One of the keys to becoming a successful marketer is your ability to write sales letters that compel readers to take action.
It’s one thing to write headlines or leads that pique your reader’s interest; it’s another to compel these readers to take action after reading your sales letter.
To compel your audience or readers to act, pay special attention to creating a compelling call to action (CTA).
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What is a sales letter call to action?
A sales letter call to action is a short phrase at the beginning, middle, or end of your copy.
It directs readers to what they should do after or before reading the important part of your sales copy.
You often try to be straightforward and clear when you want your customers to buy. However, analysis shows that the best call to action examples are those that have an unconscious effect on you.
For example, instead of saying “sign up to our eCommerce platform,” your CTA button or Facebook ad should offer to help prospective clients “become an entrepreneur.”
It does not directly express your call for registration, but rather speaks to the overall benefit of signing up.
Play on your audience’s desire for immediate gratification by convincing them that their problems can be solved with the click of a button.
In this article, we will discuss how you can persuade people to choose your company over competitors without even realizing it.
Why is a CTA important?
Many marketers and copywriters believe that CTAs are unnecessary, especially since they only take up a small portion of their landing page.
They also believe that slapping common CTA examples like “Buy Now” or “Subscribe” on their sales copy will help them convert.
If you do not create strong CTAs, your conversions will suffer. Why?
In 2020, the average daily time spent on social media was 145 minutes, up from 111 minutes in 2015, showing that people are consuming more content than ever before.
As a marketer, this means you’re up against Zoom calls, TikTok, Netflix, Instagram, and other social platforms for people’s attention.
You’d be doing your readers a disservice if you didn’t use strong CTAs.
Strong sales letter CTA’s are important in a world where attention spans are shorter.
A good CTA should pique people’s interests, make them realize what they stand to gain, and prompt them to act.
So, how do you create a compelling call to action?
First, you must lay the proper groundwork.
Before you write your CTA
No builder starts a house without a plan or without first laying the foundation. Similarly, before you begin writing your CTAs, you must lay the groundwork.
Here are two questions that can help you get started:
- What is your objective?
- Who is your target audience?
What is your goal?
Write your CTAs with an end goal in mind. What do you want your audience to do? Do you want them to subscribe to your newsletter? Request a trial? Do you want them to buy your products?
Whatever the goal is, it should be specific and direct.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many options all at once.
Providing multiple options confuses the audience and reduces your conversion rate.
Who’s your target audience?
Knowing your target audience means more than just creating a random “Marketing Mary” persona.
You must thoroughly understand your audience’s fears and desires.
It’s time to start writing your CTA after you’ve determined who your audience is and what you want them to do.
How to write a powerful call to action
While there are no hard and fast rules for writing CTAs, a few principles can help you write effective CTAs.
These principles apply whether you’re writing a call to action for your sales letters, ads, social media captions, or emails.
Keep your CTA above the fold
A fold is the area of your sales letter that visitors see before they start scrolling.
Hide your call to action somewhere other than the first section of your website that visitors see.
You can still use images, logos, and other graphics alongside your CTA above the fold.
Don’t just tell prospects to do something
Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor, conducted a study in 1978 that demonstrated the power of the word “because.” The experiment was carried out in front of a busy copy machine on the Harvard College campus.
Participants were instructed to try to avoid the queue by using one of three different pitches:
- “Please excuse me. I’ve got five pages. “Can I use your xerox machine?”
- “Please excuse me. I’ve got five pages. Because I’m in a hurry, may I use the xerox machine?”
- “Please excuse me. I’ve got five pages. Is it okay if I use the xerox machine because I need to make copies?”
What were the outcomes?
The first statement without “because” received a 60% favorable response. However, that was dwarfed by the 94 percent and 93 percent favorable responses from the other two pitches that used “because.”
Instead of simply telling people what to do, explain why they should do it.
Use a call to value, not a call to action
A call to value, like telling your audience why they should do something, helps hammer home the benefits of taking a specific action.
Don’t say “Buy now” when you could say “Buy now and get 30% off your order.”
Create a sense of urgency
Remember how you used to rush your assignments the night before they were due? You probably wouldn’t have completed as many assignments in high school if there hadn’t been a submission deadline.
The same is true for your marketing messages.
Without a sense of urgency, your audience is unlikely to take any action.
In your CTAs, use phrases like “limited offer,” “now,” and “XXX seats left” to create a sense of urgency.
Your CTA should also instill fear in your audience that they will miss out on something if they do not act quickly.
Be creative. But keep it simple
Don’t try to be too clever or witty by using phrases or words that your audience won’t understand.
Nobody is going to award you a medal for using big words in your call to action.
Instead, use words, phrases, and terms that your target audience would use in everyday conversation.
Use power words and phrases in your CTAs
A strong call to action uses powerful words and phrases.
