15 Apr

How to Make Your Call-to-Action Really Work

By Erika Turan, APR, Senior Account Executive

If you’re bored with your marketing tools, just wait a minute. Fifteen more new tools will be available tomorrow. But as much as we’re living in the Golden Age of Marketing, one thing remains constant: the call-to-action (CTA).

Your CTA can be the one thing that seals the deal or, ultimately, is the kiss of death. Whether it’s a phone number, landing page, website address, coupon or a dozen other possibilities, you have to do more than just slap the CTA on whatever tactic you’re using and wait for the new business to roll in.

I recently received a glossy mailer from a high-end skin care line. I’ve used their products for about a year, and while I loathe the price tag, I love the products. So, I was excited to see sample packets glued into the mailer and even more excited to see the CTA: take the card into a certain department store, choose three travel-size skin care products and enjoy some sort of skin care treatment. Sounded great!

Armed with my card, I darted into the store and handed it to the consultant, who couldn’t have been nicer. “Oh! Yes, here’s a sample for you,” she said, as she handed me a little packet glued to a card. It looked much the same as what I’d already received in the mail. “In fact, here, you can have a couple,” she said.

I stood there for a heartbeat, wondering if I should say to her, “The card says I get to select three travel-size products and includes a skin care treatment.” It felt greedy on my part, but I was excited to try some complimentary products.

Perhaps interpreting my brief hesitation as a request for more samples, the woman smiled at me and pulled out a couple more small, plastic packets. Feeling a little let down, I asked her if she needed to collect the card I got in the mail.

“Oh no,” she said, “But actually, would you mind if I looked at it? I have no idea what this offer is.” She perused it and said it looked nice before handing it back to me.

And there it was. The CTA fail. The consultant had no idea a direct mail piece was in the market, and, therefore, no clue what is actually offered to consumers.

It was a good reminder to me to always make sure that the entire chain of people involved in the CTA need to be informed of what’s in the market and how to implement it. So, what could this company have done to maximize their direct mail piece?

  1. Sent the same direct mail piece to their consultants with insert that said, “Dear consultant, this mailer will be sent to our customers on X date. We value your partnership and expertise, and wanted to make sure you saw it first, and that you’re aware of the special offer.”
  2. Created a toolkit for the skin care management teams at each of the department store’s locations with instructions on how to implement the CTA, as well as included instructions for the consultants on implementing the CTA, as well as a supply of the samples offered in the piece for customers to choose from.
  3. Collected the cards! What a missed opportunity there. When the consultant declined my offer to collect the card from me, the company lost any record that I’d received the card and acted on it. And wasn’t that the entire goal of their mailing?

Next time you have a CTA, get your team together and give some strategic thought to how you can make it both successful and measurable.