Call to Action Examples & Advice for Digital Signage

EPISODE 45 | Guest: Ellyce Kelly, professional services consultant, Visix, Inc.

A call to action is a short, clear instruction that motivates your audience to do something, like “register now” or “learn more”. And in visual communications and digital signage, the call to action is the most important part of every message you publish. It not only prompts action; it gets people actively engaged and provides you with a way to measure whether or not your messaging is effective.

It might sound basic, but, as in all communications, there are some dos and don’ts. We’ll walk you through some best practices for how to create compelling calls to action, with 12 tips that have been proven to work on digital signs.

  • Get easy call to action examples you can use today
  • Learn how to leverage QR codes for higher response rates
  • Understand how to craft concise, motivating messages
  • Consider language register, verbs, triggers and symbols
  • Explore gamification, cross-promotion and ROI measures

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Get more advice in our infographic 12 Best Practices for Calls to Action on Digital Signs


Derek DeWitt: A key component to successful digital signage messages (and one, honestly, I think, is sadly overlooked a lot) is the call to action, the CTA. If you’re not giving them something to do, then they’re just going to walk on past, walk on by, and in the rather data rich world that we now inhabit, your stuff just becomes part of the background, part of the noise. So we’re going to talk about some best practices for calls to action. Today I’m here with Ellyce Kelly, client relationship manager for Visix. Hello, Ellyce.

Ellyce Kelly: Hello, Derek. How are you?

Derek DeWitt: Marvelous.

Ellyce Kelly: Wonderful!

Derek DeWitt: Thank you for talking to me today, Ellyce. And thank you, everybody out there, for listening.

All right, so we say a lot, calls to action are absolutely essential. Why?

Ellyce Kelly: Well, if you think about it, Derek, we’re really already used to interacting with things like on our phone, even on your TV, right?

Derek DeWitt: That’s true. I have a Chromecast and I just shout at it. It does things.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly. It does things! Does it clean your house? Because, I was going to say I need to get a Chromecast. But it’s already expected, right? So all of these devices that we use on a daily basis in our lives, those are affecting human behavior. And so we come to expect it. And it’s going to get your audience more engaged. Otherwise they’re just looking at really a digital poster.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. It gives you some kind of ROI. And by that, I mean a way to measure, hey, this was successful, this was not successful. How do we know? Because people took the call to action and we have a way to measure that.

Ellyce Kelly: Right! And if no one took that call to action, then nobody’s looking at your signs.

Derek DeWitt: Or your call to action stinks. Which is why we’re going to talk about how to make them better. So we’re talking about a call to action: what is that? What kinds of ways can I get people to interact with the screen if they’re not interactive screens?

Ellyce Kelly: So, you’re telling me to do something, right? You’re telling me to sign up by a certain date. You’re telling me to take a picture of the screen or go to this URL, or to take this QR code and scan it so that I can, you know, go get free coffee at the bookstore. Whatever it is, you’re telling me to do something because of the message content that I’m viewing on the screen.

Derek DeWitt: I have to say I quite like QR codes because they’re small, they’re not extra text, which is nice. And I think people are comfortable with them now.

Ellyce Kelly: They are.

Derek DeWitt: They can actually get incorporated into the design.

Ellyce Kelly: Very easy to make.

Derek DeWitt: Provided, you have…you’ve got to make sure the contrast is really good for them.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely, yes.

Derek DeWitt: So, there are lots of different ways to try and get people to take an action. And it’s better, I think, if you can get them to do the action right then and there.

Ellyce Kelly: Right then and there, because when they walk away, that’s it. You want them to do it right then. You want to make it easy. You got to make sure, of course, the timing’s right, they’ve got enough time to do it. You don’t have a hundred messages in your playlist. Not like, Oh, I’m not going to sit here and wait for that message to come up again. I’ve got to get to class!

Derek DeWitt: Yeah! What was the URL? It was

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly. That’s another reason the QR code is a good one.

Derek DeWitt: I mean, you deal with this stuff a lot.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes!

Derek DeWitt: Because you basically you are the relationship manager for clients. You help them really optimize their digital signage, so you must encounter this constantly. So what are some best practices for calls to action?

Ellyce Kelly: Sure. So, one of the first things I would recommend is make sure the call to action is easy to see and read in the message. You know, you don’t want to bury it in a lot of other text and pictures and make it complicated and they’re walking by and going, is that a QR code? Well, what’s it for? And then they’re having to squint, and you know, and then all of a sudden there’s another message playing.

