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CTAs: How a Call-To-Action Serves Your Visitors

Mar 14, 2018
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CTAs_ How a Call-To-Action Serves Your Visitors

Too often we assume people will go to the web pages we want them to go naturally. We have to stop assuming and need to take action. In order to have our visitors go deeper into our site and convert we must give them clear direction.

A call-to-action(CTA) is a simple, yet direct way to lead your visitors in the right direction.

Make the Ask

Too often I run into business owners who are afraid to make the ask. They don’t want to come off as pushy so instead of leading their prospects to action, they just wait for them to make the move themselves. Unfortunately, that is not how it works.

When someone searches for an answer to a pain point they are experiencing and lands on a website, they want further direction. They want to have their pain resolved. If a website provides some information but does not share the next step for the prospect, they will leave and find the next step somewhere else.

“Ask and you shall receive.” If you have an action that you want your visitors to take, you must ask them. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be outrageous and pushy, but you do need to make the expectations clear.

Many site owners have a “Buy Now” or a “Contact Us” button in the top right navigation of their site. This is a subtle and classy way to ensure that there is a clear next step for every person who visits your website. But this is only one type of call-to-action. To really optimize engagement, we need to leverage all the different types of CTA’s that are available to us.

Direct vs Transitional CTAs

The two main types of CTA’s are direct and transitional. They each serve a very specific purpose and work together towards driving our leads to the right page at the right time in their journey. It’s usually not enough to just ask once. In most cases, you will need to ask your visitors a few times before they click through.

Direct CTA

A direct call-to-action is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a button or link on your website that tells your visitors exactly what you want them to do.

People love clarity. Think about for a moment. I recently went online to purchase a power supply to an Xbox. When I landed on the page, was the next step vague for me? No! If it was, I would have left to find someone else who knew what I wanted and helped me make a purchase.

Right next to the product was a clear button that said: “add to cart.” Now you may not be in the e-commerce business, but my guess is that you do have something to sell, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. People want to know the next step. Don’t be passive and expect them to find out what to do next. Be direct and tell them.

Some examples of Direct CTA’s are:

  • Buy Now
  • Free Consultation
  • Register Today
  • Schedule an Appointment

Don’t just add these CTA’s to the top bar. Put them on your website's core pages. A core page is any page that shares a service or product you offer to alleviate your personas' pain points. Repetition is your friend. Put it on each core page a few times.

Transitional CTAs

Transitional CTAs are all about helping a visitor continue through the buyer's journey. While some of your visitors are ready to “buy now”, a majority of them are very early in the discovery process.

A transitional CTA is designed to help someone who is in the early stage better understand their problem and the possible solutions for solving it.

At the end of each one of our blog posts we have a transitional CTA. It will be appropriate based on the content that was just read. For example, if we have a post on local SEO, the CTA at the end of the piece will point them to our Local SEO Checklist. This checklist is a great next step for someone interested in boosting their local visibility.

While they may not be ready to hire our agency, they will begin to see us as a trusted advisor and someone that is here to help them in their journey. This begins the relationship building process and now it’s up to us to nurture them through their process.

When that visitor came to our site, they were an anonymous seeker. After we offered them contextual appropriate content via a transitional CTA, they are now a lead who knows we care about their success.

Transitional CTAs have a ton of power in the services industry. The reason many don’t utilize them is that creating valuable offers is hard. But, if you invest in creating helpful content that your prospects will be willing to exchange information for, the time spent will be well worth it!

A few tips when creating a call-to-action:

  • Use a different color to stand out from the page. Think complimentary colors. Because they will stand out.
  • Use action-based text like "Click Here for More" or "Take Action."
  • Make sure you link to the appropriate page. Nothing is more annoying to a user than being directed to a wrong page.

If you want your website visitors to take a specific action, you need to direct them. By creating both direct and transitional CTAs you help your visitors find the content they need. You also move them further through their buyer's journey which allows you to qualify who is ready to buy. If you want your website to convert visitors into leads, start with creating compelling CTAs.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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