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WTF is a CTA? – What action do you want your visitors to take?

So your generating leads and prospects for your business… great! But unless these leads actually convert and take your visitors to the next step, you may reach a stalemate.

The difference between businesses that succeed or fail can come down to what proactive actions are in place to persuade the potential customer to invest. Whether you want a consumer to buy, subscribe, request more information or download something from your site…you need a call to action.

Fail to utilize this, and you could be losing potential customers.


what is a cta


Firstly…what actually is A Call-to-Action? (CTA)

Let’s start simply. Think of your product or service as a giant red button that you want a consumer to press. How do you get them to press that button? With an effective statement specifically designed to make them take action – otherwise known as a Call-to-Action. You want your potential lead to act immediately and a killer CTA is going to ensure they do this.


Who should use a CTA?

CTA’s should be part of all marketing strategies, and are definitely something businesses need to utilize, whatever the target market.

However, the truth is that many businesses fail to capitalize on them, as they make the mistake of thinking their leads are already interested or will be put off by anything designed to ‘sell’. It’s true that the hard sell is not appropriate here, but informing people of the next step to take is important.


Simply put it’s those CTA’s that will ensure consumers enter the next stage of the sales funnel or invest in your product or service.


what is a cta


When should I use a CTA?

If you want to generate more sales it’s going to be essential to use a CTA. But this isn’t the only time you should use one. In fact, you may just want to encourage someone to enquire about a product, or download something from your site. Or perhaps you want to build your email list or encourage leads to provide their contact details? You might be looking to build your followers on social media or direct more traffic to your website? Whatever the goal, a CTA can help with all of these actions.

Top tip: You should consider a CTA as a ‘useful guide’ towards the final process you want your potential customer to take. For example, you may encourage potential customers to fill out a form to receive an estimate, which could lead to business. Likewise, you could ask them to request a free callback, which could lead to discussing your product or service in more detail.

Top tip 2: Use your CTA at the end! On your website you should be introducing your product or service first to spark interest, then following up with a CTA. Something like ‘find out more’ ‘buy now’ or ‘contact us’ works well. Nobody likes to be instantly bombarded with actions, but equally you want to capitalize on any interest that is generating from your target audience.


call to action explained


What kind of words should I use in my CTA?


We mentioned a couple of the most common ones above, but CTA’s take many shapes and forms.

Remember they are designed to convince someone to take action immediately. So words that prompt like ‘now’ and ‘here’ are often used. Essentially though, you should be using verbs that suggest doing something. Words like ‘sign up’ ‘call’ ‘subscribe’ ‘follow’. These are verbs that sign-post to the potential customer how they take the next step, because they are telling them what action to take to achieve it.

Top tip: depending on what time of business you have, running a limited time offer can work well. This is especially effective in e-commerce. It provides the potential customer with a sense of urgency, that if they do not act and take the next step they will lose out. This is why you often see ‘Black Friday deals’ and ‘limited time offers’ around holidays, and why business often report additional sales in these busy periods.


CTA 101. Top points to include in your call-to-action

So hopefully by now I’ve convinced you of the importance of CTA’s and why you should use them in your business. Great! Going forward, here are some points to remember when implementing them:


Don’t over complicate your CTA

Simplicity is best. You want your potential customers to be clear on the action they need to take, so keep it as straight forward and direct as possible. Offering too many options will create confusion and lose leads. It might also put would-be customers off. if there are too many obstacles in the way when they are looking to take action.


Be clear in your mind what action you want the potential customer to make

Again sounds obvious, but you need to be clear in your mind what action you want a customer to take. When creating your business marketing strategy, take time to consider this. Each call-to-action should have one purpose. Yet it may link with other parts of your business objectives. For example, getting someone to sign up to your mailing list is the immediate goal of one particular CTA on your site. Yet this action might lead to someone buying something they see on the newsletter you send- which is a CTA linked to making a sale.


what is a call to action


Make your CTA benefits-focused

Perhaps when taking action the potential customer will save money now? Or get the answers they need? Perhaps they will receive more useful information or get something for free? These are all benefits you want to highlight, as they differentiate you from competitors and put the potential customers first. Don’t assume potential customers know about these already, or be afraid to shout about them- it could make all the difference!


Differentiate your CTA depending on your designated platform

How you display your CTA will depend on what platform you are using, so take time to consider how you will incorporate this. Strictly speaking, when we are talking about your business website or email marketing campaign the CTA’S should stand out. They should be a separate button or at least bigger and in a different color to the rest of the text. You want the CTA to stand out, not get lost in the rest of your copy or imagery.


Make it clear in the customers mind what they are getting

This one ties into making the benefits obvious to potential customers. You need to be transparent and concise in what you are offering in return for the action taking place. For example ‘click here to book a free consultation and receive a PDF guide’ or ‘find out how you can stop smoking today when you sign up to our newsletter’.


what is cta


And finally…Remember to track them!

Like the other marketing strategies, we have mentioned in past blogs, tracking your CTA’s success is an important step. You need to be tracking what works well and what is resonating with your target audience. Similarly, using a tracking tool will allow you to identify the CTA’s which aren’t converting so you can change tact.

Remember to look at where in the sales funnel customers capitalise on the CTA. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to adapt or change methods if it isn’t working as you hoped. Sometimes just tweaking the wording of your CTA is all you need to generate more results. A/B testing, especially in email marketing, can be useful when it comes to checking what is best resonating with your target audience.


Do you utilize CTA’s for your business? If so, what do you find to be the most effective? Share your thoughts with us below.