– Jason Sprenger – President, Game Changer Communications

There’s a simple truism in sales: in order to get what you want, you must first ask for it.  Think about it – most of us can’t read minds, and often times others just aren’t thinking the same way or about the same things you are. No matter what walks of life you’re talking about – a business dealing, a relationship with someone special to you, etc. – it’s important for you to decide and know what a satisfactory end result of an interaction or relationship would be, and then for you to make that known in a way that helps you achieve your goal.

This concept applies to my work every single day.  As I’ve written in this space before, public relations is all about helping organizations build and maintain the relationships with the people and audiences they need to be successful – and driving the action that ensures that success.  As such, I don’t produce a piece of content, write a blog post, send a story pitch to a reporter, leave a voicemail or send pretty much any kind of message without a strong call to action in there somewhere.

So what could be considered a call to action?  What makes for a good call to action?  Here are a few key attributes:

  • A direct, concise “ask.” Clearly state what you want someone to do, in as few words as possible.
  • Contact information. How can someone follow up or take action if you don’t give them a way to do so?  Include a phone number, an email address, a URL or some way that people can reach you or the appropriate person or team.  And then, when someone reaches out, acknowledge it somehow.
  • An opt-in. Consider asking someone to join a community, or sign up to receive more information over time, or something similar.  People who opt in for pretty much anything are inherently supporters of whatever they opt into – and much more likely than the average person to buy into it.
  • A leave-behind. Calls to action also can be requests for someone to download a piece of content, or click a link to a web page, or attend an event, or all of the above.  Give your audience a way to learn more about you, or even experience what it is you do.  This has the added benefit of being measurable – you can count web hits, downloads, etc. and evaluate whether or not your efforts reached your intended audience in your intended fashion.
  • A specific, quantifiable goal. How will you know whether or not your efforts are successful, or whether your call to action was strong enough?  Set the bar somewhere, and aim to achieve it.  If you’re not having the impact you want, don’t be afraid to change it on the fly and try something different.

If you ever find yourself stuck in a rut, or not making the progress on something that you want to be, it might be because you haven’t properly asked for what you want – or you haven’t adequately motivated someone to take the action you want them to take.  Make sure you’re using a strong call to action.  I think you’ll be pleased with the results – at the very least, your chances of achieving your goal should improve.