Do you need a call to action in every email?
👉 if not, what's the point?
Friday’s email about turning your hobbies into interesting and valuable emails got me thinking.
Which I guess is the point of interesting and valuable emails :)
By the way…remind me to tell you the Derek Dingle story someday…
What it got me thinking was “how do you segue from those fun emails related to your hobbies into an actual call to action to get people to buy your stuff?”
Or any call to action.
Because that’s the purpose of the email, isn’t it?
What’s the point of sending an email if you don’t get people to take action as a result?
Well, actually, there is a point.
The purpose of a TV ad for honey nut cheerios isn’t to get you to instantly jump in your car, race over to the supermarket and buy some. It’s to make it a bit more likely that next time you’re in the cereal aisle you notice the big yellow box and you’re a bit more likely to scoop it into your trolley.
Similarly, there are three potential goals of any email:
To get you to take immediate action. For example to click a link to a sales page.
To create a small change in your beliefs and attitudes so you’re more likely to do something later (for example to build a bit of credibility so you’re more likely to want to work with me).
To get you to read the next email so that the incremental impact continues.
What that means is you don’t need a call to action in every email.
Often there’s a natural call to action, of course. If you’re writing about problems and challenges your readers have in areas where you have products that can help then very often there’s a clear link to one of your products or services.
Like the module on calls to action in my boringly-named-but-super-powerful Effective and Engaging Email Newsletters course for example. It shows you how to make your calls to action an obvious next step for someone who’s got value from reading your emails.
But sometimes you’ll write an email that’s useful and interesting and there just isn’t a natural call to action.
Don’t worry about it.
Don’t try to shoehorn in a link where it will just feel awkward.
When I used to go to networking events I’d have the odd conversation where someone would ask me how business was and after I’d said a couple of sentences they’d leap in with “have you considered key man insurance?” or “you’d get a lot more leads if you had someone working on SEO for you”.
Surprisingly enough, none of those folks ever got any of my business. A shoehorned call to action makes people feel like you’re only interested in selling to them, not helping them.
It pushes people away.
If you’re emailing regularly you don’t have to push people to take action every time. There’s always the next email.
Sometimes building credibility and trust or touching one one of their buying triggers to move them closer to working with you is perfect.
Sometimes just sending something that will make them more likely to read your next email is perfect.
And sometimes a stronger call to action is absolutely the perfect thing too. As long as you can make it feel right.
More on that next time gentle reader.