Marketing strategies are designed to encourage people to take actions they otherwise might not. Through marketing, you can make people more likely to shop at specific stores, buy specific products, or subscribe to specific services.
You can exercise persuasion tactics in many ways and at many levels, from gently introducing people to the idea of your brand to convincing them that they need a solution for a specific problem.
At the very end of this journey is a decision point; consumers can choose to take a specific action that eventually leads them to a purchase, or they can choose to move on. At this point, brands have an excellent opportunity to make a persuasive appeal, a call to action, that drives prospects to become customers.
Throughout this blog, we’ll define what a call to action is, the different types of calls to action that are in marketing materials, and call to action best practices.
A call to action (CTA) is any piece of text, button, or other design element that serves as a prompt to encourage a specific action from a user.
For example, at the bottom of a blog post, you could encourage readers to sign up for a free demo. On a landing page, you might encourage visitors to submit a contact form fill to gain access to a free guide. In a PPC ad, you might aim to persuade viewers to purchase a specific product or service. On your website, you might have pop-up ads that show off some of your latest new service offerings.
All of these are examples of calls to action, and all of them serve nearly identical purposes: to motivate meaningful user action. Sometimes, this action is directly tied to revenue. For example, the CTA might encourage a user to buy a product, subscribe to a service, or donate money. Other times, the action is only secondarily tied to revenue. The CTA might prompt users to provide contact information, which can then be used by salespeople to make a pitch or close the deal.
Here’s an example CTA we use on our service pages to drive leads:
CTAs are essential components of your lead generation strategy for the following reasons:
- They drive action. Most people choose inaction by default. They don’t go out of their way to make purchases, sign up for services, or take other actions in unfamiliar circumstances. If you want to prompt your users to take action, you need to go out of your way to do it. Your users need encouragement and direction.
- They are easy to track and analyze. CTAs are relatively easy to track and analyze. With the right tools and technology, you can easily track the performance of each CTA in your marketing campaign. When you analyze the data, you discover what types of CTAs work best under which circumstances and apply your knowledge to your future marketing efforts.
- They can be optimized for performance. CTAs can be easily optimized for performance. Sometimes, a simple wording tweak or a change in the color of your text is all that’s necessary to double, or even triple your conversion rate.
Calls to action can be found in sales or marketing materials. Without a call to action, you risk missing out on high-quality leads because they didn’t receive any indication of what their next step in the sales journey should be.
Calls to action can be located on the following:
- Homepages: Almost every website you visit is going to have calls to action on the homepage. There will likely be buttons leading to different products, services, or crucial converting pages.
- Blog pages: It’s common to find calls to action at the bottom of blog posts. After giving readers the information they were looking for, you can direct them to the next step, whether it’s reading a more in-depth blog or scheduling a meeting.
- Social media posts: Social media marketing is only effective if your social media efforts are directly linked to something more actionable. Many companies include calls to action in their social media profiles and posts so users can take further action than liking, commenting, or sharing the post.
- Emails: Marketing emails are often loaded with calls to action throughout the body of the message, including buttons that lead to pages with special discounts and offers.
- PPC ads: Pay-per-click (PPC) ads also feature calls to action by default. In this case, the meaningful action is usually clicking a link to a landing page and converting themselves from users into leads.
- Landing pages: On your landing pages, you’ll also have CTAs to optimize. You might have forms for visitors to fill out, buttons for them to add products to a cart, or even videos for them to watch.
- Marketing collateral: It’s important to remember that CTAs aren’t exclusive to digital marketing; they’re also a prominent feature of most traditional marketing methods, such as brochures, sell sheets, and other pieces of traditional marketing materials. Sales enablement asses typically have CTAs prompting reader to call a specific phone number or visit your company website.
The marketing experts at Abstrakt know how to create and implement CTAs that drive leads to the end of the lead generation funnel. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business drive leads and secure more sales.
There are many different types of CTAs, and they vary significantly in form and function. If you’re looking for call to action ideas for your sales and marketing assets, these are some of the most common:
- Buttons: On landing pages, homepages, and pop-up ads, you’ll usually see big, colorful buttons. These buttons are designed to be easily noticeable and intuitive to click. They typically include a few words specifically chosen to motivate immediate action.
- Forms: Forms are frequently used as a call to action when you’re interested in gathering specific information from your users. Since forms are more effort-intensive than buttons in most cases, there’s usually some sort of reward for filling out the form, such as receiving a free eBook. Here’s an example of what a form fill looks like:
- Banners: Banners at the top or side of your website can call attention to specific products or services even while your users are reading your content or browsing other pages. They’re not quite as prominent, but they are consistently visible.
