Don't Forget the Call to Action! Sounds Simple, I Know. But it Happens.

I received an e-mail from the president of Chico State University, my alma mater. "Fancy!" I thought.

He's going to appeal to my sense of loyalty to the place where I spent some of the best years of my life. He's going to inform. He's going to challenge me with a strong call to action.

This felt special since I'm not used to receiving e-mails from the university president. It's a mass e-mail, yes. But never is the sender the university president and the subject line read,"CSU Receives No New Funding." Sounds serious. So I open the e-mail.

Fast forward through the five paragraphs worth of information to the end. All I heard was a loud thud as the message fell flat.

I read through it again because maybe I missed something. Then I realized the author and whomever executed the communication missed something.

The California State University (CSU) system receives no new funding. OK. The governor of California is proposing a $200 million cut to system's budget. Ok, that sounds serious. The CSU system has had to implement sizable tuition fee increases. Yeah, that hurts.

I stare blankly at the screen wondering exactly what's expected of me.

What a colossal missed opportunity.

Nothing about, "write the governor and here's his address." Or, "help us storm the state Capitol in a mass march." Or, "vote to increase your state taxes."

Wait, what? The last one sounds like a tougher sell than the first two options. But you didn't even ask!

It sounds so simple but apparently not so obvious.

When you're communicating with your audience, a captive audience in this case, don't forget to tell them what you want them to do. Don't be shy. Just ask. And, make it as easy as possible for your audience to do what you want them to do. Remove the barriers and give them the necessary tools to act.

I won't unsubscribe from the mailing. But learn from this. Send an e-mail to your prospects where the message fails and you may hear the collective stampede of clicks of folks unsubscribing.