The best example of a failed call-to-action (CTA) I have ever seen wasn’t a CTA. It was a scene in the famous 1967 Mel Brooks film, The Producers. Max and Leo (played by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder) are on the edge of their seats – waiting for the mass walk-out every bad play sees at intermission. Instead, they are met with joy and laughter.
You see, Max and Leo wanted to produce a lousy play. They lined up a terrible script. They found a flouncy director. They picked an unethical and taboo subject for the time (aka Hitler).
Because their lead actor’s antics changed the message of the play.
No, you aren’t producing a play (Unless you are. In which case, please tell me more!) But marketing is in many ways a form of paid entertainment.
Here are four steps you can use to craft a CTA designed to pull results.
- Determine audience. A successful CTA must appeal to the audience to whom it is presented. Consider the media/venue being utilized and generate a profile of the potential viewers. Your profile should include general age, income, and status within the sales funnel.
- Align your intent. What does success look like for this audience? Your goal might be to boost car loans. But are you looking to increase the number of initial inquiries to the loan officers or grow submitted applications? The answer is dependent upon your audience.
If you are sending an email campaign to people who have already reached out about a loan, it will make sense to have a CTA requiring an application. These individuals are already in the sale funnel and have indicated they have an interest in the product. Submitting an application is a logical next step.
A digital or print ad, however, displays to a much broader audience. As such, any CTA should assume a general rather than specific interest and offer a more passive CTA such as a short outreach form to the appropriate loan officers.
- Determine the value of your offer. A good CTA balances reward with required action for best results. Most individuals will provide general contact information in exchange for information. Introducing a measurable reward such as gift card, credit, or physical item can increase the amount of time and information willingly provided.
A $50 gift card or credit, for instance, is probably enough of an incentive for a car loan inquiry. Most people would expect to fill in their name, phone number, and email as well as a type of loan (new car, used car, refinance), and amount of the potential loan. It would be unlikely, however, to incentivize a brand-new lead to fill out a full application requiring pay stubs and social security information.
- Hire the right lead. Strong CTAs clearly establish value and intent.
For instance, “You could be saving $XX per month on your car payment. Find out how for a chance to win $100. [CTA Button]”.
- Benefit 1: Find out if you can save money every month. (Guaranteed benefit of knowledge.)
- Benefit 2: You could win $100. (Additional potential short-term bonus.)
- Action Required: Click the link for next steps.
In The Producers, Max and Leo had ALMOST everything right (or, rather, purposefully wrong). They had the audience profile. They had their intent aligned. They had introduced value to the market. But they didn’t have the right lead. Don’t be Max and Leo. Remember these four steps the next time you are crafting a CTA.