Improving Calls to Action in Print Media

Calls to Action are helpful in that they demand your customer responds right away to your offer. If improperly written, however, they can often disengage your audience. How do you improve your calls to action in print media? Let’s begin with what a call to action is.

A call to action is a statement that spurs the consumer to take action in the form of subscriptions, calls, information, etc. and is often a no-obligation incentive for customers. They follow three main tenets: a no-obligation statement, the contact information for seller, and demands an immediate response.


The no-obligation statement of a call to action often removes risk for the customer by offering a free trial, giveaway, or discount rather than a full purchase; this will give the customer confidence to buy.

A way to connect

An obvious aspect of a call to action is a way to contact the seller whether that is through mailing in, calling, clicking, etc. This furthers the customer’s confidence and legitimizes your business.


Finally, a call to action should spur your customers to respond almost immediately upon seeing the ad. Creating a sense of urgency will make the customer think your offer is limited and they will respond accordingly.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a call to action is, how do we create an effective one for a print ad?

Take action

The key to a great call to action is using strong action verbs and phrases. For example, instead of “give us a call” you should write “call us at 1-800”; this gives the customer a clear action to take. The action can be easily understood and can be immediately acted upon. If you add in “call now for you free charger” you will create a sense of urgency.

Gain trust

Sometimes a deal is too good to be true and your audience may approach your call to action as such; create it in a way that it will quell any misgivings they may have. Gain their trust by showing you respect the customers’ time by writing as many details as feasible to make the process quick and simple.

Nice and simple

Your call to action should also be aesthetically pleasing to your audience, but be sure not to crowd the images and text! If you have too much going on your audience may come away from your ad unclear as to what they should do. Contrast your colors and use bright colors to catch your customer’s eye and bring them in.

Your action plan

Finally, be sure you have a call to action yourself: that is a call to act on a strategic plan after you have gained your customer’s trust and response.  If you are having your customer call-in, make sure you have a call center or designated sales person to answer the call.  Ensure that you have a way to track your success and failures so that you can understand what is working and what doesn’t.

Hopefully that gives you some good ideas about how to create and use calls to action in your print ads, but if you still need some help, here’s a call to action you may want to complete–download our Ultimate Guide to Print Media Buying for more great tips and advice about how to effectively use print media to generate leads!