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Call to Actions: The Big, The Bold, and The Boring

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Got a sucky website? Let Smarter Searches fix it.

Okay, okay. I didn’t mean to insult your website right off the bat (maybe later I’d give you some harsh critiques, but not until I buttered you up). I got your attention though, didn’t I? It’s not everyday you see businesses make bold moves in the form of aggressive language, but hey, it made you look.

Risky language is just one form of inventive call-to-actions (CTAs) that search engine marketers are using to switch things up. I’d like to say more PPC managers are tackling CTAs this way, but we’re living in a society where everyone is offended over everything (“Hey! Don’t call my carpet crappy! My carpet didn’t do anything to you!”) Personally, I think it’s time to make some bold moves and test some creative call-to-actions.

Let’s start slow. Baby steps. A call-to-action is the part of your advertisement that tells users what they need to be doing once they click on your ad and make it your website. Your typical CTA goes a little something like this: “Find out more”, “Call now”, “Buy here”. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with these messages, but they’re not particularly original, and they’re not going to stand out from the PPC pack.

Visualize yourself as the customer. You’re perusing the internet in hopes of getting your relentlessly obnoxious yet completely adorable white fluffy cat a harness so you can take her out in your backyard (don’t judge). You do a search for “cat harness” and these three ads pop up:

  • Cat Harness

Cat Harnesses in Every Color.

Comes in All Sizes. See More.

  • Meow Shop’s Cat Harnesses

Take Your Cat With You Outside.

50% Off Select Styles. Shop Now!

  • No More Meowing

Annoying Cat Wants to go Outside?

Put An End to the Meows w/Harnesses

Now, I’m the type of person that is immediately drawn to Ad #2, mostly because I’m cheap and I’m always looking for a bargain. Using numbers reels in audiences looking for pricing, promotions, discounts, etc. It also gives users a sense of urgency – if they don’t shop now, they might lose the 50% off that was mentioned in the ad. Regardless if they choose the harness that has the 50% off deal, they still landed to your website, and that’s a valuable click for your business.

Not to bash Ad #1 (I wrote it, after all), but it’s a total snoozefest. There’s nothing imaginative about it. I’m not able to picture my white fluffy crying cat desperate to get outside in this “every color, every size” generic harness. Perhaps if this ad mentioned unique harness features, such as “soft, adjustable mesh” or “skull print pattern”, I’d be more inclined to click and see what the fuss is all about. Instead, I skimmed right over it and plunged into the “50% off select styles” ad, because it was enticing and has the potential to save me money.

Ad #3 is a good example of pushing PPC boundaries. While it may have given me a chuckle because my cat IS crying non stop, my cat is my baby and I’M the only one allowed to call her annoying (which I do all the time). I probably would have clicked on this ad had it not been for the 50% offer because I enjoy its witty style and it was incredibly eye catching. You truly don’t see much humor or daring language in pay-per-click ads, and it might be nice to spice up Google’s SERP every once in a while. Would I recommend this approach for every client/business? Absolutely not. Would I pitch it for cutting edge businesses who aren’t afraid to build an amusing banter with their clients? Of course!

Above all else, stay true to your business. Your ads are an extension of your brand, and if you don’t feel comfortable using bigger, bolder, badder language, don’t use it. It wouldn’t come off genuine, anyway. However, it is important to get a little creative, and take advantage of your unique selling points. Push your Cyber Monday sales, advertise free shipping, mention your competitive prices. Don’t sell yourself short. Cut yourself out a sweet little spot on the SERP and make the most of it.