Have you ever read through a blog post or gotten to the end of a website page and just left a site because no one “told” you what to do next? You were left hanging in space, free to leave at anytime.
Leaving your visitors (prospects) hanging is the first simple way to NOT generate more leads, or be very helpful to those you’re trying to do business with. One essential element of any solid inbound marketing strategy includes visually-focused content that easily guides a visitor from the beginning of their buyer’s journey (prospect) all the way to becoming a brand loyalist (evangelist). These important invitations to the next level are the job of a good “Call-to-Action” (commonly called a CTA). Think of them as road signs, leading the way to the desired destination.
Why is it important to have a CTA in every step of the sales funnel? Even if it simply directs you to a free educational download or a premium catalog of resources, your focus should be on your messaging.
Here are some questions we receive when developing CTA’s for our clients:
- “I need a CTA for an email I’m about to send that directs my leads or current customers to a secondary form on my website. Is this possible?”
- “I’m having issues tracking the conversion rate of my new eBook offering from our landing page analytics. What am I doing wrong?”
- “Do we need a catalog of CTA’s for each stage of the inbound sales funnel?”
But first, where are the most important places to include a CTA? As noted, a CTA is, quite literally, a Call-to-Action, guiding your reader to take a desired next step. It’s usually in the form of a button or in-line text link that is strategically placed on a website page, or in a certain section of a blog post, email or other content.
A CTA acts as a link between exploratory content that your prospect is interested in and premium content offers that can only be accessed by providing personal information. Think of a time where you read the summary of a blog post. If you were interested in finding out what the article examines, you simply choose the “Read More” button at the bottom. Even if they don’t turn into leads now (by clicking the "Read More" button and submitting the form), they’re more likely to come back if they see your website as a destination for insightful and actionable information.
Here are a few ideas about why your CTAs may not be getting the responses you hoped for.
1. Your CTAs aren’t targeting your buyer personas
In the hope that you have developed buyer personas for your business, tailored messaging delivered at precise moments during the buyer’s journey through clickable CTAs will resonate with your leads and their immediate or long-term needs. The more you know about your visitors, the more segmented your content will be in the future. If you take the time to understand how your customers buy, your marketing efforts become seamless.
Your CTA messaging should have a direct impact on someone’s willingness to click and move further down the buyer’s journey. Maybe you have a new whitepaper or infographic you’d like to share with your blog subscribers. Here’s your chance to delight your brand evangelists. Because your buyer personas have key identifiers attached to each step of the journey, instead of using the usual “Learn More,” “See All,” “Try a Demo,” or “Download Now,” CTAs you can get a little more creative with your messaging such as “Download Immediately,” “I want to know more” or even “Save my Site.” It would be a big mistake to send content to prospects with impromptu CTA messaging that was developed for evangelists.
If the content that comes ahead of your CTA is not informative or is rather bland, even the world’s best CTA is going to have low conversions, leaving you with that gut-wrenching feeling of failure. By the time a visitor clicks your CTA, they should have a general sense of who you are, how you can help address their specific needs and what information they need to begin the sales process. The CTA needs to reinforce that they’re about to take a step towards achieving a solution to their problem. Here are two examples:
2. You sound too salesy
Your goal as an inbound marketer should be to provide educational information about your industry, not just flat-out selling your products and services. You do not want to overwhelm your leads or customers with forceful selling. Your CTA should be inviting and succinct and should address problems that your targeted buyer persona’s express along their buyer’s journey.
CTAs are not the place to begin a dialogue with your leads or prospects. It is however, the place for prospects to begin the buyer journey. Remember, we develop our CTAs based on buyer persona research. The research you conducted should give a clear indication of how your prospects communicate and take action in their daily lives. If it doesn’t, you need to start over and re-evaluate the information you have.
3. You’re not creating a sense of urgency
Ushering your leads naturally should be your top priority. Internet researchers can be very indecisive while browsing for solutions. That’s bad news, because the longer a buyer sits and analyzes, the more openings arise for your competitors to steal your leads. Your content needs to entice and nurture the lead to act immediately.
The internet is one big library of anything you might want to know or buy. As a result, it becomes more difficult to decide if you’re finding the best solution to your problem. Be the clear answer to their challenge, and make them want to choose you.
Amazon does a great job in converting leads into die-hard customers and eventually brand evangelists. We’ve all purchased products through Amazon, and they already know that we’re not interested in receiving information or deals on products we never buy. Instead they send detailed newsletters of items purchased in the past, with clear CTA’s attached to each. Rather than using the generic “Buy Now” CTA, they go the extra mile in making the message actionable. Phrases such as “View our product line” or “Add to Wishlist,” and the powerful "1-Click Ordering” CTA can be seen all over their site and email campaigns. Because Amazon has nailed down their target audience and how they shop, their focus has shifted from carrying influential brands to the messaging that will resonate with the lead and convert them to customers.
These same principles can be applied in the B2B world. Our clients want to know their customers will receive the right information at the right time, in each step of the buyer’s journey. This is accomplished by using effective CTA messaging that is developed for your buyer personas. Look at it this way: using general messaging might bring in a lot of prospects or leads. But it would be very concerning to find out more than 90% of those prospects/leads had a minimal impact on your sales. The right compelling messages help to eliminate that concern.
If you’re interested in learning more about Call-to-Actions and upping your inbound marketing game, download our guide to creating Performance Content and learn to Crush the competition through inbound marketing.