5 Common Call to Action Mistakes

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The call to action is, perhaps, the most important factor in the success of your website, emails, brochures, and direct mail sales letters. Without an effective call to action, your readers will never snap out of their passivity. The result: Your copy doesn’t convert.
So, what is it that keeps some calls to action from inspiring readers to become customers? Here are 5 common call to action mistakes.
1. Not having a call to action—I’ve had more than a few people ask me what they can do to generate more leads and sales through their websites. On many occasions, I’ve visited said websites only to find the absence of a call to action. How can you expect a visitor to do something if you don’t ask or tell them to do it? If you want someone to sign up for your email list, you can’t just cross your fingers and hope it will happen. You need to encourage them to do it.

2. Asking for too many things—Earlier today, I came across an advertising blog. The content on the blog was okay, but the thing that really stood out (and it’s the main inspiration for this post) is the number of calls to action the author put at the bottom of each post. He literally asked the reader to do 5 separate things at the end of every post (sign up for email list, find out a secret about the author, become a Facebook fan, download a free whitepaper, and call him). Clearly, the author subscribes to the “throw a bunch of s**t against the wall and see what sticks” theory of doing business. I don’t.

3. Repeating the call to action too often—You see this a lot on those popup landing pages for scam products. While there’s something to be said for repetition, you shouldn’t repeat the call to action 25 times on a single page. It’s overkill, and it reeks of spam and desperation.

4. Having a call to action that’s too long—The guy who writes the advertising blog I mentioned earlier also suffered from a call to action that was way too long. The 5 different things he asked for accounted for a call to action that was as long as the post itself. It shouldn’t take me 30 seconds to read your call to action. An effective call to action is clear and concise. Keep it short and sweet.

5. Not explaining the benefit of taking action—You can’t just tell someone to take action without explaining why they should do so. Remember, the only thing customers care about is “What’s in it for me?” So, if you ask them to sign up for your newsletter, you need to explain the benefit of doing so (e.g. “Get a FREE copy of my eBook when you sign up for my newsletter today.”). Benefits drive action.


Which call to action mistakes bother you most? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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