When your business publishes content, how much thought do you give toward what you want your readers to do with it?
It’s not uncommon for businesses to focus so much on what they want to say in the content they produce that they forget to consider what they want people to do with it.
But that’s really the point, isn’t it? The message we’re trying to convey is important, sure. But what we want our audience to do after reading the content we create is equally important. The goal of the content your brand produces might be to get your audience to fill out a contact form, subscribe to your email newsletter, follow you on social media, download a resource, or some other action.
No matter the goal, it’s important to keep that in mind from the start. In other words: begin with the end in mind. This means when you (or your writer) sit down to create content for your brand, there are two main questions you should be asking:
- What do I want my audience to get out of this? What should they learn or ponder?
- What do I want my audience to do with it? What immediate action would I like them to take?
The way you answer these questions should define the content you/your writer create. If you want your audience to contact you to schedule a consultation call, then the content preceding your invitation to take that action should demonstrate why and how you’re qualified to help. Otherwise, your audience may wonder “why you?”. For example, say you publish a blog article on steps to marketing a small business and you give five practical tips your audience can use right away. That helps demonstrate your expertise. So when you invite them to schedule a consultation call at the end of the article, you’ve already done the work of demonstrating a little of why you’re qualified to help them out in this area. There’s a better chance that they trust you and are more willing to take the action when you’ve shown your related expertise.
The action you invite your audience to take is referred to as a call to action.
Calls to action (CTAs) are commonly used across all types of marketing collateral, including blog articles, website pages, social media posts, videos, podcasts, etc. Not every piece of content your brand produces necessarily needs to have a CTA. But when you do use one, how well is it working for you?
If your calls to action aren’t converting as well as you’d like them to, keep reading below for four tips on using CTAs that have a better chance of converting.
Keep it relevant
The content that precedes your call to action should relate to the action you’re asking your audience to take. Otherwise you might confuse your reader. Referring back to the example earlier, if you publish a blog article on steps to marketing a small business and end it by asking your audience to join a mastermind class on marketing for large corporations, your conversion rate from that article will likely suffer. This is because the meat of the content isn’t a good match for the call to action. If your goal is to get signups for your marketing class for large corporations, then the content preceding that CTA should be something that appeals to this particular audience. A relevant CTA should make sense and have a natural flow from the content that precedes it.
“Get started” or “learn more” are examples of CTAs that are commonly used by brands. But these CTAs aren’t as strong as they could be because they’re lacking clarity. Get started how? Learn more how? It’s not clear what exactly the prospect is being invited to do. Is their next step to watch a video? Fill out a form? Or something else? “Get started” and “learn more” are examples of weak CTAs because they’re passive and ambiguous.
On the other hand, a strong CTA is clear and understandable. It gives no hesitancy about what action the client is invited to take. The following are examples of clear calls to action: “shop now,” “call us today,” “buy now,” “download the worksheet,” “join the webinar.” These CTAs minimize confusion by providing a clear path forward. Prompt a lead with a strong CTA and they’ll feel more compelled to take you up on the invitation when they’re ready.
Repeat it often
It’s been said that “marketing is an exercise in repetition.” As your brand’s spokesperson, you have permission to repeat your brand message and CTAs often — in fact, you should repeat them often.
Think of a TV or radio commercial jingle. The first time you hear it, it might catch your attention for a moment. But after an hour passes, you’ve probably forgotten the jingle entirely because your attention was grabbed by other stimuli. Now compare that to the tenth time you’ve heard the same jingle. If it’s effective, there’s a good chance you’ve caught an earworm by now. You might find yourself quietly humming the tune as you go throughout your day. The jingle is stuck in your head.
Repetition (combined with a clear, memorable message) makes your brand message stick. The same goes for your CTAs. You should repeat them clearly and frequently — that way when a lead is ready to convert, even if you’re not there readily extending the invitation at that exact moment, they’ll still know how to take the next step to do business with you because your message and CTA is stuck in their head.
Make sure the ask is at the right level
Say a piece of content you’re creating is for prospects at the “top of the sales funnel.” (This means they’re just becoming aware they have a need related to the solution you offer. Maybe they’ve just discovered your brand. They’re probably not ready to purchase from you yet.) Asking someone who falls in this category to make a final purchase might not be the best call to action for this piece of content. Such a big ask might be too far along the sales funnel for this situation. But that being said, you don’t want to lose these top-of-funnel people entirely. So what can you do?
Try adjusting your ask to better meet them where they’re at. Someone who’s at the top of the funnel might not be ready to punch in their credit card number, but maybe they’re willing to sign up for your newsletter. Or follow you on social media. Or give you their email in exchange for a free downloadable resource.
A prospect taking a smaller action like this is just as valuable because it means you can stay in touch with them over time. Just because they’re not ready to purchase from you right now doesn’t mean they won’t be ready in a week, a month, or a year from now. So when you create a new piece of content, keep in mind who it’s for and what funnel stage they’re in. Make sure your CTA is appropriate for that level.
Ready to optimize your calls to action and clarify your brand’s message to convert more leads? Check out our guide on focusing your marketing message. It’ll walk you through crafting an effective brand message, including strong calls to action and more.