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AMiable Solution #402: Are Your CTAs Suitable for Print?

Writing a good call-to-action (CTA) doesn’t just happen, and it isn’t just one-size-fits-all. What you write for a Facebook post most likely isn’t suitable for a direct mail letter, and vice versa. See this week’s blog to find out how digital and print CTAs differ and to see more than a dozen examples of both.

Are all CTAs (calls-to-action) created equal? You’d think so. They all have the same objective, after all: to tell prospects and buyers what to do next.

But how you write a CTA in an email looks different than the CTA you build up to in a letter, on a website, or even on a postcard. The main differences? Length and looks.

Digital CTAs tend to be very graphically appealing. The call-to-action—which usually requires clicking on a line of linked text or on the text in a graphic element, like a box, photo, or video—usually directs readers to a content resource or specific web page.

Because they tend to be more of a graphic element than a textual one, digital CTA copy tends to be very concise, usually only 2 to 5 words:

· Shop now

· Get 50% off

· Claim your coupon

· Get free shipping

· Free gift with purchase

· Download now

· Reserve your seat

· Sign me up

· Upgrade now

They focus on an objective (access content, make a purchase, view a video, book a service, get free stuff, etc.) and get right to the point.

Printed CTAs, on the other hand, tend to not only contain more text, but they also allow for greater response options, whether that be to call a number, return a form, visit a web page, mail something in, etc. They’re direct and specific, but they emphasize benefits and invoke emotion:

· Save 20% on your tax preparation when you call 800-TAX-HELP before March 1!

· Sign up for your free trial today and start feeling better tomorrow!

· Send me the form at the top of this letter, and I’ll send you the next issue absolutely free.

· Join our animal-saving mission and we’ll match your membership 2-to-1!

· Order your new phone today and get FREE shipping or FREE curbside pickup at our store.

· Join more than 10,000 satisfied customers who’ve already taken advantage of this extraordinary offer and who now enjoy peace of mind about their credit card payments.

· With so much in store for you if you call, and with nothing at all to lose, there’s no reason to pass this up!

Printed CTAs are generally more dependent on the marketer’s ability to carry readers through the entire promotional piece—or at least give them enough visual and verbal cues through images and headlines—to know what the offer is and to seek information on making it happen. Your hook, your headlines, your images, your evidence, your testimonials, your arguments, your story…every part of your campaign…should support the one big benefit your offer provides and lead readers to your benefit-focused, urgency-inspiring call-to-action.

No matter which format you use—digital or print—be sure your call-to-action is well supported by a targeted and appropriate list, a problem-solving offer, and a well-designed promotion.

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