Every article or landing page should drive your reader to a goal through a call to action (CTA). If it’s well-crafted, a CTA can boost the rate at which readers take that next step.
The purpose of your content marketing endeavors is to inform readers, and then convert those readers to customers. The CTA is the ultimate ask of the content, making it the crux of conversion and catalyst for ROI. Crafting a strong CTA, however, takes effort—and requires thought not only about your writing, but design and strategy as well.
When done right, CTAs are useful for generating leads, increasing social shares, and expanding your audience. Careful thought about CTA strategies at the beginning of the creation process pays off in the end.
These three best practices can help you create the best CTA for your content marketing objective.
#1: One Page, One Ask
Your CTA should ask your reader to do only one thing. An a la carte menu of options may initially seem appealing, but too many options can lead to analysis paralysis—where a reader takes so much time to decide what they need that they never choose anything.
Focus on the value you're adding to the audience's personal or professional lives. What problem does the reader have, and how are you going to solve it? What need are you meeting? Home in on your reader’s goals, and you’ll have a clear path for conversion via your CTA.
When writing the CTA, boil the action down to strong, straightforward verbs. Start with words like “call” or “schedule.” These words immediately direct the reader to what they’re being asked to do. Try to anticipate any questions or concerns your reader may have about the action you’re asking of them. Were they answered in the text above it? If not, sculpt the copy in a way that serves the CTA.
#2: Method to the Madness
CTAs take many forms. In print, phone numbers and targeted URLs are common, while landing pages can use simple fill-in-the-blank forms to harvest more information in the midst of the action. Your medium and your goal will help you determine the right format for your CTA.
Are you driving traffic to a specific page on your website? A vanity URL might be your best option. Do you want the reader to schedule a consultation for a medical service or make an appointment for a screening or yearly wellness visit? A phone number may yield better results. If you’re promoting an event, a simple form allowing readers to subscribe to event updates via an email link could be the right choice.
Whatever you choose, don’t let the page get too complicated—keep it simple. This is where design comes in.
#3: Keep Design In Mind
Visual aspects of your CTA are just as important as the words you use.
“The CTA needs to be formatted differently from other text because it is one of the most important parts of the article,” says Emily Sewell, designer at True North Custom. “In addition to placing it alone and prominently on the page, we often use a simple design element to draw attention to the CTA.”
In print articles, the font used typically ties in to the other fonts in the magazine or newsletter—likely the same font family as the body copy or headlines. Specifics of the CTA’s design, such as bold versus soft color choice, using a bold or italic font, or differentiating with icons that indicate the type of CTA (e.g., a phone icon for a contact number or laptop icon for a web address) depend on the unique needs of each client.
Digital CTAs require a different approach. People respond better to buttons that are obviously clickable and point toward what is needed, whether that is a download or filling out a sign-up form. Internal links on a landing page help people navigate to your form or phone number without having to scroll around.
The bottom line: All roads should lead to a clear action.
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