- Contextual links: In the body of an onsite article, it’s common to include contextual links, gently guiding users to other pages of your website. For example, in an article about how to maximize the lifespan of an air conditioning unit, you might include a link to your service page for air conditioning maintenance.
- Pop-ups: Pop-up ads used to be obnoxious and annoying, but modern marketers have perfected the art. If done tastefully, these ads can lightly interrupt a user’s browsing experience with a special offer, discount, or other persuasive appeals.
Conversion optimization is the practice of fine-tuning various design and writing elements in a given context to achieve more conversions. One of the most important strategies for conversion optimization is writing effective, persuasive calls to action.
So how do you make your CTAs better? Here are a few call to action best practices to consider:
If you want to persuade a person, you should first attempt to understand how they think. Different types of audiences are going to respond to different types of prompts, so it’s important to understand who your target demographics are and what type of CTA might specifically appeal to them.
For example, millions of people drive a car every day, but cars mean different things to different people; one type of person might be looking for the most reliable vehicle they can get for an affordable price, while another might be looking for a superficial status symbol. The better you know your audience, the better you’ll be able to tailor your calls to action to their perspectives and values.
First, your calls to action should be as minimally invasive as possible. That means they need to avoid interrupting core user experiences and they need to be relevant to their surrounding content.
For example, let’s suggest that you’re a commercial roofing company. If you lure users to your website with an informative blog post on how to repair a leaky roof, but then you spam them with pop-up ads that prompt them to schedule a full roof replacement, you’re not going to see meaningful results. More often than not, you’re probably just end up annoying your users because your CTAs are not meeting their needs.
Additionally, it’s important to be intentional with the location of your CTAs and where you want to drive users. For instance, if you’re writing a top-of-funnel informational blog, the first CTA on the blog shouldn’t drive users to convert because this could come off too strong or salesy given their current stage in the sales cycle. To get the most impact from your blog, users should be driven to another relevant blog or a product or service page that encourages them to learn more about the particular subject or how your product or service aligns with the topic.
At the same time, your calls to action should be prominent and easy to access. If a user can’t see your CTA, there’s no way they’re going to be able to engage with it. There are many solutions to make your CTAs more prominent, such as designing them with brighter colors, increasing the size of your buttons, choosing a more noticeable font, or positioning your calls to be more visible. In most scenarios, contrast is your best friend; CTAs that sharply contrast with their surroundings are typically more effective.
If you have too many CTAs competing with each other, or if there are too many options for users to choose, people are going to be much less likely to take any action. If there are only one or two options available, users will be more likely to engage than if there were over three.
However, it’s also important to consider the length of your content. The longer the content is, the more CTAs you’re going to want throughout the page to break up copy and make is more visually appealing for the user.
While there may be fewer conversion points within content, it’s important to remember that when you’re intentional with your CTA usage, you’ll generate more ready-to-buy leads. With this less is more mentality, you can reduce to number of poor leads coming in so sales reps can spend more time pitching and selling higher quality leads.
CTAs are typically more effective when they include strong, motivating verbs, rather than flat descriptions. For example, a CTA reading “Schedule a Demo” is better than one like “Ready to Schedule a Demo?” These two examples are very similar in purpose and language, but the former relies on a kinetic, command-like form, making it much more capable of motivating action than encouraging them to think if they want to schedule a demo.
For the most part, your calls to action should be concise and to the point. Don’t include more language or more design elements than absolutely necessary. If you need to include more information or context for your users, you can do so with the help of supplementary content; your CTAs themselves should be minimalistic.
If given the option to procrastinate a decision indefinitely, most people will. That’s why it’s important to include some sense of urgency in the calls to action you create. Anything to imply a limited time offer or an immediate benefit that may not be available later is going to help you increase conversions.
It’s also helpful to speak to the value of the action. What does the user get out of responding to this prompt? Is this going to help them “save money,” “generate more revenue,” or “feel safer?” Find the benefit that your users typically value most and speak to it.
Finally, be ready for A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to experiment with multiple variations of a single CTA so you can see which version is most effective; if you repeat this type of experiment enough, you’ll be able to gradually optimize your prompts to perfection.
Calls to action are essential for helping users understand what you want them to do with the information you’ve given them. While calls to action are important for demand and lead generation, it’s important that you understand the best practices on how to use them in sales and marketing assets for the most impact.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our marketing experts are well-equipped to know the best CTAs to use for each sales and marketing asset developed. Whether it’s for your website, sales emails, or marketing assets, they have the insight to know what’s best for users and their stage in the buyer’s journey.
When you’re ready to get the most impact from your sales and marketing efforts, contact the lead generation specialists at Abstrakt!