If you’ve never heard of a “Call to Action” (CTA), then listen up. These phrases have always been an important part of advertising and can be found in nearly every advertisement, no matter where or how that business is running its ads.
What Exactly is a “Call to Action”?
In the simplest terms, advertisers use CTAs to tell customers what to do. After promoting a product or service, it wouldn’t make sense to just end an advertisement. Instead, advertisers want to push customers to “act now” and take advantage of the sale for themselves. In this way, advertisers use calls to action to incite the consumer’s next action and trigger a sale after a strong advertisement.
The best examples will push the customer forward in one move. Online, a broad term like “Buy Now” may not work as often today as “Click the Link in Bio,” which is a specific phrase consumers are used to seeing that points them forward with just one click. The success of your CTA does not depend on the customers purchasing your product in a single swoop but should instead simply push them to the next step.
Online vs. Print
Some companies advertise concepts like “click funnels,” which use CTAs to push customers from one part of the website to the next. The better you can control a customer’s navigation of your website or online platforms, the better you can track where you lose them or how often they actually make it to your purchase page.
The best part of online advertising is that it is so interactive it creates a wealth of data for business owners to mine. Just by running an ad online, you can find out more about your strongest consumer base, what parts of the ad they liked, and what times of year — or even day — your advertisement performed best.
Of course, online advertising’s greatest weakness is securing local sales. While you can learn a lot by advertising internationally, most small businesses are just interested in generating as many sales in their community as soon as possible. For this reason, running print or unconventional print advertising can be a great way to present your business as a local option. Targeting zip codes surrounding your business is another easy way to make sure you’re reaching the right consumer base and establishing connections within your community.
Choosing the Right CTA
You may have to accept that the CTA that seems most exciting to you may not be the best option for your customers. While a business owner may get excited about the offer of a “free trial”, customers may be wary. Altering the phrasing to something as simple as “give it a try” or “access now” may be the gentle nudge that your consumers need. For this reason, many experts suggest running a few ads with slightly different phrasing to test what CTAs work best in your community.
Luckily, print advertising makes testing these phrases easy because you can track how many of each coupon is redeemed. By running the same promotion under three similar ads, you can monitor how many of each version are returned and easily use the winner to design campaigns in the future.
Best Call to Action Phrases
Only you can select the best phrase for your campaign, but we’ve got plenty of examples to choose from. Just remember that these phrases are about generating “conversions,” which simply means turning your advertisements into new sales.
Questions vs. Actions
While actions often perform better than questions, your decision will depend on how different phrases perform in your community. For example, choosing a phrase like “Are You Ready to Try Eco-Washing?” may work after a long spiel about your service. Still, another phrase like “Try Eco-Washing Today!” may perform better without a detailed explanation.
If you’ve found gentler phrases work in your community, you might try something like “Start your journey towards your best hair today.” Mindful customers will respond well, and the idea of the “journey” will sentimentalize their purchase. Similarly, using sentences like “Start the path towards eating green,” “Begin your new adventure today,” or even “Go blonde today” could be enough to push your customers to act immediately without overwhelming them.
Some of the most immediate options imply that customers can act now for a free product, have limited supplies to act on, or have a limited window to act within. If your special aligns with this kind of phrasing, running a campaign with ideas like “Act Now To Try ___ For Free!” Or “Hurry, act now before supplies run out!” can be a great way to trigger quick, effective sales from your customers.
Where to Advertise
Once you hone in on which call to action phrases will best complete your advertisement, it’s time to figure out where to run your campaign. For decades, small businesses have relied on grocery store advertising as a way to reach customers in their community and harvest new sales from a reliable base. Programs like coupon-receipt advertising are part of what makes grocery store advertising such a strong platform because they allow users to print their supermarket advertisement on the backs of grocery store register tape. This means that every single shopper will leave the store with your coupon every time they visit.
With thousands of people visiting their local grocery stores 2-3 times a week, these kinds of grocery store advertising campaigns can mean huge results for your small business. Then, the fact that the majority of grocery stores pull their customers in from a three-mile radius of the store means you’re not only generating thousands of impressions — but also reaching your community through hyper-local targeting.
Online advertising can promise impressions, but no platform will ever be able to bolster your brand like grocery store advertising. Along with the guaranteed impressions you’ll gain, your brand will benefit from the small-town feel of reaching your customers where they shop for their families and can help you cast your brand as an integral part of your community.