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Best examples of "call to action" verbiage
"Call to action" is an oft used phrase in sales but what exactly is a c.t.a
Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 11:54 pm on Feb 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's what I believe to be some examples:

1. "This offer expires xx/xx/2004" (Invariably, when this wording is found on websites the day=today. Call to action = Don't wait because it's be too late.)

2. Big red button BUY NOW. (Call to action = Do something stupid.)

3. "Free to the first 100 customers".

4. "We only have X in inventory".

These are likely the most obvious examples of what I believe represent the "call to action" idea.

Am I wrong?

What are other examples?

What are your favorite examples?

What do you understand a "call to action" to be? Is it art? Science? Experience? Learned technique? Skillful means?

 

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 1:30 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I really like the "this offer expires on ----" to establish a sense of immediacy, but repeat visitors will see through the ruse and may feel you are a bit dishonest. That's the kind of thing I'd test before adopting, and is probably best for one-time purchases where developing repeat business and frequent visits isn't likely.

Of course, REAL sale expiration dates are good, too. I.e., if your sale prices are in effect until February 10, saying so will get some buyers to place an order.

"FREE" is one of the all-time winners, even though it has been abused by spammers. "Get ___ free with your order" still performs. In the online world, sometimes this can be something with no incremental cost, e.g., an e-book or special report in pdf format, etc. This suggests a combo - "Free with every order placed by February 10!" ;)

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 8:56 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, this thing - "a call to action" isn't all that arcane. It's simply a version of "Do this now!"

Here, I thought I was dealing with marketing trade secrets. In reality it's like telling my teens to "clean up your room, now". Doh!

Ya, like THEY ever listen. So much for what a call to action accomplishes!

hannamyluv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 9:08 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

In reality it's like telling my teens to "clean up your room, now". Doh!

I bet your teen at least starts to clean their room, right? They'd probably finish it too, if it weren't so cumbersome to do (from a teen's perspective). The same for customers. The call to action is like giving them a good push in the right direction. If you make it easy enough, people will finish what you tell them to do. It's when you make it too hard, that they won't do what you tell them to do.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 10:14 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you search the web for "call to action copy" or similar, you'll find all kinds of definitions and approaches. One I liked combines an action button/link with a few persuasive reasons to act and, perhaps, an indication that the offer will be withdrawn if the user fails to act.

One of the more interesting approaches for a "call to action" is the Amazon Gold Box. If you are a registered shopper, you'll see a treasure box icon with some one-time offers in it. These offers are literally one-time deals - if you click to go the the next one, you can't go back; it's gone for good, or at least until they recycle it again. I don't know how well this works overall for Amazon, but the idea is fairly compelling. My own experience has been (on the few times I tried it) that I was presented with stuff that didn't really interest me. If I hit something I was thinking of buying, though, I'd definitely consider buying if the deal was better than normal pricing. (Hmmm... Amazon would certainly have the technology to remember what I browsed yesterday and offer that to me today if I hadn't already bought; no evidence of that level of smarts yet, though, at least for me.)

pleeker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 10:55 pm on Feb 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

One of the more interesting approaches for a "call to action" is the Amazon Gold Box.

Yep. I think it's brilliant even though, like you, I've never been offered an item I wanted enough to purchase right there. I'm not sure the current execution is brilliant, I guess -- the idea is. I don't know how great some of the prices are, but the presentation gives everything in there a sense of value which is complemented by the need for immediate action.

I'd love to see some stats on the revenue it generates, the purchase rate, etc.

The other Amazon 'call to action' I like is the "Bottom of the Page" deals on their home page. Kinda similar, but you have 24 hours to take action.....

anallawalla

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 10:58 am on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

In addition to the previously mentioned visual cues, a CTA on a web page is about doing everything to turn a browser into a buyer. It means designing the site so that the visitor doesn't get more information than he needs (fewer words, fewer pages - just enough), as he could get distracted by the phone and close his browser before he buys from you.

cgallent

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 3:24 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

The majority of my clients sell professional services. In this case I have found that you have to step back a little bit and offer something for "free" to engage the visitor and help generate a prospect. White papers have worked incredibly well.

Anyone else have any CTA experience when you're not selling widgets?

cgallent

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 4:07 pm on Feb 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a great approach - if you offered some kind of free service, you would cheapen the value of the paid service. By offering a white paper (or e-book, etc.), presumably authored by the servie provider, you add credibility and value to the service.

Free software is another possible no-cost incentive, if it's appropriate to the offer and the site has access to something useful.

Bits tend to be a lot cheaper than physical product, though certainly offers like, "Buy 10 now and we'll add one for free" can be attractive and profitable.

donpps

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 3:33 pm on Feb 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Call to action supported by testimonial? Does anyone have any ideas how well this might work?

Seems convincing especially if used with case studies.

D

Tigrou

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 2:29 pm on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good points folks, thanks.

One thing to consider that is the web is international, and that America tends to have very assertive ads. Europeans, by law or just culture, often don't. For example, in Germany you generally can't offer a discount price. e.g. no "2 for 1" or 40% off. It is illegal. Local media may let you get away with it but it could blow up in your face.

Also, International web users are used to American (or British) English, but the agression of a "Local Used Car Dealer" ad may not fly as well as you'd expect. It is seen as over-the-top and brazen.

