There are a number of mistakes artists make that negatively impact the way they gain fans, followers, clients or buyers, but few are as devastating as bad (or no) calls to action.
A ‘call to action’ is a series of words and images put together to ask a visitor to do something. That something might be to subscribe to your mailing list. It might be to ‘like’ you on Facebook. It might be to watch your trailer or listen to your demo track. Or, it might be to buy something.
As humans we are naturally a bit allergic to “asking” for things, especially when it comes to our work. We think people won’t appreciate us if we ask, because we will not seem humble. We’re afraid that people won’t do what we ask and we’ll be rejected. We would much rather put our work or services out there and if people like it, obviously they will buy it.
All of these are stupid reasons not to have good calls to action. Like, supremely stupid.
People not only need us to give them a push a certain direction, they want us to do that.
Your website is (likely) new territory to them, so they trust that you will tell them where to go and what to do when and how you want them to do it.
A call to action, or CTA, can take many forms.
The ‘Do Something Now’ CTA
It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but it’s also super important. This call to action actually asks someone to do something specific, usually accompanied by a button to click.
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The ‘Implicit’ CTA
The Implicit call to action is one in which you simply mention something, link to it, and move on. For example, I often mention that I have bulk hours of time available for website maintenance needs. Then I link there. Then I move on. If people want to click, they will. If they don’t, they’ll also move on, but it’s a gentle reminder that I do that.
The ‘Persuasive’ CTA
This one is usually time sensitive or pressured. For example:
Health Grades Report: What you don’t know about your doctor and hospital may put your health at risk. Read the full report.
This advises people there might be a problem and that the thing you are offering, in this case, a report, can help you.
The Persuasive call to action is the hardest to crack. Here’s another example, from W Magazine:
This offer may not last long. So order W now—and see what you think of your free issue. After all, with so much to gain—and with absolutely nothing to lose—shouldn’t you at least take a look?
Basically, it’s in the name. You’re persuading people to do what you want them to do.
The ‘Personal Benefit’ CTA
The Personal Benefit is the call to action that has always seemed to work the best, mostly because it’s the least sleazy, and encompasses a few of the other CTAs. Here’s an example of a Personal Benefit CTA for an e-book called ‘10 Biggest Mistakes Artists Make on Their Websites (and How to Avoid Them)’:
Sign up today to find out what might be driving sales and fans away from your website, as well as a list of actions you can take to stop that from happening.
Don’t wait another minute to make 10 Biggest Mistakes Artists Make on Their Websites start helping you build a better website.
Get it Now!
First it shares the benefit of your offer, saying that you’re likely losing sales because of some mistakes you don’t know you’re making. Next, it implies urgency by saying, “Don’t wait.” Then it asks directly for an action “Get it Now!”
A Personal Benefit call to action like this works very well.
Now go take a look at your website and see if you can identify places where you could be asking for a visitor to do something you specifically want them to do.