Derek DeWitt: The messages is up for maybe seven seconds?

Ellyce Kelly: Maybe seven seconds.

Derek DeWitt: Right, you know. So, like where’s a good place to put it?

Ellyce Kelly: Well, I mean, you just want to make it stand out. So I can’t really say top left, top right, bottom right, whatever, middle.

Derek DeWitt: It’s not that.

Ellyce Kelly: It’s not really that, yeah. And you’re going to have to play around with it a little bit, too.

Derek DeWitt: How can I make it stand out?

Ellyce Kelly: Well, you could use different colors. You could use different font sizes.

Derek DeWitt: Different weights, meaning bold or something.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. A totally different font. As long as it follows your brand standards, of course, and you’ve got a variety to choose from. Color, bold.

Derek DeWitt: Here’s the blue thing.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes.

Derek DeWitt: So, make sure that it’s easy to see and that it’s one of the first things you see.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes.

Derek DeWitt: Should be the first thing you see and the last thing you see, in a perfect world.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly. And you got to do it quick.

Derek DeWitt: Right. What else?

Ellyce Kelly: So, this goes in line with what we just talked about, you want to be clear, concise and specific.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. That’s interesting. Specific is important, I think. Because very often you get this, like, well we just kind of hope people show up to the town hall meeting. That’s awfully vague.

Ellyce Kelly: It is vague. When is it? Where is it? Is it in the same place it always is? I mean….

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. So you’re saying be concise. I mean, how concise are we talking about here?

Ellyce Kelly: Well, you’ve heard of this 3×5 rule.

Derek DeWitt: Sure.

Ellyce Kelly: Okay. So you’ve got your three lines of text and no more than five words.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Or five of three.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes, you could also do that.

Derek DeWitt: That’s the message. So is the call to action in addition to that?

Ellyce Kelly: So really the call to action might be the message, right? I mean, with sprinkled in with kind of what we’re calling to action, right? Why do we want you to do this? What’s it related to? It’s got to be short and sweet. A lot of times I will see content that was created for email or for intranet gets translated to digital signage, but it doesn’t translate it. It’s not a one-to-one thing.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true. I kind of often think that digital signage messages are most akin to Twitter. You know, on LinkedIn or Facebook (or whatever the heck else you’re using) you might be able to post a much longer thing. But on Twitter you have really not, what is it, 280 characters, I guess? That’s all you got. So you have to really boil that message down to its basics.

Ellyce Kelly: You do.

Derek DeWitt: And that’s it. So the message needs to be concise. And so then the call to action needs to be even more concise.

Ellyce Kelly: It really does.

Derek DeWitt: So, we’re talking what, like a declarative verb? Do it.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. And in fact, verbs are something, we’re going to get into that even a little deeper.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, marvelous! We like verbs.

Ellyce Kelly: But verbs are very important. So I’m glad that you mentioned that.

Derek DeWitt: So, what next?

Ellyce Kelly: And then you’ve got to write for an appropriate level for your audience.

Derek DeWitt: So appropriate level meaning, what? Like you’re guessing their education level? Grammar, vocabulary, or like, what?

Ellyce Kelly: So, there’s certain words you want to use. I’m a big fan of, instead of “have”, for example, you would say “acquire” if you’re writing something, like a press release or something.

Derek DeWitt: What we call register. Right.

Ellyce Kelly: Yeah. But “acquire” is not needed for your digital signage. “Have” is just fine.

Derek DeWitt: Or if you really want to get to the meaning of acquire, “get”.

Ellyce Kelly: Yeah, or “get”. Exactly. Yes. So, you’ve got to pick different words. You’re not trying to, you know, win a Pulitzer Prize.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, exactly. You’re not, you’re not winning some kind of text-based awards here. This is not literature.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly! It’s not.

Derek DeWitt: It’s a visual medium.

Ellyce Kelly: It goes back to what I was saying about the translation. It does not translate from the internet or email to digital signage. You’ve got to make it a lot shorter and sweeter.

Derek DeWitt: Well, you know, for many, many years, I’ve been an English teacher, English as a Foreign Language. And one of the ways that, in the modern age, we’re using computers to analyze language, you know, it used to be grammar based. First, we start with these tenses and these grammatical forms, and we build up and that determines if someone’s beginning or intermediate or advanced.

