Monday, 8 September 2014

Boxed wine is nothing to whine about Part 2

Let’s delve straight in here. Call-to-action marketing has become quite the little niche of late. Whether you call it Lead Generation or Direct Marketing makes no matter, really. It’s the same stuff, and many companies are realising the importance of this: how to get so-and-so to click on/email/phone/buy. These companies are so invested in the power of the call-to-action that they’re hiring people to do that one important thing. So now we see people in marketing departments responsible for just this. We see Lead Generation Managers being recruited and placed over a bevy of marketing folk. And for every 100 ‘Lead Generation Managers’, you’re going to get 105 opinions on the matter.

Here is my opinion. But let me first ask you to notice the subject line: see that bit that says part 2? It implies that there is a Part 1. If you haven’t read it yet, then go ahead and do so now: click here. Go on. Do it. That’s right. Because what follows will make a whole lot more sense if you do.

What exactly IS a call-to-action, first of all? The CTA is a device that leads people in a certain direction. If the goal of your campaign is to have someone email you, then that’s how you set up the CTA. If the desired outcome is to get someone to download a piece of software, or purchase your product, then the CTA must be geared towards that.

A generalisation in this case is not going to do. By way of explanation into what a CTA is, and what makes a good CTA, consider these two examples from ‘out there’

Skype does a great job of this. Minimalist design, no clutter, CTA button well highlighted. Go Premium. That’s it, no bells, no whistles. Says what it is, in a nutshell.


This one has four arrows pointing at the CTA; the reader has clear directions on where to go next. Again, no clutter, nice and simple, easy-peasy, just click here.

So here is my opinion, at last, as it relates to web pages and other digital media:

  1. Make it big. In the case of the CTA, size does matter. Make it stand out. But not so big that it overwhelms the design on the rest of the page.
  2. Sometimes, less is more, or so ‘they’ say. With a CTA this is most definitely true. If you want to attract attention to your CTA, you’ll have to give it some breathing space. Don’t crowd it out. White space is your friend here.
  3. We’re English right? So we read from left to right, top to bottom right? Go ahead and place your CTA on the top left position of your page. See if that new placement works for you.
  4. Most CTA’s seem to have the same shape: a rectangular box. This is your button. Because most follow this, don’t follow this. Use unconventional shapes, like little green-starry things, thought boxes, write-outs. Square corners, according to some CTA experts, may signal to visitors that your CTA is an ad or a banner. It will be overlooked.
  5. And lastly, though this list is by no means exhaustive, focus on the text and not the graphics. Be clear in your wording. Be specific. Be action-oriented. And tie your graphics in with what you’re saying.

So, in a nutshell: if you are not generating the kinds of leads that you think your site deserves, then go on and contact me. Let us have a look-see. It may be one simple change, something so obvious that you haven’t spotted it yet. We’ll spot it.

And because we’ve already ascertained that I am pretty much normal, go ahead and Try Me.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Boxed wine is nothing to whine about Part 1

I don’t really consider myself to be the kind of guy that is easily swayed by advertising and clever marketing. I know that a product advertised as ‘New and Improved’ is probably neither. If it is ‘New’, then there is no previous product on which an improvement was built, and if it is ‘Improved’ then there was a previous something and is therefore not new. This is not rocket science.

I also know that using shampoo in the shower will not make me gain weight, despite the words ‘Gives Extra Body’ on the packaging. In the same way, using dishwashing liquid in the shower will not make me lose weight, despite the claim that it ‘Dissolves Fat’.

So picture this one then: the other day I go to the liquor store to pick up some wine. I am not a member of the Wine Mafia, so I am not familiar with terms like Merlot, Pinotage, or Cabernet Sauvignon. To me, wine comes in three types: red, white and rosé. And because I believe that, when it comes to wine, quantity trumps quality any day of the week, I buy my wine by the box.

This time the choice is rosé. I find the wine shelves: check. Locate the boxed wine: check. Identify boxes of rosé: check. And find ten or so choices. This is where I break down. There is sweet, semi-sweet, natural sweet, sweet lite, natural sweet lite…I just want rosé. I am starting to whine. So I do a quick scan, and settle on a box. It speaks to me. It appeals to me. It is rosé, and it is in a box. I take. Pay. Wipe the sweat from my forehead. Go home.

Then, when it came time to crack that sucker open, I noticed the following:

Try Me. Two simple little words, on a little green starry-shaped background. Contrary to what my friends think, and what my family know for sure, I must be normal. Out of all the choices available to me, I picked the one that said: Try Me. So I did. I tried it. And it was pretty good.

That little green starry-shaped thing is called a Call-To-Action. And trust me on this one: people being what they are, if you don’t tell them to do a thing, they ain’t gonna do it mate. You can give them all the fancy info in the world on what you do, what you offer, but if you don’t tell them to do something, they’re not going to do it. You find this most often on web pages, adverts, newsletters, anything you want people to notice. It can be a request to contact you, or mail you, or click on something, or buy something. Whatever it is, if you don’t tell people to do something, they don’t do it. Sounds obvious. Many times we get it wrong.

And that’s where we’ll be leaving it off. Tune in this time on Monday for Part 2: how to, in fact, get it RIGHT.