Every time you subscribe to a newsletter, install an app, download a case study, or purchase a product, it’s because someone invited you to do so. Even if you seek out the thing (whatever that may be), you click on a button that says something like “Buy Now” or “Learn More,” right? You are responding to calls to action (CTAs).
If you want people to buy a product or service, or get involved with your cause, don’t assume they know what you want them to do. You need calls to action to do the job.
At its most basic, a call to action, or CTA, is used to try to get someone to do something you desire them to do. “In marketing, CTAs help a business convert a viewer, visitor, or reader into a lead for the sales team,” writes Brittany Leaning for HubSpot. Effective CTAs range from deepening engagement sales, repeat sales, and happy customers telling others how great it is to do business with you.
“If you want people to buy a product or service, or get involved with your cause, don’t assume they know what you want them to do. You need a call to action.”
Where to use a call to action
Every piece of marketing content you create needs at least one CTA. Once you have someone’s attention, don’t waste the opportunity — ask them to take a next step of engagement with you. The call to action is not always an ask to buy something. Even a primarily informational piece of content can invite readers to download a summary or infographic, respond with comments, or subscribe to a podcast on the topic.
Good marketers and web designers know the strategic importance of CTAs to achieve marketing outcomes, as well as to help visitors navigate a website. According to this article in Entrepreneur, “Customers want signs or buttons in order to act, be it ‘Buy now’ or ‘Sign up for our newsletter’ or ’Click here for more information.’” In fact, they likely won’t stick around long enough to take any action if they can’t easily and rapidly see where you want them to click next.
Different marketing goals need different calls to action
Let’s look at how CTAs might be used at three stages of the customer’s journey to making a purchase: awareness, consideration, and decision.
Deepen their awareness: Invite them to download a tip sheet or a checklist, watch a video, or read an e-book that validates your expertise in your area of specialty.
Assist their consideration: Invite them to sign up for a webinar or schedule a brief no-risk discovery call. Offer a free sample or product spec sheet.
Facilitate their decision: Provide a discount code for a first-time purchase. Offer a free trial or a demo. Create a simple process for getting an estimate or quote.
At the appropriate time, in the appropriate place, ask them to buy. But don’t stop there. After the purchase, ask them to review your product and service and to share their positive experience with others. Other post-purchase CTAs can include access to product updates and customer service forums.