Having people read your content is great. But, however many readers you get, it won’t help your business if none of those readers go on to take any action. You need your words to inspire people beyond reading. Whether you are writing a blog post or crafting a tweet, there will be a desired outcome. When you really look at a web page with a call to action, a lot of web psychology is at play. Good salespeople have always employed psychological techniques, but on the web, you control the entire environment. That environment needs to be geared towards driving those conversions.
A call to action is a word, phrase, or sentence that encourages the reader to take a specific action. In other words, it calls on them to take action. “Call to action” is often abbreviated as “CTA.” With the right call to action, you can persuade people who visit your site or read your emails to do something specific like buying a product, grabbing a download, reading the rest of an article, or sharing a piece of content on social media. In digital marketing, the CTA often consists of text placed on a button, though it may also be a simple link with appropriate anchor text.
It’s all about being clear and concise with your CTA. You don’t have a ton of space in your ad to get your point across, so it is important to get straight to the point. Let your audience know exactly what you want them to do, and don’t dilly dally – start the CTA with the desired action. Cheril Clarke, an expert in business communication, says in her blog post, How to Write Calls to Action That Inspire Change, “Being too vague will leave the audience confused about what they’re supposed to do. If you’re struggling to be specific, think back to the main goal of your speech.”
When you’re writing a CTA, the words really matter, because those are what make people act. Here’s what you need to do to make that happen:
- Use action words
- Create urgency and scarcity
- Minimize risk
- Focus on value
- Invite readers inside
- Get personal
- Foster curiosity and anticipation
- Avoid friction words
- Show benefits and social proof
It’s important that you keep your CTA’s fresh, much like you should with your ad copy in general. A good A/B test is a great way to identify which CTA’s bring you clicks, and which CTA’s bring you frowns. While your tried and true calls-to-action are always good to use, you really never know how they’ll perform in your account until you actually use them.
Something could look great on paper, or may sound great when a colleague recommends it to you, but the only way you’ll absolutely know for sure if something will work for your account is if you test it out. Your target audience may not respond well to what could be considered a “surefire CTA.” It’s recommended to not only test different CTA’s, but to be creative with them, too. If your target audience isn’t responding well to your ads, you might as well try to think outside the box a bit!
Appealing to what motivates various audience members is important to inspire action. However, to make sure your well-tailored CTAs lands, you shouldn’t end with your call to action. Nobody ever wants to simply be saddled with a lengthy to-do list.
Instead, after you deliver your CTA, paint a picture of what is going to happen for readers once they complete the requested action. Throwing out a CTA creates curiosity for readers; they want that curiosity satisfied by understanding what will happen after the action is over. This satisfaction – and a picture of what the future could look like – will inspire people to act.