As CEOs we want results from our marketing investments, but sometimes we forget to guide prospects to take action. A call to action or CTA instructs prospects to perform a desired action such as “learn more,” “call today” or “download the e-book.” The most effective CTAs relate to where your audience is in the sales cycle — lead, prospect, new customer, returning customer.
Different CTA types
Companies use CTAs in every medium including websites, emails, print ads, television ads, videos or direct mail pieces. In the end, the goal is to persuade the consumer take some sort of action, depending on the company’s objectives with a target audience.
There are several different types of CTAs.
When consumers are at the beginning of the sales cycle, they turn to the internet to research solutions to their needs and wants. This is often when advertising and search engine optimization come into play. Marketing pieces that are meant to grab the audience’s attention and educate will often include CTAs such as “learn more” or “read more.”
Most online marketing leads are generated through form submissions. Having an engaging CTA button has proven more effective than a simple “submit” button. For example, if you use an online white paper download form to collect prospects’ names and emails, a good CTA on the form would be “Download our free white paper.”
Smart businesses use content marketing to help nurture prospects in order to generate more sales. You may offer a free trial to help those who have narrowed down their choices and are close to making a decision. A good CTA for this audience would be “Start your free trial.”
Close the sale
When your audience is at the bottom of the funnel and ready to make a decision and purchase, it is time to close the sale. CTAs that are most relevant to this audience include “Request a quote,” “Contact sales” or “Call today.”
It is important to maintain a relationship with your current and past customers. This is often done through email marketing and social media marketing. Include social media icons and a CTA such as “Connect with us.”
You may also want to introduce current customers to other products or services. In this case, an appropriate call to action could be, “View the new features.”
When it comes to choosing a CTA for a particular marketing piece, it’s important to keep some best practices in mind.
- Use imperative, or command, verbs to instigate action.
- Make sure the CTA stands out visually within the piece.
- Keep the CTA clear and concise.
- If it’s online, make sure users understand what will happen when they click on it. And make sure they are taken to a page with content they were searching for.
Call to actions are critical elements in almost every marketing piece, so it’s important to understand your goals, audience, and CTA best practices when finalizing the piece. This will help you generate leads, make a sale and encourage repeat sales.
Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 26-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.