6 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Direct Marketing

7 Sep

You should know this term, especially if you’ve worked with the AHAA Marketing team, it’s Call to Action.

We are relentless in our push to not only include a call to action (CTA) but to ensure it’s the strongest possible message you can tolerate. Creating a compelling call to action, one that cannot be ignored, prompts customers to act.

Customers (OK, call them patients if you must) need to be prompted into doing something. That is to say, namely, the dependable “order now” and “go online” or “call today” prompts are a fine start. But, you need to do more. And, it’s not easy. In today’s marketing climate—with so many choices, technological devices and brand messages bombarding the senses—it’s more difficult than ever to get customers to do anything, let alone what you want them to do.

Customers are savvy. If the call to action isn’t bold and relevant, customers will read right through it without doing anything. If it isn’t authentic and relevant, they may dismiss it outright. That can’t happen. Here are six steps to developing a strong call to action that will resonate and push customers to take the next step to engagement.

1. Build a Hierarchy

What do you want them to do first? Second? Third? Is it an invitation? Do you want them to order? Plan your message hierarchy accordingly to move customers through the piece and drive them to act.

When you think about your call to action and what it will look like or what it will say, think about what you need it to do. Understand what exactly you’re asking readers to do, but always begin with the goal in mind. For example, if getting them to call for an appointment is the goal, don’t confuse them by prominently featuring your website.

2. Do Your Homework

Spend time in the mind of your customers. Know what compels them and what moves them. Find the “higher order benefit,” the emotional reason they need to do business with you. What are they seeking? Connections with other people? Discreet solutions that aren’t an age tell? A reliable source of information? It’s not just a hearing instrument or your clinical services they’re buying, but solving their emotional need.

Once you know what motivates them, crafting a message allows you to reach them more effectively and will encourage action. Additionally, an emotional appeal moves the cost/price issues out of the way until that discussion is more relevant. (After all, do you really want to compete on price alone?)

3. Make the Call to Action a Call to Arms

The key word is “action.” Ask for what you want, but more importantly, tell customers what’s in it for them. Be direct. Be specific. Look at the difference it makes when you take a few carefully chosen words and aim them straight at your customer’s sense of self-interest:

  • “Want to see how remarkable a nearly invisible device can be? Come in today, we’ll make it easy for you to decide for yourself”
  • “Ready to involve yourself in life’s best moments again? Call to tell us what you’ve been missing!”

In addition to the verbiage of your call to action, incorporate a response mechanism to facilitate follow-through. For the majority of our audience at this point in time, it is critical to emphasize your phone number. Including a web address may add credibility to your business, but too many action options make it unclear what action is expected.

4. Keep It Simple

Make what you’re asking customers to do easy. If the next step to get them engaged is too complicated or not readily apparent, you risk losing them before they can act. Want to use a cool new QR Code? Understand that many people still do not know what they are or how to use them, let alone the lack of smartphones within our typical audience demographic (65+). Same thing for the web. Do you want to take an action-ready customer and send them to your website instead of having them make an appointment? Simplicity rules.

5. Follow Through

Once you’ve asked customers to do something, what’s next? How are you going to move the activity along to get a sale or create another engagement opportunity? If you have an invitation, allow them to RSVP. Do they need to call for more information? Be ready in the office, marketing is a team effort. Once you’ve gotten them to act, what are you doing to move these customers forward to the next level? Once you get them, don’t lose them!

6. Test, Measure, Adapt

Test and measure, if possible. We’ve found the most effective way to track results is by using a unique phone number on each marketing piece. Using a call tracking provider to manage those phone numbers helps in this process, and as an extra benefit gives you access to recorded calls that can be used to assess and train the team that fields your responses.

If something doesn’t work right away, continue playing with the components. Some “mechanisms” may not work now, but as technology and acceptance grows, other tactics will improve. See what works and apply it to the next effort. Repeat the steps above and tweak as needed to get customers engaged, and formulate an even more effective call to action.

Source: Target Marketing

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