June 6, 2012

3 Keys to Creating a Call-to-Action

We all use calls to action but we often don’t think of them that way. Writing an email to a friend asking for feedback, emailing to arrange a coffee date, sending a follow up note – these all contain calls to action whether obvious or implied.

A call to action should be crafted to suit the situation but here are 3 characteristics of any effective call to action:

SIMPLE

Uncomplicated and straightforward is what you’re aiming for. Convey the essence with just a few words. Don’t use jargon and don’t mislead or try to trick your reader into action.

NATURAL

Minimize the options. It may seem like a good idea to give options but, in fact, it causes indecision. If possible, have only one choice and make it the natural next step with little thought required.

EASY

A simple 1-2-3 process is easy. A 1-step process is even easier. In some situations you may need another call to action to get through steps 2 and 3. Keep to baby steps and few of them.

None of these factors will be effective without the others. And the EASY part is often where things get messy. For example, I can simply ask my sister if she wants to go shopping with me and it would be natural for her to agree. But if I ask her to meet me on Broadway in New York at noon next Saturday... well, easy it’s not.

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