Whether you want visitors to download an ebook, subscribe to your email list, test a product, or buy something, the call-to-action (CTA) is vital to driving results from your content marketing efforts.
According to Unbounce, 90 percent of visitors who read your headline will also read your CTA copy. Whether it’s simple text, a striking visual, or a combination of the two, the CTA is the crucial bridge between your free content and an offer of higher value.
Use the following tips to maximize the success of your CTAs and increase your blog conversions.
1. Use a Combination of CTAs
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one CTA per post. For example, a “Tweet This” CTA placed in the middle of your post can work well alongside a bottom-of-the-post CTA to subscribe to your newsletter. Try experimenting with the following:
- In-line CTAs: simply text with a hyperlink, used to direct readers to another blog post or landing page.
- Slide-in CTAs: not as intrusive as pop-up CTAs, but useful for pointing readers toward additional content.
- Sidebar CTAs: useful for promoting evergreen downloadable content that may not be related to the blog post.
Check out how Hubspot uses a slide-in CTA that looks like a chat window.
2. Test Different CTA Positions
For a typical blog post, the CTA will only make sense after reading your content, so place it at the end, especially if it’s asking for comments, shares, or to join a mailing list. Many users now view content on a smartphone, so they’re used to scrolling down for more information.
You could try inserting a CTA one-third of the way through your post. But for long-term marketing promotions, such as free product trials, point visitors toward a side-bar CTA.
3. Convey Value
Before engaging with a CTA, your readers are thinking: What’s in it for me? Make sure you explain why your offer is valuable. How will the reader benefit from taking action?
Weak CTA: Click here to get our new recipe ebook!
Strong CTA: I want to be healthier – send me my recipes!
4. Personalize CTAs
You’ll notice that the above example used the first-person possessive pronoun “my.” It’s more enticing because it already personalizes ownership with the reader.
A Content Verve study showed that changing CTA button text from “Get Your Free Template” to “Get My Free Template” resulted in a 90 percent increase in conversions.
Panthera, an organization devoted to the conservation of wild cats, uses simple language that also speaks to their unique audience. For example, to sign up to their newsletter, you’re encouraged to “Join the pride today.”
5. Address People’s Fears
Most consumers are risk-averse and need reassurance before they act. The word “free” is often used in button copy because it reminds users that there’s no risk involved.
You can also use reassuring copy next to CTA buttons. Netflix is a good example. Above its “Join Free for a Month” button, it uses the text: “Watch Anywhere. Cancel at Any Time.”
6. Use Dynamic, Exciting Copy
The text on CTA buttons can make or break an offer. Use action words to create a sense of momentum, such as “Get,” “Reserve,” “Own,” or “Try.” And instead of sticking to generic words like “download” and “subscribe,” experiment with more exciting language. Being unique can help to drive conversions.
Marketing agency Sumo changed a call to action from “Get it Now” to “Gimme” and saw a 182 percent increase in conversions.
For CTA buttons, shorter copy is also more effective:
Weak CTA: Click here to download your free copy of our award-winning recipe ebook.
Strong CTA: Download my free recipe ebook!
7. Use Time-Sensitive Words
Give your CTAs more power by creating a sense of urgency. The word “Now” will persuade more users to act. If there’s a time limit on your deal, make it clear:
Weak CTA: Download your free recipe ebook here.
Strong CTA: Gimme my free recipe ebook, today only!”
There are various ways to draw attention to your CTA buttons:
- Add depth with shadows or gradients.
- Choose a brighter, contrasting color to the background.
- Make it big enough to notice, with a larger font.
- Include enough whitespace around the button.
- Add visual feedback when users hover over the button.
There is no one color that outperforms the rest; it depends on your color scheme and other design elements. The only way to know what works is to experiment and measure the results.
9. Self-Promotional CTAs
To maximize your lead generation potential, include CTAs that encourage content engagement.
- Use “Tweet This” CTAs to encourage content sharing.
- Use email subscription CTAs to boost your email list.
- Use social media sharing buttons to gain social followers.
10. Eliminate Friction Words
Friction words describe what people have to do, not what they necessarily want to do. According to Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers, some friction words to avoid include:
These words can create a psychological roadblock that deters people from taking an action because these words tend to imply the reader has to give up something, whether it’s money, time or the freedom to choose.
Instead, focus on words that make the reader feel like they’ll gain a benefit, such as:
11. Use Numbers
Did you ever notice how “listicles” with numbers in the headline tend to get more clicks overall? That’s because numbers help readers organize information.
A number eliminates ambiguity and tells users exactly what they’re getting with your offer: how much of a discount, how long and so forth.
A CTA that says: “Buy now and get 20% off” tells visitors exactly how much they’ll save, and it plays up the urgency angle at the same time.
It’s tempting to copy other brands’ CTA strategies, but this rarely works in practice. Each brand has its own voice, targets different audience segments, and has specific marketing goals. What works for one brand won’t necessarily work for another.
Use your own analytics stats as a reference point to track your CTA success. Test out different copy and visual elements until you find what works. It may take time, but if you follow the tips in this post and start fine-tuning your CTAs, you’ll be one step closer to better conversion rates and a stronger brand.
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