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Production : The New Call to Action

6 better ways to drive conversion in direct mail and print

August 2012 By Lois Brayfield and Matt Fey
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Customers … why don't they just do what we want? That would make direct marketing so much easier, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, it's not that easy. In today's marketing climate—with so many choices, technological devices and brand messages bombarding the senses—it's more difficult than ever to get customers to do anything, let alone what you want them to do.

In printed direct marketing vehicles, the stalwart "order now" or "go online" prompts simply don't cut it anymore. You need to do more. How? By creating a compelling call to action that cannot be ignored. Prompt customers to act, to see the call to action screaming at them from the printed piece in a way that moves them to react and act. To do something!

Customers are savvy. If the call to action isn't bold and relevant, customers will read right through it without doing anything. If it isn't authentic and relevant, they may dismiss it outright. That can't happen. Here are six steps to developing strong calls to action that will resonate and push customers to take the next step to engagement.

1. Build a Hierarchy
Before you think about your call to action and what it will look like or what it will say, think about what you need it to do.

Strategy can make or break your execution. Without a well-developed plan of attack, it won't matter what you print. Gone are the days when you could essentially put anything in the mail and get a response. Outline your goals and construct an actionable plan. Understand what exactly you're asking readers to do, but always begin with the goal in mind.

The kiss of death is creating too many calls to action that ask customers to do different things. Everything should support your overall strategy and end game. Don't let other actions compete with the ultimate call to action. For example, if pushing customers to your website is the goal, don't confuse them by prominently featuring your phone number.

What do you want them to do first? Second? Third? Is it an invitation? Do you want them to order? Plan your message hierarchy accordingly to move customers through the piece and drive to conversion.



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