What is a Call to Action, or CTA? Nope, this is not a Bat-Signal or ‘Avengers, Assemble!’ situation. It’s actually a marketing term, but before you roll your eyes and click away, let me explain just how useful a Call to Action can be in your marketing and how to use them effectively.
What is a Call to Action?
A CTA is basically fancy marketing speak for what action or direction you want your client to take next. Think about anything you have signed up for online. When you plug your email address into a pop-up box because it promises a 20% discount to ‘VIP customers’, that’s a call to action. When you click on a Facebook ad that says, ‘Learn More’, that’s a call to action. When you buy something as a result of following a link in an email newsletter, that’s a call to action too.
A clever call to action entices a reader to take a certain action without even realising they are being marketed to. It can convert a reader or casual browser to a client.
Types of CTAs
Below are a few common Calls to Action and how they can be used effectively.
Some CTAs will be very simple and subtle; the aim might be to inform or entertain. Basically, you are just looking to educate your reader/client, or entertain them, and you don’t expect anything else from them, except perhaps to remember that you know what you are talking about.
This CTA is pretty similar to the above, except it goes into more depth. You might give your readers a hook or lure, an interesting titbit that makes them want to know more. They have to click a button or link to get the information they want, thus taking them further into your website and exposing them to your products/services and brand.
This is a very common one that just about everyone will have come across. Sometimes it’s in the form of a pop-up box that appears on the homepage, often only a few seconds after you arrive (I know. Annoying.) Or it might be a header at the top of the webpage, or a box at the bottom of each page, there are lots of options. But the basics will always include a place for you to enter your email address, at a minimum, and a button to submit it. You might be opting in to receive a newsletter, a voucher of some kind, or some other form of communication.
Get a freebie
This one is similar to the Subscribe button, but specifically advertising some sort of discount, offer or freebie. It’s a way to entice people who might otherwise be on the fence about joining your mailing list. It could be a discount on their first order, a free e-book, or a gift with purchase. Either way, you need to hand over your email address to get it.
Contact us/get a quote
This is pretty simple. A lot of businesses, especially service-based businesses, don’t advertise their pricing on their website. Quite a few also don’t provide a phone number, which means you have to provide your email address to get a price list, or to ask a question. Tread carefully with this as a lot of potential clients might not appreciate being trapped into providing personal details just to get more information, and that might be where you lose them.
How to use Calls to Action in your marketing
It’s not as simple as just plonking a big, red ‘Click Here’ button on every page of your website or social media channels. Once you start looking for CTAs on the internet, they are EVERYWHERE. People are spoiled for choice when it comes to buttons and links to click, so you need to make it worth their while. Offer them something. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or ground-breaking, but you need to convince them that your product or service is worth a click.
So, whether it’s your next newsletter, a blog post, or social media post, keep this information in mind. Feed your readers something interesting, useful or entertaining. Then tempt them with the promise of more.