Calling All Shoppers!

Attract, Motivate, and Convert Your Targeted Consumer with a Compelling Call-to-Action

What’s the most important part of your direct mail ad? Besides having the correct phone number, of course! In a fast-paced world full of distractions, it’s critical to motivate the reader to act. There are a number of ways to do grab attention – bold, bright colors, a clear, uncluttered layout, an eye-catching headline. But all of that effort will be wasted if there isn’t a defining offer, or call-to-action.

The reader needs to clearly perceive the benefit to taking energy to peruse the advertisement. With an engaging offer, the potential consumer is drawn in and compelled to take action, ultimately becoming a buyer – every advertiser’s goal.

There are several critical elements to an effective call-to-action.

  • Clear. A confused reader is a lost reader and a missed opportunity. The reader must clearly know the actions needed to get the benefit. Language should be direct and to the point: “Free delivery with purchase of $50 or more”, “Call today for a free estimate”, “Visit our website for more offers”. Any disclaimers must also be definitively stated. The last thing a business needs is a perplexed customer, unhappy with the muddled fine print and unexpected extra actions required to achieve the goal.
  • Short and sweet. As distractions increase, attention spans plummet. The offer needs to motivate the reader in the least amount of time and space. 50% OFF is much better than “Buy one, get one free of lesser or equal value”. Even better, state the dollar savings as a specific amount, such as $100 OFF. The human brain more easily and quickly perceives the value of a dollar amount saved vs. a percentage off. At the end of the day, consumers take money to the bank, not percentages, and savings in terms of dollars is much clearer to them, without the need to take the time to do extra calculations.
  • Focus on the consumer…not yourself. Speaking of brevity, a direct mail piece is not the time to tell your “story”. As fascinating as the rise of Doggy Dream Daycare to resounding success from the depths of your basement may be, too much text slows down response time and will lose the reader. In our 140 character universe, let’s face it, extended stories risk coming across as stale and just plain boring. Best to leave them for a website or newsletter.
  • Limited. Along with brevity, the call-to-action must focus on limited choices. Three really good offers are much more beneficial than six overcrowded ones that cause too much energy to read through, resulting in a frustrated reader that goes elsewhere.
  • Sense of urgency. Without a defined deadline, the reader may put off any action and become easily distracted by another, more pressing task. It’s important to add an expiration date to your offer, compelling the consumer to act now. In the very least, add “limited time offer”.

As always, the goal is to create ads that sizzle and draw the readers in, motivating them to take action. With these steps, you’re sure to create a compelling call-to-action that brings about the all-important conversion from curious reader to committed buyer.