Every copywriter knows what a Call-to-Action is.

And most even know how to create one: combine an imperative verb with either a benefit or an indicator of urgency.

 

“Gain instant access now!” is a nice example. Notice the command/imperative verb “gain” combined with the benefit of “instant access” and the urgency indicator of “now!”

 

But here’s the thing about imperative verbs: in writing, they can be interpreted as an invitation as easily as a command. Think about walking into a friend’s living room and having them say “sit down.” That’s an offer and an invitation rather than a command, but it’s still the imperative form of the verb.

 

This invitational aspect of imperative verbs matters because it can be used to invite readers to picture themselves taking the action or imagining the benefit you want. For example, take a look at the winning ad in this contest, and you’ll see how it makes use of this very dynamic:

 

ppc call to action tips
“Decorate with Upscale Furniture” is an imperative — the “decorate” is used as an imperative verb — but it’s also an invitation and the very language makes the reader imagine themselves decorating their home with upscale furniture (that they managed to score at a 70% discount).

 

It’s an effective technique, which makes it little wonder that this ad copy boosted click-through rates by 71%