Sunday, July 12th, 2020

Tell Your Customers What You Want Them To Do

By Karen Dodd on Mar 14 2011 • Filed under New Clients by Design

Tell your customers what to do with a Call to Action.

Have a Compelling "Call To Action"

In today's information-overloaded world, the average person is bombarded with upwards of 50,000 messages a day. Now more than ever, people want you to distill your marketing messages into easy to understand, bite-sized pieces and most of all, they want to be told what they should do next.

As marketers, we tend to think that we're being disrespectful or patronizing if we tell people what to do. I find this is even more likely when you're dealing with well-educated and informed prospects. They're smart, sometimes they have more degrees after their name than we do, they should know what to do next, right? Wrong!

The more intelligent and successful someone is, the more they rely on you as a professional in your field, to make it easy for them to make a decision. Think of the Donald Trumps and Oprahs of the world. Do you think they have the time or the energy to get bogged down in the minutiae of things that require their decisions? No, they rely on their advisers to condense it down, give them what they need to know and guide them to make the best decision.

That's exactly what you need to be doing in your quest to convert prospects into ideal clients. To make your marketing messages truly compelling, you've got to:

  1. Ask them critical questions to get their attention
  2. Give them the reassurance that there is a way out of their situation
  3. Tell them exactly what they need to do next

By asking targeted questions that resonate with your ideal clients, you force them confront what is not working in their life. Questions like: "are you frustrated by, struggling with, embarrassed about…" are designed to remind them of their "pain."

Reassuring them that they are totally normal and that a lot of people are experiencing what they are, engages them further because we all want to think that we are "okay" but we want to discover a better way. In effect, you're saying to your prospective client, "you're normal, there is a way out of your situation and it's not your fault that you haven't been taught that yet."

Then, you don't tell them how to fix it themselves (if they could have, they would have, right?) but you do tell them what you want them to do next. This is where you direct them to take your "highest payoff action (HPA)." Do you want them to call you for a complimentary consultation? Do you want them to fill in some information and email it to you? Or, do you want them to register for a free teleclass you're offering? Your HPA should be the most desirable action your prospect can take that has the highest likelihood of converting them into a paying client.

A clear and compelling "call to action" needs to be on everything you use when prospecting for new clients: your website, e-zine, brochures, business card and special offers and mailings. If you have any one of your marketing messages out there without telling your prospective client what they need to do next, you're wasting precious T.E.M. – Time, Energy and Money. 

"force them confront what is not working in their life"

When I hear someone say, "Oh, my website is just so I'll have a presence online; it doesn't get me any new business," I just want to cry. Because it doesn't have to be that way! It shouldn't be that way. All too often, I see entrepreneurs sacrificing utility for beauty and simply beautiful marketing doesn't get you new clients 

Your Action Steps:

1. Go and take a really critical look at your website (yes, now!).

Does the very first page ask your visitor compelling questions to remind them of their discomfort and then tell them exactly what they should do next? You're not being negative or hitting them over the head, but they're visiting your website for a reason, so you need to get their attention in order to help them solve their problems.

2. Is your business card simply a calling card with your contact information?

Or, is it a highly functioning "workhorse" that actively brings you business? I highly recommend that even at the risk of sacrificing esthetics, that you do whatever it takes to get two things on your business card: 

  • a free Special Offer that you'll give them in exchange for their name and email, and
  • 1 to 3 "pull marketing questions," along with what they should do next, to see if you can be of help

3. Every single time you send out a mailing, a newsletter, or a special announcement, is your highest payoff action (HPA) clearly indicated?

This is even more critical with mailed marketing pieces, as the conversion rate, even with expert marketing, is typically very low. If you put anything out there (even a warm friendly letter bringing people up-to-date on what you're doing) without a clear call to action, it is a waste of your time, energy and money.

Let me sum it up like this: if you were to make an in-person sales call and then didn't ask for the business or tell them the next step in the process, wouldn't you be disrespecting them and their time? If someone is interested enough to stop by your website or look at our marketing materials, they're looking for some help and it's your duty to share how you can help them. It's their responsibility to make their own decision; you're simply making it clear to them how to take the next step, to get the help they came looking for.

Have a great couple of weeks and until next time, remember to market authentically and attract New Clients By Design!


  1. This was awesome! Thank you for sharing I will be implementing these strategies in my next article!

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