The content you’re creating for your online platforms and print material is engaging and helpful, but for some reason it’s failing to create the number of conversions you want and need.
While this could be caused by a handful of issues, the main culprit tends to be the Call To Action. Many companies either forget to include a CTA or fail to develop a CTA that is intriguing enough for potential customers to take the next step. Before you can get CTAs right, you first need to understand exactly what they are, why they are so essential, and the various types of CTAs that can be used. Use the following tips for creating an effective CTA for any type of content.
The term ‘Call To Action’ is used so widely across marketing efforts that there is some ambiguity as to what it is and how it should be used.
At its core, a CTA is a tool for eliciting a specific response from potential customers. Often it comes in the form of a clickable link or button that allows the individual to take the next step—a step that the business wants them to take in the customer buying journey. But this is mainly a digital point-of-view. CTAs can also be extremely useful in print material. Brochure design should also harness the power of a CTA. By simply adding a directional sentence, readers know exactly where to go next, whether that be engaging with the organisation on social media or trying out a free trial of the service.
While the end goal of any CTA is a sale, the short-term objective is usually much simpler (i.e. looking up the company on social media, calling a sales representative, or watching a video). In other words, CTAs move consumers through the buyer journey from one touchpoint to the next.
Any given CTA will almost always contain a phrase that clearly tells the user what to do next, such as ‘Click Here’ or ‘Call Us Now’. The goal of the CTA instruction is to encourage an immediate response. This means that all CTAs must combine a balance of simplicity and incentivisation. The action that the CTA is aiming to induce, should be easy to complete, like sending an SMS to the company to request a call. There should also be an incentive that helps give individuals that extra little oomf, encouraging them to complete the simple action. This could include a limited-time discount on purchases or valuable information that will benefit the potential customer.
In the end, a CTA is short, simple, and to the point. It will often stand out from the video, audio, or printed information where it is contained. The CTA should also be developed in a way that doesn’t ‘push’ the consumer into the next step, but instead provides information that makes them want to take the next step. When a CTA is formed with these guidelines in mind, the benefits that it can create are numerous—all of which are discussed below.
The goal of any CTA is to convert. This means converting a cold contact into a lead who is aware of the brand into a new customer, and converting that new customer into a loyal, repeat customer.
Time and again, when CTAs are built right, they help organisations dramatically increase their conversion rates. A recent study has found that for any given blog post, between 47% and 93% of the leads that the post creates are directly produced by anchor text CTAs (i.e. the links that are embedded in a post’s text). This same study found that, in the end, anchor text CTAs tend to boost conversion rates by well over 100%. Naturally, the same type of results can be seen offline in paper-based content. A brochure that includes a thoughtfully designed CTA will drive conversions.
The value that CTAs bring to ads can be seen in how popular they are on Facebook ads. Recent data has shown that CTA usage across ads on Facebook has grown from about 46% in 2015 to about 70% in 2018. The reason for this growth is that companies see how it directly affects their digital advertising ROI in a very positive way. In fact, when the numbers are crunched, a CTA button on Facebook can increase click-through-rates by 185%. And as with the previous point, the same logic extends to printed material that a company invests in. Every business brochure costs money to print and every organisation should be sure that each one is doing its job to bring money back.
While the end objective of any CTA is to develop a loyal customer, other objectives are achieved incidentally and concurrently. This is especially true of social media followings. Many companies will choose to use CTAs that encourage individuals to follow them on social media. The end goal is to create more interactions with these leads and gather more data on them, allowing for a richer and more personalised sales funnel. However, as a business’ social media following grows directly from CTAs that point consumers to their social platforms, the growth is compounded by these same consumers then liking and sharing the organisation’s social content with their network.
While many marketers view CTAs as an under-the-radar way of moving a lead through the marketing and sales funnel, it’s not as if customers are unaware of the marketing device. They know about it—and they like it.
When CTAs are clear, concise, and not too salesy they simplify consumers’ research process. In other words, when consumers are looking for a product or service, they will browse around at their different options, comparing all the bells and whistles. The companies that seamlessly guide them from one piece of product information to the next create a more user-friendly experience. They allow individuals to quickly gather all the details they are looking for without having to aimlessly wander around a business’ social platforms and website or call into customer service.
While there’s one general description for CTAs, there are many different categories of this tool. Knowing the different kinds available to you and your business is paramount to using them effectively and gaining all the benefits that they have to offer.
These CTAs are placed where new visitors tend to aggregate, such as the home page, the blog, and the most popular product pages. These CTAs will lead to a landing page with a very basic form—one that asks for two or three pieces of information at the most. It will offer an incentive in exchange for this information and the content it offers should be something that your target persona or avatar will be interested in; information that will solve their problem or educate, such as a tool or industry information.
The placement of this CTA depends on which segment of the audience a business is trying to attract, but the call to attend an event or buy tickets can really go anywhere. This CTA is simple and straightforward, telling them where they can get more event information, rather than providing them with a download or other incentive. These CTAs are especially useful on brochures. It allows sales representatives to offer the brochure with the suggestion that the individual reads it immediately so that they don’t miss out on the upcoming event.
In the end, this is all about about nurturing leads and gathering more data to help build trust, provide value, and move the target closer to a sale—so it makes sense that there would be a CTA dedicated to closing. This is a CTA that is laser-focused on encouraging a sale. These will most often go at the end of a blog post, in a brochure, or on a product page, supported by copy that will create desire and make taking the next step a natural action
These CTAs are all about gathering richer lead information. They will be able to tie an email address to the initial lead gathering CTA, helping sales to craft their pitch. This form will gather just a little more information—for B2B it’ll be about the individual’s company and for B2C it’ll ask questions about the lead’s specific needs. It’ll also provide a strong incentive for providing this information, possibly a discount or a valuable and information-rich download.
This CTA is one of the more unique CTAs. It is directed at the slower individuals in the sales funnel—the ones that are stalling. This is where the freemium model or free trial comes in. The product should be a mini-version of the company’s product or service—or an adjacent tool that pairs nicely with it.
This is the ‘Read More’ CTA that helps customers who want to do more thorough research before they make their final decision. It can go in a brochure, the FAQ page, or in the press newsroom. It allows businesses to keep their basic information simple and to-the-point, while still offering detailed information to those who want it. This is especially useful in a brochure where only so much information can fit.
These CTAs are all about converting leads into social engagers. They could encourage individuals to share content or like/follow them on social media. These CTAs aren’t in exchange for content, they just offer a new form of engagement and another platform with content.
These CTAs can be more complex, using an algorithm that bases suggestions off of other products/services the customer has viewed. It could also be more simplistic, just pointing them to another popular product. In short, the tool is a way to help potential customers or current customers discover other offerings, which is especially useful when the business releases a new product or service.
You know what a CTA is, you know why they’re important, and you know the most popular types you should be using across your website and printed materials. Now it’s time to learn how to craft them. The following tips will help you get your CTAs right:
One of the better ways to do this is make it slightly larger than the surrounding text and provide some free space around it, creating a clear frame that draws the viewer’s eye.
As previously discussed, consumers like clarity so make it clear what you want them to do next.
People don’t like making choices, so provide one clear option to take.
FOMO is real. If you create a limited offer, you’ll see its popularity sky rocket. Nobody wants to miss out on a great deal, so instead of taking weeks to weigh their options they’ll make their decision on the spot.
This means reducing all the hurdles—make the offer easy to acquire and require as little information from the lead as possible.