Every direct mail piece should have a call to action, a response you want users to complete. But how do you encourage users to act? How do you create an effective call to action?

A call to action provides…

  • Focus to your site
  • A way to measure your pieces success
  • Direction to your users

How then do you create an effective call to action? Here are 5 techniques which help achieve just that.

1. Lay the groundwork

Before a user is willing to complete a call to action they have to recognize the need. Before you ask people to respond, first identify a problem and present a product that solves that problem. You also need to communicate the benefits of responding. What will the user get out of completing the call to action?

2. Offer a little extra

Sometimes you may have to sweeten the deal to encourage users to complete a call to action. Incentives could include discounts, entry into a competition or a free gift.

3. Use active urgent language

A call to action should clearly tell users what you want them to do. They should include active words such as:

  • Call
  • Buy
  • Register
  • Subscribe
  • Donate

All of these encourage users to take an action.

To create a sense of urgency and a need to act now, these words can be used alongside phrases such as:

  • Offer expires March 31st
  • For a short time only
  • Order now and receive a free gift

4. Get the position right

Another important factor is the position of your call to action on the piece. Ideally it should be placed high on the piece and in the center. It is not just the position of your call to action that matters. It is also the space around it. The more space around a call to action the more attention is drawn to it. Clutter up your call to action with surrounding content and it will be lost in the overall noise of the page.

5. Carry the call through

Finally, consider what happens when a user does respond to your call to action. The rest of the process needs to be as carefully thought through as the call to action itself. One particular word of warning – if you require users to provide personal data about themselves, resist the temptation to collect unnecessary information.