By Katie Mientka

It’s a sad reality, but many companies don’t effectively use a call to action (CTA) to engage potential customers. One Small Biz Trends study found that 70% of small business sites completely lack a call to action.  Wondering why it matters? It is the one chance you have to compel potential customers to take the right action. It builds the urgency often needed to sway customers from clicking away to picking up the phone or otherwise engaging your company to meet their needs. How do you create a solid call to action, though, and where do you even put it? The answer all starts with your goal.  

I Want to Motivate Customers To . . .

call to action

Take a moment to think about the marketing content you produce right now. If you’re like most companies, you likely have a mix of blogs, print articles, social media posts, and your site itself. That mix of content is aimed at different stages of the buyer’s journey. During the awareness phase, they’ve only just realized that they want to connect with your company. Maybe they found you through a social media post. Maybe it was a print article. Either way, they’re still looking for information. As they move to the consideration phase, they have a clearly defined goal in mind, and the information you’re delivering through your blog or website is still critical to a potential buyer. Finally, they reach the decision phase. At that point, your content is still important, but it needs to change. Maybe it’s a comparison chart or a free trial. No matter what it is, what you’ve produced means the difference between a sale and someone heading for your competitor’s site.

Your call to action choice at each of these phases matters. In that first phase, you simply want them to reach out. Using words like prevent and troubleshoot are key to getting the initial lead to make contact with you. As they approach a decision, though, they help instruct your potential customer what to do next.

No matter which phase you’re crafting a better call to action for, there are many things you can do to make yours stronger.

  • Be clear and compelling. There’s a myth that suggests your CTA can only be a sentence. That’s not necessarily true. What is true, however, is that potential customers need direction, and your call to action should provide it.
  • Build urgency. The closer to the expiration date something is, the more likely you are to act on it. No one wants to lose out on a great deal, and building urgency, even in the earliest stages of the buyer’s journey, is an absolute must as you create a CTA that works.
  • Show them the benefit. You want them to reach out? They need to know why they should. The best CTAs help customers understand what unique qualities you have that your customers just don’t.

Where Do I Put a Call to Action?

Once you’ve crafted the right CTA, you may be unsure of exactly where it should go. As with the call to action itself, it depends a bit on the material. Blog, website text, or print article, you should always have a CTA at the bottom of the page. If someone has made it through your entire text, they deserve to know what to do next.

Beyond that, though, there may be times when you want an additional CTA near the top of the page. Think about your website. Placing your call to action above the fold means visitors on a laptop or desktop computer will instantly be able to see it. Given that they may be visiting your site on a phone or tablet, try to put one halfway down the page where they can access it with very little scrolling to action

You’ll also likely want to place one where your readers’ eyes will naturally end up on the page. We tend to read from top to bottom and from left to right. Don’t fight that natural visual progression.

A quick note about social media. The call to action is often the first thing to go in social media posts. After all, when you only have 140 characters to spend, you may not want to use them saying “Click here.” That’s a serious mistake, though. Social media posts are as deserving of a CTA as any other marketing you may be doing, so make certain your readers know what to do next.

Crafting the right call to action for a given piece of the marketing puzzle can be difficult, but without it, you might just be wasting your time and money. Connect with Haven today for guidance on creating content and powerful calls to action to help you get in front of the right audience, or download our 9 Steps to Effective Marketing eBook for tips on creating a successful marketing strategy.