Make Your Calls to Action Active

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What is a call to action?

A call to action in the marketing context is a piece of content (graphic or text) intended to get a prospect to perform a specific act. This can be in the form of calling, clicking, submitting a form, etc. to get more information or make a purchase.

Every advertisement, web page, and email should have a call to action. This is the “ask”. It’s the thing you want people to do.

What makes a good call to action?

We measure the effectiveness of a call to action by looking at what percentage of people actually take the necessary next step. If your call to action is intended to get people to call, how many people actually did? If your call to action is intended to get people to visit your website, how many people actually did?

A good call to action is:

  1. Clear – it should be obvious what you want me to do next.
  2. Concise – keep it short and sweet.
  3. Captivating – it should grab my attention and get me to act.

A good call to action is active. What I mean by that is that it makes the prospect the subject of the action, and it suggests doing something. Let’s look at a few examples to better understand active calls to action:

  • Free Trial (this might sound like an enticing offer, but as a call to action is not active)
  • Sign Up for Your Free Trial (see how much better that is?)
  • Learn More (this is active, but “learn” is not an activity that is easy to measure or quantify)
  • Click Here to Learn More (this is active, and includes a direct activity in “click”)
  • Next (not active)
  • Continue or Submit (this is technically active, but it’s dull)
  • Get Started (much better)

You can see from the examples above, and the thousands of other examples all over the web, that there are a variety of different calls to action companies use – both good and bad. But when you make your call to action active, you entice a person to take that next step. You put them in control, and add a level of engagement that non-active calls to action do not match.

What are Physical Stores For?

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This is a question that a lot of people are asking these days. Retail has been on a steady decline over the last decade. This is the result of a combination of factors:

  1. Rise in ecommerce driven by improved technology and customer adoption
     
  2. More online only brands without a physical footprint, as well as a shift in focus for traditional retailers to online sales
     
  3. Rising rents and labor costs make physical stores less profitable

It makes sense that as consumers do more of their shopping online, retail stores will see their sales decline. This trend is not just affecting one type of product or industry, the impacts are being felt in groceries, electronics, clothing, toys, etc.

So what are stores for in 2018? Is it possible that there will be a future with no stores?

The answer to that second question is a resounding “no”. There will continue to be physical stores, they just might not resemble the physical stores that we’re used to today.

Showrooms

For an example of the future of stores, we can look at a few of the more forward-thinking brands in the retail space.

  • Amazon, after establishing itself as an online store for everything, is using their brand power to establish offline stores as well. First, they bought Whole Foods as a foray further into the grocery market, giving themselves a real-world footprint to sell Amazon products and offer convenient pickup locations for online customers. Then, they opened their first chain of physical bookstores, which feature far fewer titles than more traditional bookstores, and incentives to try and buy online.
     
  • Apple has been an active player in retail for many years. Their store philosophy and layout put trying and learning center stage. The Apple store is most similar to the car showroom, offering customers the ability to “test drive” Apple products and get answers to their questions.

These examples of digital-first companies show us what the future of stores might look like – physical stores as a showroom for online companies. This type of store is aimed at getting the hesitant online shopper to purchase items they might like to try before they buy.

Personal Shoppers

In other areas, Walmart and Nordstrom are experimenting with personal shopper models. They are treating stores as service-focused experiences, offering hands-on assistance to get people in the store.

Nordstrom specifically, plans to develop stores where customers can browse styles and try on clothes with the help of a stylist. The kick is, the clothing that those customers will buy will be shipped from the warehouse. The store might be where the sale happens, but the inventory is not housed in the store itself.

The Future of Stores

In order to succeed in retail in 2018 and beyond, brands must think differently about why they have a storefront. We must give customers a reason to visit us in person, recognizing that it’s much easier for them to shop online.

This might mean special pricing, innovative service, tests and trials, etc. Virtual and augmented reality will certainly play a role as well.

Whatever it means, there must be real value to make it a worthwhile investment of our customers’ time. Otherwise, it’s not worth having the store in the first place.

Top Resources for Marketers – Series Recap

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For the last ten weeks, we proudly hosted a weekly blog series dedicated to surfacing critical resources for marketers looking to learn new skills in 2018. Like all good blog series, this one has come to an end.

But you don’t have to miss out. Revisit all the top resources for marketers here:

  1. Learning is a lifelong process
  2. Occam’s Razor
  3. MECLABS
  4. Buffer Blog
  5. Market Motive
  6. Udacity
  7. Moz
  8. Hubspot
  9. Quick Sprout
  10. Marketing Profs

Getting Your Team to Market Themselves

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As an individual marketer, the desire to market oneself is obvious. The benefits for you are clear. The same way a brand or company would market themselves to potential customers in order to generate sales, you will market yourself to potential employers and clients in order to generate future income.

There are a number of ways you can market yourself:

  1. A blog
  2. Writing articles for established outlets
  3. Speaking engagements
  4. Getting your work featured online
  5. A large network
  6. LinkedIn references

And while the benefits for the individual marketer may need no further explanations, there is one benefit that does. But it’s not necessarily something that benefits the individual. Instead, it’s a benefit that the company they work for gets.

You see, the more a person establishes their own personal brand, the more valuable they become to the organization that employs them. The all press is good press concept. And if you are in charge of marketing your organization, it is incredibly helpful if members of the team market themselves effectively.

How can you get them to do that?

  1. Offer them guidance. Not everyone knows how to market themselves, so it is a good idea to offer personal and career development sessions for employees that focus on how to grow their personal brand (refer to the list above).
     
  2. Offer them an outlet. Create a space for your employees to self-publish, with your brand behind them. It could be an outwardly facing employee blog or a section of your website for articles that the team can submit to.
     
  3. Become their booking agent. Get people to go out for speaking gigs at live events across the country. Help them by out researching opportunities and crafting their pitches.
     
  4. Incentivize them. After you do everything you can to make it easy for them, make it a win-win. Offer them perks – like paid time off, free food, money or promotions. Create a special “Employee Engagement” program and reward the people that are most effective at building up their personal brands.

When your employees become experts in their field, you win twice. First, you get a team full of experts helping to pursue your mission. Then, you get the benefit of outsiders looking to your brand for guidance.

Top Resources for Marketers – Part 9

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The following is part one of our weekly series on Top Resources for Marketers.

Learning is a lifelong process. Without learning and development, we flounder. Technology passes us by. Potential lies undiscovered and dormant. Old skills stagnate and new ones fail ever to form.

With that in mind, today’s resource is: Marketing Profs

Individual marketers, teams, and organizations rely on MarketingProfs for expertise and real-world education. Through a combination of podcasts, live events, articles, and online seminars, they provide their members with a near-infinite treasure trove of educational resources.

Memberships range from basic (which is free) to pro (for organizations), and offer a variety of benefits that grow along with the price. At the most basic level, one gets access to articles, email newsletters, the discussion board and sponsored seminars.

Pro members save on courses and live events, and have access to tools they can use at their organizations.

If you are looking for an all-in-one educational resource, consider becoming a MarketingProfs member today.