Be a Conversion Writer: 13 tips to craft an irresistible CTA
Is your audience doing what you want them to do?
CTA stands for Call To Action, and although it sounds heroic, this marketing term simply refers to the point in your copy where you ask the reader to do something specific. A CTA usually appears at the end of your marketing message, and the best ones will entice, encourage and empower the reader to find out more, get in touch, leave their details, register for an event, or yes – buy something.
Usually a short sentence or text on a button, the CTA is so much more than what it seems. Indeed, it may be small, but your CTA is one of the important bits of copy you’ll ever write. Regardless of how spine-tinglingly amazing the rest of your copy is, a weak CTA means the whole effort goes to waste. An irresistible, powerful, conversion-optimised CTA, on the other hand, will drive your potential customers further down your marketing funnel. Simply put, it’s your one shot to get a great ROI from your marketing.
When it comes to creating the most effective CTAs, there are 13 tips and tricks we’d like to share. Join us for the journey as we guide you out of your writers block, and show you how to convert your casual readers into paying clients, repeat customers, and hardcore fans.
1. Define your goal and purpose before you start writing
Every blog post, every email, every Facebook Ad, and every other little bit of content you create for your business needs to have a purpose. For your marketing to be successful, it’s important to define the goal and purpose of your message before you start writing.
Are you trying to capture leads for your email list? Get more paying customers? Drive more traffic to your site?
If you’ve already got plenty of people visiting your website, then your goal might be to entice more of them into your sales funnel. How will you convince them to do that? If you’re trying to grow your email list, you’ll need to let the reader know what your emails are about and explain why they would want to receive them. Once you’re clear on your goal, decide what action you want readers to take.
2. Be crystal clear
Most businesses see marketing as an effort to sell something to their audience. However, it’s really about getting them to take the next step. If your CTA isn’t painfully clear, then your reader may not even know what the next step is; and that’s a lead lost. When it comes to driving conversions, there’s really no room for ambiguity. At the end of every piece of persuasive writing you create, succinctly explain the action you want the reader to take, then ask them to take that action. Ask (clearly) and you shall receive!
3. Empowerment is key
The fear-based, self-esteem crushing approach to marketing is not cool anymore. In our modern era, it’s all about empowerment. Here are a few ways your CTAs can empower your audience.
- Your CTAs should use power words, along with uplifting images, and a positive, affirming tone.
- Using first-person point of view not only makes your CTA more personal, but it can result in a significant increase in engagement. For example, rather than saying Download your free ebook, try Download my free ebook.
- Empower your readers with safety by removing any sense of risk. Money back guarantees, for example, are a standard policy these days.
- CTAs to gain tools and useful information will empower your readers by giving them a sense of independence.
4. Focus on value – what’s in it for them?
You know what you want your reader to do, but do you know what they want? It’s much easier to persuade someone to take action if it means they’ll get something they want! Everyone loves free stuff, especially in the form of helpful information or useful tools. Not only is getting something useful or interesting for free a great motivation to click your CTA, it also starts your relationship off on the right foot. If a potential customer has clicked one of your CTAs for something free, without feeling any obligation to do business with you, then they’re much more likely to click a CTA that requires their contact information or credit card in the future.
When the time comes to convert that reader into a sizzling lead or a happy customer, they already associate your business with value. Giving branded gifts to your readers, no matter how small, helps them remember you while driving their engagement with your brand and triggering that positive feedback loop. Make ungated content part of your Conversion Rate Optimisation strategy!
Bonus tip: Remember to focus on the benefits, rather than the features. Always ask, ‘what’s in it for them? What does my product or service actually do for my customers?’ The best CTA will clearly communicate the real value of what’s on offer.
If you’re unsure what your audience wants, the first step is to create a User Persona Profile. Our free template will help you add value, so make sure you download your copy!
Do you see what we did there?
5. Avoid generic words and phrases
What makes your business unique? Why should your readers do business with you?
We encourage you to think about this.
Your copy and your CTA need to reflect your interesting business, otherwise you’ll be swallowed up in the vast digital darkness. A great way to start your journey towards being heard through the noise, is to be very specific. A CTA that cleverly ties in with your highly detailed, descriptive and action-packed copy will ensure you avoid generic words and phrases.
Some examples of what to avoid include, ‘buy now,’ ‘subscribe,’ ‘try me,’ and ‘sign up.’
Why? Because none of these relate to your wonderfully unique product or service. Your CTA must align with the benefit your reader will get if they do click through.
