Signing up now is a call to action on life support: what to say instead

Some might even say that the ubiquitous “Sign Up Now” next to the words Newsletter or Updates is not a call to action at all. Literally, yes, you are telling someone to take an action, but it is not interesting.

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

It’s boring.

Bored does not move anyone.

Your boring companions are subscribing, joining, downloading, and entering your name and email. People, we must do better.

Every word you use forms the bigger picture of your brand’s voice and I bet you don’t have “boring” as one of your brand traits. It could be argued that if I offer a subscription to a monthly food sample, a button with the words subscribe or sign up works fine. You’re right, but fun and branding are more attractive than good.

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

Each order must be value wrapped.

“Join my newsletter” alone does not tell me anything about what your newsletter will provide me with. There is no implicit value.

Side note: people want to know what to expect, so you have 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 the frequency and its benefits; how you will help them with one or more of the things that are on your site to find out.

Suggestions for more actions that encourage CTAs:

  • Reflect the offer, if you can, in the words of your button or link

  • Do you offer a 20% discount with the subscription? What if “Save me money” gold “Yes to 20%”

  • Are you organizing a contest? Use the obvious: “Sign in now!”

  • Giving a download? Use “Download my free book” not “Download now” or “Download your free book” Why not “you?” The pronouns “I” or “my” become better

  • Offering a pdf on a new weight loss technique? “I’m done dieting now” it could be your CTA.

  • Selling something: “Buy now” reinforce your desire

  • Offering a free trial: “Start” it feels like what i’m about to do when i click

You get the point, and I have one more to do about calls to action in general.

Aside from selling products like watches and wallets, and free trials, many of us give away content. Your CTA should be the logical step from where they are on your site or landing page to learn more about how you work, get to know it better, and generally advance the customer journey.

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

But no “Grab my annual planner to grow and harvest 40 unique varieties of the mustard family.” The person interested in 40 unique members of the mustard family has probably searched for it. The people who wrote “Homemade Organic Pest Control” want that. If you’re lucky enough to have appeared in search results and they land on your site, don’t miss out on finding them where they are, with something they can use. What could be the call to action button for this report? By now you would probably guess: “Give me the recipes” or “I want the recipes.”

Never forget that every word, phrase and idea that you present to your people contributes to their impression of your brand. Take a look at your calls to action wherever you have them with this information in mind. If you’re feeling a little bored, get creative and give your visitors a reason to say “Give me my goodies!”

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