It’s fine you think of how to make your clients act. Did you finally manage to? Or your Facebook page is still a monologue and posts are only “Liked” by bots when being promoted?
On the Internet you'll find plenty of advice in posts, comments, articles and books, designed to help you achieve one simple goal - getting your clients and customer to take action - to buy, to call, to visit a website - whatever it is you want them to do. It's the ultimate purpose for the piece of communications you've created.
Whether it comes from marketing communications agencies, top PR agencies, or advertising gurus, most of that advice - comes down to the same thing - though it's often heavily disguised. There's a temptation for many of these marketing professionals, no doubt trying to distinguish themselves from competitors, to dress up the advice in fancy terminology and ideas.
It might be the tech PR firm that comes up with everything from 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Star Wars' concepts to invoking Paris Hilton, or drawing on analogies with 'The Bible'. Or it could be the B2B web marketing agency that simply fling in feckless jokes just to tell you one very simple thing – how to make your readers act.
So, to make things crystal clear and avoid any confusion, we'd like to restate this simple message, without any great circus or hoopla.
Here it is: if you want your clients to act, tell them.
Tell them clearly and precisely what it is you want them to do. If you want them to buy now, tell them why they should. If you'd prefer them to call you, or sign up for a newsletter, say so.
Whatever action you desire, simply say you’d appreciate them leaving a comment, clicking "like” or whatever it is. And of course, if that action is both free and simple, most people won't hesitate.
And you'll get an even better response if your call to action is backed up - with something in return. A gift, however trifling it may be, a present, bonus, coupon or the reader's photo on a coffee cup, will encourage action and massively increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
If you handle your own web and social media presence, take this lesson to heart. If it's handled for you by specialists be it a technology marketing agency or your tech PR firm, make sure they learn this lesson too. Because it's easy to overlook, but essential to get right.
To reiterate, if you want your clients act, tell them how you want them to act.
Don’t expect them to understand or somehow guess what you want them to do.
A specific example would help here. Let's assume you asked a question in a blog post but received a poor response and very few comments. The reason? It's probably, it’s the way you asked the question.
If you asked: “Which is better, an Audi or a BMW?”, a reader will probably think a "BMW is better without a doubt" – and go to the following post.
What you should have asked is: “What is better, an Audi or a BMW? Leave you opinion in the comments.” That would generate much more feedback and interaction.
Don't forget, a call-to-action must specify what that action should be.
Don't be shy about telling people what you want from them.
But here's the thing - do you agree? Have you had any relevant experiences in this area? Has your technology marketing agency taken this on board? What about that tech PR firm you employ - do they understand the importance? What have you learnt about effective calls to action over the years? Here's a thought - let us know... in the comments. Give us your opinion - we'd love to hear it.