6. Use time sensitive words
As well as giving your readers what they want, you can also give them something to lose. Time sensitive words encourage the reader to take action now, rather than procrastinate and forget about it. If your CTA has a sense of urgency, it will create excitement and anticipation. No one is immune to FOMO, so use this to your advantage. With so many businesses like yours competing for attention, a simple time sensitive word in your CTA can mean the difference between making a sale and missing out on business.
A great CTA can be rendered useless if there are spelling and grammar mistakes! Either the action you want the reader to take won’t come across clearly, or you will lose credibility along with any future business. Everyone makes mistakes though, especially busy CEOs! If you want to save time boost conversions, then it’s a very wise business decision to outsource your proof-reading to a Copy Editor.
8. Think about the placement of your CTA button
The location of your CTA button is important as well, and there are some questions that you must ask yourself before dropping it anywhere on the page. Does it appear above the fold? Does it flow on from your copy in a way that makes sense? Do I need a few buttons throughout the page so my readers don’t have to keep scrolling up and down? These are all User Experience (UX) issues, and UX is essential to your success as a business.
9. Speak their language
Your online readers have so many digital distractions, but using the language unique to your target audience is an effective way to compete for the attention of your ideal customer. Where appropriate, you can even experiment with humour to build your reader’s sense of intrigue; if you make them giggle, they’ll be curious to find out what happens when they click through. Be careful though, because humour isn’t for everyone or every situation. Make sure it’s appropriate for your audience and in line with your brand.
Speak their language to build rapport and ensure your CTA copy matches the conversation in your prospects head. In other words, your CTA should finish the sentence, ‘I want to __.’
If you’re not quite sure about your ideal customer or how to speak their language, first thing’s first; you’ve got to create a User Persona Profile.
10. Make the action easy
As mentioned above, the point of your marketing is not to sell your stuff; it’s just to get them to take the next step. You may have heard the marketing metaphor about asking your client to marry you before your first date? Marketing relationships are not so different to our love lives; so let’s not skip the romance!
To make romance happen and get that first date, you need to make the ‘yes’ as easy as possible. There’s always room to make things easier for your prospects; here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Keep your CTA short and precise. Any other explanation about what it is, what they need to do, and what to expect when they click the button, can go in the main body copy. Effective CTAs are usually between two and five words.
- Lower the risk, highlight the reward, and remove the barriers.
- Always build a relationship before you try to close a sale or ask for their contact details.
- Don’t use too many conflicting CTA messages on the same page. If you give your visitors too much choice, they’ll end up making no choice at all. Be careful not to ask for more than 1 or 2 different actions.
11. Use your images wisely
How creepy is it when you land on a page and come face-to-face with a grinning stock image model staring right into your eyes?
Super creepy, and very off-putting. In fact, it’s just terrible UX.
If there is a person in your hero image, either have them looking at your CTA button, or pointing to it, rather than looking directly at your website visitor. This often overlooked trick subconsciously draws your site visitor’s attention away from the image itself, and directs it to your CTA.
12. Make it look irresistibly clickable
To compete for visual attention online, you need buttons that look irresistible. You don’t want to mess up your efforts with an unattractive, hardly clickable, uninviting call-to-action button. It must stand out from the rest of the page, without looking ugly or out of place.
- Make your CTA highly visible on the page. The button shape can make a difference, as can the font and size of the text, but if there’s plenty of white space around your buttons, they’ll stand out more.
- Test different button colours to see what works best on your site and for your purpose. It needs to stand out, so make it a contrasting colour to the rest of your page.
- Test fonts as well. Keep them simple, easy to read, and remember that standing out with colour is a better choice than making the font super huge.
Assumptions will only get you so far though. Trial and error will help you work out what design works best for your goal; which brings us to our final tip for crafting an irresistible CTA.
13. Test test test!
You can do your market research and get to know your audience to hypothesise an irresistible CTA. However, only real world testing can determine how your CTA will perform. A/B testing isolates one variable at a time, so it’s one of the most reliable methods for testing your CTA. Based on the performance of each individual variable, you’ll know how your readers respond to every aspect of your CTA. This allows you to tweak it and optimise your conversion rate.
Did you know that changing one word in your CTA can increase the conversion rate?
There’s always the potential for improvement, even with the most irresistible CTA. Here’s how to A/B test your CTA. If you’re in need of some extra guidance and content marketing expertise, connect with Blue Clay’s creative team.