There is a difference between power words for a sales letter and power words for your call to action.
Here’s a list of effective words and phrases to include in your sales letter call to action:
- Miss out
- Try for free
- Start your free trial
CTAs should be adjusted for different devices
Your call to action will look different on a mobile phone than it will on a desktop.
Make sure your CTA buttons are optimized for the various devices your audience uses.
Use social proof
Social proof, no matter how minor, goes a long way toward making your CTAs effective.
In a world where everyone claims to be the best, social proof shows your audience that you aren’t the only one who is bragging.
Social proof can take the form of a large company or client logos, star ratings from review sites, customer testimonials, or statistics such as the number of email subscribers you have.
Consider the length of your CTA
No rule says your CTA must be a certain length.
The length of your sales letter call to action is frequently determined by your offer and your understanding of your audience.
So don’t worry about it.
Also, you can always experiment to see which length works best for you.
One exciting aspect of CTAs is that you can test almost every aspect of them to see what works.
Using an effective CTA conversion strategy, you can test the copy, button, button size, placement, and even the colors of your call to action.
Call to action examples
When creating a call to action, you don’t always have to start from scratch or reinvent the wheel.
Here are some CTA examples to get you started, including sales letters, email, landing pages, and ad CTA examples.
Netflix has a simple, straightforward call to action.
With its bold color scheme, their easy-to-spot “Try it now” button stands out from the rest of the page.
Furthermore, the copy implies that you can test the software before making any commitments.
When your brand is as well-known as Netflix, you don’t need to be too creative.
This simple call to action example is all that is required to sign up hundreds of new subscribers each month.
Nike has never been one to use two words when one will suffice.
Indeed, their world-famous slogan, “Just do it,” is as simple as it gets. Nothing else should be expected from their call to action.
Customers only need to hear the word “Shop” to know what to do. And if Nike is doing it, there must be something to the brief approach.
This Bluehost call to action is a friendly reminder that people don’t want the 12-inch drill; they want the 12-inch hole.
Most people associate site builders with platforms such as WordPress.
Finding the right host is the last thing they want to think about.
Bluehost capitalizes on this emotion by avoiding phrases about site hosting and instead focusing on on-site creation.
After all, that’s what Bluehost’s visitors really want to accomplish.
If you read OptinMonster’s blog (which you should if you want to master lead generation tactics), you’ll notice that they always end their posts with a call to action.
This is a fairly common practice for most blogs.
This brief phrase encourages readers to share the post (if they liked it, of course) on various social media platforms.
Examples like this serve as a timely reminder that not all CTAs must be sales-driven.
5. Neil Patel
Neil Patel is a well-known marketing “guru” around the world.
You’ll notice at the end of one of his posts that he includes a call to action for people to sign up for a small course he offers.
Though the second CTA (“Start by clicking here”) is where users take action, it is the first step that captures your attention.
The strong “Do This Now” message is impossible to ignore and compels readers to take the next step.
KISSmetrics must be mentioned in any blog post about calls to action.
This CTA from the KISSmetrics homepage is arguably one of the simplest of these examples, but it is also one of the most persuasive.
Rather than going into detail about KISSmetrics’ features, the homepage simply explains what the platform does.
However, what makes this CTA so appealing is that it requires the least amount of input and effort from the user – just a URL.
The “Log In with Google” button informs users of what to expect and makes it ridiculously simple for them to get started.
The explanatory text’s phrasing also serves to pique users’ interest, and the mention of Google reinforces the prospects’ need for security.
7. Quick Sprout
Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout provides our final awesome call to action example.
Similar to newsletter sign-ups, encouraging users to engage with educational content can be difficult, especially since this traffic may not be considered a qualified lead right away.
This does not diminish the importance of these visitors, but it does need a different approach.
The site uses two simple, yet highly compelling, CTAs to drive traffic to Quick Sprout’s educational content – both of which manipulate prospects’ desire to solve a problem.
The first appeals to the prospect’s more “selfish” goal of driving traffic to his or her own website.
This CTA button offers a suggestion based on the type of user, making it even easier to select one of the two options (and reducing the likelihood that the prospect will bounce away without taking any action).
The second CTA emphasizes the value that Quick Sprout’s educational content can provide to agencies and consultants by creating a deeper connection with the content itself.
It implies that by reading (or downloading) Quick Sprout’s content, users can become more useful (and, by extension, essential) to their clients, which strengthens the desire to become more effective at their job and capitalizes on their desire for greater job security or a larger paycheck.
Once again, very clever.
Now that you’ve seen some examples of a sales letter call to action that can inspire you to create a call to action that converts more of your prospects into customers, it’s time to get to work.
Before you begin writing, think about your audience and the specific action you want them to take.
Your CTAs should be above the fold, start with powerful words, create a sense of urgency, include some form of social proof, and explain why people need to act.