Go ahead and step back however many years it may be back when you were dating. Let’s say you are around the person you are/were trying to get with, and they take the liberty of letting you know that they are single. Seems to be great news…or is it? What were they getting at? Is it really a call to action? All you have is just blank information, no real invitation or something that ends up with a result. If they were to say, “Hey, want to go out sometime?”, then you finally have a solid question that will end with a solid result. Of course in the dating world everyone seems to read into things a little farther than marketing material, but the principle is pretty much the same. The simple truth is that people are not likely to take action unless they are invited to do so.
One of the largest marketing blunders is when entrepreneurs open a business and send out massive promotional mail stating, “So and so store opening near you on such and such date.” It comes with pictures and the like, but no real call to action. So what is a call to action in marketing?
Kirsten Daukas was consulting with a client who wasn’t too excited about a marketing postcard he was working on. This promotion included a discount that he felt was “cheapening” his services. While she could see where he was coming from, Kirsten disagreed on the promotion “cheapening” his services and discussed how he needs that as a call to action. Otherwise how else can he measure the success of this marketing campaign to justify the cost? By definition in the marketing world, a call to action “is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb such as ‘call now’, ‘find out more’, or ‘visit a store today’”.
Why are calls to action so important? Let’s go ahead and look at your pool of potential customers. And by the way, these principles hold true for whatever service or business you may be a part of. Now, if you were to look at this “potential customer pool” as a pie chart, you’d see two small slivers, and one giant chunk. One of the small slivers is the perfect customer. They’re the ones that have looked forward to your business since day one. They showed up on opening day; bring family whenever they come to town. You are their specialist in whatever field you work in, and they are thrilled to do business with you. The other small sliver is the little group of people that won’t do business with you, no matter what you do. The rest of the pool, which is normally about 95% of your potential customers, are there sitting on the fence just waiting for you to convince them to do business with you.
If you really believe in what you are selling, then all you need to do is invite. You don’t need to invite them outright to buy the item, but keep sending those call to actions, and the more actions they make, the better chance you have at closing a deal. Before you know it your invitation through a ‘Learn More’ link will lead them to answer your call to download more information. Then they will Subscribe or decide if it’s time to try the Free Trial. Then they decide to ‘Add Item To Cart’, which leads to the ‘Buy It Now’. No matter how much marketing material you may pump out there, or how great your pictures and prices are, people will most likely not do something unless they are invited to do so.