Nov 13th, 2013
Call To Action
Writing for content marketing is not just writing. The objective is to bring value to your reader. Establishing yourself, as an expert in your industry, and becoming a real thought leader is the key that will help you achieve your content marketing objectives. Your objective might be brand awareness, customer acquisition, customer loyalty, or engagement. It is always important to know what they are. A content marketing strategy is not complete without a clear objective to help you define success. On your blog, on an eBook, on webinars or in the events you organize, you must ensure calls to action (also know as CTA) are clearly actionable. This will help the consumers of your content to know what is expected from them once they received some value from it.
We have gathered many sources from the content marketing specialists on creating calls to action. We will share with you, the most valuable and original tips we found. Some can be contrary to common sense. We tried to go broader than just buttons on blogs, in order to cover other kinds of content marketing like webinars, eBooks & events.
First, a call to action needs to be actionable to be efficient. The consumer of your content needs to know what to do and what this action represents. For example, a button with a label "Submit" is not useful because the chance that your reader will understand what that means is quite low. In general, the button is called submit because it belongs to a form and you are submitting the form. You should only use that label when it is clear to your reader that he or she is submitting a form. In 90% of cases, that is never clear. A label like "Buy this book" or "Sign up for Free" is always better than "Submit".
Simple and Clear
A call to action needs to be simple. The shorter the label, the stronger the impact. Also, always make a goal to have a primary CTA, and maybe one secondary, but no more. The primary call to action must really stand out from the secondary. There needs to be no doubt about what the consumer of your content needs to do. Be sure he or she knows what action is expected. A call to action must stand out. To ensure your reader sees it, it must stand out on the page like a sign on the road; you must give directions so he or she knows what to do next.
For example, on a blog, bold colors and big typography will help it stand out. You should also show that the call to action is something clickable. Sometimes, when they are inside your article, you should put them in a separate paragraph and use bold style to emphasize the urgency. Here is another practical tip for webinars; put calls to action at the end and give your listeners step-by-step instructions. You can also put a short copy on a slide to support it.
It is always good to offer some value when you call to action. The value will be an incentive for the consumer of your content to do the action. If it is clear enough that the value you bring is a good deal for your reader, your call to action will be more likely to be acted upon. Free eBooks are a good example of calls to action supported by value. Companies showcasing their expertise are likely to provide an eBook to give some advice on topics related to their expertise.
For example, when you read blog posts on the HubSpot website (Inbound marketing software vendor), you can download a Powerpoint kit to create your own calls to action from 27 models. The value proposition here is clear; "Get 27 CTA models". Readers landing on an article about creating calls to action and reading some good advice, will be more likely to download that kind of kit and give their contact information.
A call to action must be wisely targeted. Some of your readers might be more inclined to act on a certain call to action than another. The call to action detailed in the previous paragraph, about getting 27 CTA models on HubSpot website, is located at the end of an interesting post about calls to action. If you are reading an article about optimizing retention then you may be more interested in downloading an eBook about retention. It is important to know the context before calling to action.
Including a Testimonial or Data
A call to action can be more efficient with a testimonial or with data to support the value proposition. Blogs like Buffer's or QuickSprout are good examples of this kind of practice.
Quicksprout call to action quoting Arrington from TechCrunch
Quicksprout uses the testimonial of Michael Arrington, famous founder of TechCrunch to justify the click.
How Buffer uses its number of subscribers
Buffer argues that you will be part of a community of 10,000 readers if you subscribe to their newsletter.
A call to action conversion rate must be measured. You expect something in return for the value you have just delivered. A call to action is easy to add. Once you have added it, you must be sure to track the metrics to verify its efficiency. Do people convert? Do they want to do this action after consuming your content? These are the questions the measures are here to answer. How can you actually hope to improve them if you do not define success and measure the results? While measuring, you can also be doing some A/B testing. Proposing two different version of your calls to action to two groups of content consumers will show you which version performs the best.
What About the Fold?
The fold is the limit of the viewport on the majority of screens. It is supposed to be the magic virtual limit under which no call to actions can ever be clicked. Many sources state that a call to action should always be above the fold.
I was convinced by this until I read this very interesting article by KissMetrics:
Now I am convinced that the fold is not a real problem. This article suggests putting just the right amount of copy needed to trigger the conversion of the reader:
"Higher conversion rates have nothing to do with whether the button is above the fold, and everything to do with whether the button is below the right amount of good copy." -- KissMetrics
Depending on the complexity of your solution, you will need to put a different amount of copy. When the value your product is carrying is obvious and simple to explain, then you do not need much copy to achieve that. An adequate picture, or a simple 45 second video can be put to good use. You will just have to add a call to action button next to it.
Thanks for reading this article. We would love to get your feedback. Let us know about your successful recipe for call to action, share in the comments below.