In direct response advertising, a call to action is wording that asks the reader or viewer to take immediate action. The desired action may be to fill out and send in an order form or reply card, make a phone call, click something on a website, look for the product in a certain store or many other possible actions. The call to action closes the sale by telling the reader or viewer exactly what to do to get the product, service or information offered.
A clear and specific call to action is important because the purpose of your direct response advertising is to get prospects to take the action you want them to take. If the prospect is unsure of what to do to get the benefits you're promoting, you could lose the response. That action must also be immediate or the prospect could put off responding, which often results in no response at all.
A good call to action will create a compelling urgency for prospects to respond. Wording such as "You must call NOW as supplies are limited" clearly tells the readers or viewers to respond immediately to get the item the rest of the ad has convinced them they need. Without a specific and urgent call to action, the rest of your ad copy is wasted. In direct response advertising, it's the response to your ad that counts!
Good copywriters understand what would keep the target audience from responding. They relate to the doubts and fears of the prospect by reassuring the reader or viewer such as by stressing the company's "No Questions Asked Money Back Promise" near the end of the copy. Any qualms or reservations the prospect could have must be addressed and the offer, including bonuses and benefits, as well as the urgency should be summarized in the final call to action. Here's an example:
"Call 1-800-555-5555 right now to reserve your limited edition Bradley-Rhodes Bonsai Sculpture. You must call NOW as supplies are limited. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. You have our No Questions Asked Money Back Promise. Hurry! Call 1-800-555-5555 NOW! The first 100 callers receive a Miniature Surprise Bonus Sculpture absolutely FREE!"