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Want Effective Calls to Action? Use 'Action Trains'

by Alex Becker  |  
March 1, 2013
  |  7,804 views

Ever wonder why whenever you buy virtually anything online, almost always you're asked to consider some form of add-on or otherwise asked to do just one more thing?

Think back to the last time you paid a bill or did some shopping on the Web; throughout the process you were probably bombarded with add-ons, suggested perks, or enticing offers.

Now think about why companies do that (and it's not just because they happen to want to sell something). Why are they so desperate to get just one more thing in there? Why not just sell to you next week? Why right then and there?

The truth is that the most difficult task in marketing is getting people to take the action you want them to take. But once they have taken an action, getting them to take yet another action becomes much easier.

Near 100% opt-in rates?


A good opt-in offer has a 5-10% conversion rate with even high-quality traffic. However, the email opt-ins that follow up a product purchase online have near 100% rates. Why? Because the customer has committed to his path.

Once you get the person over the initial hump, getting them to do "just one more thing" is relatively easy.

It's what I like to call an "action train."


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Alex Becker is the owner of marketing blog SourceWave and an expert in search engine optimization and online conversion.

Twitter: @SourceWave

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  • by Andrew Fri Mar 1, 2013 via web

    Alex - Really helpful info for the online marketing industry. This stuff really works people!

  • by Steven Fri Mar 1, 2013 via web

    I would be curious to see how many of the 135,000+ likes are actually engaged. Just having people like your page does not mean anything at all unless they are engaged.

  • by Christy Fri Mar 1, 2013 via web

    It sounds a little like buying your (Facebook) friends.

  • by Brian Donovan Fri Mar 1, 2013 via web

    "Consumers online are like big, clunky old trains. To get them to build up steam and get going can take a lot of effort" Lines like that are written by 20 somethings with little sense or knowledge of history. Steam locomotives were the dominate form of transportation in the country for nearly 100 years. They were engineering marvels and capable of speeds well over 100 mph and made travel through the entire country possible. Hopefully, someday America will get over its carbon fuel obsession with the automobile and join the rest of the world by building high speed rail.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Fri Mar 1, 2013 via web

    Hi, Brian. That line was actually edited/re-written by a 50-something editor... ;)

    The analogy holds: Building up a head of steam does indeed take time and energy... but once the steam is built up, the engine operates, as you point out, efficiently and at high speed--exactly the point the author is trying to make.

  • by Michal Sat Mar 2, 2013 via web

    Guess I'm on the "action train!" Read your article, commented, posted to LinkedIn. Great insight. Thanks!

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