How To Use A Call to Action for Better Advertising Response

Wouldn’t you like a simple but extremely powerful way to pump up sales, get better quality leads, and practically eliminate advertising waste?

Here’s an insider tip.

Hey, you and me… we’re in the marketing trenches together. Every day. And we’ve lived to tell about it.

But what may surprise you is that very few business owners employ this simple but powerful “tool” in their advertising.

This tool I’m hinting at is called… tada… a call to action.

What? Yes, it’s a call to action.

If you don’t ask, then you don’t get. Sounds reasonable, right? But very few business owners (or their creative staff) use this simple tactic to boost sales.

All… and I mean all the marketing pieces that I write, and this includes white papers, print ads, landing pages, emails, you name it, includes some sort of call to action.

It’s the very core of the type of advertising I use. This is called direct response marketing. And it works… like gangbusters, if done correctly.

Why Use A Call To Action (CTA)?

First of all, it works. It’s a great way to move people down the sales funnel.

Second, it measures the effectiveness of your copywriting.

Think about it. The more responses you get directly indicates how compelling your copy must have been. In other words, your copy message is doing its job.

Now that you know the advantages of using a CTA, let’s look at a few examples. They’re not as difficult to come up with as you may think.

When you think about your “call to action” think about what objective you want the reader to do…

… sign up for a webinar, download some information, visit your store or call now.

Pretty simple, right?

If you’re stuck or just can’t find good ideas for your call to action, then start an advertising swipe file.

I’ve talked about this before but as a reminder, a swipe file is a collection of good ads that are producing good results. And how you’ll know that these are “good” ads is that you’ll see them running over and over again.

Savvy marketers do not like to spend money on advertising that is not producing. It’s all about a good ROI (return on investment). And only good direct response marketing gives you this opportunity.

Now while I’m on the subject of putting together your CTA, it’s only natural to talk about your writing style. Specifically, the words you choose.

According to social-media-scientist Dan Zarrella, verbs outperform adverbs, adjectives and nouns when eliciting ‘shares’ on Twitter.

This is true not only for Twitter and other social media but nearly any media outlet.

Here’s a few bold verb examples that produce results:

Register

Subscribe

Buy

Download

Donate

These are much better than the plain old vanilla ‘click here’ and be sure to tell your reader what benefits she’s getting, for example…

Download your free copy of our business survival guide

Subscribe to get your free reports

Register now to get in on this webinar

And so on.

Now let’s add some urgency to the mix.

We humans sometimes need a bit of pushing sometimes. Adding some sincere urgency to drive the funnel can be just what’s needed to get us moving.

Here’s a few examples to get your creative juices flowing…

Offer expires

First 50 people only

Hurry, the price goes up at noon today

While supplies last

And one of personal favorites is ‘Immediate Download.’ It’s a great call to action because folks like downloads and they like immediacy. Bam. Here you got both.

Last, let’s talk about risk. Actually, let’s talk about reducing removal or removing risk from your offer or call to action.

As you can imagine, risk removal or reversal is a powerful marketing tool.

How do we lower the risk?

Oftentimes doing business for the first time with a new company is a scary deal. After all, you know or trust this “new company.” And who hasn’t been burnt before. Heck, these days trust has flown out the window, right?

So why not start by truly focusing and empathizing with your prospect and clients. Put yourself in their shoes. Again, they do not know you and they don’t trust you. Make a point to earn their trust… and keep earning their trust.

Prove that you truly care by showing them you’ll shoulder the risk. Communicate this in all your marketing messages.

Here’s a few examples…

“Start your no-obligation 30 day free trial”

“You have a no-hassle, no-questions asked, 100% money back guarantee”

“Not Satisfied? No Problem! We’re double your money back immediately”

You get the idea.

Use these ideas to create a strong “call to action” in your next advertising pitch.

Yours for bigger profits,

Fixing Personal Branding Errors

When it comes to personal branding, there really is no right or wrong answer. So much of it is subjective. However, that doesn’t mean that you are incapable of making mistakes or of wishing that you could have done something better/differently. If you had the chance to do it over again, of course, you would probably do those things differently. Well, even if you did make mistakes, all hope is not lost. You can still fix what needs to be fixed and move on from there.

Make fixes in a sensible manner
When it comes to fixing the errors that you made in your personal branding, you will want to approach it sensibly and methodically. There are several aspects of your personal brand that you will want to examine and, hopefully, you will be able to identify whatever needs to be corrected.

