The “call to action” (or CTA) is a fairly simple concept: just ask people to do something. In exchange, you’ll collect important lead information. Surprisingly, a lot of businesses fail to use CTAs effectively…and lose potential business as a result.
Let’s take a look at the what, the where and the how of compelling CTAs.
Defining Your Goal = The What
Your goal might be to gather information, sell a product, ask for donations, or get feedback. Regardless, each of these goals is part of a larger goal: to bolster your lead pipeline. So, ask yourself: What do you want viewers to do? Why?
The first step to crafting an effective CTA is to define your goal. For example…
- Want to build your mailing list? Okay, your CTA could lead visitors to a contest entry, a white paper download, or a newsletter signup in exchange for personal details like name and email address.
- Selling a product or service? Cool. Your CTA might be, “Buy now” or “Join for free.”
- Other goals might include enticing viewers to like, share, donate, retweet, or provide input.
Reaching Your Audience = The Where
Be aware that the language you use in your compelling CTA will differ on different channels. Even though your end goal may be the same (say, “build our mailing list”), how you accomplish it depends on where you’re posting.
On your website, your CTA is straightforward:
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This compelling CTA is detailed, specific and actionable. Visitors know what they’re clicking and why. Simple and straightforward—with zero deception.
On Twitter, while the end game is still the same, your real value might be in spread, so you need to go for the retweet. Social scientist Dan Zarrella analyzed Jet Blue’s tweet lengths and found the most retweets happen when tweets are short—just 50 characters. What can you fit in 50 characters? How about…
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It includes a dynamic enticement (Want more sales?) and a CTA (Click here to learn). Everything you want to say in a tiny tweet.
On Facebook, your goal is interaction. Engage your customers by asking for opinions.
Are you using Growth Cycle Marketing? Your opinion matters! Tell us what you think in the comments.
When your customers interact with you, their friends see the discussion. Direct engagement increases your visibility. Your CTA is the invite to comment…but you’ve also included a link to your site, of course.
In email marketing, there are a whole host of other concerns. Before your recipients even see your CTA, you have to entice them to open your email and the prevalence of mobile users adds a whole new dimension of complexity to email marketing design. Stick with an irresistible subject line to really pull them in, then keep your CTA short and sweet within the email body.
Be Succinct = The How
Crafting an effective CTA means using the fewest words necessary for the greatest impact. The best CTAs have a hook for WOW factor paired with a clear CTA. Here are some of the best:
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Each of these brilliant CTAs outline the benefits of signing up and then provide clear instructions for what to do next. That’s really all it takes.
Have you heard? Great website content attracts more prospects and results in higher conversion rates. More customers? Woohoo! But…
How do you effectively create and shell out GREAT content to draw in those customers?
You can’t just put stuff on a webpage and expect people to find it by magic. (Ok, you can, but it’s unlikely to happen.)
Here are 5 ways to (really) Make the Magic happen…
1. Offer Extras Prospects WANT. Everybody loves free stuff, and enriched content (like an eBook or white paper) can work wonders for your lead pipeline—but ONLY if you’re offering up tactical content your potential customers really want. Either give away your content for free, in exchange for their precious email address (Presto! A new lead!) –OR– launch a special giveaway for an information-laden eBook across different social media channels to engage your audience on a broader spectrum.
(Abracadabra: Here’s everything you need to know about How to Run a Successful Social Media Sweepstakes.)
2. Provide Answers. The majority of people search the web for answers to specific questions. The more in-depth information you can provide about topics they’re looking for, the more eyes you’ll get on your page. The longer visitors stay, the more likely they are to buy from you, or at least return for more information. Providing information builds trust, and people buy from businesses they trust. Be the authority. They’ll love you for it.
(Abracadabra: How do you find out what your prospects want to know? Listening in on social media is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the market and inform your business decisions.)
3. Hold Webinars. People love to participate in webinars, especially when they’re on a not-so-easy-to-understand subject. Give your prospects an opportunity to ask questions live and you give them a voice: answer their questions and they’ll know they’re heard and that your business cares. Plus, displaying recorded webinars on your website allows visitors to find out what other people are asking. You demonstrate your expertise and build credibility during that delicate research phase.
(Abracadabra: A report commissioned by Adobe found webinars are effective throughout the buying cycle, so check out these tips for a successful webinar.)
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4. Be a Tease. Think about how news programs entice viewers to tune in: “Are you at risk for Ebola? Find out at 11.” If they just stated a conclusion like, “Don’t worry, you’re not at risk for Ebola,” fewer viewers would tune in. Their goal is to get your attention—and your viewership—by adding a sense of urgency to what would otherwise be fairly ordinary reporting. But you don’t have to follow the example of our hyperactive media—it’s better to be measured and honest than simply sensational. For your business, post enticing teasers with a clear call to action.
(Abracadabra: Last year, Twitter offered advice about the most effective calls to action on Twitter. Check it out!)
5. Offer Fresh Content—Often! One of the most important things you can do to attract visitors is keep your website new and updated. Even your old customers will get bored with the same content day after day. Serve up piping hot fare fresh every week and they’ll keep coming back for more.
(Abracadabra: While you’re working to build regular, fresh content, pretty please avoid the crap. If you have to choose between quantity and quality, pick quality.)
If your website isn’t bringing in the traffic, there’s no need to wave your magic wand—instead, it may be time to rethink your content strategy. Too many businesses make their web and social media offerings all about themselves and not about their customers. While telling your story is important, always do so with a focus on how you can help your customers—then watch your content work its magic!