Smart. Relevant. Easy to read. Targeted. These are all marks of great content.
But if you fail to include an effective call-to-action (C2A) in your content, it’ll flop. The good news is that a call-to-action isn’t hard to create, or even make great. But you do need to understand what it is, and why it works.
What is a call-to-action?
The name for this little piece of real estate on your blog, infographic, white paper, and so forth is quite literal. It is usually a pretty simple sentence or group of words that “calls” consumers/readers to do an “action.” Hence, the name “call to action.”
The actions you call consumers to take are also pretty simple. The C2A can ask people to:
- Download a white paper.
- Opt-in to an email list.
- Get a discount.
- Sign up to attend a webinar.
- And the list goes on.
You can also strategically place a C2A just about anywhere in your digital marketing landscape, be it on your website, a blog, an email, a case study, or an ebook.
As a general rule, you should never, ever use more than one C2A in your content. That will just confuse readers. A targeted, simple message gets results. And you can test those results, too. Using A/B testing, you can create a piece of content marketing with one C2A, and measure how it performs. Then, fine tune the C2A, and test it again. The idea is that you can continually increase its effectiveness as you tweak the C2A.
Because in the end, you want as many people as possible to respond to the action, and do what you say!
Creating a C2A
When it comes time to create the C2A once you’ve completed a blog post, landing page, email series, or ebook, take the time to review these C2A essentials:
- Make the offer visually appealing. Graphics are a big deal here. Normally, businesses create a striking graphic button or box to help the C2A stand out.
- Keep it simple and brief. Don’t try to get fancy or complicated. Direct is best.
- Seems obvious, but it’s worth saying: Make sure it includes an action! Download, sign up, get, share, etc.
- Make the benefit clear. The C2A should succinctly convey what people will get in return for clicking through. This has the potential to be a results-killer. Be less-than-clear here, and fewer people will hit the C2A.
- Target prime real estate on the page. Where you put the C2A is just as important as what it says.
- Help people find it. Usually, C2A buttons in a contrasting color stand out on a page.
- Balance its focus. You still want people to read the landing page, email, blog post, so make sure the C2A stands out, but doesn’t take away from the message of the content, either.
Examples in action
C2As aren’t complicated. We’ve been emphasizing their simplicity throughout this article. To confirm just how easy a C2A can be, here are a few examples:
Download the white paper
(The action here is: click the button to get the white paper. Simple!)
(The action here is: sign up to attend the event, get the demo, whatever the message may be. Simple!)
(The action here is: click the button to browse around our site for more information. Simple!)
Spend the time and resources necessary to create killer content, but ensure that you get the effect from readers that you need. With an effective C2A, you’ll move consumers along the marketing funnel, get them engaged with your brand, and increase targeted leads.