One of the simplest and smartest tools a marketer has in their toolbox is something called a Call-to-Action.
What is a Call-to-Action?
A Call-to-Action, or CTA, is when you invite your followers to engage with you by completing an action or interaction of some kind. A CTA is something like “Tag a friend who likes hot chocolate!” or “Go sign-up for my newsletter” (which is actually something you should do–go do it!).
A call to action is asking your followers to do something.
It’s that simple. Seriously.
Why do CTAs work?
I won’t dive into the psychology around why CTAs work but I can tell you plainly that, in my experience, they do.
Now it’s important not to think that, just because you include a CTA, you’ll automatically have every follower instantly engaging with you. But in general, when you start trying to probe your audience for interaction, chances are you’ll find it’s easier than you think.
Chocolate or Strawberry?
Let’s imagine you own an ice cream shop and you want to get a bunch of people interacting with your latest Facebook post. A fun way to create the customer you engagement could be to ask your audience, “What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?! 😍🍦”.
If you can introduce a little bit of friendly competition, you’ll find followers might be even more motivated to interact with you (and other followers).
What if instead of asking for a favourite flavour, you started a poll asking, “Which is better: Chocolate🍫 or Strawberry🍓?”. Chances are you yourself have a preference of what one you like more! (I personally would probably go chocolate). And that thought is probably motivation enough for most people to chime into the conversation.
Especially if they see that their favourite is losing (or winning by a landslide), your audience is more inclined to chime in to make their opinion heard.
When and where should I use a CTA?
This is the reason a call-to-action is one of my favourite things we have the ability to use as businesspeople.
A call-to-action can be used at any time, anywhere, asking your audience to do (almost)anything
There’s no specific framework you have to follow to create or utilize a CTA. It’s a super flexible tool. For example, you could use a CTA:
- At the beginning of a blog article (like when I did earlier–asking you to sign up for my newsletter)
- As the entire basis of a social media post (like using a poll to ask your audience to pick A or B)
- At the end of an email blast (when you want people to check out a link you’ve attached)
- In a printed flyer (asking people to make a donation)
- In a conversation (inviting the person you’re speaking with to call you)
- On a business card (prompting the person to send you an email)
Hopefully you’re starting to see just how versatile a CTA can be for your business.
Get Responses By Asking
It seems so elementary when you spell it out, but why would you expect that most of your audience is going to do what you want them to do (comment on a post, tag a friend, give you a phone call, donate to your non-profit, visit your website, whatever) if you don’t, you know, actually ask them to do it?
A call-to-action is not a revolutionary idea. But actually remembering to use it is something that isn’t second nature to most people.
Change that and make it something you do at nearly every opportunity.
This should be fairly obvious but just in case it’s not: Don’t be too sales-y with all of your call-to-actions. Remember: add value to someone’s life before you can expect they might give you something in return.
What I’m really saying here is: remember your audience is made up of humans (most likely). You’re a human. If you can create a personal connection with someone (like on Instagram Stories), you’re going to have a much bigger chance of them responding well to your CTA.
Samples of CTAs you can use
Assuming you’re convinced that CTAs are a good business strategy but you’re just not sure how to implement it yet, here are a few sample call-to-actions you can make your own and begin using at the next opportunity:
- “Sign up for our _____!”
- “Which is better: A or B?”
- “What is your favourite _____?”
- “Type 3 emojis that describe your week”
- “Tag 2 friends who _____”
- “When was the last time _____?”
- “Follow along with us by liking our page”
- “Send us a message for more details!”
- “Forward this message to someone who might benefit from it”
And there you have it!
Again, call-to-actions are so simple to implement and can make a massive difference in the interaction your audience might give you at any point. Experiment a little with some CTAs this week and see what happens!