Your CTA, or Call to Action, may live on your website, in emails or in your brochures and other marketing collateral. Learning to write copy for online marketing tools taught me about landing pages, emails and “squeeze” pages, but even if a delivery tool like Marketo is not in your budget, these CTA writing tips can help.
Define your niche and the “personas” within it.
If you have not identified your target market, do it now. Every human communication is a type of conversation; use your imagination to see your ideal client(s). Those clients are people, not a company or a department, and their personas are built from characteristics such as demographic information as well as motivations, conflicts and goals – the reasons they need or want what you offer.
Create your goals.
What do you want the reader or visitor to do? When I teach a class, I do not focus on “increasing understanding” as an objective or a goal because it is too passive. Think about applications, activities… ACTION. Get specific. Do you want to increase your mailing list? Do you want to entice members of your target market into sharing information with you, to help you qualify potential leads? If you know your marketing funnel is a multi-step journey, map that out. Perhaps you are not trying to convert every visitor into a client, but you want to persuade members of your target market to download a white paper. Your CTA must speak to that goal and use your target market’s language as often as possible.
On your website, one of the strongest locations for your CTA is “above the fold.” (Online, “above the fold” means a location that can be viewed without scrolling. Mobile users are more accustomed to traveling down a page, but the most important information should be eye-catching and obvious.)
Use pop-ups with caution; consider potential “intrusive” interstitial penalties.
Since Google changed one of its mobile ranking signals to address “intrusive” interstitials in January 2017, I have not seen a noticeable reduction in the pop-ups I encounter on my phone. Google noted strong, relevant content continues to influence how high a page will rank in search results, but generally pop-ups that obscure the content a visitor is trying to reach should be avoided.
When selecting the word(s) on an action button, do not use “Submit.”
A button stands out in any CTA, so take advantage of this prime online “real estate” by writing your own suggested action there. On a contact page, this could be “Email (person’s name)” or “Schedule a call,” etc. The easiest way to educate yourself about powerful button instructions is to pay attention to the pages you visit. What trends stand out? What would your ideal clients want to see? If you see a two-button pop-up marked “Sign me up” and “No thanks,” is that more or less compelling than “I want to save 25%” next to “I do not want a discount,” or similar combinations?
Make adjustments as needed.
To improve your conversion rate, take an expanded look at your website or emails, including content, before prescribing a change. If your website is not getting the traffic that you need, the CTA living on that page is not the critical issue; you need more views. You can try A/B testing an email campaign, but as David Kadavy explains, you can waste time scrutinizing a sample that is too small. (Yes, Kadavy really did an A/A test rather than an A/B.) Whether you enhance your website and email content or design, explore SEO to increase your traffic or examine your larger marketing strategy as a whole, stay flexible. Learn. Internet trends, search engine algorithms and marketing advice are always evolving, so experiment as needed and watch for best practices without expecting to stumble across a magic formula.
Candace Schilling offers PR Communication and Training to spiritual teachers and faith-based communities. For more inspiration as well as tips about marketing and strategic communication, check out her articles or find Candace on LinkedIn.