Readers expect to be told what to do. But writing an Ask can feel awkward – like you’re being bossy or salesy.
When you have some call to action examples to use as a template, you can have confidence to ask with clarity.
You know how it is: your reader has a need. You’ve addressed that need in an engaging letter … email … landing page … blog post. Then you reached that point in your writing when you’ve got an icky feeling.
You need to tell her what to do.
If you don’t give your reader clear directions, she will toss the letter or click off the page without taking a step. Yet you’re about to give directions to a complete stranger. Why should she trust you?
With some simple call to action examples in hand, you have a place to start. Even better is a simple formula that you can customize any time you need to write an Ask.
This quick call to action formula helps you move beyond the cringey feeling of selling. Get started by writing down just two words. The formula looks like this:
1 (verb) + 1 (reward-based word) = CTA
Start with a verb – the action you want your reader to take. When you use an action word, you cut through all the noise demanding your reader’s attention and point her in the direction she should go. A verb shows her exactly what’s expected: buy, click, register, share, swipe, tell.
Add a reward-based word to your verb. By reward, I mean a benefit. Show your reader she can save time (now, today, immediately), save money or aggravation (yours, more), gain special access (here, this, how), or build relationship (us, me).
Our human brains are wired with a reward system in our circuitry, says science writer Deborah Halber. When you offer a “reward,” you add a bit of anticipation or urgency or longing. “It’s not the reward itself,” says Deborah. “But the expectation of a reward that most powerfully influences emotional reactions and memories.”
1 + 1 = CTA. The formula is really that simple. One verb. One reward-based word. Let’s look at an example.
Imagine you operate a website for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts. You are offering a free PDF on your website that explains how to clean a personal saltwater aquarium.
You’ve teed up your reader by addressing his need: debris accumulates and the water gets cloudy in the tank, but cleaning it is messy and takes time. Your landing page content explains the offer. Owners can have a sparkling clean tank in just 30 minutes if they follow the easy instructions in the freebie.
Now it’s time for you to invite readers to hand over their email address to receive the free PDF.
Look at the ways you can create a call to action entirely from two little words. Simply combine a verb + a reward-based word (1 + 1).
You can also use this template as a jumpstart to customize your call to action. For instance, let’s say you decided to use “Download now” as your starting point. You could add to that further with, “Download now and clean your tank before dinnertime.” Or what starts as "Grab this" can expand to “Grab this today so your fish stay healthy.”
Start with a verb. Add a reward-based word. Dress it up if you like. Bottom line: you’ve got a call to action.
Here’s a list of call to action examples that use this simple 1 + 1 formula: a verb plus a reward-based word.
1. Act now
2. Activate immediately
3. Add yours
4. Adopt yours
5. Apply here
6. Buy now
7. Call us
8. Check this
9. Claim yours
10. Click here
11. Complete yours
12. Discover yours
13. Donate now
14. Download yours
15. Email me
16. Explore more
17. Find out
18. Get yours
19. Give here
20. Grab yours
21. Join now
22. Learn more
23. Like us
24. Open immediately
25. Order yours
26. Post this
27. Repost here
28. Retweet this
29. Read more
30. Refer a friend
31. Register now
32. Reserve yours
33. Respond now
34. RSVP today
35. Schedule yours
36. See how
37. Share this
38. Show us
39. Signup here
40. Snag yours
41. Start yours
42. Submit now
43. Swipe here
44. Tell us
45. Tweet this
46. Visit us
47. Volunteer now
48. Write us
Not sure what reward-based words to use? Refer to this list.
Remember this: your reader expects to be told what to do. It’s okay to think you’re being bossy. In reality, you’re helping her. A simple call to action gives her clarity about what to do next.
Go ahead. Act now. Write yours.
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