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Newsletter #762: The “Ask for Action” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

The secret to getting fans to take action is to ask for something specific rather than generic support. It works in politics and it works in marketing. A few examples of how to do it well:

1> Ask them to grow a mustache
2> Ask them to make small changes
3> Ask them to think differently
4> Check it out: The Oatmeal

1> Ask them to grow a mustache

Encourage fans to show their support for you by doing something everyone can see. The Movember Foundation helps raise money for prostate cancer research by encouraging guys to grow mustaches during “Movember,” the month formerly known to them as November. Participants can create or join teams, and it all starts with a specific call to action: grow a mustache. What started as a simple idea among a few buddies in 2003 has since grown to a global phenomenon, raising more than $47 million for cancer research and starting lots of conversations about an otherwise taboo topic.

The Lesson: Give fans a way to take action and show their support that doesn’t require them to say anything.

Learn More: Movember

2> Ask them to make small changes

While your ultimate goal may be to change the world, you’ll have more luck asking for small, incremental changes rather than asking someone to change their life overnight. Controversy aside, the film “Food Inc.” ends its critique of the food industry with specific calls to action. It’s little stuff like asking viewers to talk to their school boards about creating healthy lunches, planting their own gardens, and to remember that everyone deserves healthy food. Even if you’re not trying to change public policy, the concept can still work for you. Instead of asking people to jump straight from a competitor, try giving them a free starter version to try out. Or, try pitching a solution to one problem instead of trying to convince a customer you can solve all their troubles.

The Lesson: Even the biggest movements begin with a few small steps.

3> Ask them to think differently

Northern Ireland clothing retailer ARK’s name is short for “Acts of Random Kindness” and founder Cameron Stewart encourages customers to act on that idea whenever they wear their clothes. With simple suggestions like buying a stranger a coffee, giving up your seat on the bus, and “just making someone’s day,” ARK offers customers lots of ways to do it. If you’re trying to push an idea or own a topic, consider using variations of this strategy to encourage your fans to think about it every time they use your stuff.

The Lesson: Create real action by finding ways to regularly remind your fans to think about — and act on — your big idea.

Learn More: ARK

4> Check it out: The Oatmeal

If you dig learning random facts about random things — or just a good laugh — you might take a look at The Oatmeal. They cover lots of goofy topics and use some great illustrations to tell the story.

Check it out: The Oatmeal

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  1. Jessica - Live: Beautiful December 30, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Thanks. I just spent the last 20 min checking out The Oatmeal. I didn’t really read the rest of this article — i just skipped right down to see what the heck The Oatmeal was all about. :) Maybe I’ll go back and read it later.

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