call to action

How a Call to Action Started a Country

April 18th is Paul Revere day. In honor of Mr. Revere’s epic ride, I like to talk about calls to action. Working in the title industry, you may think having a good call to action is not a big deal, you’re wrong.

My post last week talked about connectors and Paul Revere. Being a connector is great, but Revere also knew his audience. He spent years developing relationships with them. He had built credibility with them and when the time was right, he knew what to say to elicit a specific action.

You’d think 239 years later, we would be better. Instead, it looks like we’ve regressed back to the Marketing Stone Age. How many times have you seen Facebook Ads, postcards, or tweets, without any buildup or establishing any credibility simply ask for the sale. There’s no set up, there’s no romance, it’s just give me your money. Has everyone forgotten how to write a call to action?

Staying with the theme of Paul Revere, if you view Revere’s ride as a marketing campaign it would look like this: He spent years developing his lead list (colonists willing to fight for freedom). He spent equally as much time building credibility with them. When he delivered his call to action, it was specific and very clear.

Marketers could certainly learn a lot from this example and what a good call to action can do. When done poorly, no time is spent building an audience, even less time building credibility, and then a very unclear call to action. We are then surprised to find our call to action didn’t generate any sales.

As Revere was riding from city to city, his message was simple “The British are coming”. That single message was able to generate a specific call to action.

Revere didn’t ride into town asking the colonists to: a) fight for freedom b) pack up your stuff and leave town or c) go back to bed and ignore this offer. There was no way the colonists could ignore his offer. They knew it was coming, they were ready for it, and when he delivered it… they acted.

Another aspect of his call to action was the sense of urgency with the offer. As he was riding through towns during the middle of the night he made it crystal clear that the colonists need to do something immediately.

His call to action did not imply they could do something tomorrow or next week. The call to action had incredible sense of urgency and he was able to motivate his target audience into acting as soon as he made the offer.

He wanted people to grab arms and fight for freedom. How many times have you seen unclear calls to action? In one part of the offer you may see click here, in the same ad it’s a different click here button asking to do something different. The message is too confusing and with confusion comes…nothing.

Your call to action needs to be very clear and lead them to do one simple thing. If you approach this from a systematic standpoint imagine a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt goes in one direction, down the sales funnel.

Your call to action should be a gate that your customer passes through, not a fork in the road. Anytime you’re writing sales copy, your message needs to be very clear and only ask your customer or potential customer to do one thing. Don’t ask your marketing piece to do too much. I have made this mistake myself and it ends up in the garbage.

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