My Uber driver told me she wanted to start a business.  In particular, she said, she wanted to be a coach.

“Oh?” I said. “What’s your inspiration for that?”

“Because I like to tell people what to do,” she said.

Okay, maybe not the most spiritually connected motivation – but I could appreciate her honesty.  In fact, most of us business owners are great at telling people what to do. (And terrible at being on the receiving end of that same exchange.)

So then, you’d think that business owners would be phenomenal at writing copy that gets results or inspires people to take action.

But they don’t! Most, in fact, really suck at it.

Let’s change that starting right now by understanding the #1 must-do strategy for anything you write:  Your Call to Action.

A Call to Action (CTA) is that exciting moment when you tell your prospects or clients what exactly you want them to do…

  • Sign up to get my free eBook
  • Schedule your assessment now
  • Grab one of the last spaces at my retreat

For some reason, many business owners forget to do this. Or they don’t want to do it because it’s uncomfortable to just blatantly tell people what to do.

Often, when someone tells me no one signed up for their program, I’ll look at their copy and discover that their call to action goes more like this:

  • Let me know if you’re interested.
  • Give me a call if want to try this.
  • I’m around if you want to chat.

It’s like one big tie-dye lava-lamp microbrewery-beer-drinking dude-shrug. “Hey, call me, don’t call me, it’s up to you, I’m good with whatever, you know?”

When you get all “go with the flow” in your Call to Action, guess what your reader does?

She thinks, “Okay – no rush. I’ll get to this later. I’m sure there’s time and space and whatever.”

After all, she’s got other things that are more pressing and urgent on her plate. You, on the other hand, are telling her that you’re always around. You’re always there. There’s nothing pressing here at all. You’re too busy going with the flow.

So, let’s get clear about how you can create compelling calls to action. Follow these six steps – and stop all of that shrugging, okay?

1 – Before you create your content, get clear about the Call to Action

A Call to Action doesn’t always have to sell something. It can simply lead people to get on your list, or hit reply or leave a comment.

But every piece of content you put out there should have some kind of Call to Action. Some kind of to-do associated with it.

WHY are you putting this content out there? What is the point? If it’s simply to garner comments and start a conversation, great. Then make that clear.

Your CTA leads people to engage, stay connected, get on your list – and eventually become clients or customers. Don’t leave home without one.

 2 – Put some thought into your Call To Action

Consider this CTA: “Like this article? Leave me a comment below!”

And this CTA: “Have a favorite strawberry pie recipe you’d like to share with our community? Post the link in the comments below!” (Obviously, the content of said article would be about strawberry pie, and not writing Calls to Action.)

In other words, there are more creative ways to get people to engage, then just telling them to “leave a comment.”

3 – Keep your Call to Action simple and do-able

On the other hand, you don’t want to confuse people either. One of my favorite calls to action I give to my clients who have small lists is simply, “Hit reply and I’ll send you the info.” It’s easy. It’s simple. And people do it.

In other words, make sure that what you want me to do is laid out in simple, easy-to-understand language.

4 – Avoid “Whatever, dude” language

“I’m here if you want to talk” does not inspire people to take action. That’s because most of us are too busy to get to that action. If you’re always waiting for us, that’s very sweet of you. But we’ll never call.

So, make your CTA time sensitive or space sensitive. “Grab one of the last three spaces.” Or “Registration closes on Wednesday. Click here to sign up now.”

5 – Follow the Rule of One

This is the most important rule of all. Do NOT overwhelm people with the many choices you want to offer. That’s just your way of avoiding clarity. One call to action. That’s all.

6 – Make graphically-obvious clickable text

Make sure it’s obvious to me where I should click. Give me an underline, a different color, a very clear button. Don’t hide your CTA. It will simply confuse your peeps and they will go away.

So, brace yourself.

Right now, I will personally model a Call to Action for you.

Ready?

In the comments below, tell me the exact words you used in the last CTA you put out in the world! (And how’d it work???)

(Or, share your favorite strawberry pie recipe.)

29 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Michael LaRocca

    Do you know who has an effective CTA? My cat. Right now she wants me to feed her, so I can’t remember what I was actually going to type.

  • Maryanne

    My last CTA for a Vision Board Workshop. Are you ready to direct and create your life? Comment below and I will send you how to take the first step.
    I had three sign ups and it was an intimate gathering that left people feeling energized.

  • Dawn

    Yes…realising there’s a lot more to a CTA than I thought. With hindsight I now recognise that my previous attempts have been wishy-washy, vague, impersonal and uninspiring. Recognise I’m now feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of having to consider them far more! But thank you Christine

  • Julia

    I had to go out and check. This was today’s.
    Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. Dallin H. Oaks
    It all comes back to our desires.
    If you’re ready to get clear on what you want and desire in your life.
    If you’re ready to dive deep into why you desire what you desire.
    Let’s talk. You can book in a time here. https://calendly.com/julia-3/30min

  • Andrea Clare Mock

    I haven’t posted it yet but here’s a proposed CTA:

    Grab your ticket now and leave the theater feeling like the world is a wonderful place.

    “Grab your ticket now” would be big, bold, underlined and take the person to brownpaper tickets for my show.

  • Yarah Sutra

    My last call to action:
    Join The Cyber Circle — Unapologetically Woman

    …it was bold, pink, and underlined. 16 new women joined my cyber circle in 3 days.

  • Diana

    CTA:
    “Do any of you have any other ideas as to how we can make sure that this important information gets passed on so our customers care is followed through? Ideas greatly appreciated.”