But there’s another way of looking at it that I’m quite fond of, which is looking at word frequency. The more frequent a word, the more common it is, the more it’s used, the more immediately useful it is. And that’s sort of your base. Those first 1000 words in English are 90 plus percent of everything we say.

Ellyce Kelly: Interesting.

Derek DeWitt: The average English speaker uses 5000 different words in spoken conversation normally. Whereas, say in German, the average German person uses somewhere around 12,000 words. We have more words; we have over a million words in English, but we use fewer of them on a day-to-day basis. We make those words work hard. But you, again, you don’t want to be writing highfalutin’ stuff .

Ellyce Kelly: Again. Yes. Just keep it short and sweet so that people remember it and aren’t trying to read through your big words.

Derek DeWitt: And you know, sometimes I think your audiences are, sometimes they’re not native English speakers.

Ellyce Kelly: That is absolutely true.

Derek DeWitt: So, they may know the word “get”, because that’s what they learned in their English classes, or just even just surviving in the world. They’re hearing “get” far more than they’re hearing the word “acquire”.

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. Plus it’s going to take longer to read those longer words.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. They take up more space. They’re more visually cluttering. You’re not doing anybody any favors by trying to be fancy.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly.

Derek DeWitt: What next?

Ellyce Kelly: All right, so next we’re going to prioritize verbs, then nouns, and then only use adjectives sparingly.

Derek DeWitt: Verbs are more important than nouns. Adjectives, we don’t need them. I guess that makes sense.

Ellyce Kelly: Verb is an action.

Derek DeWitt: Right? Do it!

Ellyce Kelly: Do it. Exactly. Just do it!

Derek DeWitt: Just do it. What do you think about this idea of using something else…? Because you don’t need to say “delicious” over, I don’t know, for example, there’s a cafe on site, “delicious coffee”. Do you really need to say it’s delicious?

Ellyce Kelly: No. You just get some coffee.

Derek DeWitt: Or I mean there’s a way to communicate that it’s delicious, and that’s some fantastic high-quality picture.

Ellyce Kelly: A high-quality picture.

Derek DeWitt: If I’m a coffee drinker and I see a nice picture with some steam coming off, and it’s nice and black (’cause I like my coffee black), I will automatically start thinking, mmmmmmm.

Ellyce Kelly: Because what do they say about pictures? They’re worth a thousand words.

Derek DeWitt: Right! So that’s certainly saving real estate space on your digital sign.

Ellyce Kelly: It is! Just don’t use any clip art. No clip art. I don’t think they make that anymore, thank goodness.

Derek DeWitt: They do. Poor people out there who use clip art, you guys have been slammed on so many of these podcasts.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh, dear.

Derek DeWitt: It’s kind of sad, but that’s funny.

Ellyce Kelly: None of our customers are using that. I can tell you that right now.

Derek DeWitt: Good.

Ellyce Kelly: Or if they were, they just stopped.

Derek DeWitt: Well, you know, it’s interesting, again, because I studied language and linguistics, verbs actually activate a different part of the brain than nouns.

Ellyce Kelly: I believe it.

Derek DeWitt: The way that our brain categorizes nouns is one way, the way it categorizes verbs is in, actually, the motor cortex, which is what makes our hands move, our legs move and so on. So the moment, say in English or any language, a person reads a verb, their body begins to prepare for action. Isn’t that crazy? Whereas nouns are much more like in there with parts of the brain that are associated with faces and things like this. They’re static. And then the adjectives are not needed.

Ellyce Kelly: The adjectives are just not needed at all. Again, digital signage, not writing books.

Derek DeWitt: Because, and the thing is, too, I think a lot of times people are coming at this maybe from sort of a 20th century perspective of they’re thinking, well, it’s advertising, and in advertising you do say “the best coffee in town”, “delicious, hot, fresh steaming, fresh roasted coffee”. The thing is, I don’t think it is an advertising medium. It’s a communications media.

Ellyce Kelly: It’s a communication. You just hit the nail on the head.

Derek DeWitt: And yet, you said verbs. So, you should probably use imperative verb forms, command forms.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes.

Derek DeWitt: ‘Cause they’re shorter.

Ellyce Kelly: They’re shorter.

