In a previous post we talked about what makes a good email sequence, and one of the things I mentioned was always having a call to action. So today we are going to talk about calls to action, what they are, and how to best use them in your email sequences, funnels, and on your websites.
As an online business owner, it’s your job to market your products and services in such as way that people take the actions you want them to take. Creating effective calls to action (CTA) is a skill that you will need to acquire if you want to be successful in your business.
What Is A Call to Action?
So what, exactly is a call to action?
A “call to action” or CTA is a marketing term that describes the part of your sales letter, email, page, blog post, and other content that you create that helps make the sale. It’s the “call” you create for your audience to entice them to “take action.”
There are many actions you may want your audience to take, and they can be placed anywhere within your marketing content. Some examples of actions you may want your audience to take:
- Download a Whitepaper
- Download a Free eBook
- Sign up for a Webinar
- Get a Coupon
- Attend an Event
- Sign up for More Information
- Download a Checklist
- Buy Your Widget
You can place these CTAs wherever you like, and it’s usually better if you place them in multiple places. You might place a CTA at the end of your blog post, in multiple places on a sales page, at the end of your email, or even inside your whitepaper, eBook, or webinar.
CTAs are the connecting pieces of your funnels
You may have a CTA to sign up for the webinar, but inside the webinar, you may have a sign up for your six-week course. Inside your six-week course, you may have a CTA for your one-on-one coaching program. As you can see, the CTA can continue indefinitely if you have a better product to promote.
In the context of low-content publishing your calls to action might look like this – Your first CTA would be to sign up for your newsletter and get a freebie. Once they get the freebie, your next call to action might be to purchase a tripwire product. Once they purchase the tripwire product, you might have a call to action to sign up for a webinar on how to use what they just bought.
This is how your funnels are created. One product leads to the next, and you move your customer through the steps of the funnel with effective calls to action.
Use only one CTA at a time
But wait a minute, you say. You just told me to string a whole bunch of CTAs together to make a funnel. Now you’re telling me to only do one at a time?
Yes, and here’s why…
Too many options can confuse the readers as to which call to action you want them to follow. The best strategy is to only include ONE CTA in each piece of content. You can put that CTA in several different places in that content (and we’ll talk about that in an upcoming article), but your content should have one prominent goal and that is for the reader to take the action you want them to take.
How you string them together becomes your funnel, but each step in the funnel offers only one call to action that leads to the next. So, you might offer upsells and down sells within your CTA strategy, but you wouldn’t offer both an upsell and a downsell on the same page. Does that make sense?
Your call to action should be direct, to the point, apparent at first glance, and congruent with the content and the audience to be of any good.
There is one exception…
As with any rules, there are always exceptions. And the one exception I can think of for sticking to the one CTA per content piece is when you publishing a daily list of offers for your market. Common known as “laundry list” newsletters (see an example here), this style of content requires multiple links to multiple offers as a way to give your readers all the deals in one place instead of sending them 10 separate emails for 10 separate products.
Creating effective CTAs
The trick with calls to action is that they need to be very clear, eye-catching, and aligned with your audience’s buying stage.
Think of it this way… if your audience is parents teaching their preschooler to read, you wouldn’t try to sell them a high-school English text. That’s not the stage they’re at. Not only will you not make any sales, you’ll also show them that you don’t really understand what their needs are. You’d be much better off sharing something like a kid’s activity book with them.
But if you know your audience well, you’ll know exactly where and when to place your CTAs so that you can get good results.
Effective calls to action (CTAs) are so much more than a button that says, “buy now”. An effective call to action will compel your audience to act on your call to do something. That something isn’t always about buying. Sometimes it’s about getting them on your list, other times it’s about ensuring they’re watching your social media, coming to your live events, and more. Whatever your goal, a call to action is a way to get your audience to take the next step in building up the relationship toward becoming a customer.
This is part 1 of a 10-part series on creating effective calls to action.
*Note: This post includes affiliate links, for which I will receive a small commission should you make a purchase.