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Online Marketing and the Impact of Calls to Action

call to action

Whether you are using social media or email marketing, you need a call to action (CTA). For those unfamiliar with this term, a call to action is a banner, button, graphic or text that encourages users to click through and continue in the direction of a conversion. Online marketing experts encourage CTAs across all social media channels and webpages. Calls to action can benefit your business in terms of engagement, leads, and more. This is CTA 101.

What does a CTA look like?

Depending on your marketing tactic, such as social media channels or PPC campaigns, you need a CTA. But, what exactly does a call to action look like? Your word choice, placement and tone all come in to play as you determine what CTA to use. A CTA is not a sales pitch or a tag that says “Buy Now!” Here are three common calls to action.

  • Learn/Read/See more: This type of call to action encourages users to click through a link to get more information about a particular topic, directly or indirectly related to what they are already looking at.
  • Subscribe: Calls to action that ask users to subscribe are often for newsletters. Whatever it’s for, let your potential customer know exactly what they’ll be subscribing to – deals, a newsletter, etc.
  • Try it free: A call to action that mentions a free product or trial is used by businesses who can afford the cost. Freebies are a great way to filter potential customers and gather data.
  • “Like”, “Retweet”, “Comment” and “Share”: These are common CTAs used in social media and blogging. Each simple phrase invites the user to engage with you and your content in some aspect.

Best Practices

Before you place a call to action on your website, blog or social media accounts, determine what it is you want people to do when they come to your site. Of course, sales are always a top priority, but is there something else? Do you want more people signing up for a free trial or subscribing to a newsletter? Knowing your goals can help as you place your CTAs.

  • Always include a CTA. This cannot be stressed enough. No matter the platform, page or article, you need to have a call to action. It can be something as simple as “Like if you agree” or as complex as “Click here to learn more about Velcro.”
  • Use short, concise phrases. CTAs such as “Start Your Free Trial” are encouraging without being pushy. Often, you can gather data and insight about the people most likely to become customers.
  • When using a banner or graphic, keep it simple and eye-catching. Cluttered images can deter someone from learning more or clicking on a call to action.
  • Keep your first call to action above the fold on a webpage. Someone may not scroll through, so you need to have it immediately available. If you have a longer webpage, you can include more than one CTA per page as long as they are spaced and written well.
  • Don’t be pushy. Avoid asking people to “Buy now!” Calls to action should be encouraging, not pushy. Valuable information can connect you and your reader. Be a connection, not a salesperson.

Impact of a CTA

The benefits of having a CTA outweigh 99 percent of any drawbacks when done right. Having a call to action can increase engagement, sales and the overall success of your business. Measure which calls to action are working and which aren’t to optimize your efforts and calls to action.

  • Generate leads with calls to action. Having calls to action in the right places can generate more solid leads for your business.
  • Increasing user engagement is one of the biggest benefits of a CTA. A blog and your social media accounts are the places where you’ll see the effect of CTAs on user engagement the most.
  • CTAs can increase website traffic and the time spent on your site. If each page encourages the user to keep reading or visit another part of the site, you can have more people spending more time on your pages.
  • Look at what is working and what’s not to make adjustments. If certain CTAs are more successful in creating conversions than others, you can adapt and make adjustments to your marketing strategies.

No matter your business or where your business is found online, you need to have a compelling call to action that encourages the visitor to continue down the path toward conversion. If all you are aiming for is more blog subscribers or comments on a post, focus your calls to action to that. If you want people to follow a specific path, make your CTAs direct them. Measure your successes and setbacks to see what works and what doesn’t.

Bio: Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as email marketing and online marketing trends. She is a web content writer for Business.com.

Image Source: Sean MacEntee

One Response to this post.

  1. Uzi T's Gravatar

    Posted by Uzi T on 13.08.12 at 5:30 am

    Excellent tips on this topic. A call to action sure seems like a simple idea to implement at first glance , but it definitely needs be taken seriously. It can make all the difference when it comes to sales. The challenge is really all about how to make your CTA drive the visitor to buy without being pushy. Create the right message, put it in the right place and the client is more likely to stay and make his purchase!

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