How to Get Customers to Take Action

Regardless what you may have assumed to the contrary, conversion is more of a science than an art. You don’t need to have a special way with words or a talent for selling things to get people to take the actions you need them to take.

40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels (often while shopping) before making a purchase.  According to a research study reported in The Atlantic, 47% of the time, the human mind is wandering.

So how do you reach through the short attention spans and indecisiveness and get your customer to take an action?

I firmly believe all that’s required to get your customer to take action is a simple understanding of conversion science. It’s data as calculable as 1 + 1 = 2.

Even using just a few of these ways will lead to higher conversion rates, but a combination of most or all of these can give your business a far-higher chance for success. Let’s rock and roll.

Immediate Action

If there could be an overarching theme of this entire blog post, it would be this. From what I’ve observed, not pushing immediate action is the most common marketing mistake businesses make.

If you’re not encouraging your customer to take action NOW, they’re going to feel like they have the luxury of putting off a decision, which (you guessed it) either intentionally or unintentionally becomes a no to your service or product.

This means that action = immediate action. Without the immediate part, you have no action to work with at all, and next-to-zero sales.

Limited-Time Offer

You’ll see this one everywhere — from Walmart’s aisles to buying a house: the limited-time offer. The psychological reality backing up the technique is known as the scarcity principle. Humans innately have a stronger desire for a product or service that is scarce. Even the most gigantic companies (such as AT&T) use it explicitly in their ads.

One-Time Offer

The one-time offer, or OTO, is often used as a common sales gimmick.

It’s been used by the sleaziest of the sleazy to artificially jack up urgency. Ah, but here’s the thing: It works.

Take Groupon, for example. The site is predicated upon the whole idea of the one-time offer. For example, from 2010 to 2013, Groupon went from under $100 million to $1 billion in sales. Next time someone tells you that the one-time offer doesn’t work, just remind them of that case study.

Limited Stock/Availability

The limited stock idea is similar to the limited time idea, except it places the urgency focus on the limitations of product rather than the time you have to buy it.

Limited stock ideas can be used for more than just products, however. If you have a service-based business, for example, you can limit the number of clients you can take on or the number of attendees for a webinar.

Placing a limitation on just about anything can potentially increase the desirability of that thing.

You can even use limited time and limited stock together for double the impact.

Hint: Studies repeatedly show us that customers respond well to the use of the word “special” - i.e. special offer, special edition, etc.

Warning Customers of a Price Increase

People want to get in on a good deal. If your price is going up on a specific date, let your customers know. They'll want to buy before your product's price increases. A great example of this comes from Amazon, who announced the launch of the Prime increase months before it happened. What ended up happening? A huge spike in Prime membership. 


Every industry has its seasons. By stressing seasonality in your conversion strategy, you can increase the number of people who will buy in a given time.

Some industries rise or fall based on a single buying season. Even a single day of a single season can have enormous impact. Just think about the holiday season of November and December, for example. Or the buying power of Valentine’s Day.

Seasonality can also be used literally. If it’s the beginning of summer, have an early-summer emphasis. If it’s late summer, go for the late-summer angle. All you have to do is talk about the season, and it subtly raises the urgency level.

Fear of Unavailability

Many people suffer from a fear of missing out, known especially among millennials as FOMO. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a shopper’s anxiety over potentially missing out on something good — a good deal, a great product, or a nice experience.

Some marketers estimate that 73% of shoppers have this anxiety-driven sensation when interacting and shopping online.

For example, uses it to emphasize the need to find out what’s being said about your business.


You can encourage immediate action by featuring a countdown timer. The mere presence of such a timer will raise adrenaline levels and signal the user that he or she needs to do something right away.

You can even use this technique in reverse to raise anticipation.

Use Strong Calls to Action

47% of websites have a clear call-to-action button that takes users 3 seconds or less to see. That’s the max amount of attention span your customer will likely have.

Most of the buttons that people click when they visit landing pages have one or more of these features:

  • Clean and contrasting background to text color
  • A distinct button text (e.g., “Get free access”)
  • Have white space surrounding them
  • Rectangular (sometimes rounded) shape
  • Complementary border

To increase urgency in your CTA, keep the language strong, action-oriented, and urgent. Don’t use weak language like ”click here.”

The language of a conversion button itself can encourage immediate action. As you will see throughout the rest of this section, there’s power in language.

Your CTA button can be a whole sentence, provided the sentence is clear enough. But whether it’s a simple word or an entire sentence, call-to-action language is most effective when used to make the audience feel something.

Decades ago, while Britain was fighting for its survival, Winston Churchill relied on words to inspire his countrymen to valor and greatness.

He chose power words carefully and used them to deliver an impassioned address. Let’s take a look at one passage, with all the power words:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.  

Human psychology is the same in every age and nation. People are effected by words today just like they were during World War II.

Just like Churchill used them to inspire greatness and persuade the British to support the war effort, you can use power words to craft your call-to-action buttons. A Winston Churchill approach to conversion? Sounds like a recipe for success to me. Do you have a CTA plan or do you need help coming up with one? Let 10twelve help you and your company come up with a CTA plan that will increase your sales immediately.