You want to make sure that your reputation is intact: If you aren’t sure what other people are going to find when they search for you (personally), you should search for yourself. The top items on the search engine should be positive about you. Additionally, those items should have value and they should help to enhance your reputation and boost your credibility. If you see that it is not the case, go back to those items and enhance them until they show you in a more positive light.
Entertainment versus marketing value: It is very important that you understand the balance between good value and the ability to entertain with your personal brand. You don’t want to have more of one than the other. Of course, if you don’t have enough on the entertainment side, other people may not remain interested. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough on the value/marketing side, from a business perspective, people may be entertained/amused but they may walk away feeling that they don’t have much to show for it.
Don’t go overboard: There is definitely value in revisiting the content that is connected to your personal brand so that it reads better. However, overediting is definitely not a good idea in general. The last thing that you want to do is to edit so much that you lose yourself and what you stand for in the process. It is important to show your vulnerable/human side but, at the same time, to demonstrate how valuable you are professionally and how your expertise can help other people.
Marry your personal and professional brands: The truth is that there is a strong connection between your personal and professional brands. They are two parts of you and those parts should have at least a discreet connection for other people to embrace. If you are communicating messages from both brands, they should be synchronized. You really can’t separate the two anyway. The best that you can do is to make sure that they exist in harmony.
Make sure that your social media profiles are current: The profiles are extremely important to your personal brand. They must be kept current. That means that you update your status periodically (at reasonable intervals), change your photo if it isn’t appropriate or is not relatively new, etc. You will want to work on all of your social media profiles. People will definitely notice if you don’t keep them current.
Make sure that your photo is appropriate: First of all, make sure that you have a photo which people can identify with your personal brand. Second, it should be an appropriate photo. That means that it should be a professional headshot. It shouldn’t be you with your cat, your logo instead of your face, you drinking in a bar or at a party, etc. After all, even though you are working on your personal brand, you want people to remember you in the right way because there will definitely be crossover to your professional brand and persona.
Make sure that your bio is what it should be: Your bio should be substantial enough so that other people are able to get a sense of who you are and what you believe in. On the other hand, you don’t want to go on and on to the point where the other person has no patience to keep reading. However, you should definitely highlight your accomplishments because not only are you proud of them but they add value to you and other people will have the understanding that you are someone with whom they should form a relationship and interact.
Always be yourself: Authenticity is an essential part of your personal brand. If you are not authentic, people will know it and they will not want to connect with you. You certainly don’t want that to happen. The reality is that you will not be able to have a successful relationship with everyone but you want your relationships with those people who want to be connected to you to be solid and enduring.

Conclusion
All of the elements listed above are important for your personal brand. Getting your personal brand in the shape that you want it to be will take time and work but it will be well worth it for you. You should keep in mind that your personal brand will take you very far in business. It is really important for you to understand your target audience and to do your best to give them what they want and need. If you give them your best, you will get it back in full.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

How to Make a Good Flyer

Before we get to how to make a good flyer, we have to understand the strategy behind a high-quality one. Here’s a basic rundown of a door hanger. As you can see we don’t have much space to work with. This means we have to choose our words carefully. The first line you see is the largest and is meant to grab the attention of the viewer as well as qualify them.

Right away the person knows what we’re trying to sell here. Private Construction Management services. Right below it, you’ll see a picture of a house that would look like our target customer. Under that, there’s a brief description that reinforces credibility by mentioning the years of experience with all kinds of projects.

Anyone looking into renovating their homes will identify with this flyer right away. We ask them the question “Have a project in Mind?”, always qualifying them. The next line tells them what we want them to do, which is to call for a consultation.

Door hangers work really well compared to regular flyers. For one, you won’t have to worry about your message getting lost in the mail. The direct mail route is often pricey and your ad will compete with priority mail like bills. On the other hand, everyone has one front door and your ad will command their full attention.

Flyer Headline Examples
The headline is arguably the most important part of the flyer. Some people spend the most of their time trying to choose the right image that’s going to catch the attention of the customer and dazzle them with their creativity. It sounds nice. It just isn’t the case.

The reality is that we have 1 second to catch the attention of the person we’re trying to reach. We have to talk about what THEY want as opposed to what we’re offering. In the example above, Private Construction Management might not be an ideal headline. Instead, we could’ve said something along the lines of “Got a Construction Project in Mind?”.

