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Call to action: 7 tips for Munch

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The CTA or Call To Action

When I take a look at the communication I find in my snail-mailbox, it often looks more like a scream than a call. It looks like a cry of despair, from someone who's lost. From someone who's crying out on the wrong medium. Because you can't really hear a painting, can you?

We're too late to help Edvard Munch, but you might still benefit from it. Below are 7 tips to make sure your CTA is being heard.

1. You don't have to yell to be heard.

You know them too: people who, when they're not immediately heard, start yelling. Just so you won't ignore them. That might still work at a family reunion or in a concert hall. But when it comes to the volume of your message, less is often more. The power of subtlety was nicely illustrated by Smart. The visual of a Smart car rotates around the axis of a cement mill. The copy reads: 'the smallest turning radius.' Signoff: the URL. Can a simple URL be enough for a CTA? Sure, if it makes people visit the website. Can you measure that? Absolutely, if you make the URL unique.

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2. Why don't you just ask for it?

That's of course the trouble with tormented artists. "Look at me being miserable. All weltschmerz is mine to carry!" But clearly saying what's wrong? Nah, that's beyond them. Just ask me what you want from me: I just might do it. But that's asking too much of an artist. They’d rather cut off their own ear to make their point.
Luckily, in Dubai they didn't shy away from simply asking what they wanted of you: "Donate money here".

And if you reward me immediately by showing me the effect of my contribution, I just might donate again.

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3. And where is the QR code?
Back in 1893 there were no QR codes. In 2012 they are all over the place. Are you considering to use one? Then ask yourself: what percentage of your target group has a smartphone? How many of them know what to do with the weird black and white pattern? And will a lot of them be willing to install the app, scan the code and visit the website - on their mobile? You now have a target population as large as the number of people on the painting. If you want to reach 3 people, QR codes might just be it. In other cases, you might consider simply adding the URL. Unless you decide to do it the Guinness way… then it becomes clever.

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4. Boobs sell.
Did anyone ever tell Munch that sex sells? Did they ever tell him about the infallible trinity of the 3 B's in advertising: babies, boobs and beasts? Not necessarily in that order (and preferably not combined in one idea). Trouble with sex is that it mainly sells itself, not necessarily your product. Same goes for the other B's too.
However, if you're talking breast cancer prevention, there's no better way to make impact than the Boob Hijack from CoppaFeel. They called a hotline and asked the lady live to touch her breasts. Then you ask her if she feels nodules. You record the reaction and send the result to the partners of the target group: their male partners. Voluptuous response guaranteed.

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5. Context To Action
Imagine: she (your one and only) said yes! Or that dream job you wanted? It has just fallen in your lap. And the teacher confirmed: your daughter really is the new Einstein. You are euphoric. In comes this black scarecrow-like figure. To tell you the world is bad and rotten to the core, and nobody wants to hear his message. Well guess what: there’s a good chance his message will be ignored. Much in the same way, you don't try to sell skiing gear on a tropical beach. Skiing vouchers under the windshield wipers of snowy cars, with a coupon for people who decide fast: that works. Because the context is just as important as the call.

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6. Learn to read minds
Empathy is key. Don’t focus on yourself too much. Instead, try to show genuine interest in the other party. That makes communication so much more interesting than one-way shouting. Learning what your target group thinks, how they feel, what makes them tick, so you can rub them where they need it most. Try to read their minds, so you have the right offer for them at the right time. Using thoughts as a CTA: yes, it can be done. As an agency in Toronto proved: if you generated enough brainwaves, you’re treated to free drinks after the Tedx Talks.

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7. The big red button
The art of simplicity. A big red button with a simple CTA: 'Save.' The mechanic is brilliant: every time you're on the verge of giving in to an impulse to buy something, you push the button. A predefined amount of money is then immediately transferred to your savings account. A button and a word. Sometimes that's all it takes, for crying out loud.

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Interested in discussing Calls To Action that make a difference in your next digital or direct marketing campaign? Contact me today.

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