A basic tenet of marketing writing is that your copy must include a call to action — a encouragement to your reader to DO something — usually, to take a specific step toward buying your product. A call to action generally takes the form of a command, such as “click here for a free demo”; “supplies are limited – call today”; or “order now and get free delivery.”
Well, I was at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton this weekend, and I saw a poster with a missing call for action.
Unfortunately, the poster was about domestic violence.
It read something like this: “Have you every been hit, kicked, or pushed by your partner? Does he control where you go or who you see? Does he act excessively jealous or possessive? If so, you might be a victim of domestic abuse!”
In marketing writing, the bit I just described is known as “identifying your audience’s pain points.” (In this case, identifying their actual pain.) This should be followed by offering a solution — and then instructions telling the audience what to do next. That’s the call to action.
For example, in this case, the poster might have read, “Our local domestic violence shelter is open to women throughout the Miami Valley. Call us 24 hours a day at xxx-xxx-xxxx. We are here to listen and to help.”
Unfortunately, the poster included none of that. It just ended with the stark warning, “You might be a victim of domestic abuse!” I have to think of women across the Miami Valley reading that and thinking to themselves, “thanks for the tip, a-hole. Now what am I supposed to do?”
To the extent it helps, here are numbers for actual places in the greater Dayton region where women and their children can seek help for domestic abuse:
- Dayton: Artemis Center, 24-hour hotline for domestic abuse: 937-222-SAFE (937-222-7233)
- Greenville: Shelter from Violence, hotline: 937-548-2020
- Sidney: New Choices, hotline: 937-498-4981
- Troy: Family Abuse Center of Miami Valley, hotline: 937-335-7148
- Xenia: Greene County Domestic Violence Project, hotline: 937-426-2334