In a sea of endless digital information, it can be easy for content to get lost and forgotten; it’s important that your content stands out, offers something new and is memorable to your future customers.
Your content marketing strategy is your go-to for producing and releasing relevant, interesting and high-quality information to your target market to get them hooked on what you have to offer. Once you have your audience’s attention, you will need to encourage them to take action.
Publishing regular content is no longer enough, you need to entice your customers to actively participate and engage with your business in order to leave a lasting impression.
This is where the call to action comes in.
The call to action is a phrase or a sentence that encourages your target market to carry out a certain action or next step. It’s designed to maintain interaction between you and your reader by inviting them to stay in touch, subscribe, read another article or purchase your products or services.
The call to action can lead to increased brand awareness, better brand recognition and potentially boost sales and business revenue.
In this blog, we show you the importance of using a call to action in your content and discuss the benefits it can offer your business when it’s done correctly.
The importance of a call to action
The call to action is typically placed as additional information at the end of your content piece. The aim is to increase conversions, but also to assist and help your reader by meeting their needs. If there is something that would be useful to them next you can highlight other resources, products, services and touchpoints available that will increase their awareness of your brand and your offering.
The right action step will factor in what your reader’s next logical step might be. If you can place their next step right in front of them, it helps encourage them forward as well as saves them time by allowing them to click a button or link, without having to go out of your blog and search through your web pages for your contact page, enquiry form or next blog.
What that action might be will depend on the type of content you are writing as well as your reader. It could be that they are ready to buy something or make a booking, but it may also be a newsletter subscription or downloading a PDF you have with additional information.
Your call to action is also a good way to address any questions that may have come up.
A call to action can help answer any lingering questions or concerns that your target audience has about your product or industry. You can direct them to your email address to ask a question directly, or they can ask a question if you have comments as part of your webpage.
You might also point them to a free service you have which is a risk-free action that encourages that next step. For example, if you’re a real estate agent and there are questions around how much a property is worth, your call to action can be “call to book a free property appraisal and find out what your home is worth”.
This helps you not only solve a concern that your reader has about real estate, but you also turn them into a quality lead. This increases the chances of you landing a sale and potentially increasing your business revenue.
There are a number of different call to action types to choose from to improve customer relations and boost sales such as:
- Product or service discovery. Directs the target audience towards content that introduces new products in your business like a blog post, an explainer video or even a button to direct them to the landing page with your new offering.
- Lead nurturing. Leads to blogs and landing pages with information to answer questions and assist with inquiries. For instance, it might direct to your frequently asked questions page or to a blog post that addresses what the next step might be.
- Social media engagement. Increase your following on social media. By asking your target audience to react, comment and share, you allow more people to get to know your brand and increase your following.
- Event advertisement. Features an upcoming event (e.g. webinar, workshop, live stream) your business has in store for the target audience. This will not only continue interaction between your customers and the business but will also increase the likelihood of participants joining or signing up for your activity.
A call to action can be modified and adjusted to fit your different business content materials, like blogs, podcasts and videos. With the right language and the correct use of action words, your call to action can entice online visitors to take the next step with your business.
Some of the most commonly used calls to action include:
- Clicking the link to know more information
- Subscribing to the communication channel
- Signing up for a newsletter
Adding a call to action to your content can make a huge difference in converting the casual online user into a customer. It also provides direction to where your target audience will go after viewing your content and maintains a level of engagement that keeps your business in the user’s memory days, perhaps even weeks after your content release.
3 ways you can improve your call to action
Now you understand what a call to action is and the benefits it can offer, you can apply it to your current and upcoming content pieces. To ensure that you’re able to do it correctly and receive positive results, we’ve included three ways you can improve your call to action in your content pieces here for you to use.
1. Analyse your competitors
By doing a competitor analysis, you determine what types of call to action work for others in your industry and assess whether you should emulate them or try a different strategy.
Begin by looking at your competitors’ level of engagement in their published content and see what kinds of call to action they use to fit the medium.
