If content marketing views information as a product, then every product eventually needs an appeal to buy. If you have a product or service you want to sell, you will need a call to action in all of your marketing collateral.
Much is said about content “engaging the audience” and gaining a person’s interest. But businesses aren’t in business just to capture a potential buyer’s interest. They’re in it to make a sale. And that’s why a call to action is important in every piece of marketing you have.
What is a CTA?
A CTA is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It often appears as a button (like a “Buy Now” or “Register Today”) or even a form on your website that appeals to your reader or visitor to take the next step.
Open and close it right
Every salesperson worth their salt knows that it does no good to make a presentation to a prospect and then shrug and say, “Well, if you don’t have any more questions, I’ll be leaving now. Thanks for your time.” And then slink out of the room.
That would be a lousy sales approach. When you write persuasive copy that is meant to sell something, you need a “close.” And that’s your CTA.
I contend that the goal of content marketing is to get your prospect to take action. I understand the need for content that tells a story. But at some point, you’re going to have to ask for a commitment. Otherwise, what’s the point of marketing?
The call to action doesn’t have to be over-the-top. But as a business, you’re asking your prospect to trust you, to invest their money into your offering and to believe that it’s going to make their life better.
The operative word here is ASK.
You’re not going to get anywhere unless your copy, whether it’s a blog post, a case study, a white paper or a data sheet asks the person to make a decision for the next step. This “asking” is NOT just for the sales page.
You want your reader to take action. And in order to do this, you have to tell him exactly what to do. You can’t be cryptic. You can’t hope your prospect will “get it.” You must be clear about the next step so your prospect will understand—and then do it.
Why you need an effective call to action
Even if you’re offering a case study, you want a small section of copy to take advantage of the prospect’s emotions after reading your client’s success story.
Think of it… a prospect just got finished reading about how the XYZ Company used your brilliant solution and saved a whopping 348% in operating costs. She’s probably having this type of conversation in her head:
“Wow. That’s a huge savings. If this solution really does that, my manager is going to adore me. And my name just may get mentioned in the next C-level meeting. I’ll be seen as the hero who saved this company a truckload of money. Maybe even save some jobs in the process. Plus this solution will make things so much easier for the IT folks, who I know are always grumbling about the software we now use and how they have to babysit it constantly…”
Get the point?
Your prospect is imagining how your solution will affect her life for the better (and of course, the company’s). Do you really want to allow all those good vibes to disappear by offering a bland phone number at the bottom of the page?
How to write an effective call to action
You want to give your prospect a reason to act now. So don’t tip-toe around this very important part of your copy.
An example for the above case study would be:
Right now, I’m inviting you to learn how the Top-Notch System can help your organization save money on your operating costs and decrease IT hours spent on babysitting inefficient systems. Give us a call today to set up a free demo. Call 123-456-7890 and ask for Chris Smith. He’ll schedule your appointment and give you the information you need. Peace of mind is just a phone call away.
You used the call to action to restate your most important promise or benefit. You’ve also taken advantage of the emotions a prospect may be experiencing. It’s friendly, helpful, and not too bold but yet strong enough to prod the prospect into action.
Sentences such as “Don’t wait…,” or “Grab this deal while it lasts” are CTA’s that include a sense of urgency. But if those strike you as too strong, you can still communicate the need to act now with wording that is similar to what I used above. Here are a few more:
Complete the form at your earliest convenience
For even faster service, call…
Take this important first step…
Come by for a visit and let us show you around…
The call to action is you extending your hand to your prospect and inviting them to the dinner table for more conversation. Your prospects will be grateful for the clear instruction.