I was at a theater event last week here in Folsom, CA where I live and while it was a fun event one things stood out: During the first 10 minutes or so there were 3 different times when I was compelled to clap but I wasn't sure if I was supposed to... so I didn't!
It made me think of that old adage "Pause for applause." Sure enough, later in the show they did a better job of signaling to the crowd when it was time to clap but there is a lesson to be learned from all of this - when you want someone to do something you need to make it obvious because people don't do things that may make them feel stupid or waste their time.
What does this have to do with marketing and local publications? Everything!
How often have you, as a publisher, experimented with something new only to have it fail or just tread-water? Odds are, it wasn't the 'thing' that was wrong it was how you did it - you and your advertisers likely had poor calls to action. If you want someone to take action tell them, clearly, obviously, right-in-their-face-so-they-don't-have-to-look-for-it-obvious.
It's for this very reason that we have created a common set of standard graphics for our affiliates to use in print and on their websites as part of our Print-to-Web strategy. We don't want to leave it to chance and we know that poor or inconsistent calls to action lead to poor and inconsistent results. Don't believe? Take in some community theater and you can feel when the call to action is missing.
So, ensure your advertisers have compelling, clear calls-to-action in their ads and any new initiative that you take on please make sure you KISS and Pause for Applause i.e. keep-it-simple-stupid and clearly explain what people should do.
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