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Read This Post to Find Out Exactly What You Need to Know about Calls to Action

Read This Post to Find Out Exactly What You Need to Know about Calls to Action

By Pat Flynn on

call to action

Yesterday, we had another iPhone app approved by Apple (yay!), however this post is not about iPhone apps. It’s about getting people to take action, whether it be new visitors to your site, newsletter subscribers, people reading your sales page, or iPhone owners reading the copy of an ad you created to try and get them to download your new iPhone app.

Immediately after our new app went live in iTunes, we decided to promote it with advertising. Our goal was to break the top 100 in the Paid Utilities category, which is important because once you break 100 in any category, your app will have additional exposure on the top 100 lists on iTunes.

The most popular advertising platform for the iPhone (at the moment) is Admobs. It’s kind of like Google Adsense and Google Adwords all bundled into one: for free you can put code into your own applications that generate ads (and you get paid per click), or you can pay to have your ads shown in applications that have that code in them.

After setting up our advertising campaign and letting it sit for an hour, we were surprised to come back and see that the ads were not performing well at all. In fact, the CTR (click through rates) were abysmal, hovering around 0.25% to 0.5% for each variation.

*Note, I would show you the screenshots of the data and the actual ads I used, but I don’t exactly know what AdMobs’ policy is for doing so. I know Google Adsense has some restrictions on publicly showing data, and because Google ended up purchasing Admobs, I think I’m better safe than sorry. Thanks for your understanding!

What it really comes down to is the copy – what’s written in the ads. It’s the ad copy that gets people to click an ad, not the product itself.

So, with only 80 characters to work with, we had to figure out the best way to drastically increase the efficiency of our ad copy. How do we get people to click on these ads?

The answer is simple: Add a call to action.

Without a Call to Action, There Will Be No Action

For those of you who don’t know, a call to action is simply a request or direction to do something – or take action.

A link that reads: Call to Action: A Powerful Marketing Tool is not an example of a call to action.

A link that reads: Read Call to Action: A Powerful Marketing Tool is just an okay example of a call to action.

A link that reads: Click Here to Read Call to Action: A Powerful Marketing Tool is a better example of a call to action, because you’re telling people exactly what they have to do (which is to “click here”).

It’s not that people are stupid and they need instructions on how to click on something. It’s more of a subconscious thing that tells people in their “automatic” state of minds to do certain things.

This is the theory at least, so we wanted to put it to the test.

We revamped each of our ads and made sure to place a call to action in the ad copy, simply by adding words such as “get”, or “download”. We let the ads brew for another hour and then checked our results.

The CTR was much, much better.

Now we were seeing between 2-3%, which is huge, especially over hundreds of thousands of impressions. Of course, getting people to click an ad is only half the battle – converting that traffic into sales is the other.

So did we ever crack the top 100?

In about 12 hours, we were able to reach #95, thanks to some call to action copy in our ads, and within our app description as well.

Anti-Theft-AlarmWe’ll see if it continues to climb or if it drops off, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters here is that call to action copy works and it’s absolutely necessary if you want people to do something, even subscribe to your blog.

The next time you run into a sales letter, or even a sales pitch on TV, on the radio, or in a podcast, listen for those calls to action.

They are there because they work.

Powerful Call To Action Words

So before I finish up, I’d like to leave you a list of words that you may find useful the next time you want to write call to action copy. Some may be more appropriate than others in certain situations, so really the only way to know which ones work best is to test, test, test!

  • Get…
  • Download…
  • Click Here to…
  • Press the…
  • Enter your…
  • Grab Your Copy…
  • Go to…
  • Insert your…
  • Add to Cart
  • Buy Now
  • Use my…
  • Order Now.
  • Reserve your copy of…
  • Select the…
  • Choose a…
  • Enroll in…
  • Attend…
  • Pick up the Phone and dial…
  • You can start by…
  • Act now by…
  • Order now and get…
  • Create a…
  • View Demo
  • Register…
  • Donate…
  • Subscribe…
  • See in action…
  • Take a tour…
  • Sign up now…
  • Cast your vote…
  • Send…
  • Check out…
  • Share…

Obviously this isn’t a list of all of the call to actions, but I’m sure you’ve seen many of these before.

And don’t forget, a call to action doesn’t just have to be used in the body of your website, it can and should be used whereever you want people to do something. For example, a call to action within a button you want people to click is a great idea.

Lastly, if you can combine your call to action with some verbiage that creates a sense of urgency, you’ve got yourself some great “take action” copy:

  • Order now to get your free gift.
  • Sign up now because this offer will expire soon.
  • Reserve your copy before it’s too late!

Are you showing people what they should do, or are you telling them?

If you use calls to action on your on website, please leave a comment below and give an example of how you use one.

I’ll start: I usually always include some text similar to “leave a comment” at the end of my blog posts.

Cheers!

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