(Updated December 26, 2016)
To click or not to click? Ultimately, that IS the question B2B content marketers need to answer through their call-to-action designs. But sometimes, this is much easier said than done. Sure, you can whip up a CTA in a few seconds with a little text and a brightly colored button shape -- but how successful will it be? What does it really take to produce a call-to-action that makes a difference for B2B lead generation, and improves your B2B PR campaign?
Why CTAs Are An Important Part of Your B2B Content Strategy
You put in a lot of work on a regular basis to create amazing B2B content that attracts visitors to your site, in hopes that they become reliable B2B leads. If you don't have a CTA to convert readers into leads, your content is basically a dead end -- meaning a wasted effort on your part.
Some would argue that the CTA is the most important part of your page, even your entire website. Why is that? Well, let's consider some of the potential benefits of an effective CTA.
- Improved conversion rates
- Increased lead generation
- Increased revenue
Bottom line: Without a CTA, your readers will always just be readers, unable to take the next step.
Yet not all CTAs will help you reach these goals. Think back to all the CTAs you've seen over your lifetime of browsing the internet. For all the ones you have seen and not clicked on, there are hundreds more that you probably didn't even notice. So what's the secret? What's the difference between CTAs that improve your numbers, and ones that are a wasted effort?
Related Reading: 6 Ways to Make B2B Content Creation a Breeze
You need to "seal the deal" with eye-catching CTAs that readers can't help but click on. How can you do this? Here we've compiled a list of 10 articles that encapsulate the professional PR tactics you need, with insights into what motivates site visitors to click. What can you do to amp up your CTAs? Read on to start creating your own world-class CTAs!
10 Guides to Creating Calls to Action That Convert
1. Unbounce’s Angela Stringfellow stresses the importance of an effective CTA in her piece Your Call to Action is Lame! Here are 10 Ways to Make it Convert Better, delving into what constitutes a bad CTA and how to fix it.
Rule: Make the offer obvious -- like painfully obvious. Don't leave any doubt in the minds of your readers as to what they will get when they click that button. Use an action word in your title and xplain what readers get in exchange for their information -- if it's a download, you could say Download Your Free Commercial Building Inspection Checklist Today.
2. Coschedule's Julie Neidlinger emphasizes the importance of choosing the right words in her post, How to Write a Call to Action In a Template with 6 Examples. Neidlinger explores the emotions behind the words you choose, and which words will get you more clicks.
Rule: Create emotion. The words you choose hold incredible power when it comes to your readers' emotions. The most powerful emotion you can create is known as FOMO -- fear of missing out. This strong motivator ignites a sense of urgency. Words and phrases such as Limited Supply, Last Chance, or Limited Time Only are great tools to build that sense of urgency.
3. Magdalena Giorgieva from HubSpot discusses CTAs from a semantics perspective in 10 Best Practices to Optimize the Language of Your Calls-to-Action. In an excerpt from the company’s CTA eBook, Giorgieva provides 10 tips specific to CTA text phrasing and the implications wording has on lead generation.
Rule: Convey Value. The inevitable question every customer or lead silently asks: "What's in it for me?" What is the top benefit to your offer? Once you've figured that out, shorten it until you can convey it in just a few words. Remember, a customer needs to see clear value in your offer.
4. Jeremy Smith from Marketing Land provides insight into the driving force behind effective CTAs with his article, The Power of the Call to Action & How Its Strength Boosts Conversion. From design to placement, Smith explains the best ways to use your CTAs to get results.
Rule: Place It Prominently On Every Page. Yes, every page is a new opportunity for a click-through. What might escape someone's notice on one page might capture his or her attention on another. Then, make sure it is the visual focus of your page. The side panels and the bottom of the page are two key placements, according to Smith's research. And the more the merrier -- so don't be afraid to sprinkle several CTAs strategically throughout your page!
