Why your call to action could be sending out the wrong message

How much thought have you given to the wording of your call to action on your website or digital and print media?  This post looks at one business who is unintentionally sending out the wrong message with their call to action.

I love junk mail. Not the digital type that fills my email inbox, but rather the type of junk mail that fills my actual old-school letterbox.  I love flipping through the pages and searching for bargains, bargains that in all honesty I probably don’t need  and won’t be buying, but nonetheless I enjoy being tempted by them. I also like to study direct-mail to see what’s effective and what doesn’t work.

I recently had some junk mail delivered to my home with one pamphlet advertising the services of a printing company that designed business cards. I would be attending my first business conference in a few months time and was in the market for some business cards for my new commerce store.   The pamphlet was a reasonably  eye-catching advertisement, it had bold colours, large font and had the basic competitive price listed. Despite the aesthetic appeal  there was still something about this advertisement that made me hesitant to call.  It eventually dawned on me that this advertisement’s call to action was preventing me from taking action as it lacked certainty .  The call to action was a phone number and a website url, however, the actual wording was Why don’t you call us for a non obligation free quote”

 call to action - why dont you call us for a non obligation quote"

Starting the call to action with ‘Why don’t’ didn’t fill me with confidence, it was almost as if the company was apologetic and nervously tip-toeing around the request to ask potential customers to call up for a quote.  Think about it for a moment, the word ‘don’t‘ is usually associated with not doing something, it’s a barrier, and including it in a call to action  almost made me mentally list the reasons why I shouldn’t call up for a quote!

Call to actions should be straight to the point and leave absolutely no room for doubt. Only positive action-orientated verbs should be used. A more effective call to action for this printing business would have been something as simple as

‘Call now for a free no obligation quote’

The printing business could have taken their call to action one step further by adding a sense of urgency and scarcity into their call to action.

‘Call now to redeem 15% off . Offer must strictly end on July 31st’

‘Call now for your free business card upgrade package. Offer ends July 31st’

‘Free business card holder with every purchase. Strictly limited supplies. CALL NOW’

Admittedly, the last 3 call to actions did offer a little something extra to entice customers to ring up for a quote, however, even the simple, ‘Call now for a free no obligation quote’  is more concise and commands more attention than the original call to action.

Ultimately,  when you are writing your call to actions, think about the meaning behind every word and only use action-oriented words that leave no room for confusion as to what the potential customer needs to do to complete that call to action. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and make it as easy and clear as possible for them.

Have you seen any slogans that make you do a double take? If so, please let me know in the comments below.