Calls to Action: How to Motivate Your Audience

Posted by Wendy Marx

 [Editor’s Note: One of our most popular posts is one we published on Calls to Actions. While  the original post is still relevant, I've updated this post with some additional tips.  Enjoy! ]

Calls to Action_ How to Motivate Your Audience

CTAs sit at the threshold between loyal readers and those readers becoming B2B leads. Many factors affect whether a reader passes this threshold. Theis post will show you how to motivate your audience to take that next step -- or rather, click.

So what’s behind the decision to click?

The way you create your CTAs -- including the colors, language,  and design you choose -- has the potential to tip the scales in your favor. Sure, you can whip up a CTA in a few seconds with a little text and a brightly colored button shape. But will this generate the leads you want? Most likely, no.

What does it really take to produce a CTA that makes a difference for B2B lead generation, and helps your B2B PR campaign succeed?

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. If you don't have a CTA to convert readers into leads, your content is basically a dead end -- meaning a wasted effort.

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, simply sticking a button on your website won’t help you reach your goals. Think back to all the CTAs you have seen over your lifetime of browsing the internet. There were a few you clicked, but no doubt the vast majority you passed by without a second thought.

So, what’s the secret? What makes the difference between CTAs that increase your numbers and those that take up valuable space? There are many factors that go into creating the perfect CTA, including:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Image
  • Wording
  • Location
  • Optimization

With so many factors, how can you choose the right combination that motivates your audience? The great news is that you don’t have to guess.


If you don't have a CTA to convert readers into leads, your content is basically a dead end Tweet: If you don't have a CTA to convert readers into leads, your content is basically a dead end @wendymarx TO TWEET


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!

Working hard, but not getting enough leads? Unlock the 7 Secrets to Lead Generation. Click here to get the checklist now.

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.

The Key Takeaway: 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 explain what readers get in exchange for their information -- if it's a download, you could say Download Your Free Commercial Building Inspection Checklist Today.

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  1. Coschedule's Julie Neidlinger emphasizes the importance of choosing the right words in her post, How to Write a CTA In a Template with 6 Examples. Neidlinger explores the emotions behind the words you choose, and which words will get you more clicks.

The Key Takeaway: 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.

  1. Magdalena Giorgieva from HubSpot discusses CTAs from a semantics perspective in 10 Best Practices to Optimize the Language of Your CTAs. 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.

The Key Takeaway: Convey Value. The inevitable question every customer or lead silently asks is: "What's in it for me?" What is the top benefit of 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.

  1. Jeremy Smith from Marketing Land provides insight into the driving force behind effective CTAs with his article, The Power of the CTA & How Its Strength Boosts Conversion. From design to placement, Smith explains the best ways to use your CTAs to get results.
The Key Takeaway: 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!

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  1. 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.

The Key Takeaway: 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.

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  1. 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. He also shares his experiential insights on testing and a little reverse psychology.

The Key Takeaway: Colors Matter. That's right, CTAs are about more than wording and placement. Colors play a huge 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 it blends into its surroundings. Test out several different colors to see which has the highest conversion rate.

  1. 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.

The Key Takeaway: Think Outside the Box. Every once in awhile it can help to throw the generic CTA concept out the window and create something entirely new, while making 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.

  1. Darcy Couler, from LeadPages -- a leading authority on landing pages and creating the perfect CTA -- writes about the necessary components of CTAs in the article, 8 Call-to-Action Tips Getting Real Results for Marketers Right Now. These 8 tips, accompanied by real-life examples, are like a roadmap of what makes up a truly great CTA.

The Key Takeaway: Create Authority. People are not likely to trust a “newby” company. They want proof that you are established and trustworthy. You can subtly imply this and assuage their fears with some simple wording. Include a quote from a happy client on your CTA -- one that inspires trust and shows proof of your product’s effectiveness.

  1. 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 today's B2B lead generation landscape.

The Key Takeaway: 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.

  1. 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.

The Key Takeaway: 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.

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.

CTAs are a fundament part of effective PR tacticsTweet: CTAs are a fundament part of effective PR tactics @wendymarx TO TWEET

Key Points to Remember...

  • 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.

We hope these 10 guides help you to harness the power of your CTAs to truly motivate your audience, and get the results you want.

What makes your CTAs pop? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below!


 And you can read the original post here.]Working hard, but not getting enough leads? Unlock the 7 Secrets to Lead Generation. Click here to get the checklist now.

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And check out our original CTA post here

Aug 19, 2017

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx