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Why You Need a Call to Action

Written by Erik J. Olson on . Posted in .
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This morning, I was stuck in traffic for just a couple minutes waiting for a light to turn and I looked up and saw two billboards. A lot came to mind when I saw the billboards. One of the billboards was relatively high-quality – very large on an actual billboard. The other one was a marquee in front of a business – more on the low budget side of the spectrum.

Is a High-Quality Ad All You Need?

Let’s start with the billboard. You can tell it’s high-quality, probably produced by an agency. I don’t know who did it – but when you look at it, you see smiling faces and that’s about it. If you look hard enough you’ll see who the advertiser is – it’s a children’s hospital. Or basically it’s an organization that supports children that are sick. Very noble. But what I’m wondering is, what’s the call to action?

Customers without a Call to Action?

As someone that looks at that billboard, I have to assume that I’m the target audience. What can I do with what I’m looking at?

I am currently reading a classic advertising book. It’s called Ogilvy On Advertising. The author is David Ogilvy, and he feels very strongly that every single ad should sell something. So what does the billboard sell?

Now, granted they’re not selling directly for the healthy well-being of kids. But, I don’t know what they’re selling. I’m not sure why they spent the money that they spent to get that message out to the public. And, again, I’m just passing by on my regular drive to work. If I’m not their target audience, which I have to assume I am, they showed me the advertisement. If I’m not the target audience, then why are they showing it to me?

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

The second one is a relatively low-quality, low-production cost marquee. This marquee is for selling used car tires. Although their ad might not be the most attractive, the call to action is quite strong. I know what I can buy there – it’s very clear. I understand that I can buy used tires, and I even know how much the used tires are gonna cost because they put them on there. Not only that, but as a matter of fact, they even had their normal price and a special.

They have a call to action which is the phone number that they have listed right there on the ad. So if I’m sitting here in traffic and I need tires I could call them right now on my phone. Also, that marquee is perfectly located because it’s right in front of their business. If I need tires and I don’t want to spend a lot of money, I know what I’m going to pay.

Not only that, but I can easily turn my car into their parking lot. It’s perfect, it’s highly targeted, and it’s relevant. I’m driving in a car, that uses tires; they’re selling tires. There’s a call to action, there’s pricing. It’s perfect!

Even if you’re going to advertise in something like print, you always have to think about what is it you’re selling and what’s the call to action. If someone absolutely loves your ad and business model, but has nowhere to contact you for the product/service they love, then what is someone supposed to do with the information that you’re giving to them? If you do not have a call to action with whatever type of advertisement you may be pursuing, you are missing out on countless leads.

Written By Erik J. Olson
Founder & CEO
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.

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