The One Feature Your Social Media Marketing Must Have

11 Elements to Incorporate into Your Call-to-Actions

Time and time again, marketers and social media folks complain that no one’s responding to their content. They’ve done the hard work of creating useful content that people want and are willing to read. They just don’t ask readers to take the next step with a call-to-action. Direct marketers are the call-to-action experts. A call-to-action motivates the reader to do something. For many, the issue is deciding what do you want your readers to do.

At the heart of a call-to-action is a hook. It’s the enticement that speaks to the reader and answers the question: what’s in it for me. The three major categories of call-to-action enticements are:

  1. Sense of urgency. Use words such as “now” or “limited time offer” that motivate readers to act. The use of a deadline is often handy but make sure that the timeframe minimizes time for thinking.
  2. Reduced pricing. Everyone’s always looking for a bargain. Another way of expressing this is the ever-popular “Free shipping and handling.”
  3. Special offer. This can range from related product to a free download. It can also include the subtler implications of looking smart to your followers.

When creating a call-to-action, here are three factors to consider.

  1. Keep it simple. Bear in mind where the reader is in the process. If you’re looking for a sale, it may take time to convert prospects. In this case, your goal is to remain in the consideration set and persuade them of your offering’s benefits.
  2. Minimize the options. While it may seem like a good idea to give readers as many options as possible, this is likely to have an adverse effect on your results. As direct marketers have known for years, give prospects too many options and they put it aside without any action.
  3. Make it easy. While every social media entity wants people to add content and comments, the reality is that most users just lurk. Therefore, focus your desired actions on elements that don’t require much contribution such as share this, Like this, etc.

Once you’ve primed your readers with your useful information, you must direct them to the next action you want them to take. To help track your results, here are five options.

  1. Use tracking code. This can be a special URL or promotional code. The more specific the code, the better you can match it back to the original offer. Services like Bit.ly and other URL shorteners can help with this.
  2. Provide tailored landing pages. These work best when related to the original source in terms of copy and creative.
  3. Include a special email address. If you’re looking for communications, this will highlight their origin. The issue is providing timely responses.
  4. Offer a special phone number. This works where you have a call center or customer service organization manning phones. It alerts the operator as to how to address the caller while providing trackability.
  5. Include social sharing. Depending on how it’s set up, social sharing, including tweets and Facebook likes can be tracked.

As with any other form of marketing, effective call-to-actions require testing to see what resonates with your target audience. Remember that your call-to-action should be in line with your offering and your readers’ reasons for visiting your content.

If you have any further suggestions to add, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Photo credit: Miss Logic via Flickr

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  • http://www.inflectionmethods.com Joel Capperella

    Heidi,
    some good fundamentals here. What do you make of the emerging category of ‘marketing automation’ SaaS tools like Hubspot or Eloqua? Seems like the pull all of the disparate pieces together to make it easier. At least they seem to try to be doing that.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Joel–Thank you for stopping by. While marketing automation tools can be effective to pull together your marketing materials, it’s important to test that they are working as intended. With regard to calls-to-action, you need to make sure that they are included. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mohelhageen Mohamed El Hageen

    Heidi , would you please illustrate more om point 3 (Make It Easy) with some examples thanks…