8 Quick Tricks to Get More Clicks, Calls & Mailed-in Responses
During last month's Direct Marketing Day @ Your Desk, we talked about the goal of response being the common denominator for cross-channel marketing messages. This includes both copy and content. Digital media has given new importance to what's long been key to writing successful direct mail: The call to action (CTA)!
If your CTA doesn't tell your reader what you want him to do, how to do it and why he should, your response is minimized. Here are some quick tricks for a stronger CTA:
1. Make it easy. Don't make your reader search for a way to respond. Make buttons pop and links stand out. Put your direct mail CTA in a hot spot on every component. Make sure your phone number and URL are in large type where they're easy to find the first time and easy to refer back to later.
2. Make it colorful. Whether it's a button in an email, a phone number in a direct mail letter, or the "Talk with an expert" form on your website, call attention to it with color. Red contrasts nicely with black no-matter-what, but you have a rainbow of colors to choose from. Use color to make your CTA an eye magnet.
3. Make it rewarding. Give your reader a reason to respond. In direct marketing this is known as your offer. Just make sure what you're offering appeals to your targeted audience's self-interest. Examples include: "Download a free report." "Call-1-800-000-0000 for your free trial." "Get a free quote." "Talk to an expert." "Buy now, save 20%." Use this copy on buttons rather than the word "SUBMIT."
4. Create urgency. Encourage procrastinators to act. Give an urgent reason to respond. Tricks include deadlines and expiration dates, limited quantities/limited availability ("only 53 left!"), First 50/Fast 50 offers, and emails with countdown subject lines such as "Just 6 hours left to save 50% off all sale items."
5. Increase visibility. Put your call to action where it will be seen. All channels have hot spots such as the P.S. in a direct mail letter and above the fold in emails and on web pages. Also make sure to repeat your CTA more than once.
6. Jumpstart momentum. Use action words to motivate your reader and get things rolling. Use verbs like start, buy, call, mail, visit, click, discover, save, learn, see, enter, read, find, share, activate, ear, register ... and the always-appropriate-even-though-it's-very-generic: get. Verbs are your best friend when creating a strong CTA.
7. Choose your mode. How many and which response modes should you include? Do your customers prefer to mail, call, click, visit (store or website), text, even fax? Yes, fax! Some market segments and industries still get a significant response via fax. With so many choices it may be difficult to decide. Test and track to ensure you're offering the response options preferred by your targeted audience. Also test to make sure you're not offering too many. And stay tuned — these will change over time.
8. Add content. For the content-hungry reader who's not ready to make a buying commitment, test a secondary CTA that links to a video demonstration, planner's checklist or customer review. Shortened URLs, QR codes, Touchcodes, and mobile apps used with digital watermarking link ink-on-paper copy to digital content solidifying reader engagement. The 2013 IKEA catalog is a great example of how to do this with both traditional and online catalog shoppers.
Pat Friesen is the author of the recent Direct Marketing IQ report, "The Cross-Channel Copywriting Handbook." She writes for direct mail, email, blogs, catalogs, the Web, and other direct response media. She's also a sought-after copy coach, workshop presenter and columnist for Target Marketing magazine. Contact Pat at 913.341.1211 and Pat@PatFriesen.com.