It’s said that a headline shouldn’t be more than seven words, otherwise consumers will be put off. So a lot of effort goes into writing a line that will work within these constraints. Sometimes no words will be used, because the image is deemed powerful enough.
But some things aren’t always shown as much love: the humble words that lead the individual to do something. The call to action.
Since the advent of online communications, it’s suffered even more. Everything exhorts you to learn more, discover something, read this and that, or the ever-boring click here to X.
About ten or so years ago, I wrote for Samsung, then a challenger brand in the global electronics market. I used a call to action that was clear and effective: Take me there.
It worked well. People responded. It stood out in a market where everyone else was still using ‘click here’.
Recently I wrote about Fraggl, the new service that emails you all the amazing links you missed from the previous day. I said I was unsure of the call to action used, which is ‘I Must Share’. Yet, since then I’ve learned to love it. It’s really compelling, certainly in comparison to ‘Find out more’, or ‘Share this’, or the dispiriting ‘Discover more’. It describes taking action. It stands out.
In some recent campaigns, the URL alone has been used as a call to action: Visit . Most often this is Facebook. Once there, it’s just more information. I’m not driven to do anything more. And so I no longer care. And if I’m required to login to get the content, well, then you’ve definitely lost me because I don’t have an account.
If you really want people to do something, let them know what it is. There’s no shame in that, especially if you want to actually sell your product or service.