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3 Winning Ways to Be a Call-to-Action Artist

Yellow paint line on the road against asphalt background. with the words 'Call to Action.'

“Sell me this pen,” said Jordon Belfort, aka the infamous ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’ He didn’t mean later, he meant right then and there, as he put various students on the spot to convert a typical product into instant capital. While ad campaigns of all shapes and sizes are meant to rouse different types of action, calls-to-action are designed to strike immediately and command a direct response. Evergreen blogs may stand the test of time and continue to bring new readers in front of your business. Optimized pages can put you at the top of search. Successful social media campaigns can garner good press and widespread engagement. Email might keep your customers loyal. Though, as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Good content will make your customers thirsty, but it’s perfectly executed CTAs that ensure they see no greater option than the fountain your company provides.

Yellow paint line on the road against asphalt background. with the words 'Call to Action.'

Print or digital, excellent copywriting can entice, evoke, educate, and create long-term customers, but a CTA strikes now and demands either a purchase or another step toward a purchase right then and there. So sell me this pen or weight loss supplement or designer bag or software, get my walking feet against the pedals of a new luxury vehicle and do it in three steps or less.

1. Trigger Words

It’s all going to require words, your Spotify ad, your social campaign, your direct mail piece, your blog. The world’s best CTA will be useless without effective content to back it up. I want to call out something an old English teacher once told me, cater to the five senses. Can those immersed in your ad smell that new car, can they feel the horsepower, can they hear their favorite song crystal clear on that superior surround sound, can they see the impression it makes on their passengers, can they taste the freshness of success? If you target at least a few of these senses organically – thumbs up! If you manage to tackle all five naturally – two thumbs up! If your words aren’t all-encompassing, enticing, and evocative, you’re CTA won’t have enough power to survive on its own. Trigger those emotions, but be sure what emotions you want to trigger and why – targeting the wrong emotion can send potential customers running in the other direction.

2. Design

In most cases, your previous customers and prospects are going to have some visual elements of your ad to take in. Even most radio ads will eventually connect to a visual component. While there is only one Wes Anderson, you can also make use of symmetry or purposeful mise en scene, emotion-triggering colors, exciting movement, and more. Make sure prospects can spot your ad and its CTA equally, call attention to its most integral parts, ensure it is enticing and easy – you’re audience gets what they need to do, wants to do it, and are given a direct and effortless path to get it done. Don’t give them a choice, guarantee your audience desires you and only you, that your business is the most gorgeous one in the room. It’s tough; the competition is real and massive. Maybe it’s time for a makeover? Be bold and move with maximum appeal into the fray. You all have it in you.

3. Calling All Cars

Figure out what your direct action is, is it a swift chess move straight to the king or are you taking out the entire board first, leaving the king for last? An email signup is a long-term strategy; providing your customers with consistent news and promos may ensure more business over time. An email signup allows you to stay in front of customers until they opt out, so don’t give them a reason to opt out, give them regular reasons not too – don’t slack! But while the strategy of an email signup may not be for an immediate purchase, getting customers to sign up should be immediate.

Here’s a good over-all rule of thumb, you should never ask ‘Would you like to sign up for our newsletter?’ or any other question that appears meek or unconfident. Be authoritative, don’t give an option to say no, create the urgent need for the signup so that any other choice would be the wrong one. The signup must be toting a serious improvement to the prospect’s life or business, so much so that if they don’t do sign up, it would be utterly insensible.

If you don’t create an immediate need for your product or service then why would your customers bother with it? If your content is strong enough and creates this need effectively than a simple ‘Join’ or ‘Sign Up’ button for your CTA may be all it takes – do it in a popup or put it right on the page. Make the step easy; just a click away from a better life. And everyone loves the word free – sign up for free promos today – get, grab, own your new free product – click for your free gift – free newsletter – free whitepaper – free tips, tricks, and insider secrets. If you must ask a question, ask…do you want to be unsuccessful, the last pick in dodge ball, unattractive, broke? If they click yes, they are meant to think that they are doing themselves a great disservice. Do you want success and your biggest dreams to come true? If prospects click no, then they are self-sabotaging. You can also turn these questions into commands. Click for a better life today. Click if you like free stuff. Don’t Click if You Hate Kittens and Babies. It’s not necessary to follow these words exactly, I mean, you can, but more importantly, what you must follow is the notion behind them. Get your customers to drink the Kool-Aid because while you may not have the same sinister intentions of the world’s most nefarious cult leaders, you need to present your words with equal conviction giving each call-to-action the undeniable power to control your buyer’s decision.

Now for the immediate sale. Content effective – check! Drive Your NEW Car Today, Lose Weight Today, Increase Your Sales Today. If you have done an excellent job selling your product in the meat of the ad, a clickable button that says ‘Shop’ is likely all you’ll need. Admittedly, it’s all a little hokey and pretty transparent, but customers today are already expecting a CTA, so give it to them – and have fun with it! Ask yourself this one question, and you’ll do fine – would I be ready to buy this product or service if it weren’t my own? If it’s an unequivocal “yes,” then you are well on your way to selling that pen to someone else.

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