The best call to action

by Tory Dunn on 21 May 2012
In a meeting the other day, Trenton our commercial director said a really nice thing – it was just a recap of a basic principle, but it was a timely reminder. When you want to check the clarity and appeal of a call to action, think about who you want to take that action, and put the words “I want to” in front of it, and see if it sounds appealing. This is similar to how Agile user stories are put together. Agile stories don’t necessarily lead to call to action labels, but they certainly help clarify what we are helping people to do. A typical story reads:
  • As an (example user),
  • I want to (what they want to do),
  • So that I can (what they ultimately want to achieve in this user journey).
Here’s an example:
  • As a parent,
  • I want to see the range of music lessons offered,
  • So that I can help my child pick what they want to learn.
In this case, a call to action for a parent to enrol their child may be premature. A call to sign up for further information may sound like an invitation for unwanted emails. A clear direction to see the range of lessons offered is what the situation calls for. Back to Trenton’s point – he was talking about reminding organisations that they are usually on the other side of the equation of engagement with their user. For example, a company that buys used mobiles shouldn’t have a call to action that says “Buy used mobile phones” because, even though that is the business side of what will happen once the button is clicked, that is the opposite of what their customer is trying to do. “Sell your mobile phone” is what will make sense, and get clicked. So, the next time you are struggling with a link or call to action, test it by thinking of your customer, and what they would do if they attached “I want to” at the beginning of it.

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