Line & Length

EDM Black Ops pt 1

Call to Action IV

“You are the laziest EDM that has ever lounged about, unopened on the Robert Kahn/Vinton Cerf’s world wide web.  You have one standing order and one standing order only, maggot: generate interest and ultimately sales but you’ve done NOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo-thing.  Drop and give me…”

The all too familiar rant delivered by your inner drill-sergeant as yet another of your electronic direct mail pieces falls face down in the mud and lies motionless.   Meanwhile, other “more motivated” messages haul-ass to their rally point, ready for “immediate extraction”, backpacks bulging with captured interest and new leads all ready to spill vital intel on where the insurgent sales have been hiding out.  “You are a disgrace”, you hiss as a tumbleweed blows through your inbox.

You’ve all heard it said in one spoof, political thriller, war movie or another before, “never get involved in a land war in Asia and never, EVER write an EDM without first acquiring a target (audience) and firing a “call to action”.  It just makes sense.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  If you want attention, commitment, sales, loyalty (brand or otherwise) then, at some point, you should ask for it.

“But I don’t want to ask for anything in my comms, it makes me (or my brand) look needy”.

Stop it, you shut your mouth right now!  It’s a fact, according to the infallible notions unearthed by Google search, a well-placed and reasonably competently written call to action will increase sales anywhere from 40% to (insert an astronomic prime number of your choosing here)%.  Granted, call to action debutants may feel pangs of anxiety coursing through them at the prospect of “asking” for business in writing.   Just know that not all the troops are called upon to charge the bayonets of perceived ridicule from a savvy and quite possibly jaded online audience.  After a frighteningly long build up, I can now reveal 3 of the top 5 non-sanctioned tips and fun facts about the Call to Action (CTA):

  1. Not all CTAs are 6’8” tall Victoria Cross medal recipients.  Some of the most effective ones are subtle “buried within the text” suggestions, allusions or suppositions;
  2. Some lead by example: sometimes all it takes to pique interest is an example of how this product/service worked for person/client/customer X… who lives in a suburb just like yours, in a dwelling not dissimilar to yours and, like you, eats… well, you get the picture.
  3. CTAs hunt in packs: Leave no CTA behind, if it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying twice, or thrice or fr…( Ed. that’s enough)

Remember, the best form of defence is attack but you’ll need battle-hardened CTAs at the ready if you hope to make win the battle for market share be that on land in Asia or across the world wide web.


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