All marketing materials are designed for one thing. To get your customers to take action.
Whether that’s as simple as presenting a link on which to click or more complex like convincing someone to purchase an expensive product or service – your marketing won’t amount to anything unless your customers take the next step.
The most effective way to do that is to craft an effective Call to Action.
Calls to Actions or CTA’s are words or phrases that help direct your audience to take the next step you want them to take.
Something as simple as “Click Here” can be used to push someone to take action. An effective CTA will help remove distractions and focus your customer’s attention on the direction at hand.
The secret to an effective CTA is its ability to “plug into” the buyer’s journey and present strong calls to action for where they are in their journey to making a purchase decision.
Amazon is a great example of a retailer who has created systems to engage the customer at every point of their lifecycle.
Just doing research? Here are other options to explore.
Are you ready to put products head-to-head? They have compared CTAs to enable you to jump to the information that supports that phase of your journey.
Getting close to being ready to buy? Add an item to your wishlist.
And when you are ready to buy, they even have several CTAs to support a variety of methods to engage their buying audience when that time is ripe. In short, they use a series of calls-to-action to help drive people from exploratory/information-gathering through to purchase.
When someone is ready to take the next step with your organization – whether that’s to “Learn more” (a pretty weak, CTA actually) or to make a purchase – good marketing and a strong CTA should be tailored to ensure they take clear and direct action.
We have compiled a set of tips and examples to help you craft your next solid Call to Action:
The length of a CTA can be as short as a single word and up to a full paragraph. When crafting your CTA phrase, it’s important to think about your customer and where they are in their buyer’s journey.
Someone who is just starting to acquire information about you and your product may need a little more information and copy to help guide them to take the next step. Whereas someone who is ready to purchase may only need a “Buy Now” to get into the cart flow or a “Schedule a consultation” to set up a phone call to book your services.
The ultimate focus of any and all CTA copy is to remove distractions and focus attention on the actions you want a person to take.
A CTA can be placed anywhere in your marketing materials. From a well-placed button in your newsletter to a clickable line in an email, the CTA should be placed wherever you have fulfilled a promise along the buying journey to help ease your audience to take action.
Typically, we see great success when CTAs are placed multiple times on a page (or even in an advertisement). Typically, we recommend the first ask appear above the fold of your materials with additional calls within the copy and a final ask at the bottom of your materials.
We recommend mixing these up in terms of styling because people do not all respond to buttons and links in the same way. Weaving in-line hyperlinks into your copy with other strong, CTA blocks is an effective mechanism to try.
A good Call to Action will use a simple formula to achieve its goal. IF Action THEN benefit. Simply put, you want the action that a reader takes to provide them with some reward. Whether that is a FREE trial, discounted product or services, or some sort of prize, make your reader feel good and that they are the ones winning by clicking the link.
Crafting a CTA that rings an emotional bell is another great mechanism for enticing action. “Get Started” is great but if you are selling something that can evoke an emotional response (like, say… solar panels), “Be Part of the Solution” can be a much stronger hook.
Marketing agencies and copywriters love to get cute with their copy and calls to action suffer from this approach. You can only be cute if you first have been clear. Craft concise, direct messaging for your call to action that inspires urgency.
Patagonia is currently taking this to the extreme with “Shop”, “Watch”, and “Read” CTAs. They even are telling people up front how long certain tasks will take as the CTA (“7 min read” for example).
Absurd can work
Now that we have cautioned you about getting pithy, there are plenty of examples of really great calls to action that stray from the aforementioned advice.
Typically, these are seen used most effectively with companies who have done a really good job of establishing their brand. They understand their audience, have laid the groundwork for acceptance of a less-than-traditional CTA, and have created an environment where these types of CTAs are not only welcomed but are almost expected from their audience.
From what we have seen, when your brand is strong and you have a committed audience, witty, charming, and even absurd CTA’s will make it more likely for someone to take action more so than when using your standard “buy now” phrase.
“Absurd” calls to action should retain the tone of your brand and align with your audience’s expectations. A “Let’s Do This” or “Get the Party Started” could be really effective for the right types of audiences. Even “Woof” could work if you are selling dog toys.
A good CTA will take advantage of your great marketing and will become another valuable resource in your marketing toolbox. Just be sure to measure your performance, make adjustments, and fine-tune what works for your site and your target market.
Are you struggling to find the right CTA for your audience? Give us a shout to brainstorm some ideas.