For most marketers, content isn’t meant to simply be looked at; it is also intended to spark further engagement.
Some brands want their content to be shared after being consumed – thereby extending reach and awareness – while others want a specific step to be taken, such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading a whitepaper, or contacting a sales rep.
Whatever the goal is – sharing, conversion, or something else – getting consumers to dive deeper ultimately comes down to your call-to-actions (CTAs).
So how do you create effective CTAs? These approaches have been proven to work across different platforms and content types:
1. Present your call-to-actions within the core content or immediately afterwards
This may sound obvious, but it’s important to highlight: your call to actions can only be effective if your audiences see them.
This means that it’s essential to integrate CTAs into your content as much as possible, and to present multiple opportunities to engage.
Example: One of the reasons that BuzzFeed is so popular on the Web is that the site makes sharing soeasy. Social widgets are clearly displayed throughout the content, often in multiple locations.
2. Be specific about what steps to take, and what the result will be
Here’s something else that’s essential to remember: consumers are afraid to click.
Most people don’t have a lot of time and are weary about being led down a path they won’t like. Therefore, make it clear in your CTAs what action you want taken and exactly what will happen once the user clicks.
Example: This call-to-action below from Marketo succeeds by being specific: consumers are told what they’ll get (free tools and best practices), how (via an email newsletter), and what action is expected (entering their email address). It also helps that the brand is clear about respecting privacy.
3. Experiment with wording and presentation, test, then experiment again
Finally, it’s important to remember that the perfect CTA (probably) won’t appear on your first try.
To truly know what resonates with your audiences you’ll need to play with every element – including wording, colors, size, shape, and location – then test the versions in real-life, examine the results, and try again.
Example: This excellent CTA from the Content Marketing Institute is a good example of a brand knowing its audience. The highly-specific push – that 140,000 peers have already signed up – most likely took a fair amount of experimentation to get just right.