What is a call to action?

A call to action is a direct appeal to the audience to take a specific action, often within a defined period of time. Calls to action are launched with clearly defined communications and marketing goals and outcomes in mind.

How calls to action work

  1. Limited time offers

    Calls to action are used for limited-time product sales to prompt consumers to act. They instill a sense of urgency and the idea that the audience is going to miss out if they don't respond.

  2. Advocacy campaigns

    Calls to action are used to encourage customers to help fight legislation that might negatively impact a business. They often involve appeals to contact legislators to express support for, or opposition to, proposed legislation. They are used by political campaigns to turn out the vote.

  3. Charitable donations

    Charities often use calls to action to raise money for their organizations. NPR has this down to a science, often appealing to listeners to "donate today" and offering some form of reward based on the size of the donation.

Why calls to action matter

  1. Consumer behavior

    Data show consumers are more responsive when they are called to take a specific action. Whether it's a statement in a television advertisement or a display in a grocery store, consumers are moved by a sense of urgency.

  2. New customers

    Calls to action are a key way to get new customers to try your product and to pry them away from competitors. They are a source of motivation to prompt consumers to make decisions they otherwise wouldn't.

  3. Campaign-oriented

    Calls to action allow organizations to structure sales or outreach in the form of a campaign. They require ensuring phone lines and stores are properly staffed, and that production is sufficient to meet demand.