There’s plenty of confusing jargon in the inbound marketing realm – like funnels, the ever-changing lingo of SEO optimization, and agile marketing. That’s one of the reasons we can’t help but love the term “call-to-action,” because it’s quite literal and to-the-point. Call to actions are lines of text, buttons, or images that exist to invite your business blog readers to engage in a certain activity. Whether you’re inviting them to click through and read an earlier blog or download your eBook, these invitations should be enticing, descriptive and anything but subtle.

When many marketers think of a call to action, their minds turn to something like the basic buttons displayed to visitors to the MailChimp homepage:

Image credit: Spectacled Marketer

These buttons are clear, to the point, and pretty hard to miss. The bright color stands out clearly against the the webpage, and there’s no question what action the visitor is being asked to take – sign up for free! However, this button is only one type of call to action that can be included with your content. We’ve curated 10 brilliant examples from around the web to help you boost your conversions through the roof:

1. Simple Text

You don’t need a PhD in Powerpoint to get your readers to do whatever you wish. In fact, sometimes the most effective and powerful call to actions are just a natural extension of your text, like the example below:

Does your small business marketing strategy need a serious boost? Click here to download our free eBook Blogging for Beginners today!

It’s easy, simple, and totally pain free to get started including call-to-actions with your blog posts! Simply invite your readers to keep the conversation going by leaving a comment, or checking out some of your other content assets. Your metrics will likely show greater success if you’re able to closely match your content topics – adding a link to an eBook on business blogging can be a great extension of a blog post on the same topic, instead of feeling pushy.

2. Sidebar Buttons

Did your business develop an eBook, whitepaper or case study that you’re just so intensely proud of, you want everyone to see it? The solution could be an ever-present sidebar call to action, which is visible to both visitors to your blog homepage and individuals browsing specific articles. The following example from agency PR20/20 is a great one – the brand chose to showcase the founder’s published book:

Image credit: Impact Branding and Design
Image credit: Impact Branding and Design

Save the sidebar of your blog for your offers with broadest appeal, your best-performing eBooks, and other similar power players in your inbound marketing strategy.

3. Blog Banners

There is absolutely nothing subtle about blog banners. When used incorrectly, they can look an awful lot like traditiona advertising and be routinely ignored by your website visitors. However, when used sparingly and well, they can cause you conversions to positively skyrocket. Check out this screenshot from the HubSpot blog:

Image credit: HubSpot

The reason this banner works and doesn’t feel too intrusive is because the design is consistent with HubSpot’s aesthetic. The dark color definitely stands out against their light grey blog, but it’s clear that it’s an in-house offer. If you’re going to make the plunge into banner ads, make sure it enhances – not detracts or distracts from – your overall user experience. Perhaps most importantly, take a note from HubSpot’s book and avoid running your banner ad continously.

4. Blog Pop-Ups

Okay, we’re about to get a little controversial. Does anyone really like blog pop-ups? Actually, as marketer Claudiu Marariu points out, we’re all probably still a little bitter over the last terrible pop-up we had to fight with. We don’t always remember great pop-ups, but the bad ones sure stick in our memory. However, there’s no disputing the fact they really work – Marariu has encountered pop-ups with conversion rates as high as 20%!

To ensure yours is a compelling call to action – not an annoyance to your readers – make sure it’s easy-to-close, and doesn’t pop up until your readers have been on your website for 30 seconds. The example below is visually-appealing, and doesn’t feel spammy in the least:

image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Image credit: Email Audience

5. Simple Buttons at the Bottom of Blogs

The easiest way to add some visual appeal to the bottom of your blog posts is with an uber-simple call to action button. They don’t have to be fancy to send your conversion rates through the roof, as seen in the example below:

Image credit: TripWire

Focus on easy-to-read, directive text against a solid colored background if you’re taking your first foray into the world of call to actions. We recommend HubSpot’s tutorial on how to create buttons in Powerpoint to get started.

6. Fancy Buttons

There’s an emerging trend in the conversion realm that’s quickly gaining steam among inbound marketers. It’s fancier call to action buttons which literally leave nothing to the imagination, like the following image:

Image credit: Indigo Inbound

Yes, that is an all-in-one button advertising an eBook. Some brands are trending towards larger and more-detailed advertisements for their content offers to share at the bottom of blog posts. While it remains to be seen whether this concept is the future of conversions, it’s certainly worth testing on your own website.

Call to actions don’t have to be overt to be effective – and adopting the use of simple hyperlinks throughout your blog content and blog homepage can allow you to promote more products and services without turning your page into advertisement central. We adore the following example, which is also from HubSpot, which offers information on their product without being blatant:

image credit: HubSpot
Image credit: HubSpot

8. Blog Subscription Widgets

Every blog needs a visible and easy option for visitors to subscribe, which is in fact a form of call to action. If you aren’t offering this option currently, you may be shocked to learn how effective building your subscribers is for growing you brand – after all, sending your blogs allows you to make contact with your prospects each and every time you publish:

blog subscription widget
Image credit: Simple Blogger Tricks

The best news is, it’s probably incredibly easy to set up in your content management system (CMS). There’s plenty of free widgets for WordPress and most other major CMS options.

For more tips, check out 11 Blogging Experts’ Secrets on How to Get More Subscribers.

9. Social Proof

There’s no better way to showcase that your company really knows what you’re talking about than to let someone else tell your brand story. Social proof remains one of the most powerful ways to persuade. One form of call to actions that we feel is severely underutilized is customer quotations. Personalize your clients’ thoughts with an image, use the button to link to a powerful case study, and you’ve achieved call to action magic – powerful, but not annoying.

Image credit: Kissmetrics

10. Questions

People buy from brands they trust, and one of the best ways to build these relationships is by starting a conversation. Your blog posts aren’t a pulpit, so don’t preach. It’s a best practice to end each blog you write with an invitation for your readers to join the conversation. Ask engaging questions, and stick around to engage in dialogue:

Image credit: : gigcoin

There are no limits to how many opportunities for conversion you can include on your business blog – but there’s certainly a limit to how many intrusions your readers will tolerate before they lose patience. By including a healthy mix of the examples above, you can skyrocket your lead conversion without sacrificing user experience.

How many types of call to actions are you including on your blog? Which types do you hope to incorporate in the near future?