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3 Ways to Move Customers to Action

Why waste your marketing dollars on messages that don't create a sense of urgency?

When do you want consumers to move to action after seeing or hearing your marketing messages? Now? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year? How about whenever it's convenient?

If you're investing time and money into getting your marketing messages in front of your target audience, it's safe to assume that you want that audience to act sooner rather than later. Therefore, it's essential that your marketing messages create a sense of urgency in consumers' minds so they are motivated to act.

The key is, don't just suggest an action in your marketing copy. Demand it. Motivate consumers to get up off of their couches and call you, come to your store, or visit your website now by using any (but preferably all) of the three techniques described below.

  1. Use urgent wording.
    Creating a perception of urgency can be as easy as choosing the right words to use in your copy. Don't be tempted to overload your marketing messages with words that suggest immediacy, though. Instead, place these words strategically within your calls to action.

    Furthermore, don't make the mistake of cluttering your messages with exclamation points in an effort to create a sense of urgency in your copy. One or two well-placed exclamation points can work, but too many exclamation points dilute their effectiveness. Instead, add a sense of urgency to your marketing messages with phrases like:
    • Don't delay
    • Act now
    • Hurry in
    • Call today
    • Call now
  2. Create time-sensitive offers.
    An excellent way to get the attention of consumers and make them move to action is to tie your messages to a specific time frame or deadline. This is particularly effective for marketing messages that advertise short-term promotions. Even if you didn't originally intend to attach a time frame or deadline to a marketing message, review your message and determine if adding one could increase the urgency of your offer. You might be surprised by the positive effect it can have on your overall marketing initiative. You can create time-sensitive messages by using quantifiers like:
    • For a limited time only
    • While supplies last
    • Available to the first 20 callers
    • One-day sale
  3. Make it easy to act.
    The perception of urgency in your marketing messages should go hand-in-hand with the call to action in your marketing message. But people are busy, so it's your responsibility to make it as simple as possible for consumers to respond to your marketing communications in the way that you want them to. Ensure that it's easy for your audience to get more information or make a purchase by telling them exactly what they need to do as soon as they're done reading or listening to your messages.

    For example, don't just include the address for your website's home page in your message. Instead, take consumers directly to the page that provides the information they need to respond to your offer. That could be a contact form, a specific product page, or a specific landing page or splash page created just for this communication. Alternately, if you're directing consumers to visit your brick-and-mortar location, include a map or landmarks along with your street address to make it easier to find your business or to encourage recognition of your location in consumers' minds.

If you can't get the attention of your audience within a few seconds and deliver your message to them quickly and succinctly, then you risk wasting your marketing investment. Just keep the three tips listed above in mind as you write your copy, and you'll be on your way to boosting your marketing message response rates sooner rather than later.

Susan Gunelius is CEO of KeySplash Creative Inc., an Orlando, Fla.- based marketing communications company. She has authored several books, including Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, published by Entrepreneur Media. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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