How to create more effective calls to action

Any interaction you have with a lead, a prospect, or a customer will likely have some kind of call to action or desired outcome attached to it. Those calls to action or desired outcomes are key to how well your business runs today and how successful it will be in the future.

Here are some desired outcome examples: It might be about educating them about your amazing product or service so they them further down your sales funnel. As they get closer to buying something, your desired outcomes might be to take action and buy now. Once they are customers, you might interact with them and end with desired outcomes of deepening your understanding of them or perhaps asking them to refer you to someone else.

Calls to action help to propel your prospects and customers forward and, ultimately, they help to propel your business forward. So doesn’t it make sense to improve your ability to create better calls to action? In doing so, you’ll improve how your marketing and selling abilities, your networking, your copywriting, and more!

Creating an effective call to action is about understanding what your audience is looking for and showing them how the desired action you’re describing will help them find it. (This is really basic sales stuff and you probably know this part already).

But there’s another aspect to creating effective calls to action that I never really thought about before now: You also need to understand exactly what you are asking the person to do — what behaviors you are asking them to change. Are you asking them to take action once (“buy now!”)? Are you asking them to hire you for some service (“let’s work together!”)? Are you asking them to make a permanent change (“stop smoking!”)?

I stumbled across a really useful tool about this. The tool is called the “Behavior Grid” and it was created by BJ Fogg of Stanford University. The behavior grid is useful for many applications (and I first noticed it in an article about improving the user experience in web design). But I realized that this tool is really useful to help you create powerful calls to action in your marketing and sales efforts (including interactions and copywriting).

Click here to check out BJ Fogg’s Behavior Grid (opens in a new window).

Screenshot of Behavior Grid websiteThe Behavior Grid shows the 15 different types of behavior changes someone could make. Down the side of the grid are the three possible scopes of change — one-time, over a period of time, or permanent (from now, on). Across the top of the grid are the 5 possible types of change — do a new behavior, do a familiar behavior, increase behavior intensity, decrease behavior intensity, and stop existing behavior.

So when you are thinking about the call to action you want to ask your lead, prospect, or customer to do, you would figure out the scope of the change you are asking them to do and then you would figure out the type of change you are asking them to do. “Buy now”, for example, is a one-time new behavior if you are asking a prospect who has never bought from you before.

Once you’ve figured out the scope and type of behavior then click on the intersecting square in the grid to get more information about the change and tips about triggers and motivation to help you compel the action.

Click here to check out BJ Fogg’s Behavior Grid.

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.

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