You’ve seen them on websites, in emails, and even in social status updates—calls-to-action (CTA), that combination of copy and design that spurs website visitors to action faster than a BOGO sale at IKEA. Buy now! Sign up for my newsletter! Download this fabulous white paper! Consistently adding CTAs to your content is the fastest way to:
- Communicate your content’s priorities in each and every piece
- Tell your visitors what to do next
- Easily measure your results
What makes a great CTA and how can you incorporate a ready-made CTA into your next marketing campaign?
Understanding the science of calls-to-action
CTAs for business include both copy and design, but they’re also about the context of your content and the underlying consumer psychology. Without taking you on a science trip that feels like a redux of Chemistry 202, here are a few high-level hacks and principles you can apply immediately to make your CTAs more effective.
Be clear, specific and single-minded
A sharp and finely-tuned piece of content drives at one goal. That goal might be capturing a lead for your sales team, adding a name to your newsletter list, or selling your latest and greatest product. That goal should be 100 percent of your CTA’s focus. In other words, “Sign up today for our free trial!” is a good, focused CTA. “Sign up for our free trial and read our latest ebook!” sends the reader in too many directions.
Focus on action
A call to action invites your readers to, well, take an action. It’s not about what you want them to think or feel after reading your content. Your CTA should encompass the literal action-driven next step they’ll take at the end of your email or blog post. Convey that through your copy in just a few words. Starting with a verb is a great way to frame the action: “Sign up now…” or “Try our latest…”
Deliver on the reader’s expectations
If your content has done its job, your CTA should not be a surprise. After reading through a blog post or watching a video, there’s a logical next step in the journey to becoming a lifelong client and fan of your brand. Make sure your CTA delivers on what your content has been building up to.
Promise value and play on curiosity
While your CTA should be the obvious next step on the customer journey, it also has to tantalize the reader. People are busy; use curiosity, relevance, and the promise of benefits to get them to take the next step. Give hints of what the person will see, and explore different elements such as exclusivity that make it even more interesting.
Give them a reward
In the current age of distractions, getting prospects to keep on keepin’ on along your funnel is a challenge. Every step should deliver some reward to build anticipation and a sense that each little “yes”—as in “yes, I’ll sign up for your newsletter or sign up for a free trial”—pays off. Convey that reward in your headline.
Automating your content makes it easier to track results. You can increase conversions and fine tune your performance over time by testing everything. Look at what percentage of your content converts, whether those conversions are in line with your CTAs and whether different versions of your CTAs are more effective than others.
If you put these principles into play, you’ll see an increase in your conversions. While your CTAs for sales will contain unique copy that leads up to them, here is a pre-made list that can help you get started. Depending on your goals and the challenges your audience faces, use these CTAs in your next email campaign and then refine them over time.
Eliminate risk CTAs
One of the big fears people have when signing up for new products or services is the cost. However, your CTA helps eliminate the perception of risk:
- Sign up today for a free software trial
- Join today for a no-risk trial. Cancel anytime.
- Download our free ebook
- Give us a try—risk-free for 7 days
- Take our no-hassle 30-day return policy for a drive by signing up today
Educate your prospect CTAs
A client is on the hunt for more information about how to buy the best lawnmower or where to purchase the latest innovative investing app. No matter what you’re selling, effectively educating your prospect adds exponentially to your value. Take your prospects to school with CTAs like:
- Learn more about our products and services today
- Arrange for a personalized, no-cost consultation
- Download our (white paper, infographic, video) to learn more about X
- Become an expert at (X) by signing up for our newsletter today
- Get the answers to your most urgent questions with our exclusive content. Download it now!
Play on the desire for momentum CTAs
If prospects are reading your content, they’re ready for action. The idea of keeping up that momentum can carry the conversation forward and keep the prospect moving smoothly along the buying funnel. Some examples include:
- Let’s start a new project together! Contact us today.
- Start (action) with (Company). Sign up! (For example, “Start blogging with us. Sign up!”)
- Don’t wait! Sign up today.
- Start a conversation. Contact our knowledgeable consultants now!
- Take the next step on your journey to (achieving their goal)! (For example, this could be “becoming an entrepreneur” or “losing weight”.)
Build a relationship CTA
Your email list is one of your company’s most valuable assets, and sometimes building a deeper relationship with your leads and clients is your immediate goal. When you want to get people to sign up for your newsletter, consider CTAs such as:
- Get closer to your goals with exclusive content from world-class experts. Sign up for our newsletter!
- Sign up today for immediate access to (insert exciting, exclusive lead generation content here).
- Join our community for exclusive content, events, and access to industry thought leaders!
- Let’s stay connected! Sign up today for discounts and the latest product information.
- Get ahead of the trends! Sign up for our newsletter today for the latest insights, analysis, and expert commentary.
Drive a sale CTA
The ultimate conversion is the one that hits your bottom line. The CTAs that can drive sales can be deceptively simple—or sophisticated and complex. A few to get you started:
- Buy (X product) now!
- Reserve (X) while supplies last
- Shop now
- Join an elite group that understands how (X) can transform their (business/life/body)
- Let’s start a new project together
Focusing on your calls-to-action can be one of the best ways to increase the results of your email marketing and other campaigns. Streamline your CTAs, and then develop a process for testing and refining them over time. The ROI will be well worth the effort!