Simply put, a Call-to-Action is a device within your communication that asks your consumer to buy or contact you to discuss your product or service offer. In its simplest form, for many marketers, it’s the phone number they display for consumers to call or a link to their website to buy the product.
However, there is much more involved in creating a strong Call-to-Action than simply providing a phone number or a website URL. Unfortunately, many marketers spend little time doing this and wonder why their response rates are much lower than they had predicted.
Two basics elements contained in a strong Call-to-Action involve:
One of the most important elements in creating a strong Call-to-Action is creating urgency.
You need to remember that most people are ‘time poor’ and if left to their own devices, most people will put something off until the last minute, if they ever get around to it at all! Your offers aren’t just competing with your competitors’ offers, they’re also competing with your consumers’ lifestyle pressures – getting the kids to school on time; making time for various sporting and social engagements…not to mention, everything related to their every day working lives.
You need to encourage your consumer to act quickly to take advantage of your offer so they don’t miss out! Fear of loss is one of the strongest motivators for people, especially, when they feel they might miss out on something they really want.
One of the better ways to create a sense of urgency is to set a time limit on your offer. For instance, you can use variations of two old standards – “Only available for the first 25 callers”, or “Offer is only available for the next 2 weeks or until supplies last!”
Use Bonus offers to drive response!
Bonus offers can also be a very useful addition to create a strong sense of urgency – “Call within the next 48 hours and also receive XYZ as a special bonus offer!”
Personally, I like using bonus offers because I’ve found that they drive response more quickly and enhance overall response rates. I find this happens because Bonus Offers appeal to a consumers desire to get more for less.
Okay, what this really means is that a bonus offer appeals to their sense of greed! Obviously, you’ll need to factor in the costs of a Bonus Gift in your overall costs. And, test using a bonus offer vs. not providing one to measure its cost effectiveness.
Ease of Contact
If you’ve done a good job determining your target market you should have learned when it would be most convenient for them to contact you. You should also have found out how they like to respond to offers.
With this information you need to construct your Call-to-Action not only to have a sense of urgency, but with a number of options for the consumer to contact you when it suits them. You need to make it as easy as possible for your consumer to contact you.
Sounds simple enough, but it’s amazing how hard some businesses make it for a buyer to contact them. Often you’ll see an offer made to consumers, as opposed to businesses, which only provide contact during business hours.
Or the Call-to-Action only provides one way for consumers to contact them. Fair enough, perhaps, if you’re sending them to your website to buy what you’re offering, but why make it harder for consumers to buy from you by restricting how they can engage with you?
Maybe they’d like to ask a question or two to help them make a decision, or need a little reassurance from a human being. Sure, most websites have those Frequently Asked Questions pages, if people can find them; still many people want to actually speak to a live body!
Be ‘Open for Business’ when it suits your Customer!
Recently, I’ve been working with a client that offers vacation deals to their in-house database. They were making outbound calls to sell their customers vacation packages that can save these customers thousands of dollars off future vacations. They only called these customers between 9 am to 2 pm; there were a few reasons for the time they operated, but basically it came down to that these were the times it suited the telemarketing managers and team to call!
They were having a good conversion rate during these hours, but were finding that their contact rates were slowly diminishing and their cost per sale was going up – go figure!
I persuaded them to trial an afternoon/evening shift; we recruited and trained another team to work between 2 pm and 8 pm. Guess what happened? Yes, you’re right – the sales rate increased significantly and the cost per sale was reduced and as a result – they were making more money.
Now, having said this, I appreciate that there may be some staffing issues or restrictions you have in how customers may contact you.
Still, especially if you’re a B2C business and you provide a phone number as a means of contact, you should be open for business from 8 am – 8 pm through the week and between 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday. You need to be available when it’s convenient for your target market to buy, otherwise if it’s too hard for them to contact you, they won’t!
Use Toll Free Numbers
Another mistake businesses can make that you should avoid is just providing a local phone number in your call-to-action. It’s okay to use a local phone number if your target market lives locally; however, if you’re extending your reach further than your locality, you had better provide a Toll Free number for consumers to use to contact you.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you were close to making a buying decision and had a few questions you wanted answered first: How would you feel about paying for a long distance call to get the information you needed to make a buying decision?
Aside from helping increase your response rates and sales, providing a Toll Free number will also help you track where your calls are coming from and what time of day these calls are being made. With this information you can figure out how many staff you need during different times of day to handle these callers or what the sales conversion rates are throughout the day. God forbid, you have customers calling to buy from you whose call goes unanswered!