Derek DeWitt: Right. And we know now it activates that part of the brain, right? So what you’re saying though, don’t use the adjectives. I mean, is there no way for me to make it sort of… because you know, we always want to try and use vivid language.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. So, “do this” is more direct and shorter than “you can do this”.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. And actually “you can do this” doesn’t have any useful information in this context.

Ellyce Kelly: It really doesn’t. Exactly. It’s like, what is the information? You just have to be so clear with digital signage, with messages, because again, your audience is not typically standing in front of that screen just waiting for you to just post these messages, right?

Derek DeWitt: Oh good! It’s another installment of War and Peace on the digital sign in seven-second segments. Yay!

Ellyce Kelly: Right. Yes. Exactly. You have a transient audience in most cases. Even if you have folks kind of milling around and hanging out, drinking their coffee.

Derek DeWitt: But they’re doing something else.

Ellyce Kelly: They’re doing other stuff. So you really got to keep the call to action….

Derek DeWitt: Boom!

Ellyce Kelly: Boom.

Derek DeWitt: Because you’ve already made sure it’s clear to see, and then just “do it”.

Ellyce Kelly: Right.

Derek DeWitt: And I would also caution, don’t use passive voice. Don’t say “it can be done”, say, you know, “do it” or something like that.

Ellyce Kelly: Yep. That’s great advice.

Derek DeWitt: Because a) it’s distancing (that’s the purpose of passive voice, is distancing), and it also, it’s longer. And it doesn’t add any useful information. So when you write those digital signage CTAs, I guess, really you should just go through and then just slice. Slice every word you can and still keep the meaning.

Ellyce Kelly: Slice and dice.

Derek DeWitt: Slice and dice. Yeah.

Ellyce Kelly: I love it.

Derek DeWitt: We’re cutting back like a venture capitalist on an acquisition binge.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh, wow. That’s great.

Derek DeWitt: I’ve also read about trigger words. Would you know what these are? What is this about?

Ellyce Kelly: Here are some examples. So “you” (because, talking to you, right?); “free”, that certainly gets my attention; “because”, “instantly”, and this is one of my favorites, “new”.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. This is why advertisers always will say something is new, and in fact, this is one of those funny truths. They did this with, I think it was Cheer or one of these laundry detergents. It was literally the same stuff. They just changed the packaging and said “new and improved”. And technically what was new and improved was the packaging.

Ellyce Kelly: Was the packaging.

Derek DeWitt: But they didn’t technically lie. And they saw their sales balloons, because they went oh, “new and improved”! These are those kinds of words that, I know in psychology, I think they call them System 1 words. These are ones that are very, they’re very emotional and their very, people have instantaneous reactions to them. “New; oh, I like that!”

Ellyce Kelly: Here’s some, I got a few more. Because these are good; they get me every time. So, “easy”; everything should be easy.

Derek DeWitt: Easy sign in — QR code.

Ellyce Kelly: Easy, one, two, three. Easy, QR code. Exactly. “Save”; everybody loves to save time, and time is money. Right? Okay. “Guarantee”, that’s a big one.

Derek DeWitt: It’s a bit of a long word, but yes.

Ellyce Kelly: It’s a long word, but you do see it in advertising a lot. Now sometimes, you know, some folks might be a little scared of the word “guarantee” but…

Derek DeWitt: Well, often you see it with “money back guarantee” in advertising.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly. It depends on what it’s being used with. Here’s another one I love: “money”. Right?

Derek DeWitt: That’s funny, money. “Money!” That’s your call to action: “money!”

Ellyce Kelly: But I mean, wouldn’t that get your attention if you saw that walking down the hall? Yeah, it would. Money!

Derek DeWitt: “Money!” Huh? Oh, sign up.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh, okay! What do I need to do? Yes. Oh, QR code, I’m in. Right?

Here’s another one which may not jump right out at you, but “health”.

Derek DeWitt: As opposed to the euphemistic “wellness”, which also is a very broad category.

Ellyce Kelly: I have not seen “wellness” as much anymore. That seems to have come and gone. I do see “health” quite a bit though.

Derek DeWitt: Sure. Okay.

Ellyce Kelly: Another one is “discovery”.

Derek DeWitt: Well, and again, I think like you said with verbs, I mean, turn that into a verb whenever you can. Don’t say “have a discovery”; say “discover”. It’s shorter. It’s clearer.

