July 2012

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Heed the Call

Nothing beats a good call to action.

Manny MandrusiakManny Mandrusiak
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

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Control Solutions, Inc
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Blue Ridge Technologies

Ever hear that old proverb “You can’t see the forest for the trees”.  It happens a lot with businesses that are passionate about what they do.  Take a software developer who creates some outstanding functionality in an application and increases throughput by 20%.  What does that actually mean? Imagine putting that out as a Tweet or as part of a press release. What does that actually mean? Perhaps it means that the application can now handle one million tags, but the above comment does not state that.  It does not grab the reader’s attention, or make them want to do something.

An article by Kate Lauman, Morning Anchor for Connect Mid-Missouri, states that the average “professional” receives around 100 emails per day.  I liked that she targeted “professionals” in her research.  That works as a good reference for those in the Building Automation vertical.  I am assuming that she is not taking into account those of us who subscribe to industrial automation mailing lists, or belong to non-profit groups.  I would probably double the number in that case, but for the purpose of this article let’s work with 100 emails per day. 

The question to ask is “How does your email stand out from the other 99”?  The email could be an invitation to a webcast, or simply a product feature announcement, but regardless it needs one thing to be captivating – a strong call to action. 

Everyone who just read that last sentence nods their head and instantly feels that they completely understand what that means.  I remind myself what it is every time I write a call to action to remember the definition of what it is, and then read it as if I just received 99 other emails.  Let’s start with the definition. 

General definition: Words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a sales promotion message to take an immediate action, such as "Write Now," "Call Now," or (on Internet) "Click Here." A retail advertisement or commercial without a call-to-action is considered incomplete and ineffective. (Definition taken from the businessdictionary.com)

Now a call to action can transcend that simple definition into everything online. Emails, websites, ads, everything!  I take it deeper by looking at everything I write for a sale or website and ask:

1. Do I know “who” identifies with this message?

2. Do I know what their problem is, and how does this product solve that problem?

3. Does my email subject line catch their attention in three seconds?

4. Will they click on this email over the other 99 that they receive today?

Control Solutions, Inc Now there are other factors that come into play as to why your intended audience will, or will not click on an email to register for a webcast or download software.  The main thing to concentrate on is making that subject line as motivating as possible for the reader to do what you want them to do.  In this case it is to read enough of your message to “click”.  This will lead to the call to action.  The reader will click to either download demo software, or register for a webcast.  Either way the call to action was successful.  It persuaded the reader to do what you wanted them to do and that was to opt-in to receive more information from your company. 

Once this has happened there are several other techniques to continue to engage your customer and bring them closer to becoming a hot lead, or even converting them to a sale. 

With the summer months upon us the traditional trade show season will soon be here in the fall.  Taking the time now to carefully prepare emails and ads, with a proper call to action, will pay dividends during the upcoming season.  Your ads will be more targeted at your user, and will be more direct with their message.  This leaves less room for confusion, and enables a greater personal identification with your campaigns.  The same with the emails that you send to the potential customers you meet at the trade shows.

How will your message be better than the other 99 that your potential customer receives after a trade show?  Those with a strong call to action will get that “click” which leads to a potential sale.  Will that sale be yours?



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