For example, if you notice a rival’s video post using the call to action “if you like this video, share it online” and see that it has thousands of shares on social media, it can indicate that the call to action was effective. From there you can look at ways you can share your own video content and supply a call to action that will have a high impact.
On the other hand, if you see a call to action that has limited engagement and doesn’t seem to be appealing, you know that’s one you can steer clear of.
Analysing and assessing call to action effectiveness within your industry helps you decide which direction to take with less trial and error on your part, receive positive results in your campaign and use your communication channels effectively.
Your competitor analysis can also tell you to apply your call to action in a different way to:
- Fix a gap in the market – You can build a call to action strategy around a gap in the market. If you notice that your competitors are not addressing a major concern or audience need, you can take advantage and present your customers with an option no one else has thought of, giving you a unique edge.
- Create a call to action that your competitors are not doing. Your competitor analysis can also show you other possible call to action options that your competitors are not doing, giving you the opportunity to try a new call to action in your content and see how it fares. If the call to action you apply sparks interest in your online visitors and is not being used by other brands, you not only benefit from it through an increase in conversions, but you also separate yourself from other businesses in your industry.
2. Use action words to spark curiosity
Your choice of words has a direct impact on your call to action. When the call to action utilises a tone and language relevant to the target audience and flows well with your promotional content, it can further engage the customer to continue viewing and interacting with your content pieces.
It’s important to have an in-depth knowledge of your audience’s interests and their manner of speaking–what jargon do they use and what topics do they like or are receptive to. Doing this can help you identify the kind of tone and language to use to attract their attention.
Action words are motivating and encouraging and help give a sense of urgency. Using action words and verbs in your call to action can encourage readers to act quickly after seeing or reading through your content. Examples of these are “read more,” “learn more,” “sign up” and “share now”, which all use the present tense and request the reader to perform the action in the moment.
Just be careful not to be too aggressive. There is a fine line between inviting your reader to take the next step and being pushy. To avoid coming across as too aggressive, use words that are motivating and inspiring and apply a “zero-pressure” approach.
A good example of this is a recent video we uploaded on our social media. In this case, our call to action was to give our followers the option to watch the video if they wanted to know more about the topic.
This option prevented us from appearing too forceful and gave our online users the opportunity to make the decision on their own–whether to proceed to watching the video or not–after reading the post.
3. Provide instant value to your call to action
Customers want instant value when they interact with a video, a social media post or a blog. They want to feel more knowledgeable after seeing your content, which is why it’s important to double down on this with a call to action that also provides valuable information.
A call to action that is valuable in the eyes of your viewer opens up the opportunity for conversions to happen (i.e. when a viewer becomes a customer), increasing the possibility of more sales for the business.
To get your readers excited to follow through it helps to emphasise the benefits and value the call to action will bring. This not only leads you to a potential sale, but it also provides the customer with a good experience.
Always look to give something back to them. According to Forbes, customers who have had a positive customer experience are likely to spend 140% more than customers who have had a negative experience. Positive customer service results in increased brand awareness, positive testimonials and great word of mouth advertising.
Five stars. Source: Amazon Prime Video via GIPHY
Understanding the impact a call to action has to further your engagement and add appeal for your customers helps maximise your reach and get the most out of your content marketing strategy. Take the time to understand what your market wants in terms of next steps after finishing your content, and place the next step in easy reach in a helpful and motivating way to inspire them to take action.
A little research will help you devise a call to action that can increase your brand awareness and promote your content to new audiences through social media and social sharing.
In order to see what’s available for your call to action strategy and effectiveness, it helps to analyse your competitors to see what strategies have been working so far. There is a bigger uptake with calls to action that use the same tone and language that customers use and encourage target audiences to act using verbs and action words.
Take the next step and improve your content effectiveness with a call to action as part of your content strategy. If you need help formulating a strategy for your existing and future content, contact us at Story League to find out more.