It might or might not get a good reception. The key is to grab attention and eliminate anyone who wouldn’t buy from us while selecting those that would. We could write a whole book on choosing the right headline but adhering to some guidelines should put you on the right track. The following are some good headline examples for flyers or for any ads in general.

How-to Headline: People like to learn and the how-to headline is found everywhere. How to hire a good construction management company. How to make a million bucks in 20 min. You’ve seen it before. It works.

Question Headline: Just like the one suggested above. Asking a question engages the reader and causes them to answer it subliminally or consciously. Either way, we’ve got them communicating with us just through the headline.

Testimonial: Testimonials are great anywhere. They reinforce your brand and its authority. No one wants to buy from the new guy on the block. They want someone tried and tested.

Crazy Offer: A crazy offer can go a long way. A really long way. You should always have a crazy offer on your flyer regardless. If its good enough, it should be the biggest and first thing they see.

Choosing the Best Image for Flyers
As we said previously, finding the perfect image for your flyer isn’t as important as some people might think. A funny or creative image will get a positive response, but it won’t necessarily get us the exact response that’ll bring us sales.

Our picture should flow well without our headline and service. If we’re advertising for a taekwondo school, you might use a picture of children wearing their G.I uniforms.

A picture like that will help people identify quickly what your service is and if its for them. The image should be able to work independently from your headline, and vice versa.

The Elevator Pitch
Flyers have limited amounts of space for words and pictures. We want to get in as much as we NEED to, not as much as we CAN. This is where a lot of people go wrong. They design their flyer to include every single detailed explanation of what they do.

You should remember that the flyer shouldn’t serve as an alternative to your website. Your website is where your customers will go if they want a more in-depth understanding of your company and services/products.

The next section you should include in your flyer is a short description of what you do and why they should choose you. In short, it’s a small elevator pitch about your company.

“We manage construction projects for homeowners and have been doing it for over 20 years”. Simple, yet effective. At this point, we have a headline, a photo, and a small elevator pitch that’s going to help us land the knockout punch.

How to make a good flyer or offer
How to make a good flyer is based on the offer you give. An amazing offer has a time limit and simply cannot be passed by. These flyers receive upwards of 8-10% success rate. You really must be able to give tremendous value, or you won’t get too many replies.

A simple flyer with no offer can expect a 1% conversion rate. This means that we’ll turn 1% of the people that see our flyers into paying customers. You send out 10,000 and you get back 100 customers. Pretty simple stuff.

If you put a great offer, you can see 800-1000 customers out of 10,000 flyers. Suddenly, it makes a lot of sense to give away a great offer. Restaurants, for example, would benefit greatly by offering a free appetizer. They might lose out on some short-term profit but they’ll win in the long term.

Strategizing a Flyer Campaign
A good design is useless without a good strategy for distribution. We know flyer advertising is a numbers game and so we have to choose our target customers carefully. A restaurant might benefit better from delivering to homes instead of street promotion. That isn’t to say that a restaurant shouldn’t use street promotion as part of their campaign. However, if you don’t have enough foot traffic near your restaurant to justify it, you’re better off just targeting the homes in the neighborhood.

These customers are going to be your loyal regulars. The cost of acquiring one of them is inconsequential to the value that they’ll bring as a lifetime customer. For homes, door hangers work best. The reason is that other flyers have to be stuffed in other places near the home. They might be stuck on the mailbox or squeezed between the door frame. On the other hand, a door hanger is going on the doorknob. Basically, to get into their home they’re going to take it off the door and they’ll look at it for about a second.

They should be able to see exactly what you’re offering, how much, and what they have to do to redeem the offer. For example, you’re advertising a pizza restaurant. A really good flyer for this type of strategy would be “Get a free pizza slice with an order of a pizza and a soda”. The customer picks up the flyer and sees that they’re getting a free pizza slice and all they have to do is to go buy 1 and a soda.

5 Tips for Typography Best Practices

This was my first year at Typographics 2018. Typographics 2018 is a conference for typography enthusiasts around the world, that’s held at Cooper Union. There were panelists from San Francisco, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Japan; it really felt like a truly international experience.

