The Value of Developing a Call to Action

The Value of Developing a Call to Action

  • Why should you have a call to action? Is a call to action just about generating a sale? Let’s start off by defining a call to action.
  • According to Wikipedia, a call to action refers to any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. A call to action most often refers to the use of words or phrases that can be incorporated into sales scripts, advertising messages, or web pages that encourage consumers to take prompt action.” For instance, a button that invites people to sign up for a free newsletter is a call to action.
  • A call to action can play a variety of roles in developing your brand and business. Marketers often only see a sale as an indicator of success. This however neglects the fact that potential customers may not be ready to buy from your category where longer sales cycles exist. They may not know about the category or have not yet decided on which brand to buy. A call to action may therefore be an attempt to create a sale. More often, however, it may simply be used as a precursor to making a sale, so as to start to influence a potential prospect by identifying them for future, permission-based communications.
  • It pays to identify those people who have shown some sort of interest in your category or brand as they may either be prospective customers or influencers that will play a role in your future success. Identifying them helps us to communicate with them directly and on an ongoing basis.
  • The call to action may also be a mechanism to better define what a prospective client may be interested in as it relates to your business, so as to communicate with them in a more targeted manner. This could sometimes be done by tracking the links they click on, if permission is granted to do so, and then automating customized responses to this through relevant content.
  • Therefore the structure and role of a call to action need to be carefully considered. A call to action can take the form of a direct response communication, such as a Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) approach that attempts to create a sale once a person clicks on the ad. Use the necessary analytics and testing tools to determine what works best.
  • It can however also take a less obvious form such as asking a person to provide an email address to receive future communications relating to the brand. Just be sure to comply with the necessary laws to ensure that your actions going forward are permission-based. e.g. GDPR.
  • Social media provides many opportunities for calls to action as well. For instance, liking and sharing help with the influencer process. It also assists to create a database of followers that has a permission basis with a particular digital media channel environment. Therefore, ensure that your tone, manner, and content fits in with that channel. e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

About the author

Alan Ohannessian started WisdomInc in 1999.

He has broad-based experience in how marketing strategy and analytics are practically integrated with other strategy disciplines for more effective outcomes.

Prior to starting WisdomInc, he started a Customer Relationship Management consultancy within the Ogilvy Group in the mid-1990s and worked within the Ogilvy Group over a 5-year period.

He has advised product and service organizations for more than 70 global and local B2C and B2B brands since 1995.

As a specialist across several disciplines, he is able to provide an integrated view of a solution when providing strategic insights. Areas of specialty have included Marketing Strategy, Brand Strategy, Communications Strategy, Brand Experience Management, and Pricing Strategy.

He has taught Marketing Strategy to MBA students at Wits Business School, on a part-time basis, through the “Marketing in a Connected World” course.

He holds a Master’s degree in Distribution Channel Strategy from the University of the Witwatersrand.

He has also completed a postgraduate dissertation in the area of cost-competitive mass-customization manufacturing strategies at Wits (where he taught Marketing Strategy, Consumer Behaviour, Marketing Research, and Retail Marketing over a 2-year period from 1993 to 1994.)

For further information, go to or connect with Alan at