What do you think about, let’s say, like you said with the word “money” or something like that, a dollar sign? Certainly in the U.S., it means the same thing. It probably, I wonder if it activates the same part of the brain, I don’t know, but…

Ellyce Kelly: A dollar sign is perfect.

Derek DeWitt: Right. “Save” $

Ellyce Kelly: “Save” $

Derek DeWitt: QR tag.

Ellyce Kelly: “Win” $

Derek DeWitt: Right! Yeah, yeah, yeah. People will know it. And again, it does the same job, but it’s shorter.

Ellyce Kelly: It does. A thousand words.

Derek DeWitt: All right. What else you got?

Ellyce Kelly: Another thing we want to do is we want to make taking the action easy. We talked about this a little bit earlier. Just touched on it.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. Don’t make it a whole thing.

Ellyce Kelly: No. It’s gotta be easy. It’s gotta be quick. The message is not static on the screen with the call to action in it. It’s in rotation with other things that we’re trying to convey to our audience, and we’re trying to get them to do.

Derek DeWitt: Seven seconds, usually.

Ellyce Kelly: Seven seconds. Don’t send them to a website that has this insanely long URL. Like, you know, I go to the student union…

Derek DeWitt: /departments/legal/_/, yeah.

Ellyce Kelly: So this, I used to see this trend quite a bit. But of course, again, our customers are not doing this because they’ve been listening to all of these awesome podcasts.

Derek DeWitt: Because you have relationshiped them.

Ellyce Kelly: Well, it’s probably a team effort. But they’re doing a great job of using the URLs or using QR codes or the picture, or, you know, some other go to the (if it’s internal) go to the intranet, or go to wherever to sign up for this or that. And so that’s really, really helping.

Because you, again, you don’t have them for a very long period of time. You’ve got to get them to take action while they’re at the sign. Because when they walk away, they’re onto the next thing.

Derek DeWitt: And/or it also needs to be something that they can remember easily.

Ellyce Kelly: Or that they can remember if they’re going to do it later.

Derek DeWitt: So, if you do use a URL shortener like or or whatever, it’s actually worthwhile, I think, to create a vanity one, because trying to remember…I’m never going to remember that.

Ellyce Kelly: No. You’re never going to remember it. And you’re probably not going to take a picture of that either and go type it in later because you still got to type in all that stuff.

Derek DeWitt: I might. But if you’re going to get me to take a picture, why not then use that somehow?

Ellyce Kelly: And use that, yeah. Or give them, like you just said, give them something that’s easy to remember, you know.

Derek DeWitt:

Ellyce Kelly: Coffee.

Derek DeWitt: Free coffee.

Ellyce Kelly: Yeah, exactly. Dollar sign.

Derek DeWitt: Dollar sign. $ coffee. Discovery!

Ellyce Kelly: Or discover!

Derek DeWitt: Why is it called that? Shut up.

And I think, you know, you get the kind of instant gratification thing. And I know that that’s often said in a negative way. People go, oh, you know, everybody’s just into instant gratification. But I mean, we really are and social media helps fuel this. Younger people, meaning younger than me, you’ll see them all the time on their phone. And that’s because they made a post, they put up a post or some sort or tweet or what have you. And they’re waiting for those likes. And 10, 15 minutes go by and they haven’t had a reaction or a like, they start to sweat. Where’s my feedback?

Ellyce Kelly: I hate when that happens.

Derek DeWitt: Try to imagine the seven-second sequence, right? Oh, I gotta be walking along. Oh, that’s …oh, what is that? Oh, I’ll read the message. Aha! Oh, and do this? Oh, okay. Boom! I just did it. Cool. Now I have this information as I’m on my way to my desk.

Ellyce Kelly: Yup. Something else we want to do is we want to focus on the benefits to the audience and just common needs.

Derek DeWitt: Okay. Meaning?

Ellyce Kelly: Well, put yourself in the audience’s shoes.

Derek DeWitt: Like, what are they getting out of it?

Ellyce Kelly: Yeah. Exactly. What benefits me? Why is it good for me to do what you’re asking me to do?

Derek DeWitt: It sounds a little mercenary, but it’s kind of true. Whereas we, as an organization, ask you to do something, here’s the benefit to you. Instead of well, it helps the organization. I don’t care.

