An email landed in my inbox last week from holiday company Trailfinders. I’m on their mailing list, so I receive regular communications from them. There was nothing different about this email compared to others which they’ve sent me in the past, so I had a quick glance through and was about to press delete when something caught my eye.
The top panel on their email was promoting California as a holiday destination. As much as I’d like to go there one day, I have to confess it’s not in my top 5 of must-see places – but the thing that had caught my eye was the call to action (CTA) on the panel… rather than the default ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’… the CTA was ’take me to California’ and yes, I clicked on it…even though I knew it wasn’t actually going to take me to California.
If it had just said ‘find out more’ I can guarantee I wouldn’t have clicked on it, but just by changing the words and making it sound like I was going to be transported away from my desk to beautifully sunny California was enough to tempt me to click.
Sometimes that’s all you need, something small and seemingly insignificant to tempt you to make that move and who knows, there could have been an amazing holiday deal on the landing page that would have made me think twice about California as a holiday destination… unfortunately there wasn’t, but it did make me think about the words used and how just that small change made me stop, look… and more importantly act.
A few days later another email arrived which also caught my eye in terms of CTAs, this time from The Old Quay House Hotel in Fowey – OK, I know there’s a bit of a holiday theme going on here, but that’s purely coincidental! The CTA that caught my eye was inviting me to spend ‘five minutes with Martin’.
Well I’m happy to give up 5 minutes of my time to read about something I’m interested in. In this instance the CTA implied that I wouldn’t have to spend hours reading through a blog post or article – 5 minutes was all it would take. I had a spare 5 minutes and so I clicked. The link took me through to a Q&A structured blog post with a very short intro – easy to scan through and pick out the bits I was interested in and yes, it probably did only take up 5 minutes of my time.
As an account handler, the importance of the CTA is always front of mind when writing and delivering a brief, but how that CTA is executed is often overlooked.
When faced with the barrage of communications messages that fight for our attention every day, combined with our ever-shortening attention spans, clear and concise signposting and calls to action can make an enormous difference to whether your message is received, understood and acted upon – or not.
So if you’re trying to make your CTA effective, remember the following points:
- Make it stand out – whether by using a contrasting colour, different sized type, graphics etc – make sure your CTA is easy to see, not easy to miss.
- Focus on one action – the clearer and simpler it is to understand, the more likely someone will follow-through. If people are the slightest bit unsure e.g. ‘Where do I click? What am I supposed to do?’ then chances are you’ve lost them.
- If you need to have multiple CTAs – particularly on emails – make sure your main CTA appears ‘above the fold’ irrespective of which device it’s being viewed on.
And finally, think about the wording. 9 times out of 10 ‘Click here’ or ‘Find out more’ will do the job, but ask yourself ‘is there a better, more intriguing way to word your call to action?’ It might just be the difference between someone clicking the link… or not.