5. How to Craft an Effective Call to Action, by Justin Zalewski with Convince & Convert, is an interesting commentary on the psychology of CTAs. It gives helpful advice on how to get to know your audience better, and how this can help improve the effectiveness of your CTAs.
Rule: Know Your Audience. Don't make arbitrary decisions about CTAs without reflecting on your audience. A/B testing and analytics programs are great ways to create your personalized formula for CTA success. Also, talk with your audience -- learn as much as you can about your prospects' challenges, goals, and motivations. This will help you personalize your CTAs to your buyer persona, and effectively hit your desired mark.
Recommended Reading: The Top 5 Best Practices to Boost B2B Lead Generation
6. Neil Patel from QuickSprout provides his CTA design insights in Click Here: 11 Ways to Improve Your Calls to Action. He covers the basics of location and color, as well as sharing his experiential insights on testing and a little reverse psychology.
Rule: Colors Matter. That's right, it's about more than wording and placement. Colors play a role in people's emotions. Some colors create a sense of urgency while others create a sense of trust. Whatever color you choose, it needs to stand out -- people won't click on it if blends into its surroundings. Test out several different colors to see which has the highest conversion rate.
7. Content Marketing Institute's Julie Wingerter reveals the role of interactive calls to action in 5 Interactive Calls to Action That Prospects Can't Resist. Learn how to leverage such fun tools as calculators and quizzes to boost the results of your CTAs.
Rule: Think Outside the Box. Every once in a while it can help to throw the generic CTA concept out the window and create something new, and make it interactive. Do you hesitate, assuming that interactive CTAs fit best into the B2C space? Throw that assumption aside. It's basic human nature -- people love to interact! Whether it's an assessment of how someone measures up to his peers, or a knowledge test, these out-of-the-box ideas often lead to higher conversion rates.
8. Gigi Griffis, from GatherContent, reveals how planning helps your CTAs in How to Prioritize Calls to Action. Learn how to use a B2B content calendar to plan ahead and choose CTAs that meet your goals.
Rule: Set Goals. After all, how will you know whether your CTA hits the mark if you don't have a destination in mind? In fact, set multiple goals, and customize your CTAs to each goal, and keep these organized for future use.
9. Call to Action Buttons: Examples and Best Practices by Smashing Magazine’s Jacob Gube digs into CTA design and copy best practices and provides accompanying strong examples for each attribute listed. Although the article is from 2009, Gube’s points remain very relevant to the B2B lead generation landscape today.
Rule: Use Whitespace to Your Advantage. Whether you call it whitespace or dead space, it's your friend. Place this white space around your CTA button -- it will eliminate distractions and naturally draw eyes to it.
10. Sprout Social's Dominique Jackson discusses the art of crafting the perfect CTA phrase in his post, Call to Action Phrases That Will Convert. Learn about the psychology and art needed to create emotions of desire and urgency that motivate your prospects to click.
Rule: Focus on Your Audience's Needs, Not Yours. Your CTA is not about you, your product, or your service -- it's about your customers' needs and wants. How will they personally benefit from clicking on your CTA? Use language that clearly conveys this benefit, and motivates visitors to take that desired action.
Related Reading: 5 Ways to Make Your B2B Content Marketing More Effective
Time is ticking so get those B2B leads clicking! (Lame, but we couldn’t resist).
CTAs are a fundamental part of effective PR tactics, so make sure yours are the best they can be. If your CTAs aren’t performing the way you want – or even if they are – throw a few of these tried-and-true tips into the mix. We bet you’ll be surprised by the improvement.
Key Points to Keep in Mind...
- Use clear action words that motivate your readers.
- Make your CTAs more prominent with contrasting colors and whitespace.
- Create emotion in your readers that spurs them to take action.
- Convey value that your readers can't resist.
And don't forget : little planning goes a long way. Keep organized and plan all of your content -- including CTAs -- ahead of time with the following helpful content marketing calendar.
What makes your CTAs pop? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below!