  • Rachel Claret

    Just looking for strawberry pie recipes….

  • Dave

    Yes!! Simple and fundamental tip, but so powerful. Thank you so much for this timely and very helpful post. I truly appreciate it! 🙂

  • Dawn

    I have yet to write a CTA as I’m so new, but like the ideas & comments to guide me once I’m there 🙂

  • Mary Kraemer

    This was on a member’s only page. Already had a write-up & emails sent out per eWomenNetwork. My reply…

    I’m honored to be the guest speaker on May 3rd.

    I’d love for you to attend as I share about ‘How to Use Meditation for Manifesting, Money, Mindfulness & to Stress-less’. The principles I share can easily transfer between one’s personal & business life.
    See you soon!

  • Dorothy

    I sent out my first email for a workshop for Parents going through divorce yesterday.

    My call to action paragraph said, “Do you or your children know of a family that is going through a divorce and could use some professional support? Please Forward this Email to them or Click Reply and ask me for the workshop Flyer and more details.”

  • Katherine

    I just sent this out, where “Register here” is a hyperlink of a different color:

    We only have a few spaces left for this date.
    Register here!

    I also put several other CTA’s, of the same ilk, on the same page, betwixt and between content that told the readers more about the event.

    • Christine Kane

      Katherine – I’d suggest something a bit more compelling like, “Grab your space!” It’s more personal than “register here.”

  • suzanne

    divinely timed for me! thank you. having an online promotion now and sending out daily emails. i’m going to review them and make sure my CTA is super clear.
    question-this has come up for me-what are your thoughts on a creative vs. direct email title ? thanks for your feedback. xo

  • Susan Wagner

    This CTA went out with a blog about not living a mediocre life.
    Are you craving more out of life? Ready to identify what you want to change? Commit to making that change?
    Click the reply button and tell me what you’re thinking about?

    Not one reply. Help!

    Susan

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Susan… as a reader, I’m not sure you are offering me anything to do here. Tell me what you’re thinking about is a little vague. You’ve got the CTA there – but it still sounds like you’re just wanting to have a conversation…and not really going to help me. Also – what does it LOOK LIKE to crave more out of life?

      • Susan Wagner

        Thank you for the feedback, Christine. I will besure and be more direct in my CTA!

  • Yolanda Gray

    There’s no time like right now to make a decision for you; no one else, but you. Join me and register here (hyperlink) for a fresh start; a new beginning.

  • Cathy

    On the blog post I directed my newsletter readers to this week (about enjoying a meal with all 5 senses), I asked:

    When was the last time you enjoyed a meal with your whole being? I’d love to hear all about it. When you share in the comments, you open the possibility for others.

    That last bit is something I include in every comment request.

  • Jocelyne

    My last cta was:

    “Last reminder for Sundays workshop …Want to come?

    Just let me know and I will reserve a space for you.”

    Have done better and worse! Did get some replys although I know I rushed this off without too much thought. (Note to self !!)

    • Christine Kane

      Jocelyne – Well, at least you recognized that you fired it off. 🙂 I always take extra time with subject lines, titles and CTA’s. It’s really where all the value lies in terms of engagement! (and yes, there are times when I fire it off too!)

  • Cindy

    Those who register by Sun evening will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $50 Carnival gift card!

    This went out in an email AND we were promoting it at a booth all weekend. I only got 3 entries. 🙁 I did get some calls and questions, though….

    Maybe the email should have had a clear BUTTON to register? Not sure what would have helped with the booth set-up except maybe a bigger deadline on our poster?

    • Christine Kane

      Cindy, It really depends how you worded it. Saying “Those who register by Sun evening will automatically be entered in a drawing…” is different from “Register now to win a $50 Carnival gift card! 24 hours only!” (or whatever the time is). The second one tells them exactly what do do right now.

      It’s always a good idea to test as much as you can. A button helps with some audiences, but not all audiences are the same. Test using a button next time– those do usually have better conversions.

  • Cathy

    My last blog post (about enjoying a meal with all 5 senses) ended with

    “When was the last time you enjoyed a meal with your whole being? I’d love to hear all about it. When you share in the comments, you open the possibility for others.”

    I include that last sentence in every request for comments.

    • Christine Kane

      Great Cathy! Also – if they are learning from you, there’s always a chance they have NEVER enjoyed a meal with their whole being – and this is an entirely new concept to them. Is there a way to help people not have to write “Never!” as an answer to your CTA? 🙂

  • Sana

    My last CTA:

    We each get one body; how will you choose to love yours today? Let me know in the comments below!

    • Sana
    • Christine Kane

      Sana – Fabulous! One little tweak that might help that I’ve learned is to break it down to make it REALLY EASY to respond – meaning “how will you choose to love yours today” is a very BROAD question. I like to make things more “thinkable” for people. Like, “What is one small step you can take to love yours today?” HOW is a very big word and can overwhelm people who may otherwise answer but can’t think that big. make sense?

  • Amira Alvarez

    I went to check… here’s the most recent CTA I wrote…

    “What is your Elephant Step? Tell me in the comments below or on Facebook and I’ll cheer you on.”

    Yup. It was a blog post on using the concept of Elephant Steps to grow you biz. http://amiraalvarez.com/steadily-grow-your-business-with-elephant-steps/

    • Christine Kane

      Hey there beautiful Amira! (So happy to see you my friend!)

      So – i love this. Did it get a good response?