The 5 W’s of a Call-to-Action

Have you ever seen one of those $19.95 commercials on TV where they introduce an over-exaggerated problem, talk about products that never work and then finally get to the part where they showcase how their product will make your life 10 times better? These infomercials, while cheesy, are effective at painting a picture that sells the viewer on the benefits of their product while reminding them of how everything else they tried before is a waste of money. The end of these commercials is always the same and easily predictable: there is a call-to-action, a time limit and a bonus offer that applies to the time limit.

Without this call-to-action it is likely that many customers would not call or feel the sense of urgency that the advertiser is trying to evoke. As we will learn below, the components of 2 a.m. infomercials should also be used in your marketing pieces so that you compel more customers to buy from you. Let’s take a look at the 5 W’s of a call-to-action to learn just how important they are to your sales cycle.

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of a Call-to-Action

  1. The Who: Your marketing call-to-action, or CTA, needs to address the viewer directly and let them know that your product is the solution to all of their problems. Merely presenting your products or services and all of their features is not enough. The ‘who’s’ need to be told what you want them to do and how to do it.
  2. The What: When making good use of your CTAs try to simplify the choices your prospects can make as much as possible. Asking the viewer to purchase one of your 200 products in your CTA is confusing and opens up the possibility that they will have to figure that part out and come back later. Prospects buy more products when their choices are limited; one CTA per product with specific, simple ordering instructions like “Call, click to order or Act Now” will reduce confusion and create more sales.
  3. The When: Like the infomercials, present your call-to-action after the prospect has had time to consume all of the relevant information about the problems and solutions. This will help them understand how your product will improve their life. To create more of a sense of urgency, present your prospect with a time limit so that you directly overcome any of their reluctance. Take this a step further by offering a bonus that makes your offer even more powerful. A bonus offer – a free gift, a free report, free shipping, DVD, etc. – will add additional value to the original offer and reinforce the time limit. After you have provided an initial call-to-action after discussing the problems and the solutions your product can provide go into the details of the time limit, the bonus offer, and then reinforce your call-to-action again to guide the prospect down your sales funnel.
  4. The Where: Call-to-actions should occur at the bottom of your sales pieces (in text) or at the end of your video or other multimedia content. The ‘end’ is usually the time when you have gone through all of the pains other products have not solved and sold the viewer the benefits of your product. As mentioned above, call-to-actions can be repeated after the time limit or bonus offer to reinforce added value and provide for a clear conclusion for the prospect to follow.
  5. The Why: A perfect product and a company introduction is often not enough to persuade a customer to make a purchase. Beyond discussing the benefits of your product throughout your copy or marketing content, a call-to-action takes prospects to the next step, describes what will happen when they follow your instructions, and tells them what to do to enhance their lives.

Test Variations on the CTA

Following the exact format of infomercials may be precisely what your business needs to close more online leads and prospects. While the layout of your product pages, text and presentation of the problems and solutions may not be as ridiculous, it is the proven format of infomercials that can be adopted into other marketing materials. Test different call-to-actions for your products and see if you can hammer down one that results in more conversions. Remember the 5 W’s when creating these pages and make your customers feel good about ordering from you.