My point, I guess, is that CTA should, and some cases has to be, tailored to culture for best results.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 3:12 pm on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Excellent point about cultural differences, Tigrou. Content/industry will make a huge difference, too. A "Buy one, get one free!" offer may work extremely well for photo albums, but could seem less appropriate for prepaid funeral arrangements. ;)

john_k

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 7:57 pm on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

A "Buy one, get one free!" offer may work extremely well for photo albums, but could seem less appropriate for prepaid funeral arrangements. ;)
"Immediate Delivery!" would probably be bad for funeral arrangements too.
grandpa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 11:54 pm on Mar 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks rogerd for pointing me over here.

My CTA leaves it up to the reader to take the next step, ie., call me and give some info. Pretty weak, IMO. Having issued the CTA, it should be followed by a form (for my situation) that TAKES the info right there... reducing the possibility for distractions or thoughts of having to having to make a phone call/write an e-mail.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 1:11 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Absolutely right, Grandpa. Open a form, keep it simple, prefill fields if you can... reduce any barriers to action that you can. Perhaps you can even offer something to those who fill it out. ("Just complete our simple form, and we'll immediately send you Ten Ways to Save on Widgets!")

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 1:16 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

And from a traditional advertising standpoint, this one always gets me...

Going out of business sale. 50-75% off on all inventory.

There is a furniture store not far from my stomping grounds that has had that plastered across the front windows for the last two years. ;)

P.S. Infomercials on TV are a great way to see a Call to Action at work. You know...

  • Order now and receive...
  • The next 100 callers will also receive...
  • Order by [date] and we'll even include...

dentalplans



 
Msg#: 601 posted 3:20 am on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

We use this formula for our e-commerce site:
Step 1...Enter Your Zip Code (or whatever you want them to do). Step 2...Browse and Compare. Step 3...Join this Plan!
Guide the pospective customer into and through your website and seemlessly into the order process, is what we have learned.
Evan

ccDan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 6:48 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults writes:
There is a furniture store not far from my stomping grounds that has had that plastered across the front windows for the last two years.

Does it say going out OF business or going out FOR business? Some use going out FOR business, because it often has the same effect but isn't false. ;-)

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 7:17 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some communities restrict "going out of business" sales. I recall a local computer store that WAS going out of business and had their store closed for a couple of days because they had failed to get a proper permit to have a going out of business sale. Bizarre...

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 10:49 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not so bizarre. Often the procedural requirements of a "going out of business sale" are the product of State consumer protection laws. Such laws also benefit the vendor. For instance, allowing for a no-refund, no-return policy - whereas general consumer law would bar such a practice in the ordinary course of business.

Good to see this thread still has some life in it. I'm still mining for ideas.

fabfurs

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 11:16 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Would you also use aggressive "call to action" on expensive items?

Don't you get more returns after the customer sobers-up... from a "call to action" that triggers spontaneous purchases on higher-end items?

Wouldn't nurturing and educating the client to make the purchase from your site, create a more reputable impression and generate additional word of mouth sales?

Am I missing the boat by doing a soft sell... itís my preferred way to shop, so I assumed that I should also provide the same to my customers?

AmericanBulldog

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 11:25 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

A variation on that theme

The going out <b>for</b> business sale

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 11:28 pm on Mar 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't nurturing and educating the client to make the purchase from your site, create a more reputable impression and generate additional word of mouth sales?

I like that approach very much. I think all of this comes downs to the product and/or service you are offering.

I've never been fond of the pushy sales tactics. I've lost count on how many products I've not purchased online because there was a very aggressive push tactic in place. You know, like buy on or before [date] and we'll take an additional 10% off. I know that if I came back after that date the same discount would still be there.

Different calls to action trigger different responses. From my perspective, the best way to approach this would be to utilize various call to action methods. This way you can target a broader range of personalities.

ccDan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 601 posted 2:23 am on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

fabfurs writes:
Would you also use aggressive "call to action" on expensive items?

I would base that decision on your profit margin. If you have a high profit margin, handling a few returns is not a big issue. If you have a low profit margin, returns can really be a hassle and cut into profits from the time spent dealing with them.

Don't you get more returns after the customer sobers-up... from a "call to action" that triggers spontaneous purchases on higher-end items?

If you're aggressive but honest and not deceptive about your product and what it can do for your customer, I don't think you will have an inordinate number of returns as a result. Or, I would think you would not have an excessive number of returns.

Wouldn't nurturing and educating the client to make the purchase from your site, create a more reputable impression and generate additional word of mouth sales?

I think that would depend on both the product and the client. If you give them a good deal, will they share that with others, or keep it to themselves as their own little secret?

And, if you have a product that's available from many places, you might just educate your prospect on the product and then they later forget about your site and end up buying elsewhere. Then, your competitor has you to thank for making their sale.

In such as case, you want to nurture and educate the customer about your product, but then to get them to buy "right now"!

You don't need to be too aggressive, and I would not be dishonestly aggressive, but you do want to try to get them to buy now without turning off people that don't like aggressive sales tactics.

Tough line to walk!

Am I missing the boat by doing a soft sell... itís my preferred way to shop, so I assumed that I should also provide the same to my customers?

The nice thing about the web is that you can try different things and easily change them if they don't work. You could try a harder sell (just not too hard that it harms any reputation you may already have established). See how it works. Depending on your traffic, you may see the results in a few days or a couple months.

You may find, as I have, that your own preferred way to shop is not the most profitable. ;-)

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