What would inbound marketing be without calls-to-action? It would be like a world without signs. You'd have people everywhere not knowing what to do, wandering aimlessly with no direction on what to do. Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! A call-to-action (CTA), is the ask in the inbound strategy. It directs people to take a desired action of your choosing. People like to be directed on what to do next when visiting a website. They need a clear path of what comes next on a website. They need those signs!
A CTA comes in many forms, it can be a text link in the copy, it can be a graphic, or it could be a button. Each style of CTA links you to another page that hosts the desired action. A call-to-action is meant to grab attention and catch the visitor's eye. Graphic and button CTAs work best for this.
The main reason to implement a CTA is to increase conversion rates of the associated landing page. In the inbound methodology, content that's targeted to buyer personas is used to attract people to a website. Those site visitors consume the content and when finished, a call-to-action directs them to the next step, moving them further down the marketing funnel. That next step is usually a free offer that entices the visitor to fill out a contact form. The offer could be anything from a free ebook, case study, or helpful tool that relates to the content they just read.
There are three factors to think about when creating a powerful and effective CTA; design and wording, strategic placement, and relevant content. Use the following tips when creating CTAs and you'll see increases in click through rates and landing page conversions. Everyone wants increased conversions right!
CTA Design and Copy
The name of the game in marketing is breaking through the noise and standing out. The mission is no different when it comes to designing successful calls-to-action. Your design should answer the visitor's question of, "What do I do next?" CTAs can be created in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. The most important factor in CTA design is site style and template. You want your CTA to stand out, but flow easily with your site's page layouts and the context of the surrounding page elements.
When designing a call-to-action, always use leading and direct action words. These are the street signs people see and use to take action. Don't let them wander, show them the way! A few examples of actionable CTA copy include:
- Sign up Here
- Download Now
- Become a Member
- Register Now
- Free Trail Is Waiting
- Get Started
- Contact Us
- Click For Offer
Your CTA copy must answer the reader's question and be benefit-oriented. You can also create a sense of urgency by using words like Limited, Today, Now, or Expires.
The on-page placement of a call-to-action can affect the conversion rates of the desired landing page. This is something you will have to test as all websites and their audiences react differently to different things. We have found that putting a CTA at the bottom of the page, just after the content, and in the top of the sidebar works great. Again, this is what works for us. I've seen CTAs placed in the middle of the page if the content is really long, and I've seen them placed at the top near the header. Testing to see what CTA placement earns you the highest conversion and click-throughs is a must.
It's important that the call-to-action is relevant to the content on the page. You wouldn't want a CTA for a Guide to Social Media eBook on a blog post about Search Engine Marketing. Nor should a blog post describing the performance of the new 3-series BMW have a call-to-action for scheduling a Hummer test drive. Keep your content and your CTA related, not doing so would just be pure craziness. If relevant content surrounds the CTA, you'll see a drastic increase in click-throughs and conversions on your landing page.
Calls-to-action are a vital part of the inbound strategy. They create action, are trackable, and work to convert site visitors into qualified sales leads. Test to see where CTAs perform best on your site. Surround the CTA with relevant content to increase conversion rates. Design an attention-grabbing call-to-action using actionable language to guide visitor into taking the next step. Follow these simple CTA tips and you'll avoid having a website full of lost and wandering eyeballs. Direct them where to go and you'll enjoy the benefits of increased conversions and happy boss.