The importance of a Call-to-Action (CTA) in a direct marketing campaign cannot be overstated. Next to the offer, it’s the most significant aspect of any mailpiece. It’s the how in the 5 W’s. You could have done everything right—used a paper stock and picked an envelope that stands out in the mailbox, created an eye-catching, aesthetically appealing format with dynamic copy that resonates with the prospect—and convinced them that, yes, they need to purchase your product or use your service. But without the CTA—“how” they are going to buy your product—none of that matters.
Using CAPE for a Superhero Call-to-Action
Crafting a Call-to-Action is trickier than just slapping a phone number onto a form. It requires a certain amount of thought and finesse to make sure it doesn’t turn your piece into a classified ad. I try to make sure every CTA follows these four guidelines, also known as CAPE:
Make it complete
Your CTA should be able to stand on its own. That means all the information needed to act is in the same location. Offer expiration date, multiple ways to apply and promotional codes need to be found directly next to any phone number, pURL or reply form.
Because prospects tend to skim rather than read every detail, I like one of the more prominent CTAs to include the entire offer so that even if the prospect just glances at the piece, he or she gets the entire message condensed into one small package.
Make it accessible
Before you begin, think about the audience. Do they prefer going online? Or do they want to talk to someone directly? What about the product? Does it require completing an application or setting up an appointment? Think about the easiest way to apply and how the audience is most likely to respond to the offer. Whatever the answer is, that’s how you should focus the CTA.
Make sure you’re not excluding anyone’s preference by providing other ways to respond, but focus on the one that’s most likely to appeal to your primary audience.
Make it prevalent
Making the CTA easy to find can be as simple as placing it in multiple locations. Put it in areas that tend to draw the eye naturally, like the P.S., interactive devices and sidebars. This also helps protect against skimmers who might look at just one element of the mailpiece. It also extends the life of the offer by being on multiple pieces, some of which prospects might keep—like a card or buckslip—even if they throw away the letter.
Make it eye-catching
Something about your CTA should stand out. Maybe it’s a bright color or large font; maybe it’s a burst or other graphic. No matter which method you choose, it should draw the eyes of your prospects and make them take notice. That way, when they’re ready to act on the offer, it’s right in front of them. Because, let’s be honest, if your prospects have to dig for a way to respond, they’ll probably decide that whatever you’re selling isn’t worth the effort.
There’s added pressure to get the Call-to-Action right because without that, the mailpiece is probably going to fail. But by keeping CAPE in mind, you can save the day by giving your mailpiece a superhero CTA.
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