Creating an effective call to action

Aroon Dougan
December 7, 2017

Creating an effective call to action

One of the most important aspects of a digital awareness or fundraising campaign is having an effective call to action. You might have the most worthy cause around, but without a top-notch call to action it will go unnoticed.

And just because you understand your organisation’s mission inside out, someone seeing a piece of content won’t. You need to get your message across as quickly and concisely as possible, ensuring that the person seeing it knows exactly what the issue is, and how they can do something quickly and easily, and most importantly – right then – to make a difference.

With Facebook advertising becoming more expensive, and email providers becoming more savvy at detecting anything even remotely spam-like, this is becoming ever more important.

When we’re starting to put together the creative for a campaign, we try to follow three key rules: be urgent; be concise; and have a clear cause and effect.

  1. Be urgent

An online campaign needs to have a sense of urgency. Why do supporters need to take action now? This urgency may need to be manufactured – a campaign to raise £30,000 in a month can instead be rephrased as needing to raise £3,000 today. For other campaigns, the urgency may be the natural focus-point of the campaign – emergency medical relief after a natural disaster, for instance.

  1. Be concise

Keep the call to action brief, definable and easy to understand. Use plain English and avoid the use of jargon. Tailor the language to the target audience. People are bombarded by different messaging all day long – you want your call to action to be as simple and eye-catching as possible.

E.g. Breast cancer can be devastating. But you can help.

  1. Have a clear cause and effect

The action that a supporter needs to take should be clear and simple. The effect of that action should be definite and measurable – a definite good will come of a simple action.

E.g. Donate £10 today to send a warm blanket to a cold refugee family.

These rules can – and should – be applied to any campaign, whether it’s emergency aid, lead generation or a long-running capital appeal.