Sign Up Now is a call to action on life support. What to say instead

SupportSome might even say the ubiquitous “Sign up now” in proximity to the words Newsletter or Updates, is not a call to action at all. Literally, yes, it is telling someone to take an action, but it’s not engaging.

Wait, let me be honest, it’s worse than that.

It’s boring.

Boring moves no one.

Its fellow bores are subscribe, join, download, and enter your name and email. People, we must do better.

Every word you use forms the bigger picture of your brand voice and I wager to say, you don’t have “boring” as one of your brand’s traits. You could argue that if I am offering a subscription to a monthly food sample, a button with the words subscribe or sign up works just fine. You’d be right, but fun and branded are more engaging than fine.

Your button could also say, “I want the box” or “Feed me.”

Every ask has to be wrapped in value.

“Join my newsletter” alone tells me nothing about what your newsletter will provide me with. There is no implied value.

Side note: people want to know what to expect, so you’ve got to tell them.

“My weekly/monthly/daily newsletters will help you write better, convert more with your copy, and keep you up to date on marketing trends for your business.”

That short description covers frequency and what’s in it for them; how it will help them with one or more of the things they are on your site to find out about.

Suggestions for more action encouraging CTAs:

  • Reflect the offer, if you can, in the words on your button or link
  • Giving a 20% discount with opt-in? How about “Save me money” or “Yes to 20%”
  • Running a contest? Use the obvious: “Enter now!”
  • Giving away a download? Use “Download my free book,” not “Download now” or “Download your free book” Why not “your?” Pronouns “me” or “my” convert better
  • Offering a pdf on a new weight loss technique? “I’m done dieting” could be your CTA.
  • Selling something: “Buy now” reinforces their desire
  • Offering a free trial: “Get started” feels like the thing I’m about to do by clicking

You get the point — and I have one more to make about CTAs in general.

Selling products like watches and wallets, and free trials aside, many of us give away content. Your CTA should be the logical step from where they are on your site or landing page to getting to know more about how you work, know you better, and generally move along on the customer journey.

Draw a direct line from who you are, “I’m Lindsay, organic gardening expert,” to what they might need: “Grab my 5 recipes for organic pest control you can make in your kitchen.”

But not “Grab my annual planner for growing and harvesting 40 unique varieties of the mustard family.” The person interested in 40 unique mustard family members will likely have searched for that. The people who typed in “Home made organic pest control” want that. If you are lucky enough to have shown up in search results and they arrive on your site, don’t miss the opportunity to meet them where they are, with something they can use. What could the CTA button for this report be? By now you’d probably guess: “Give me the recipes” or “I want the recipes.”

Never ever forget that every word, phrase, and idea you put in front of your people contributes to their impression of your brand. Go take a look at your calls to action wherever you have them with this information in mind. If you get even a whiff of boring, get creative and give your visitors a reason to say “Give me my goodies!”

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