Basically, a landing page is designed with a single focused objective – known as a Call to Action (in short CTA). This simplicity is what makes landing pages the best option for increasing the conversion rates. Particularly, of your Google AdWords campaigns and lowering your cost of acquiring a lead or sale.
And by all means, the topic of conversion optimization often revolves around the CTAs. With recommendations for improving conversions pointing to various variations. Like in shape, size, color, placement on the page, copy, etc.
That said, one factor that’s often neglected – with sometimes dire consequences – is the relevance of the CTAs to the stage of the sales funnel. Or at whatever point your audience is at in the buyer’s journey. A user action can be a lot of things!
For example, a request to download an eBook, opt-in to an email list, sign up for a webinar, register for an event, purchase a product, take a live demo/product tour, read another article, share, comment, etc.
Often, when your CTAs don’t match the intent of your audience, you’re going to see a sharp decline. Or rather, a limited lift in conversions for a given piece of content or landing page.
What is a Call to Action?
Basically, a Call to Action (in short CTA) is a statement designed to get an immediate response from the person reading or hearing it. For instance, it’s used in business as part of a marketing strategy to get your target market to respond by taking action.
Generally, a Call to Action is used at the end, or sometimes throughout a sales pitch (e.g., a sales letter). Letting potential clients/customers know what to do next if they’re interested in what you offer. And it seems obvious to let people know the next step in doing business with you.
But the truth is, many new business owners don’t have calls to action (CTA) in their marketing and sales pitches.
This is usually for one of two reasons:
- A belief that the prospect already knows what to do if they’re interested in buying or learning more,
- Concerns that calls to action are obnoxious and will annoy the potential client/customer.
To simply put, the Call to Action is an instruction you give to your audience to provoke an immediate response and get them to take action.
Whatever the reason, leaving CTAs out of your marketing materials can mean losing prospects and money. Calls to action are essential in directing a prospect to the next step of the sales funnel or process.
Why is a Call to Action important?
Are you finding that your leads and prospects aren’t taking the next step in your sales process? Whether that’s buying or simply requesting more information? The problem could be a faulty or non-existent Call to Action.
First of all, your Call to Action is the chance to motivate your audience to take real steps toward becoming a customer or client. Keeping in mind, it can be the determining factor between a lead and a conversion.
Eventually, many argue that the CTA is the most important part of your site or ad campaign. So, skipping the CTA is a grave mistake that won’t bode well for your company.
There is a reason the CTA button has become such a staple on-site content and in the ad copy. Below are three reasons why CTA is important
1. It boosts the success of digital marketing
When it comes to online marketing, it’s all about generating hype about your product or service. While at the same time, grabbing the attention of consumers, and encouraging them to seal the deal. Therefore, the CTA is the missing puzzle piece that emphasizes the power of the ad copy.
Meaning, without the CTA, your copy messaging will fall flat. It won’t have the final hook that inspires customers to take the next step. CTAs are especially important in Pay Per Click (in short PPC) advertising. So, adding a Call to Action to your PPC campaign will help you convey the intent of the campaign to your audience.
In short, emphasize the importance of a strong, inspiring CTAs on your marketing team during the creation of ad campaigns. By making the CTA a focal point of your ad creative. Otherwise, you run the risk of your campaign falling on deaf ears. Assumably, for most companies, this isn’t a risk they can afford.
2. A Call to Action motivates your funnels of sales
For your information, CTAs and sales funnels go hand in hand. Whereby, the Calls to Action serve as transitions between the phases of the buyer’s journey. By instructing the user on what to do next, prompting them to take immediate action.
Of course, whether you want your user to visit your blog, give you their contact information, download an eBook, or subscribe to an email list, you must provoke this action. In that case, with a well-placed CTA in the sales funnel. Use CTA best practices such as wording the copy on your button in a way that highlights the benefits. For example, use “Get More Tips” instead of “Subscribe!”
As a matter of fact, the easier you make it take the next step, the more people will do so. Since your CTA creates a better user experience. And instead of making your audience guess and wonder about how to proceed, you give them the answer in an eye-catching, brightly colored button.
3. A guiding route to your leads and target audience
By guiding your buyers to the next phase of the buying process, you give them the easiest route to the next step. In this case, eliminating the need to solve a problem. After all, buyers are conditioned to seek out and use the CTAs. Therefore, facilitate a smooth buying process by giving the people what they want.
More often, you have just one chance to make a good impression on your target audience. With PPC ads and other forms of digital advertising, there is no time to waste. For one thing, even the smallest missed opportunity can lead customers to pass over your brand in favor of the competition.
In some cases, marketers will utilize multiple calls to action; however, best-practices state that it’s best to only use one call to action to eliminate the paradox of choice. This focuses the audience on that single action you want them to take, rather than split their attention.
4. A Call to Action is part of your customers want
Always remember, that CTAs aren’t just important for business – customers want and expect them. Many people depend upon the CTA at the end of the page to take the next step. When they read your ad copy, they are interested in engaging with your brand. And thereby, they always look for the CTA button to learn what to do next.
Another important point is that omitting the CTA can confuse readers and hurt your chances of sealing the conversion. Simply, because they make it easy for customers to do what you want them to do. And that’s good for them and it’s also good for your business as well.
In short, the right CTA at the perfect moment can push the person in the right direction, sealing the conversion, and ideally creating a loyal customer. The CTA can be a subtle or blunt way to tell your customer that he or she should ‘take action now’ for the best benefit.
