Production: The New Call to Action
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.
2. Do Your Homework
Again, before you put words in print, spend time in the mind of your customers. Know what truly compels them and what moves them. Find the "higher order benefit," the emotional reason they do business with you. What are they seeking? Peace of mind? Financial security? A trusted partner? It's not just your product or service they're buying, but the emotional hook.
Tony Hsieh of Zappos coined the term ICEE, which stands for "Interesting, Compelling, Educational or Entertaining." This acronym is a perfect filter when planning your call-to-action strategy.
Understanding customer triggers may require research. Once you know what motivates them, your ability to craft a message allows you to reach them more effectively and understand not only what they want, but how to encourage action.
3. Make the Call to Action a Call to Arms
Once you've outlined your plan and understand your audience, it's time to incorporate a strong call to action in your marketing piece. Don't be passive. The key word is "action." Ask for what you want, but more importantly, tell customers what's in it for them.
How many times do you see marketers ask people to follow them on Facebook or Twitter? Unless those people are already brand advocates, a timid "follow us" isn't enough. Be direct. Be specific. Look at the difference it makes when you take a few carefully chosen words and aim them straight at your customer's sense of self-interest:
- "Discover your design style! Find decorating ideas, entertainment tips and help for you next project. Follow Us!"
- "Like Free Prizes? Like us on Facebook!"
Another effective way to connect with your customers in the call to action is to call them by name. Personalization helps cut through the clutter. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) effectively uses first and last name personalization on postcards to encourage attendance at seminars and conferences, reinforcing why it's important to attend.
Lois Brayfield is CEO at J.Schmid and Associates, a direct-marketing agency specializing in catalog design. She knows what works and has the experience to prove it— 30 years of studying direct marketing and catalog results. She applies this wealth of data to every project and has helped develop an integrated process that ensures campaign effectiveness. She knows the rules, and she knows when to ignore them.