Most Wanted Action or Most Wasted Opportunity? Do You Waste Opportunities in Your Communication?

Recently in a meeting with HMRC I found myself asking ‘what’s your most wanted call to action from this letter?’ That wasn’t the purpose of the meeting but old habits and all that… And perhaps not unsurprisingly the response from the senior managers didn’t actually align with the operation team. In reading the letter I could quickly see there were several possible outcomes and the most likely one wasn’t the real Most Wanted Action (MWA).

Every communication we have with our customers, our suppliers, stakeholders, employees etc. must have a clear Most Wanted Action – it doesn’t need to be an ‘in your face’ do this now it can be must more subtle but all the same clear.

We mostly refer to having a Most Wanted Action or Call To Action on a website but the same would go for any advertisement, eshot, hard copy mail campaign or any other media used for marketing. And at the same time remembering that most of the communication we have with people re business should have a MWA.

Make sure its a clear most wanted action and not a most wasted opportunity.

Make sure its a clear most wanted action and not a most wasted opportunity.

Giving away a free report will probably be the first step in a sales ladder or entry into a sales funnel. You want to continue engaging with the prospective client and so you really do need to ‘salt’ the report with other ways that you and your business can help them and then the end of the report telling people how they can contact you. We all know that ‘salt’ enhances the flavour of food and so adding ‘salt’ to any free report, webinar etc. will have the same effect it enhances and gets the ‘cerebral taste buds’ working.

In my experience many people don’t think about what it is that they want from a website which is all too often is obvious from the look and feel of the site. It may be obvious to you, the owner of an ecommerce site for instance, that you want the customer to buy products. But how easy do you make it for visitors to the site to find and buy the products or save them in a shopping basket until later? And if someone is just visiting or browsing, as people often do on ecommerce sites, are you collecting information from them that will allow you to build up a relationship? Part of the like, know, trust and buy relationship steps.

For a services website what is that you most want from the person visiting the site? Is your site simply to provide credibility, raise your profile, and set out your business ethos and services? Or are you expecting people start a buying process. Even if it’s just a so-called brochure site it should still be working for you. Enabling you to collect basic information from visitors so that if they don’t pick up the phone and call you or email you still getting their basic information which again you can then use to start building a relationship with them.

And if you are offering a free report or consultation do you pre-qualify people i.e. asking for a reasonable amount of information that not only tells you more about the person but also will sift out those who aren’t really serious since they won’t be bothered to provide that information.

If it’s just a report than ask for name, email and phone number. And if its for a free consultation ask some questions about the business – website address, turnover, number of employees, years in business, location, biggest business challenge or whatever the most appropriate questions to the services you offer.

Make sure that your contact details are prominent and display next to the contact details the action you want the visitor to take as opposed to – again this could a gently call to action or a direct ‘call now’.

If you are sending a letter or postcard consider when drafting the copy what is the outcome that you want? If it’s a sales or marketing communication do you want the recipient to call you, email you, write to you, attend an event? Make it clear and simple and perhaps repeat the MWA more than once.

If it’s any other type of customer communication again make it obvious what action you want them to take e.g. provide certain information, call to book an appointment etc. Include the contact information in the body of the text as well the normal letter heading or footer. I’m sure that like me you’ve received a letter from someone asking you to contact them and not been able to find the phone number, especially a direct line: definitely a ‘Most Wasted Opportunity’ as opposed to a clear ‘Most Wanted Action’.

Clarity in the MWA not only increases the response rate i.e. the likelihood that someone will take the action but also makes it easier for them to know what to do and when to do it. This was the missing from the HMRC letter!

Even when communicating within your business what’s the Most Wanted Action from any communication? If its for information only then where can the recipient find out more information or where do they go they have questions, don’t understand etc.

If you want certain actions to be taken how are you communicating those messages? Are you instructing or engaging with people?

We all know that tone in written communication can be easily misunderstood so think carefully about the language used and also the best ways for people to receive and hear information and ‘instructions’ for action.

Every opportunity to engage and communicate with people re your business should be considered carefully and the Most Wanted Action understood otherwise it becomes a Most Wasted Opportunity. And few businesses can afford that.

Oh, and out of interest did you know that the response rate on a Most Wanted Action where the colour green is used is far higher than any other colour. Especially the click here and or submit buttons. No doubt because we associate green with go.
Now I’m off to complete my free report so that my website can have a clear Most Wanted Action and I can start to build greater relationships with potential customers.

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