Be more bossy

When we’re helping people think about their online communications, to sell products, services or spread information, one of the most common mistakes we see is a failure to include a call to action.

On the web, everyone spends a lot of time worrying about what happens if something goes wrong. If your post upsets some people, or attracts unwanted attention.

But don’t forget those who want to do something, who are motivated by your cause or message, and want more information. Make sure these people know what to do next.

Why is a call to action so important?

  1. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Do not assume that the user has understood what you are saying, and even if they have, don’t assume they will actually go away and do something, even if they liked, RT’d or 🙂
  2. You need to measure understanding and response. The easiest way to do this is to ask people to do something. You might be asking people to make a donation, request more information, or to share their view or make a suggestion

If you don’t have a call to action, you’re left with measuring reach, which is not particularly helpful.

The call-to-action has to be really clear as well. If it sounds too bossy to you as the writer, that’s probably about right.

This tweet has a sort-of call to action, but it’s down to you to work out how to ‘get involved’:

This example is better:

Sign up at the link and receive a toolkit. Measure: number of sign-ups and toolkits sent out.

For charities in particular, it is so important to guide your supporters. Give them simple options for supporting, volunteering or donating. And make it very easy.

On that note, it appears that incorporating calls to action could be about to get a whole lot easier. Facebook is consulting on the idea of incorporating a ‘tip jar’ in to pages. This could be a simple button that allows people to pay small amounts of money to the page owner, quickly and easily.

This opens up the possibility to make a call to action even more measurable. Instead of celebrating likes and shares, you could be counting the pennies. But you will still need to tell people what to do.




Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY