The most famous call to action (CTA) has to be “Click Here”. For years the Adobe Acrobat Reader had the top spot on Google for that same keyword, simply because every time you needed to download their software, their call to action was click here. There were thousands of links pointing to their website, and back then, links meant almost everything in SEO.
A call to action—unlike link bait, which is a headline that makes you want to click to find out more through intrigue and often tricks—a CTA is more about giving the reader an instruction. You need to create an enticing message or proposition, but then finish it off with an instruction. Make them take action.
The Click Here example isn’t super enticing itself, but it does give you as clear of an instruction as any. Which is our first rule.
Here are the 3 rules, or guidelines, to live by when finishing a message that requires an action:
1. Be Instructive
Don’t confuse your target. Let them know exactly what you want them to do. Do you want them to call you, come into your store, click a link, buy a product, take a flyer or any number of other actions? Make sure your call to action is a strong instruction and don’t assume your message will be enough to get them to act. Tell them what to do and they will take your desired action.
2. Be timely
Add urgency and the need to carry out the task now by making your CTA time sensitive. If you give your target reason to take action later, they will either forget to, or change their mind.
3. Give the correct information
Your target has just read your message, you’ve told them what to do, now make that action clear to them. If you want them to call you, make sure the number is easy to find and access. If you want them to click a link, make sure the link is clearly displayed. If you want them to come in to your store, make sure you tell them where and when to come.
Also be clear on what the likely results of their action will be. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to finally decide to take up an offer only to be facing something I wasn’t expecting.