Will You Die If You Have More Than One Call To Action?

One call to action at a time.

That’s the mandate, right?

More than one call to action and your whole village dies in a fire?

Something like that.

(This is very similar to the fake rules and real rules thing. Remember the sex and the brownies? Reread that one. It has sex and brownies.)

For those of you just joining us, a call to action is a request, suggestion, or command that your reader or visitor do something.

Buy now.

Click this link.

Get a girlfriend already so I can ruin you in divorce court.

In almost all cases, any more than one call to action at a time is suicide.

The visitor’s options on a sales page, for example, should basically be:

1. Buy
2. Leave.

But there are exceptions.

Wanna talk about them? Of course you do.

You can have two calls to action in one of two cases:

1. When your main call to action – “call me for a quote”, for example – is so astoundingly unlikely that you may as well give them something else to do.

Let’s say you sell a service that costs $5,000 and has an 18 month sales cycle. From an actuarial perspective, nobody is calling you for a quote today and you know it. In that case, sure, end your article with “call me for a quote or keep reading the rest of this series”.

The likelihood that any one individual will call you for a quote based on that call to action is so low as to be statistically irrelevant. Yes, you should put the option out there regularly anyway, because it reinforces to Not Yet Clients that you give quotes. Also because you might just get someone in the mood for a quote.

If I do happen to be in the mood to give you FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS at this very moment, I am unlikely to be distracted by the next article in the series. The seriously interested are not flight risks. Having a second call to action does not threaten the sale in this case.

So if there isn’t a real hope in hell that they’ll do your big call to action, by all means, give them something else to do. There’s no real risk here, and you might just keep them on the site long enough to get them on your list or something.

Important aside? This is for content pages only, not sales pages. Your About Page, your blog post, your guest article, whatever.

NOT YOUR SALES PAGE OR YOUR SERVICES PAGE. CONTENT ONLY.

2. I can upgrade the product I’m buying.

Your Next Six Months, or Your Next Six Months with business plan feedback.

Regular or platinum.

Money Calls or Money Calls with Booster pack.

Add the coaching upgrade.

Include the special edition tour DVD.

In the case of an upgrade or upsell option, you can have two calls to action on a sales page.

TWO.

TWO TWO TWO.

Not three.

At three or more, you’re following more of a software-as-service model – you’re offering a choice of versions or packages of the same thing, not one thing with an extra thing.

In that case, the three or more options are not different calls to action. There’s actually only one action the visitor can take, and that’s “choose”. Some services have five levels you can choose from, for example. That’s not five calls to action and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It should be treated as one. You’re asking them to do one thing – choose.

Also, if you’re following that model, you should always have and highlight a default choice. Most popular, best deal, something like that.

The highlighted default option should be honest or seem honest.

If everybody buys Level One and you want them to buy Level Five, don’t say Level Five is the most popular. We all know you’re lying. You can highlight the hell out of Level Two if you want, but don’t get greedy.

The exception here is if you’re offering a substantial relative discount for higher levels. If buying the highest level is the best deal, you’re allowed to make a fuss about that.

This is what you see in in-app purchases from the App Store or iPhone games. Buy 100 gold for $0.99. Buy 1,000 gold for $4.99. Buy 10,000 gold for $9.99. Buy 100,000 gold for $39.99! Highlight that, by all means. You might just get someone drunk enough to do it.

In conclusion, the Fits In A Fortune Cookie version.

Have two calls to action if it can’t hurt.

It can almost always hurt.

For more entertaining advice on calls to action, read the AIDA series. (Hint: the second A stands for Action.)

It’s fun. It’s trans-fat free. It’s ACTUALLY free. Can your Twinkies say that?

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.