Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Why is That Person Yelling at Me?!

November 16, 2012

Sometimes you have to spell it out. How to tell your social visitors what you want them to do.

They can be annoying. They can be unbearably loud. They can even be a little frightening.

But they can also be helpful, attractive, funny and effective. Calls to action (CTAs) are a critical element of your social selling. When you see them on TV, they’re usually trying to get you to come to, for example, a furniture warehouse sale. EMERGENCY!!! EMERGENCY!!! OVERSTOCKED!!!! COME IN TODAY FOR THE BEST DEALS!!!

That text would usually be in garish colors, flashing brightly to get your attention, with a loud siren blaring in the background. The last sentence is the company’s call to action. A little overdone and scary, but it may get some people to grab their coats and car keys.

“Operators are standing by! Call us now!”

You’ve probably written CTAs countless times in your sales materials without calling them that. But they need to appear prominently and frequently in your social network content. Your prospects and customers are constantly bombarded with words and images when they’re browsing the web, so your CTAs have to grab their attention.

Calls to action are not limited to, “Please buy this” messages. You can use them to encourage visitors to request a free sample, download an ebook or whitepaper, take a survey, enter a contest – anything you’d like them to do. They should always be clickable, and they’re usually icons or buttons or text boxes – or a combination.

What makes a good CTA? Even professionals don’t always agree on how these should be written and designed. But you undoubtedly recognize an exceptional one when you see it, whether or not you act on it.

Design for maximum effect

There are some general guidelines that will give your CTAs a better shot at being seen, acknowledged and maybe even clicked on:

  • Write clearly and simply. No jargon or overly-technical terms.
  • Position CTAs so the audience doesn’t have to scroll to see them.
  • For some reason, numbers in CTAs seem to increase click rates, so try to work some in.
  • Include a smiling face once in awhile, but keep it real – try not to use photos that are stiff and artificial.

  • Leave white space around the CTA. It doesn’t have to be white – that’s just an artsy phrase – but make sure your graphic stands out.
  • Do A/B testing. Experiment with different sizes and colors to see which seem to elicit the best response.
  • Make your CTAs very brief, and use strong action verbs. You might even put a time limit on them. Final day of offer – click now to reserve yours!
  • Try to put a CTA every page. A screen without one might signal the final page to some visitors. At least encourage them to continue clicking. Click here for…
  • Work with interesting shapes. That’s one way to call attention to what you want.
  • If you have more than one CTA on a page, make the more critical button prominent.

Your calls to action should be the focal point of your social pages. Every click on them brings you closer to a sale, or at least the beginning of a business relationship. Your visitors came to your site because they were interested; give them a good reason to engage.

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