The next block in our model of a successful marketing tactic is the all important Call To Action. Much has been written about the importance of having a call to action in your advertising and marketing materials, so I will just mention my top three reasons for having a strong call to action.
Your call to action provides the answer to the question “what do I do next?”.
One of the great marketing challenges in today’s environment is getting the attention of prospects and customers who need our services. Once we do gain their attention, the biggest marketing mistake we can make is to fail to provide a clear course of action related to what they can, and should, do next. A call to action may be as simple as providing a phone number to call or linking to a relevant page on your website. Without a clear next step, chances are your prospective customer will move on to the next provider, no matter how clever your marketing materials
Your call to action provides a link to your measurement system.
Professional service firms need to move away from spending money on a marketing model that just “gets our name out there” and towards a model that provides feedback on the results of that marketing budget. The way to capture that feedback is to provide a call to action that can be measured. What would this look like in our referral system example? You could create a gift certificate for people to share with their family, friends, and colleagues who they think would benefit from your service. The call to action is to bring in the gift certificate to receive their free or discounted service. By including information about the person you gave the certificate to (name, date, etc.) you can have some very useful information about who your best referral sources are, the amount of time between when a certificate is given and when a client comes in, which offers are the most popular, etc. Contrast this with the typical process of asking a client how they heard of you – “I’m not sure, I think Joe told me about you, or maybe it was someone at the chamber, or BNI…”.
Move your marketing plan from guessing to knowing by including a call to action that can be measured.
Your call to action helps move people through the marketing hourglass.
In Duct Tape Marketing, we often use the marketing hourglass as a conceptual model of the marketing process. The general idea is that the hourglass consists of several stages and we need to make sure that our marketing system addresses prospects and customers at each and every stage of the hourglass. One of the ways we can help people move from one stage of the hourglass to the next is to 1) use our marketing materials to make people aware of the next stage and 2) include a clear and compelling call to action that tells them how to move to the next stage.
One note, I used the phrase “help people move” on purpose. I think it is important, particularly when marketing professional services, to realize that WE don’t MOVE people, they have to choose move to the next stage. Even if you can force someone to move (which I doubt), in the case that you do, you are bound to have a client that has an unhappy experience.