When you give your readers a call to action, it’s amazing how often people will do as they’re told. I’ll give you an example of something we did. We ran a series of 10 Internet marketing workshops for a large organization. Their staff and selected clients were invited to participate in any, some, or all of the workshops. Their clients could include up to three employees. Because the workshops extended beyond noon, lunch was provided.
Because we were responsible for organizing and managing the project, we needed to know the approximate number of people who would be attending each of the workshops to organize the luncheons. When we contacted each company’s representatives by email looking for participation RSVPs, we conducted an experiment. We sent half the representatives one version of the message and the other half a slightly different version. The only difference between the two messages was that in one, we included a call to action. In that message we asked: “RSVP before Wednesday at noon indicating if you will be attending as we must make arrangements for lunch,” and in the other, this same line read: “Please let us know if you are planning to attend as we must make arrangements for lunch.”
There was a 95 percent response rate from the group who received the first message. This is because we gave people a call to action and a deadline, and they felt obligated to respond more promptly. Meanwhile, fewer than 50 percent of the people in the second group responded to our message. What does this tell us? To improve your response rate, give your readers a call to action when you send them email. People respond when told to do something; they act with more urgency when there is a deadline.