written by Bonnie Chomica
Calls to Action – help your reader take next steps
Do you leave people on your website, blog, or email waiting for more? Are they just hanging there thinking about ‘what do I do now?’
When you present something in front of your audience whether it’s on your website, brochure, email, or any content, that reader will look for the next thing you want them to do. It’s up to you to give them direction on what that is. That’s a Call to Action, or CTA.
Why do you need a Call to Action? CTAs are a form of communication that help move readers to take some form of action. Let’s dive deeper into what they are and how to make them effective.
A Call to Action could be a colourful button, a link, or even just text.
- “Discover more now” – a button on your website, or landing page
- “Read it here” – a link in your email newsletter pointing to your blog post
- “Visit our website at ourwebsite.com” – in a direct mail or brochure.
Basically, you want people to take action of some sort. Not necessarily to buy now, but even just to contact you for more info is a CTA.
Don’t leave people hanging after reading your content – lead them. Tell them what to do next.
Let’s look at some ideas and examples.
Before someone clicks on a CTA link or button, it is usually preceded by some kind of benefit. Why would they click?
- Will the next step take them to something that will: improve their romance, get better results, make their hair shine, etc.
- The CTA comes after you’ve provided what’s in it for them. What is your value proposition for the reader’s benefit?
- Call today to schedule a free estimate/consultation
What is going to happen when they click the link, or call? What are they going to get? What will they have to do next?
If they are just going to read your blog post, then that is the end of that particular process path. If you have multiple steps for them to follow, say to register for a workshop or a program, then set them up one step at a time.
Here’s a simple process example:
- “Register Here” (button) – This will take you to a registration page to fill in your details
- After completing the registration form – “Check your inbox for an email confirmation”
- After they receive email confirmation – “Visit our Facebook Group to connect with other members”
The Calls to Action in this example take your reader one step at a time. By telling them what to do next, you are actually building a relationship with them through your communications.
Clarity is the goal with Calls to Action. Make your language simple and easy to read.
- Use verbs – actions words – buy, shop, download, subscribe, donate, send it now
- Instead of “Our e-book on dog grooming tips is now available”
- Try “Download our dog grooming tips ebook, now”
- Using the verb ‘download’ and rearranging the words shortens the CTA, and there is a sense of urgency – do it now.
- Excitement, enthusiasm. If your CTA exudes enthusiasm, it should instill that in your reader also.
- Buy now and get 50% off
- Plan your Dream Trip today!
- Maybe there is an element of urgency, scarcity
- Last chance, sign up today
- 3 days left, Book now
- Register before all spots are gone
- Make them personal – not just ‘Subscribe here’. Try:
- Educate me
- Take me there
- Yes I want x
- Give me the report
Make CTAs readily visual – button or link – colourful, bold, prominent on the page. If they are scanning and are already willing to get more info, they’ll scan to the CTA and click with enthusiasm when they see that verb!
Website / Landing Pages
You should have a Call to Action on every page of your website, even if it’s ‘Contact us for more info’.
“Browse our portfolio”, “read generous testimonials”, “learn about this service” may all point to another page on your website. Going to another page is a benefit to your site, even if they don’t buy yet. It keeps your visitor on your website longer potentially peaking their interest to contact you to find out more or actually click the buy button.
Depending on your product or service offering it may make sense to offer them something for free that can push them to contact you for more information:
- Click to book your Free consultation
- Get a free Quote/Estimate
- Contact us for a Free analysis
Always have a Call to Action at the end of your blog post related to the topic you’ve presented. It could be to ‘Get help with this’, ‘Find out more’, etc. You may also use this CTA to promote an event or workshop, but because those would have a time-sensitive date, it’s a good idea to go back to that post after the event you finished, and change that Call to Action to something more generic – “Contact me for more info on this topic.”
Videos & Podcasts
With more and more videos and podcasts on the market you are reaching people through different senses. Be sure to include Calls to Action in different ways.
- Speak a CTA within your recording or live stream
- Include a CTA in your video/podcast description
- ‘If you want more help with this topic –email, phone’
- If you have an offer or event to promote that could be your CTA
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These are all examples of what you can put in a Call to Action to get people to sign up for your newsletter. It could be a button or free download on your website, or a form to fill out with these words as a headline.
Say you just had a picture of your newsletter graphic saying “we offer a monthly newsletter”, very little would happen. You have to tell people to subscribe to it. They don’t know they want it until you tell them they need it.
Within your newsletter to get people to take the next step, here are some Call to Action examples:
- Click to read a blog post
- Reply to this email
- Contact for more info
- Register/reserve here
Most of your social media should be value-added content, but some of the time it’s okay to promote your business in your posts.
- Sign up for email news
- Register for our event
- Tag someone who would like this
- Follow us to keep up to date
- Contact/Message us for more details
Similar to Facebook but your call to action in your post is to point people to your profile as that is the only place to post links (unless you have an advertisement). Be sure to update that link to coincide with your campaigns and promotions.
Brochures, direct mail, flyers, ads, etc. The action you want readers to take is not as immediate as an online situation, and the only way to really track is to have a specific email address, website, or phone number just for that campaign.
The bottom line with print marketing tactics is it’s difficult to turn them into customers unless you have a strong and clear Call to Action. What do you want them to do to find out more or take advantage of your offer? Make it obvious and clear about what you want them to do.
That’s an overview of what Calls to Action are all about. It can get more complicated the more sophisticated your marketing and sales funnels are, but the basics apply throughout:
- Action verbs
- Simple language
- Be clear on what they get
- Include benefit
- Suggest urgency /scarcity
- Use them everywhere
I’d love to hear your feedback on this info. If you have any comments or questions about CTAs, leave them in the comments below.
That’s my call to action for this blog post – Put your questions or feedback in the comments – easy peazy.