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Calls to action are simple, effective tools

What is a call to action? It’s a short, clear, direction.  “Call us today for an introductory flight.” “Schedule your first lesson here.” “Find out now how soon you could be flying!” Pair those short commands with a button (“Click here,” “Check it out,” “Take a Tour”) and you have created a call to action. It’s designed to convert visitors to your site to leads that later become customers by spurring them to take the next step. 

Many small businesses don’t use calls to action. I’m wondering if that’s because they think a “Contact us” link on the top right corner of the website serves as a call to action. It doesn’t. It simply provides, well, contact information.

A call to action is designed to get site visitors to engage with you. Whether it’s to get in touch for more information, set up a flight lesson, or sign up for your monthly newsletter, a call to action brings the customer to you.

I scanned 20 flight school websites while writing this article. Just one had what I would consider a true call to action: “First flight $99. Your pilot certificate is just a click away!” (With click button prominently displayed underneath.) This flight school had done its marketing homework: The call to action was prominently displayed in the upper third of the website; the command was clear and unambiguous; the call to action stood out clearly from the aerial photograph on which it was placed.

This 2011 article by Daniel Kehrer lays out good information about calls to action, how they work, how and where they should appear on a website, and how you can make them even more effective. The one bit of advice that I’m not sure translates well to flight schools is the command to “set the table first”; that is, start by identifying the problem (pain) and explain why your product or service solves it. “The benefits you offer can become part of your call to action,” Kehrer says. Is wanting to fly a problem? (Or pain?)

Does your website feature a call to action? If not, you can easily create one. Just be sure you have resources to respond to the calls and emails you receive. 
Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.

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