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Mobile IQ Series: 4 Tips to Craft the Perfect Mobile Call to Action

Greg Sales Exec | Platform Solutions
December 11, 2012

As part of an effort to keep readers’ “Mobile IQ” in check, I’ll be contributing tips every week or two on simple ways to raise your Mobile IQ!


The Call to Action (aka, CTA). You see them everywhere: TV ads, press releases, emails, SMS/push messages, QR Codes, and even on New York City Metro Cards. There is perhaps no element in the marketing mix that is more important, so getting it right is paramount to a campaign’s success.

Now crafting calls to action is not something that is new to marketers, but crafting mobile calls to action might be. Sure, many of the tactics that you’ve employed for your traditional media will transfer to mobile, however there are still a few key differences that could make or break the success of your campaign. Whether you’re using a call to action for acquisition and lead generation or simply to reward existing loyal customers, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure that your message is being delivered and received in the most effective way possible.



I cannot stress this enough. GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE SOMETHING.

Now I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, it doesn’t have to be something material or even something with monetary value. Sometimes just giving them “exclusive access” to the latest news or allowing them to be part of a “mobile VIP club” is enough.

Just remember that what you’re ultimately trying to do is to get this person to interact and engage with your brand, and it’s our job as marketers to give them a compelling reason. Don’t just slap a QR Code onto your magazine ad with no explanation because you think it looks cool.



Make it easy for your audience. It seems all too often that I see CTAs that give me only one way to interact. In this fast-paced and increasingly mobile world you have to remember that different members of your audience will prefer to engage with your brand in different ways.

For instance, if I’m a 46-year-old man with a Blackberry and I see a call to action that ONLY has a QR code, I may not scan it because I don’t know how to open the app that enables that action. That is a missed opportunity to engage with a potentially lucrative customer, and is what we in the industry call a mobile marketing fail.

However, if I saw that same ad and it said something like “Scan this QR Code OR Text COUPON to 272727…” then I may be more likely (or able) to take action. This is a very simple way to increase the number if interactions for a given CTA.



If you’re using SMS as an entry point for your call to action, one of the most important things to remember is to keep the keyword as simple as humanly possible. When a person gets a glimpse of your CTA, they should have no trouble recalling the word that they’re supposed to text and where they’re supposed to text it to. Also, if possible, make the keyword a real word (you know, one that won’t fall victim to the dreaded AutoCorrect…)

Let’s look at a simple case study that I conducted for my own edification a few weeks back:


The original CTA:

  • “Text Chat followed by your first name to 272727 to have a customer service rep call you.”


Now this is not terrible, but there are certainly a few ways to improve this.


The New CTA:

  • “Text CHAT to 272727 to have a customer service rep call you”


The Results:

  • 94% increase in average new users / week
  • 164% increase in total new users month-over-month


By making the initial keyword one word as opposed to two (Chat and your first name) we’ve essentially asked for one less thing from the customer making it easier for them to engage with us. Now you may be wondering, “Well how do I get their first name?” Simple. Adding another step in the mobile flow that asks the user to reply with their first name so that it can be stored as metadata will a) make the process much easier to understand and b) reduce the number of users who text in the wrong keyword (or don’t text in at all) due to confusion.



This is a simple concept as well, but one that is far underutilized in my opinion. When you’re drafting up the creative that will be used for your SMS CTA, remember to make your keyword and short code bold, capitalized, and if possible a different color than the rest of the words in the sentence. Let’s look at an example of a bad CTA and a great CTA.


Bad CTA:

  • “Text Coupon to 272727 for awesome deals!”


Great CTA:

  • “Text COUPON to 272727 for awesome deals!”


See the difference? In the first (bad) example, it’s a bit hard to discern what is important. There’s no quick way to know what you’re supposed to actually be paying attention to and thus no way to (quickly) take action. In the second example, notice how the keyword and short code appear to jump off the page at a quick glance. No guessing. No searching. Just action.


So while this list is by no means extensive, it should give those of you who are new to mobile a bit of a head start in your quest to craft the perfect Call to Action.


Let us know what you do to craft effective CTAs in the comments below!



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