5. Your business becomes more predictable and intuitive
Generally speaking, there are some circumstances when you want your brand to be predictable. And notably, predictability makes your company trustworthy and easy to engage with. The CTA is one area where it pays to be as predictable and intuitive as possible.
Your site visitors always look for your “Call Now!,” “Sign Up!,” “Register!,” “Donate!,” or other CTA buttons. And they often feel confused and disappointed when they don’t find it. Having strong calls to action elsewhere are expected parts of the campaign plan too. Such as on social media, websites, the end of videos, copy messaging, digital advertising, etc.
So to say, a good CTA is the finishing touch on any type of content. Making it the cherry on top that every user (consciously or subconsciously) wants. Your lead has read or at least scanned your content, and may in one way be on the fence about taking the next step.
How do you create a Call to Action?
Whether you use your CTA to create a sense of urgency or to gently steer your users toward the checkout line, the important thing is that you use it.
Ignoring the CTA is a rookie mistake that could make your numbers drop drastically. Next time you’re creating site content or ad copy, let your call to action shine. And, thereafter, the results will follow.
A CTA can be placed virtually anywhere in and around your content, but your call to action can’t just be placed haphazardly in your sales funnel.
Here’s some generic CTAs turned better by focusing on benefits the visitor gets by clicking the CTA:
It is important to realize, that not all CTAs are created equal; it’s not enough to just slap a brightly colored “click here” button throughout your funnel.
Not only are various elements crucial to the effectiveness of a call to action, but the performance of your CTAs will vary based on their placement throughout the buyer’s journey.
Creating an effective call to action starts with the little details. It’s easy to create a call to action, but it’s far harder to create a call to action that converts well.
Below are some of the most common components that play a part in getting a conversion lift during CTA creation and A/B testing.
1. CTA Design & Copy
In order for someone to click on a call to action, they first need to see it. Eye-catching designs are helpful, and this is one point where it’s OK to step outside of your brand’s style guide.
You want colors that contrast with the rest of your content and that are large enough to stand out over everything else.
Also, you can’t just tell someone to “click” or “submit.” Your copy should use power words and actionable verbs, often personalized (“you”, “your”, “my”) to have the most impact. Here’s a guide to writing CTAs.
2. CTA Proposition Value
Make sure your audience knows exactly what they’re getting when they click. Your call to action should be explicitly clear about what comes next, or about what they’re getting in exchange for taking an action.
A CTA is most effective when it’s wholly relevant to the content it’s placed in, as well as the user’s intent. As such, it’s best if it delivers the user to a dedicated landing page relevant to the stage of the buyer’s journey, rather than a random website page.
For example, a CTA to a Contact Us page won’t be as effective in gathering leads as a CTA that drives the reader to a landing page for a free download.
3. CTA Stages of the Sales Funnel
While most funnels will come in three stages, no two funnels are the same. The buyer’s journey changes depending on your audience, the product or service, the industry, etc.
Some funnels are very short (B2C online retailers for example) while others are much longer. For example, an enterprise-level SaaS like Salesforce (like Freshdesk) isn’t a quick purchase. There’s often a much longer period of awareness and evaluation before a purchase is made.
The key stages of the sales funnel to include are;
- top of the funnel
- middle of the funnel
- bottom of the funnel
3.1. Top of the Funnel:
The top of the funnel is the awareness stage. You’re not here to push or promote any specific product or service. Instead, you’re offering a broad range of knowledge intended to educate your audience.
They’re looking for answers – sometimes specific, sometimes not so specific. Your job is to create content at this stage that captures their attention and provides them with answers.
At this early evaluation stage, marketers typically use long-form blog content to grab referral and organic traffic and introduce a brand to the audience.
Other types include:
- eBooks and white papers
3.2. Middle of the Funnel:
The middle of your sales funnel is also known as the evaluation phase. At this point, your audience is aware of your knowledge and offerings. They’re committed to finding a solution, but they don’t quite know what that is yet.
For now, they’re simply researching and trying to understand all of the options that are available for solving their problem. Your goal here is to continue to educate them while also positioning your solutions as the ideal choice.
At this stage, it’s not uncommon to use email marketing, segmented by audience and intent, to build a relationship with the audience.
Other types include:
- White papers comparison
- Expert guides
- Live interactions including webinars
3.3. Bottom of the Funnel
Just because you’ve moved your audience to the bottom of the funnel into the purchase phase doesn’t mean you’re going to close the lead. They’re certainly ready to buy, and you want to ensure that they buy from you – but it’s far from guaranteed.
Hopefully, at this point, you’ve mapped content and CTAs to effectively guide your audience through the lead nurturing process. According to HubSpot, nurtured leads produce on average a 20% lift in sales vs non-nurtured leads.
Further research from Forrester has shown that companies that excel at lead nurturing can generate up to 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost.
At this phase, you want to leverage content that persuades your audience to make a purchase.
This can include:
- Trial downloads
- Product literature or buyer guides
- Further case studies
In general, creating an effective CTA goes beyond design and copy. It has everything to do with aligning your offer and CTA with your sales funnel to ensure it’s relevant to the audience’s intent.
Don’t stop once your CTAs are mapped appropriately, though. Setup follow-up content that moves the target back to the middle of the funnel with an appropriate CTA to keep them engaged.
In addition, maintain the marriage with the customer and turn them into a lead-generating brand ambassador, using CTAs to inspire them to spread the word.
So, Do you make CTA placement and creation part of your documented content marketing strategy? Feel free to share your approach to CTAs with me in the comments section. And if you’ll need additional support, please Contact Us.
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