In order to grow a profitable brand, your brand needs to make a profit. If you feel icky about selling, it’s because you are in the wrong mindset about sales. This is where an effective call to action comes in…
Sales = solutions. You aren’t a charity. You’re a business so of course, you are going to offer something. My philosophy has always been that you have to earn the right to sell.
If you are creating great consistent value in the marketplace via your marketing, then you are educating your potential buyers on why and how you can help them when they are ready to go deeper. You are offering them that as a solution. That’s all. It’s not bad to help people. It’s really, really good.
When you see sales as the next logical step for those who are ready, it’s easy to sell. That’s when you sell without selling. You’re in business to help people. So do that with your awesome products and services.
Your ideal clients will be SO GLAD you offered them your solution when they have the results. They‘ll be doing the happy dance. Think about the aftermath (the happy dance) and it makes selling easy!
Remember this: people value what they pay for
By having things people can pay for it helps them get more invested in getting the results. Selling your services actually helps people get better results. How can you get started with the idea of asking your audience to take action by, well, adding calls to actions to your content efficiently?
Marketers have been using calls to action to drive engagement for years — even before they were writing them for websites and digital ad campaigns.
There are two main purposes of a call to action: to tell someone what they should do, and give them the motivation to do so.
A lot of people remember to tell people what they should do, but they forget the why part of that equation. Without that, you won’t see the types of conversion rates that you should.
While sometimes your content before the CTA will answer this question, sometimes it doesn’t. This is where the call to action comes in.
What is a CTA?
A CTA is a Call To Action.
This is an invitation for a user to take some desired action. You often see call to action examples in persuasive writing.
As a writer, you have to ask your readers to take action based on what they’ve read. Your call to action is the part of your content where you’re going to ask the reader to do something.
Just to help you out, the action might be to:
- Sign up for my newsletter
- Buy a product
- Join an event
- Support a cause
CTAs are the bread and butter of an effective marketing strategy — whether you are working with a client as a health coach, or you are asking people to subscribe to your newsletter.
However, most people do not venture there.
You might be thinking things like: “I don’t want to turn people off by asking them to do something”
Or, “my readers might unsubscribe from my email list if I start selling them things”. Or my all-time favourite “what if I come across as pushy and annoying?”.
Most likely, your readers are truly eager to hear more about working with you. Or when they can meet you live at your events, or how to get weekly updates from you.
Truthfully, the first thing you’ll need to work on to create better calls to action is your confidence.
Objectively, the big elephant in the room is your confidence.
If you want to create an effective call to action, it should come from a place of knowing your offer is valuable, useful, and helpful to the reader. If you can’t honestly say that, work on improving your content first.
The idea is to take your reader on a journey, and at the end of the journey, you ask your reader to take the next step — and turn them from a member of your audience to one of your databases.
Ask yourself: what would be the next best my reader should take after reading this?
Once that is clear, you want to make sure your CTA clearly stands out. A clear CTA uses the right words and combine them with a graphic treatment that makes the call to action stand out visually, so your reader stops and pays attention to it.
How do you do that?
When it comes to the copy, the rule is very simple: emphasise benefits, not features. So many people focus on what you are getting from taking action (ebooks, videos, etc) instead of the benefits of taking action.
What you’re offering readers is a better version of themselves in one of these five categories:
- Improved health
- More wealth
- Closer relationships
- Greater success
- More peace of mind and serenity
Find the category your CTA fits into, and make sure that your headline and copy highlight that.
Let your audience know exactly what you want them to do, and don’t get fluffy about it — start the CTA with the desired action.
Promoting a newsletter or ebook? Start your CTA with words like “download” or “subscribe”. If you are creating a form, be an assertive ‘SIGN ME UP!’ ‘SEND ME MY GUIDE’ and you are halfway there.
Ask yourself: once again, it takes conscious effort to stop and ask “how am I going to help my reader?”
The look of your CTA
When it comes to the visual side, you can improve your CTA through a few basic design tricks:
- Make it large and bold.
- Change the colours
- repeat the CTA multiple times at the beginning and end of your final section
When it comes to ideal positioning, I would always recommend positioning your CTA at the end of your posts. Nobody wants to be interrupted mid-way through reading an article.
Make it a natural conclusion of the journey, but have it before your bio — or you can always add a question at the end of your bio with another call to action.
Frequently asked questions
How many CTAs should I have?
I believe it’s important to start simple and streamline your efforts at first by consistently offering one CTA across your articles.
I progressively refine my CTAs depending on where I am writing (Medium, our own website, guest features, even Instagram), and also vary my prompts slightly depending on my content category for maximum conversions.
How long should my CTA be?
Shorter is better. A few key sentences will do the trick.
The brevity and directness of a well-written call to action will put the focus on what’s important and remove any distractions.
You can see my very own Medium CTA below — encouraging you to download my marketing hacks.
Turning readers into loyal advocates
Your readers are part of your audience. Your audience is comprised of Instagram and social followers, readers and website audience. And your database is your email list as well as your list of customers — to put it incredibly simplistic here.
It’s most likely at some point you’ll be wanting to make money from your writing, through books or other means. This means making sales.
Very rarely we ask for a sale through our audience, in pretty much any business I run.
Why you may ask? Because you can hardly tell how much value of yours that audience has interacted with. The commitment for them to follow you is a very different level of trust than the one of a newsletter subscriber.
Would you go on a first date and half-way in asking your date to move in with you?
I know it’s quite a strong analogy, but I am sure you got the gist.
The way we have been growing any business I started is very simple. Head to your audience. Give. Give a bit more. Yes, a bit more.
Now, ask them to join your database with a CTA. Oh, guess what. It’s time to give again! Give your subscribers heaps of value. Now — wait for it — now you can ask.
I am just sharing this because it simply works. Growing your audience is not the end goal, yet a way to get more people in a database you can nurture.
A CTA is a great way of leading people to become loyal readers, and one day maybe something more.
If you only do one thing today, make sure you align your actions with the end goal in mind. Growing your database should be as important as growing your readership. Creating a profitable brand should be part of the goals. Choose the right tool, and the results will follow.
Take care to ensure that your CTA is as irresistible as you are, and it will reward you by working day and night, drawing readers in at every click.
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My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.