Insight July 23, 2015

Give CTAs in Print Ads Extra TLC


Ah, the Call To Action (CTA), often the unsung hero of any advertisement. Far less glamorous than the headline, the CTA does the heavy lifting to move potential customers from the advertisement to the next step in the sales process. All work and no play — the CTA.

Granted, sometimes it’s less work. To move a prospect from a digital or mobile ad to a digital or mobile site may require only “sign up” or “download your coupon” as a CTA. Basically, it can be two to five words on a button.

Nudging a prospect from print advertising (newspaper, magazine, flyer) to digital is more complex. The prospect has to stop reading and follow up on a device at that moment or make a note to do it later. And with life’s many distractions, “later” can turn into never.

The good news is that CTAs for print ads aren’t confined to a button. Go ahead! Say a little more and nudge a little harder. Consider these tips for CTAs in print advertising:

Remind readers why they want to take action
– Offer (Save 20% on your eyewear)
– Value prop (Simplify your banking)
– Benefit (Get rid of your back pain)

Tell them where to go
– Provide a URL that’s specific to the ad. (Ad-specific URLS will help you track ROI.)
– Create a URL that’s easy to remember.

Let them know what they can expect to do when they get there
If the next step requires action, the CTA can prepare them for that. Instructions such as sign up, open an account, make an appointment, or download a coupon, eliminate surprises — and bounces.

Overcome potential obstacles
Commitments and providing payment information make prospects wary. You can overcome obstacles in the CTA with messages such as “No strings. No credit card.”

Include a code
If an offer requires a code, use it in the CTA to create a sense of urgency and special value.

Add oomph with design
Consider color, boxes, sniping, and other graphic elements to grab the reader’s attention.