I had the chance to sit in on both the conference and TypeLab parts of Typographics. Here are a few highlights from the panels/breakout sessions that I really enjoyed:

1. Emojis = Pictures + Character (Jennifer Daniel, Google Emoji)
Emojis are images that may translate into different meanings across different devices. Jennifer gave an example about how the “dumpling” emoji looks different across different chat platforms -every culture has a dumpling!
I found an interesting tension in this statement -emojis should have a consistent user experience (across platforms), yet still be personalized to their users.

2. Ubiquitous type is can cause user confusion (Mr. Keedy)
Mr. Keedy created Keedy Sans, a popular font in the 90’s. The font was considered “uncool” 10 years later and used everywhere. Keedy sans is used on teenage girl makeup packaging, as well as winebars. This could create a bad user experience for people because of lack of branding. Last year, Mr. Keedy refreshed his font -to create greater customization and allow Keedy fans to layer the font for interesting visual effects.

3. Braille is a form of typography (Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt)
Ellen talked about how blind individuals read Braille in a unique way -holding it across their body. She also demonstrated a blind person’s experience watching music videos by showing the accessibility voiceover.

4. Brand holds content together with design (Gale Bichler, NYTimes)
Gale foused on how the New York Times(NYT) has branded itself as a publication that experiments with many types of fonts. NYT can play around with different types and massive fonts as illustration. If someone picks up a page from the floor, they can usually tell that it’s from the New York Times because of branding.

5. Picking fonts is like eating ice cream. (Veronika Burian and Jose Scaglione, Type Together)
When combining fonts, look at mechanic and organic feels. Veronika and Jose talked about how people like humanist fonts, with a hint of a calligrapher’s hand. Ideally, you should find a balance typefaces share a common language.

The overarching theme is that typography is wide-ranging and crosses various mediums. Visual languages include symbols, braille, and audio caption. The challenge now lies in how to design the best experiences for these new forms of language.

Where to Buy Shiitake Logs at the Best Price

The mushrooms grow on logs and these logs can be prepared by you. The Shiitake mushroom is easy to grow by anyone as it does not need soil of different layers and nutrition. They grow on logs. You may plan to grow a huge quantity of Shiitake fruits and for this – it is better to buy the logs. You will need logs with 4″ diameter and the log should have its bark intact. The woods that are preferred are oak, poplar, alder and maple variety. The hardwoods are to be avoided. The conifers like fir or cedar are also of no use for you. When you have a 4 feet long log, it will be better to handle and you can put 10 to 12 plugs in it.

Online stores

There are different online sites where you can buy these Shiitake Logs to grow your fruits on them. You will have to find out the way these logs are used for using them for growing the fruits. These fruits are grown widely and are second to the most common button mushrooms. You can use the Shiitake Mushroom Logs for these fruits so that you can raise certified and organic sprouts. These can be used to create a commercial operation if you have some space for the hardwood logs and shady place to keep these logs for a good production. You just need to get a reference from any friends who grow these mushrooms and go to the site to buy the logs for sale.

Stores with guidance and instructions

These stores will have logs containing a substrate that are inoculated with spawn for proper growth. These stores often will have mycelium for colonizing the substrate. The mycelium will be kept in some bags and used until the substrate is completely colonized. The store will ship you the Mushroom logs for sale so that you can harvest your crop within 10 – 12 days. You can grow the fresh fruits and sell to the proper outlets. Often the online stores will give you instructions to grow the fruits and save time for your crop harvest. The logs are of high yield and stable quality. They will also have a high conversion rate.

Farms with mushroom logs

There are farms that will have Oaks, hornbeams, sweet gum and ironwood for mushroom cultivating base. These farms will sell you the hardwood tree logs and you can start cultivating the fruits on them. The trees are cut after the leaves have turned brown and sap migrate downwards to work as antifreeze. These farms often take the logs from firewood suppliers or farmers too. They stack the logs in their storehouse in the proper shade. Loosely kept logs are handled with care and are mostly kept covered with cloth.

Prepare a Shiitake log

You can start preparing a log for growing the mushrooms on them. These logs must be hardwood and they are to be inserted with plugs. These plugs will have the mycelium growing there. The logs are bored with holes so that the mycelium starts colonizing. They will soon grow into Shiitake sprouts for you to take off and sell. You need to drill in the logs for the plugs and then rubber mallet the plugs. Use beeswax for sealing the plugs. Store the log in a shady place until it is ready for cultivation.