Have you ever completed a campaign and wondered why your response rate was so low? Then you realize that you only listed the phone number and website address once in your marketing campaign—and they were buried between five other thoughts. OOPS!

We often try so hard to give our prospects or customers an abundance of information that we almost forget to tell them what we want them to do AND how we want them to do it.

Use the checklist and helpful hints below to ensure your offer is presented clearly and is easy to respond to, so you get the results you want.

 Is the offer presented in an easy-to-understand, clear manner? In lead generation, if you are looking for hand-raisers who may want additional information, the language you use should differ from that which you would use if you were looking for an immediate purchase. You may write, “Call or click here for additional information,” or “Download/view now,” or “Learn more.” All of these options imply that the responder will receive additional information by taking action. Alternatively, if you are asking for an immediate purchase, you would use verbiage such as “Buy now,” or “Call/click to save $XXX now,” or “Choose your option now.”

HINT – if you are trying to make an immediate sale, but don’t want to lose prospects, consider giving those not ready to buy an alternate path for response, where you can capture their information for follow-up. This may be positioned as something like, “Learn more or view purchase options,” which implies that the respondent can either learn more or buy now if they are ready.

 Are the ways to respond clear? Have you made it simple for prospects or customers to see how you’d like them to reply? You might decide that an offer is only available by phone, or perhaps there are many ways to respond. It’s always good to provide more than one way to respond, as long as you can ensure that the experience will be a good one. Common reply mechanisms include phone, fax, mail (BRC/BRE), web, email and QR code.

HINT – If you are giving digital response options such as web or QR code, you’ll need to make sure that the experience is optimized for mobile devices. Nothing kills a response more than a bad experience.

 Is there confusion? Are you trying to get the respondent to do too many things, or are you providing confusing information? Always make sure that your marketing has focus and that the offer is clear. If you have listed several phone numbers, emails or websites for various options, confusion may lead to no response at all.

HINT – It is okay to include several calls to action if the purpose of your communication is to provide a multitude of information. For example, in a customer handbook or tips-and-tricks communication to customers, you may have various options based on the department (e.g., new orders vs. billing inquiries).

 Is the call to action repeated? I recently watched a restaurant TV commercial, and I had it on mute. I missed the first few seconds and, for the next 20 seconds or so, saw all of these delicious dishes. It was a great commercial and grabbed my attention, BUT the problem is that at the end of the spot, they flashed the special price, but no restaurant name, logo or website. I had no idea where to go to get this great food! Similarly, on a direct mail piece, if you only put the ways to respond once or twice, they may be missed. A best practice is to ensure the call to action is present and clear on every component of a direct-mail campaign and, if possible, in multiple places on the same page.

HINT – Creating a graphical treatment showing the ways to respond is a good technique to ensure that your call to action visually stands out and won’t be missed. You can use icons for the methods to respond or create a graphic with additional creative elements, such as “Easy as 1, 2, 3.”

Using this guide and the helpful hints is sure to increase your response and the success of your campaigns.