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What is a call to action and why should you have one? An effective call to action, or CTA, is an integral part of any marketing campaign. It’s what gets users to perform a desired action, whether that’s to click on a link, to sign up for a newsletter, to buy a product, or to visit a web page. A CTA is also a way to tell users what to expect once they’ve clicked and can help ensure that only users who are truly interested in your page or product. 

Creating an Effective CTA

An effective call to action is one that appeals to users’ emotions and gets them enthusiastic about the action you’d like them to perform. Using strong command verbs (download, subscribe, sign up, click, find out, fill out, buy, order, shop, etc.) and phrasing that shows excitement can encourage that same enthusiasm in readers.

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Be Creative

While it’s always a good idea to see what the competition is doing (which can also be used as inspiration for your own marketing and content), it’s also important to make sure that you separate yourself from the crowd and stand out. Your CTAs shouldn’t just be a reiteration of jargon that’s used in your industry. Not only is that annoying to users, who’ve by now heard that same phrase hundreds of times over, it also doesn’t give users a reason why they should click on your post over others.

Be Yourself

Keep in mind that everything you post, from advertisements to blogs to social media posts, is a part of your brand. CTAs should therefore reflect your brand and what you stand for. The wording should still match the content on your site and fit into your overall narrative. Don’t let your CTAs sound out-of-character and keep them consistent with the content you already have.

Sell… But Don’t Sell?

This may sound counterintuitive, especially if you’re selling something. An effective CTA is bold and clear about selling something (Buy now! Shop Here! Limited-time Sale!), but at the same time needs to not make users feel like they’re being sold to. Keeping a post and a CTA personal may make users instead feel like they’re part of a conversation rather than just being the recipients of a sales pitch.

While Supplies Last

Many users experience FOMO, or the fear of missing out. If your promotion/sale/event is not going to last forever, you can take advantage of FOMO and inform users that they have only a limited period of time to click/register/purchase, etc. Not wanting to miss out can actually be another form of enthusiasm about your product/site/newsletter.

Click Here Now

No matter how excitingly worded your CTA, if there isn’t a good reason for users to click, they won’t. Make sure that the benefits of clicking (or performing the desired action) are made clear to them. Including what makes your product, your newsletter, your site, etc. special is therefore a must – why should users visit your site/buy your product/watch your video?

Make It Easy

The content of the CTA should be easy for users to read and understand. If there is industry jargon that only people already in the industry would understand, don’t use it in your CTA. Be as informational as possible without overwhelming your users with too much text. Users have hundreds of CTAs (or more) coming through on their social media feeds/e-mail inboxes/Google searches/etc. If yours is too long or too difficult to understand, users won’t consider it worth their time to read or take the desired action.

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Social Media CTAs

Social media posts are already great opportunities to share new content on your website. A CTA can therefore be included to get users to click on the link/visit your website/watch your video/etc. Social media CTAs can be used to:

  • Direct users to a new blog post
  • Feature a specific product for users to buy
  • Encourage users to follow/like you
  • Ask users to sign up for a newsletter or e-mail campaign
  • Ask users to register for an event
  • Inform users of a limited time offering/opportunity
  • And more….

Creating CTAs for social media is similar to creating CTAs for advertisements or for your website, but have a few additional characteristics you should keep in mind:

Platform-Specific CTAs

It’s better for SEO purposes to not have social media posts be exactly the same across all of your social media platforms. The same goes for CTAs. Different social media platforms have different CTAs that perform better. For example, Twitter posted a blog that analyzed the top-performing CTAs on Twitter:

  • Download
  • Retweet
  • Follow
  • Reply

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Other social media sites may have similar trends that can help you create posts and CTAs that will perform the best on that site.

Media-Enhanced Messages

CTAs in social media posts can be enhanced by eye-catching media, including images, gifs, and videos. These are eye-catching and can entice users to look at your post when they may not have if it had text only. Images and videos can also provide users with information that they may have ignored if it had been text.

Do the Work for the User

Make sure that the user has the least possible amount of work to do when they click on your social media post. Instead of having it link to your home page, if you want users to sign up or to register for something, the post should instead lead them directly to the page they need. If they have to search for the right page, they may click off without performing the desired action.

Testing CTAs

Some CTAs are more effective than others. Some CTAs are better for certain social media platforms than others. The best way to find out is to do your research and to try out different CTAs to see which ones perform best. Fortunately, CTAs are a measurable quantity and once you’ve got a CTA posted, you can see which ones have the best results.

Tweak Your Tests

Before starting your CTA tests, it’s important to realize that what works on one platform is unlikely to work as well on another. If you have a CTA you believe will get good results on Twitter, it may not be worth your time to try that exact same CTA on LinkedIn or Facebook. Research ahead of time what each social media platform reports are its most successful CTAs, if the information is available. Also check out what competitors are doing on each social media platform for ideas and a place to start.

Factors to Test

Everything that goes into creating a CTA, from the image chosen to the exact wording, can be tweaked and tested for effectiveness. Testing one thing at a time to see if it improves your click-through-rate. These factors can include:

  • Text wording
  • Image
  • Post length
  • Style of post
  • Bulleted list vs. numbered list
  • Emoji usage
  • Post tone, including casual vs. formal and active vs. passive
  • Use of punctuation
  • Headline
  • Etc.

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Putting It All Together

Over time, through measuring and testing the effectiveness of your CTAs, you can improve your posts to bring in a larger number of users. And not just any users – your posts should be tailored to provide the information users need to know whether what you’re offering is something they want. This way, the wrong users won’t be stumbling across your site (and therefore increasing your bounce rate when they realize that your content isn’t what they’re looking for).

The better the fit between your users and your content, the more quality visits your site will get, which will ultimately affect your SEO and your search rankings.

If you need help with aligning your website’s content with both SEO and conversion goals – contact us today for a free consultation!  Fill out our form below.

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