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It’s interesting that, on the day of the General Election, I was thinking about taking action. I mean, it’s what generations before me have fought to allow happen in a democratic country. We are told to Go Vote Now!

However, I can’t recall a specific call to action from many of the political parties. Except the Conservatives. They had an actionable call to arms. Not one I chose to follow, but they had one all the same. I can’t recall what the LibDems said, nor Labour.

While thinking about this since the results came in, I’ve been taking a look at adverts I encounter on the London underground, the buses, the streets, and the magazines I read. (I would say ads on the web, but to ensure my browser runs smoothly I’ve blocked them all.)

The point is, many of them didn’t include a specific call to action.  I was told I could ‘Discover more’ or ‘Learn more’ or even ‘Read more’, none of them actually all that action-based. I know from experience I’m unlikely to discover much, let alone learn something. If the advertisement wasn’t up to much there was no reason for me to read more – which in some weird instances led to a video where there was nothing to read.

Many had just a single hashtag.

The point of any campaign – be it political or otherwise – is to get people to do something – to buy, to vote, to use the phone, to share their personal details, to visit a website (for a reason, not just to discover something). Without it how can you measure true effectiveness?

It’s time we stopped using vague sentiments such as discovery and learning to get people to care about what we’re talking about, or selling. I wonder if we’ve got embarrassed about being explicit about these things – that somehow it’s coarse to say the buy word, to exalt people to take a test drive, to download a brochure, or to point them towards a brand’s website with a clear indication of what they can do there once they have done so.

Make sure whoever you’re talking to do knows what to do next. Quite often, there’s no need to be clever about it. Just be explicit.

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