When you’re crafting a call to action for a project, you want people to take that action as soon as possible. But what do you write when your target audience doesn’t have to take that action immediately?
No marketer (at least, no marketer with a soul) wants to be pushy, right? We’re not here to force our products down people’s throats, we’re here to help them find solutions to their problems.
So, the idea of telling people to “buy now” or “come in today” for a multi-day event might feel less than truthful—like you’re trying to force them or trick them to do something.
But there are a couple of things to remember. First, even if they have a few days to take the action, you still want them to take the action as soon as possible. You still want them to come in “today” or “now” even if they don’t absolutely have to.
Second, bear in mind that they may not see your ad exactly when you expect them to. For example, if you’re writing a newspaper ad, they may not get to that ad the first day they get that newspaper. (Many people take several days to make it through the full Sunday newspaper, after all.)
And third, people aren’t going to necessarily take your copy literally. If you write, “Head In To Our Store Now!” people aren’t going to read it and drop everything whatever they’re doing at that moment because you invoked the word “now.”
The reason we use specific times like “now” or “today” is that they convey a sense of urgency—a sense that your reader might not even consciously register. Those words help to reinforce that the offer exists only for a limited time and, if they want to take advantage of that offer, they need to take action soon.
It’s definitely a good instinct to want to avoid anything disingenuous in your writing—you need to maintain trust between yourself (and your company/client) and your target audience. But a part of your job is to try to encourage people to take action, and that involves writing urgent copy. (Now.)
Your turn! What other techniques have you seen to add urgency to copy? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on January 5, 2023
One way to add that urgency is to emphasize how limited the time is, even if it’s not “now”. Time is, as Einstein taught us, relative. You can write about either an ongoing or a future event with urgency, as in: “You have only six days to experience the ______________ of ____________ at _____________.Sign up today.” For bonus points of urgency, add: “Space is limited” or “It will not be available again” or some such (as long as it’s true!).
Isn’t that what “Only NN shopping days til Christmas!” is all about?
Nicki Krawczyk says
That’s a great point. Reminding people that there’s a limited time in which to purchase helps to add that urgency, even if that limited time isn’t an especially short period of time. (Even lines like “only 45 shopping days ’til Christmas” increase sales, even though 45 days is a long time.)
Thanks for commenting!