing infographics that present information or data in a concise and easily digestible format. Infographics are highly shareable and can be a valuable resource for your audience.
- Free Demos or Consultations: Provide a free demo of your product or service. This allows potential customers to experience the value you offer first-hand and can lead to conversions.
Supercharging Your CTA with a Sense of Urgency
From “Maybe Later” to “Let's Do This Now!”
Finally, to really get people to take action, you’ll want to add in a sense of urgency.
Creating urgency is a crucial, and often-missed step, when people craft their Call To Action. Without it, you leave your prospect to say to themselves, “YES! This is great. I’ll do it later”.
And then they forget.
Urgency creates an emotional desire to do it now before it’s too late.
Key Techniques to Create Urgency:
1. Time-bound Offering: Nothing says 'do it now' quite like a deadline.
e.g. "Sign up for our pregnancy yoga class and get a free yoga mat, offer ends this Sunday!"
2. Scarcity: When things are perceived as being in high demand, and therefore may run out, people will move quickly.
e.g. "Only 5 spaces left in our music class! First come, first served."
Or, “Sign up to our ‘Early Bird List’ to hear when tickets are on sale”.
3. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): No one likes feeling left out of a good thing, so make sure they know how popular your product or service is!
e.g. "Join our community of over 5,000 parents who have taught their baby to sign through our courses!"
You can obviously combine all 3 of these techniques to really create the need to act now.
You Never Know Until You Try
Just as each child has their unique quirks, each business and its audience will respond differently to CTAs.
So you will need to test, refine, and then test again.
Remember, it took Edison 1,000 attempts to invent the light bulb, and look where we are now - making shadow puppets on the bedroom wall at 3 am! Because sleep is for the weak, right?
Need some help?
Remember, if you need help crafting your CTA, we’re here for you.
Please get in touch if you would like a free critique of your advert design!