Ellyce Kelly: Right. I mean, so we might care, but probably also it’s our time, right? And it also could be students, employees, government, employees. It could be, it just depends on what it is. But you know, you’re not going to have the same type of audience morale everywhere. So you really do have to get the audience engaged and what’s the benefit to them?

Derek DeWitt: And sometimes it could be just because then you’ll know something that you didn’t know before. Knowledge. We like knowledge.

Ellyce Kelly: Knowledge is great.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. Because you want them to take that action now, how do you create a sense of urgency? How do you get them to go like, oohh, I got to do it now!

Ellyce Kelly: There are some effective ways to do this, right? So we can do something, an immediate action, you know, enticing people, dangling in front of them…. Today only! It’s for the next hour only.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, so like a sale.

Ellyce Kelly: Like a sale almost.

Derek DeWitt: They still do them, the blue-light-specials in Kmart?

Ellyce Kelly: Oh, listen, the Kmart blue-light-special. Let me tell you something, I love this.

Derek DeWitt: Those of you that don’t know what this is, look it up. It’s pretty crazy.

Ellyce Kelly: Definitely. Look it up. So I remember, I’m rolling with this, I like this.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, remember this?

Ellyce Kelly: So when I was a child, I remember being with my grandmother at the Kmart in Warner Robins, Georgia. And when that blue light went on, and that thing was blue and you could see it, and there’s a big announcement; like all this stuff happens. Do that with your digital signage. Can you imagine if you have some cool animation that has maybe like, I don’t know, blue lights? It doesn’t have to be blue, but something.

Derek DeWitt: It would be whatever. It could be an all blue message or a blue character.

Ellyce Kelly: It could be. And if you have animation, if you’re using animation anyway, I mean, that’s just another element to get their attention. And think about it, if you have audio on some of your players and you want to get people’s attention.

Now, audio doesn’t work for everyone. It depends on, you know, where the display is, all that good stuff, but that could be incorporated. In fact, I have worked with customers who have tried a little audio sprinkled in with their messages and their call to actions to get people to respond. And there was some success with that.

Derek DeWitt: Really? So they actually saw an uptick in responses?

Ellyce Kelly: A little uptick, yes. Because, and again, you have to be very careful where you’re playing the audio, right? It depends on…

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. You’re also not having audio on every message. So it stands out.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh goodness. You don’t want to have it on every one. But if you had something that, hey, this is a limited time, or today only; very similar to the blue light special, let’s sprinkle it in and try it.

Derek DeWitt: You could use it to try and drive traffic to something. Again, let’s just say like an onsite café. You find out that, gosh, it turns out that between two and four, it’s dead in there, people aren’t going. So what can you do to entice people to go in there? I don’t know, whatever, have a two for one,. Because you know, those croissants are cooked or those cakes you made, like they’re going to dry out, and you’re not going to be able to use them tomorrow. So why not give them two for one? Throw that up on the signs. You know, maybe just an audio clip. “Caaake.”

Ellyce Kelly: I’m in! Did you, did you hear that?

Derek DeWitt: Did that sign just say “cake” to me?

Ellyce Kelly: Did that sign say “cake”? Huh! I have a break in between classes. Wonderful.

Derek DeWitt: I mean, think about that! You didn’t even need to say a call to action. I know there’s a café onsite, so it just goes “Caaake”; half off, two to four, today only. I might turn right around and head back to that café.

Ellyce Kelly: The cake audio is your call to action.

Derek DeWitt: That’s your call to action.

Ellyce Kelly: It literally called you to action.

Derek DeWitt: Right. I mean, like you said, what do I get out of it? And very often it’s abstract, you know? You get knowledge or you get to sign up for the package or you get more training and all. And that’s all great, that’s all wonderful. What about this idea of almost gamifying it and making it something a little more tangible.

Ellyce Kelly: So something like the previously mentioned, you know, small discount; that’s a very powerful motivator to get people to take a call to action. But it could be something else, like maybe a coupon or reward points. So gamified content. Or it’s something later, that they can use later. Loyalty cards, almost like the reward points. Then you can use a loyalty card later.

