Never underestimate the power of must-click calls to action

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve poured time and energy into creating quality content and a beautiful-looking website, but no one is engaging with you or your company.

Crickets …

The problem may be that you don’t have clear goals for your content. Vague plans to “build awareness,” “engage customers” and “crush the competition” are as thin as cotton candy and impossible to measure. If you’re not sure what you’d like people to do when they visit your site, they’ll have no reason to stick around and interact with you.

Do you want to build an e-newsletter mailing list; get more prospects to sign up for product demos; expand your audience for webinars; or increase sales of your e-book? These are examples of solid, achievable goals. Now, you can ask for what you want. Read on for tips you can use right away:

  1. Make it compelling with a clear benefit.

To create an irresistible offer – also known as a call to action – think beyond “download,” “submit” and “click here.” Consider what motivates people to follow through. Would you respond to “Register for Our WordPress Class” or “Yes, I Want Exclusive Access to Insider WordPress Tips and Tricks?”

The first offer is boring and doesn’t give people any reason to sign up. Everyone wants to know what they’re going to get if they register. The second example is enticing because it suggests a rewarding, positive experience for those who take the class. It also hints that people will learn tips they might not get anywhere else.

Here are some compelling examples:

  • “Show Me How to Write a Killer Blog Post”
  • “Learn the Secrets to Successful Marketing”
  • “Do Less and Get More Work Done”
  • “Get Pro Tips for Doubling My Sales in Two Weeks”
  1. Write in first person.

Using “I” and “my” is effective because it’s makes a connection with people and helps them envision results. Instead of writing “Get Your Free E-Book,” write “Send Me My Free E-Book.” The easiest way to create first-person calls to action is to finish this sentence: I want to ___________.

Example: A construction company that’s expanding its green building division creates an in-depth report about how green buildings save money in the long term. The firm offers the report on its website in exchange for collecting prospects’ names and email addresses. As a prospect, “I want to” get the report. The call to action could be, “I Want to Save Money. Send My Free Report.”

Other options that are also in first person include:

  • “Get My Free Green Building Report.” (I want to get my free report.)
  • “Get Instant Access to My Report.” (I want to see my report now.)
  • “Discover How to Save on My Green Building.” (I want to save money.)
  1. Make your offer time-sensitive.

Creating a sense of urgency motivates people to act. Incorporate words such as “now” and “today,” or give deadlines for faster responses. Letting prospects know that you have a limited quantity of something can help drive procrastinators to buy.

One caveat: Be honest. If you discount a webinar by 50 percent for people who register within 24 hours, and then repost the same offer three days later, you’ll be perceived as deceptive and untrustworthy. Any profit you generated during the “fire” sale will go up in smoke with your company’s reputation.

Here are some examples of urgent offers:

  • “Start My Free Trial Today”
  • “Give Me Access Now”
  • “Yes, Sign Me Up Right Away”
  1. Keep it simple.

While it might be tempting to dangle multiple offers on a single Web page, you’ll run the risk of overwhelming prospects and they’ll click off before signing up. Stick with one or two calls to action and lead them to the main offer that ties back to your No. 1 goal.

A page that asks people to register for a demo, sign up for classes and subscribe to an e-newsletter is distracting and ineffective. By limiting their choices, you’ll make it easier for them to reach a decision and follow through.

  1. Use bright, easy-to-read buttons.

Vibrant, high-contrast call-to-action buttons are eye-catching and inspire action. If you Google “best colors for calls to action,” you’ll see many opinions and few solid answers. Big orange buttons seem to be popular among marketers, but they’re certainly not the only option.

  1. Test, test, test.

The best way to evaluate what works and what doesn’t in your calls to action is to test them. Try different messages, images, offers, colors and designs until you find the winning combination that gets the most responses. Small changes can make a big difference in how people react to your content.

Last, but not least

Following these steps will help you transform your offers into lead magnets. Keep in mind, however, that your content and offers need to benefit prospects. Share insider tips, industry news they won’t find anywhere else, product how-tos, and other helpful resources. Creating effective calls to action will come naturally if you provide valuable (not sales-y) content.

What approach do you take with your calls to action? Let us know in the comments.

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