Running electoral registration - England

Getting the public to take action

Getting the public to take action

If the communications you produce are aimed at getting people to do something, a call to action is fundamental to success. A call to action is a statement that lays out what you want the audience to do next – for example, register online. Without it, people won’t understand what they should do, or if it is unclear or buried in other information it may well be ignored. 

Calls to action should:

  • be written succinctly, clearly telling people what to do
  • use active instructive language (‘Visit for more information' is better than 'interested parties can find further relevant details at the Council’s website')
  • be visually prominent in the document - for example, in larger text, a different colour and with space around it to draw people’s attention to it

The Commission previously undertook research with the public, led by Ipsos Mori, to establish which communication messages best motivated and engaged people to take action. 

The research findings showed that the following key elements were motivating:

  • 'Voting matters' (many people do not distinguish voting from registering)
  • loss aversion (the implication that you stand to lose something if you don’t register)

Timing is crucial to ensuring that people don’t get so accustomed to messages that they switch off, so you may want to consider limiting the use of some channels to the periods where they will have most impact.

Last updated: 6 October 2020