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The power of the call-to-action: How to give your prospects turn-by-turn directions

Remember the days of taking road trips with actual maps? I’ll never forget making the trip back to college from Maine to Pennsylvania with my sister with no cell phones and nothing but a stack of AAA TripTiks in the glove box to get us there. Thankfully she had a great sense of direction and the patience to actually read the maps. Me, on the other hand…I’m not very patient. And when it comes to getting where we need to go, most of us appreciate good directions and the most direct route from point A to point B.

That’s exactly why calls-to-action are so important when it comes to marketing your services. Your prospects are inundated with information. They spend less time reading, have a shorter attention span and they’re extremely busy. Whether it’s an email, a phone call, a blog post or a page of web content, a call-to-action tells your listener what they should do next. And when you’re using calls-to-action effectively, your rates of “conversion” increase. “Converting” is marketing-speak for when your targets are doing what you want them to do.

A few ways to use calls-to-action to increase engagement:

  1. Use CTAs on your website: Calls-to-action (CTAs) is a term widely used in Internet marketing. You should have a CTA on every page of your website. It depends upon the message and your target audience, but professional services firms can use graphics or text as a CTA. “Learn more about our work with non-profits”…“Start building your marketing plan now”….“Join our email list” or “Download this free Ebook” – those types of CTAs tell the web visitor what to do next. By placing them in strategic locations, you’re giving readers shortcuts and directions. And when they convert, you’re improving lead generation by having the opportunity to engage, either by giving them more information or capturing their contact information with the promise of following up via email, phone, etc.

  2. Use CTAs in print, broadcast or online ads: The concept of a call-to-action isn’t just for Internet marketing. Advertising copy should include a clear call-to-action. Sometimes this is subtle and more focused on branding…. “Learn more about us at” or maybe it’s very direct and time-sensitive…”Sign up for our design workshop by May 10th.” “Like us on Facebook” is a call-to-action! Nearly all advertising copy will direct readers or listeners to your website, so make the URLs short and easy to remember.

  3. Don’t forget about day-to-day emails: Slow down a little bit when you’re writing emails and think about a call-to-action. What is it that you’re trying to accomplish? What is the logical next step? In most cases, it’s appropriate and effective to suggest a next step…ask if you can send them information, schedule time for coffee or lunch, etc. You don’t want to be pushy, but you also don’t want to miss opportunities to engage that might be easily solved by including a polite call-to-action.

  4. Include CTAs in your email signatures: Here’s an opportunity to encourage email recipients to interact. Include your website URL, social media profile buttons or links and a link to your blog. And if you’re hosting an event, customize your e-signature for a designated period of time with a CTA that drives visitors to the event website or registration form.

Spend some time thinking about how to incorporate calls-to-action into all of your marketing efforts and even your sales pitch. Give your audience the shortcuts and clear directions you want them to take.  Learn more about the power of using CTAs on your website to improve lead generation.

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