Annnnd done! Another piece of content can be checked off your to-do list. It’s time for happy hour! But wait, you almost forgot to write a call to action.
Short and uncomplicated, it’s tempting to leave writing calls to action until last. But, really, that’s where we should be starting. Because every piece of content we write should have a clear purpose. How would you know what the right piece of content should look like without first knowing what action you want your audience to take?
Calls to action evolve throughout the course of a campaign, gradually nurturing prospects through the buying process and encouraging them to take the next step. Here are seven calls to action that work.
CTA #1: Learn more.
A lot of people argue that inviting your audience to “learn more” is a weak call to action. (I once had a boss who hated these types of CTAs with a passion.) But when people are just getting to know you and your products or services, pushing them too far too fast could be a mistake. In the beginning of the buying process, all they might be ready for is to learn more. And that might be exactly what they need to get them to the next step.
Of course, an offer to learn more isn’t a license to be lazy. In contrast, the “learn more” call to action takes more creativity and skill to write than any of the others. Rather than asking readers simply to learn more about your company or a broad topic, such as cancer, zero in on a particular subtopic. If research into your audience has served you well, the topic you tee up should be a known pain point. Some examples:
- Learn the eight ways that the XYZ industry is ripping you off!
- Learn how to stick to a schedule when homeschooling.
- Learn more about the latest research around ABC.
And don’t forget: People learn in different ways, so don’t rely only on the written word. Consider infographics, video and audio formats too.
CTA #2: Download [piece of amazing content] FREE!
Using free content is a great way to nurture relationships and continue conversations with prospects. It’s a win-win. Your readers get something for free (everyone loves free!) and you get another opportunity to educate them, whether with a checklist, recipe guide, reference card or infographic. Offer content that is of value to your audience and positions your product or service as a natural choice.
Content downloads are also great for staying top of mind. Let’s say you run a yoga studio, and you offer a free download showing how to do the top 17 poses at home. People might refer to it again and again, and now as a result of having this guide, they view you and your studio as an expert. Plus, because they printed it out and posted it on their bulletin board, yours will be the studio they think of first when it comes time to sign up for classes.
CTA #3: Subscribe.
Now that followers have viewed two or more pieces of your content and see the value in it, they may be more apt to agree to subscribe to an e-newsletter or for product updates. We’d like to say your fabulous content will be enough to entice them, but in most cases, it won’t be. To seal the deal, offer a free download in exchange for their email.
CTA #4: Complete a survey.
Hearing directly from prospects about their needs in a survey is every marketer’s dream. It’s also a great way to collect email addresses. But you can’t expect to get such valuable information without giving something. Another download could work (think something heftier here, like an e-book or white paper since you’re asking prospects to take time out of their day to do something for you). Or consider offering a discount code or other freebie related to your product or service.
And don’t stop asking people for their opinions once they become customers. You’ll need ongoing feedback to ensure your product is still meeting their needs. Many customers will determine your product isn’t the right fit for them without ever giving you a chance to fix the situation. Only one in 26 customers will let you know when they are unhappy. The rest simply move on without a word. A survey can be an opportunity to gain insight you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, a chance to save a customer before they’re gone for good. Offer a discount code or other freebie in exchange for their participation in this survey.
CTA #5: Call us for a conversation or demo.
Ooh, you’re getting so close! Your potential buyer has engaged with you, and clearly likes what you have to say. Now it’s time to really start talking up your product or service. Depending on what you offer, you might want to get on the phone with them or even meet in person for a demo (particularly if it is a large-scale B2B product). Either way, you’ll want to prime them with a piece of content that speaks to their pain points and how your product or service will solve them.
CTA #6: Start your free trial.
In lieu of a demo, you might instead offer a free trial. Some products sell themselves if people can just see them in action and fiddle around with them. Free trials can often be cheaper than demos, too. Don’t lay off the content, though, during the trial period. Continue to send helpful articles and infographics so the user remembers to keep trying the product and eventually make the purchase.
CTA #7: Buy.
Finally, it’s time to ask prospects to buy your product or service. Of course, you will have been providing a direct link to purchase throughout the nurturing process, but now is when making the purchase will be your primary call to action.
That may be the end of the sales process, but it’s nowhere near the end of the content journey. Continue offering useful content, and your customers will keep coming back for more.