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Shortcuts to Writing Action-Oriented Copy Like a Pro.

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

Motivating your prospect can become a daunting task, especially when you feel you've done all you can to get it right but you're not seeing the results you hoped for. But maybe your content is failing because it lacks action-oriented copy.

What is action-oriented copy?

Put simply, it is the text that motivates, inspires, and drives your audience into action. When done well, it can increase your lead generation, bookings, and sales.

It goes without saying that content works better when it drives a specific action. Otherwise its just information. Action-oriented copy inspires your audience to get more involved with your brand or message. It is what calls them to action and do the thing you want them to do. But it's only possible when you give them the right cues.

Since Google loves fresh content, we can both agree that one of your most powerful marketing tools is to pump out effective content on a consistent basis. But don't do it for the sake of doing it. If you're going to invest the time, make sure that your content drives results.

If you're attempting to tackle the task on your own, meaning without a professional copywriter who owns this very important skill, I'm going to show you some shortcuts that will help you produce killer action-oriented copy. Use these tips and you should be able to create copy that packs a punch!

How to write copy that converts
"In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create." - David Ogilvy

1. Have a Plan

I know that sounds cliche and simple. That's because it is. But without a solid plan, you run the risk of wandering all over the page with nothing to focus on. You MUST know what you want your viewers to do if you expect to write persuasive copy that gets them to do it. This will make the writing process go much more smoothly. Think of it this way, when you set a goal, you have the end in sight and you are able to follow a path that gets you to the goal. Same thing here. Your goal, however, is the call-to-action and the path is the content.

In terms of marketing, the content leads them along a riveting, informative journey until they reach the proverbial fork in the road and are faced with two choices - to continue on or not. This is where you want your call-to-action to take them down the path of least resistance (ie: the path you want them to take.) The call-to-action is the sign at the fork that points in two different directions and it will either be perceived as "this way to paradise" or "danger, treacherous road."

Which leads me to my next point ...

2. Write the Call-to-Action (CTA) First

If you start at the end, you'll know exactly where you're heading. If you write the CTA first, you can works backwards to get there. The CTA must be clearly written. This is where you will (hopefully) motivate your readers to do exactly what it is you want them to do. For example: "Schedule your free consultation now" tells them to schedule the consultation now. Here's a couple more: "Join us for a special webinar,""Take advantage of this limited time offer!" When you write the end result before the content, you already have the goal in sight.

This post gives great examples of sites you know well like Netflix and Spotify and their call-to-action. You can even see them in action:

Simple right? It might seem that way, but writing this type of copy that is critical for your conversions takes some practice. Start with the basics, like the examples above, and watch your click-throughs start adding up.

3. First Words Matter Most

The verb is the word! Verbs imply action and since your goal is to get them to take action, why woudn't you start with a verb? The kind of verbs we're talking about should make things personal. For example, let's consider the overused, highly impersonal word "submit." "Submit" has a negative connotation and kills conversions. Whenever I see "submit" it automatically turns me off. It makes it sound like homework or a chore. And nobody wants to feel like they are doing more chores. Plus, there's a hesitation involved because once you hit "submit" you may end up getting spammed like crazy and nobody has time for all that unsubscribing!

But, when you see "Get started today" or "Keep me informed," the expectation has already been set, dissolving any hesitation because you know exactly what you're signing up to do when you click that button.

The point: use verbs!

4. Make Your CTA More Effective

"How do I do that?" you ask. This is where your content comes in to play. Back it up with benefits. Telling your reader why you are the solution to their problem reinforces why they need to take action and choose you over your competition.

5. Be Consistent

Every page should tell the reader what to do next. That means, your CTA must be there, and possibly more than once. They don't want to guess what the next steps are and you shouldn't trust them to figure it out on their own. Think of it as a guiding light for your reader.

6. Location, Location, Location

Just like in real estate, location is key! The best house in the worst neighborhood is still in the worst neighborhood. Think of your CTA like prime real estate. You wouldn't want it in a bad location because nobody will want to buy it.

Make sure that your CTA is where the reader can easily see it, but without offending them by placing it too early on the page. It should almost always be near the end of the page, but also seen along the way.

There's a caveat to this: if you place it at the very bottom, and your content doesn't get them there, then you've lost your opportunity to present your CTA. This is where writing great content that engages your audience is so critical. But that's a topic for another day.

The best way to go about placement is to give the reader options. Let them find the CTA in multiple places. That way, they'll be sure not to miss it.

I hope these shortcuts help you to understand a bit more about writing call-to-action copy. Put them to good use. And keep in mind, finding the RIGHT call-to-action for your target audience takes work and experimentation. If something isn't getting results, switch it up and try something new. And as a bonus, with all the practice you'll be writing like a pro in no time!

To your success!

About the Author

Janine Hogan

Would you like help in making LinkedIn one of your most powerful business marketing and professional networking tools? I'm on a mission to help entrepreneurs and business professionals better leverage their LinkedIn profiles and make the most of their connections. I start by transforming underperforming, uninspiring, unattractive LinkedIn profiles into SUPERCHARGED, scroll-stopping marketing tools that make you and your product or service stand out from the crowd.

You can start by connecting with me on LinkedIn.

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