Derek DeWitt: Well, I know, I’ve read about some companies that even have little online stores and when they gamify things or what have you, they give away points, whatever. Call them whatever; if they were Visix I guess we call them the eyeballs or whatever, because the Visix eye; or the pupils or whatever you want to call them. So, you know, hey, if you want to have a $10 Starbucks card, that costs 50 pupils. If you want to have this or that, or an extra day, an extra hour off, have a long lunch, that costs this many. And so people can accumulate points over time. There’s an online store of some sort where you can actually just kind of quote, unquote, “buy” what you want.

Ellyce Kelly: Buy what you want. This would have worked great if you think about it, like at a bookstore.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, for sure! Yeah.

Ellyce Kelly: And so similar to, to what you would go, if you go to Which Wich or something like that, where you get the punch cards.

Derek DeWitt: Oh, I just saw that place. Yeah, those loyalty cards, yeah.

Ellyce Kelly: Have you not eaten at Which Wich?

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. No, I haven’t eaten.

Ellyce Kelly: Oh my god.

Derek DeWitt: It’s a sandwich place, for those not in Atlanta. It’s almost like a, hey, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine, kind of a thing.

Ellyce Kelly: Yes. So, another thing you would want to do is think about cross-promotion possibilities. You know, digital signage obviously is one part of comprehensive communications, right? It’s your comprehensive communication system. But you’ve got things that are mentioned in meetings or on the intranet. Those can be reinforced. You hear something in the town hall…

Derek DeWitt: Oh, I see. Yea, yea, yea.

Ellyce Kelly: …reinforce it in your digital signage

Derek DeWitt: Right. I talked about 10 things at the town hall, but I really want people to walk out with these three things mainly. Throw those up on the digital sign.

Ellyce Kelly: Put those three things up on the digital sign.

Derek DeWitt: Make sure they got in there. Because, who knows, maybe somebody was zoning out.

Ellyce Kelly: Could be zoning out. I mean, the town hall might last, you know, 30 minutes, it might last 20. It might last an hour.

Derek DeWitt: I think it’s sometimes a good idea to kind of do everything across everywhere, you know? Like, hey, we’re going to put this up on our Facebook page and we’re going to put a version of that up on our LinkedIn page. We’re going to do a shorter version on Twitter. Then we can take that shorter version, make it even shorter, stick it on the digital signs. And it all kind of hits right around the same. So it’s almost like blanket coverage.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly. And you’re making sure you hit everybody. Some folks’ jobs, for example, or if you’re a teacher or professor, you’re not going to be able to get out into the hallway very often. You might be really confined to a classroom or to an office depending on, you know, if your technical support or…. So you do want to hit every medium. The only time you don’t want to do that, as we talked about earlier, is when you’re trying to specifically measure whether or not…

Derek DeWitt: …the digital signage is being effective.

Ellyce Kelly: …the digital signage is being effective.

Derek DeWitt: And then don’t. Then only do the digital signage. Same thing, by the way, if you’re you want to see how effective is your Facebook, then put something only on Facebook that has some kind of an enticing reward, and see if anybody bites and if not, you can go “eeh, Facebook.” But you do it on Twitter and suddenly you get a bunch of bites, you think, oh, we seem to have a very active audience on Twitter; not so active on Facebook.

Ellyce Kelly: Exactly. The last thing that I would recommend here would be to build some way to measure the return on involvement for your call to actions.

Derek DeWitt: What do you mean? Like if it’s a QR code, it’s a special landing page so you can track how many people came from the digital signage, QR code only.

Ellyce Kelly: You got to be able to track it. Exactly.

Derek DeWitt: And so if I’m doing, like we just said, if I’m doing that blanket thing, if I’m also doing it on LinkedIn, are you recommending I should do different QR codes for each one with a different landing page so that I can directly go, LinkedIn did this…

Ellyce Kelly: Absolutely. Twitter did this, intranet did this, digital signage did this. Absolutely. Go to a different place for you to store that information so that you can track it

Derek DeWitt: Quite a few ideas there. I think, what was it? 12?

Ellyce Kelly: I believe it was 12, 12 ideas, Derek.

Derek DeWitt: A nice even dozen ideas on how to make your calls to action fantastic and effective. And not just because, oh, it’s a good idea and we say so; there’s actually quite tangible benefits to that.

Ellyce Kelly: I would agree.

Derek DeWitt: All right. Marvelous. Thank you for talking to me, Ellyce.

Ellyce Kelly: Thank you, Derek. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you.

Derek DeWitt: Nice to see you. And we’d like to thank all of you for listening.