Crafting the perfect call to action for effective content marketingSo you’ve created a business blog that’s topical, educational and sits neatly on your webpage – what’s next? Regardless of how attractive and relevant your blog may be, in order to truly capitalise on your blogging efforts with clickthrough rates and sales leads, all content marketers need to be aware of three little words: call to action.

Why calls to action count

Creating brand awareness, social interactions and quantifiable leads begins and ends with strong calls to action. Nowadays, content marketers need to focus on more than just listing a phone number or placing a social icon to sum up a blog. A call to action does more than indicate to your readers what their next step should be – it continues to educate and inspire them, converting mere information seekers into paying clients or followers. While a strong call to action is one of the best inbound marketing tools you can use, execute it in the wrong way and your readers will start dropping like flies.

Who’s your audience?

It’s safe to assume that a large majority of your readers (especially those directed through search engines) will be information seekers or ‘content consumers’ – they’re not visiting your site to buy a product or service, but instead are there for purely informational reasons. If they’re visiting your site for the first time, they’re not yet ready to complete any sort of transaction or sign up for any services – they’re simply browsing.

Much like retail customers, content consumers who are just browsing aren’t looking to be bombarded with a forced sales pitch by a pushy salesperson. On the other hand, with no motivation in place to direct your readers further along your marketing landscape, your readers will feel neglected and you’ll be expending underperforming marketing material.

Tit for tat

Calls to action that offer incentives are a lot more appealing to readers than those that don’t. Your readers will feel more comfortable handing over personal information if they’re getting something in return. Hubspot is a good example of successful inbound marketing. B2C and B2B companies that sign up with Hubspot receive marketing case studies, white papers and other content in exchange for their own success stories, marketing challenges and other data that Hubspot can use as educational material.

If you don’t have substantial rewards to offer your readers, non-invasive participation is the next best thing. A call to action that involves your readers in your brand – either by collecting feedback or asking them to share useful information – can leave a lasting impression. And don’t forget to respond to their feedback!

Clickable calls to action

The first rule of creating clickable calls to action is visibility. Placement of your call to action is as important as the wording or its aesthetic value. While the idea is not to slap your readers in the face with blatantly pronounced action words such as “Call us now” the minute they land on your page, if they have to scroll to find a call to action their attention will be lost. A call to action that sits above the fold of your webpage has a higher chance of creating conversions than one at the bottom.

Remember that audience attention spans are limited, so avoid calls to action that babble or are too wordy. Get straight to the point by using persuasive language and actionable content, such as “Join today for free” or “Free eBook with every like”. It’s also essential to define only one clear call to action – don’t confuse readers by asking them to “Call us”, “Sign up” and “Download today” all in the one call to action.

A strong call to action has the potential to reap countless rewards for you and your audience. Regardless of whether a reader knows your site well or landed there by accident, they have no idea what their next step is and are looking at you to show them the way.