Creating compelling calls-to-action using value

4 minute read


Marketing, particularly email marketing, is ultimately a case of proposing a bargain to the right people in the right way to get as many transactions as possible. We’ve talked about targeting the right people in a few other posts, so I wanted to take some time to talk about framing your product or service offering in the right way to get the maximum impact and generate the most return on investment from your communications. The part of your message where you’re telling the reader what to do (or call-to-action) is the key to success.

What does a call-to-action involve?

There are essentially three elements involved in creating a call-to-action, which can be broken down like this:

A. What do you want the reader to do? For example, ‘Sign up for our email newsletter’.

B. How do they go about doing it? For example, ‘Click here’.

C. What’s in it for them? For example, ‘Get 20% off your next order and first dibs on our latest offers and updates’.

It’s all about making the perceived benefit to them greater than the cost of taking the action. For a successful call-to-action, the formula should look like this:

(A + B) < C

It’s a case of making the cost for the reader taking the action (points A and B) as simple, cheap and easy as possible. This sets the groundwork for making the benefit to the reader (point C) seem great in comparison. Value can present itself in a variety of forms, and some key examples include:

  • Monetary value. Offering people things like purchase discounts, cash-back on purchases, coupons for free subsidiary products or free upgrades on existing purchases.
  • Time saving. If you can present people with a way of shifting the day-to-day balance of work and play by making laborious tasks quicker and easier, you’re likely to find yourself rather popular.
  • Providing expertise or information. This is of value to a reader because being given tips or advice in easily digestible formats is quicker, easier and cheaper than sourcing the same information without the content you’re providing.

The thing to remember with creating valuable offers is that it’s all about what you’re saving the prospect, not necessarily what the cost is to you. To make sure your offers are perceived as valuable you need to know what drives the decision making process for your customers.

Once you’ve decided on your offer, consider how you’re going to phrase it to maximise the value available; the copy you use to describe the action and the offer will have a significant impact on its success. There’s plenty of research on call-to-action copy, one of my favourite examples is this article as it includes some great case study examples.

Finally, you need to decide how to display your call-to-action visually on your design, be it email, web or print. For some great tips on the visual element of creating great calls to action, take a look at this post.

Have you seen some great examples of valuable offers? Let us know in the comments below!