What's a call to action and why use them?

A call to action - or a CTA - is probably the most important part of any page. When you’re writing copy for your website, it doesn’t just need to instruct. It needs to take your visitors by the arm and guide them gently (but with a little force) to the areas of the site you’d like them to see.

Think of it like giving a tour around your home. You’d spend a while showing off your kitchen, or your newly-decorated living room, but you’d probably skip the downstairs loo in favour of looking out of the back door into the garden. A good CTA will help your visitors see the pages you want them to see - and glance over the pages that might not be useful to them.

For example, if a visitor comes to your website via a blog post that has interested them, you’ll want to send them directly to a page of your business’ site dealing with what that blog post covers. That way, you’ve piqued their interest and capitalised from it, rather than let them tail off and travel on to the next website that takes their fancy.

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What’s a good CTA?

 A good call to action is short and to the point, and encourages visitors to take action. Things like:

Click here to find out more!

Contact me now to learn how.

Learn more.

See more amazing pics here.

See for yourself.

Click now to find out how.

Did you feel the need to click on those sentences even though they weren’t links? It’s okay. Copywriters all over the internet have created CTAs that speak to you directly and they’ve become such a natural form of navigation, you might find yourself clicking without realising it.

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Where do you put a call to action, then?

Writing a good call to action isn’t natural to a writer who doesn’t spend much time online, which is why digital copywriters are such naturals at incorporating them. It’s about placement as much as it is about the words they use.

Placing your 'action phrase' into the right part of your page will encourage visitors to click. But remember, you don’t want them bouncing straight off your page without at least taking in some of your content.

The best suggestion is to place your first clickable link after your first main paragraph, to grab hold of your quick-reading content skimmers. Then, place another one two-thirds of the way through, with a slightly different message. Finally, end your piece with some punchy words that encourage your fine-tooth-combers to take action after they’ve fully considered your piece.

Done. Except…

Make your content flow towards your CTAs

Your calls to action will not be effective if you don’t tailor your content to ebb towards them. As Billy McCaffrey says at Wordstream, command verbs in your paragraphs can really make a difference when it comes to causing your visitors to act on their impulses.

What are command verbs?

Do!

Go!

Buy!

Shop!

Order!

Read!

Download!

Click!

Telling your customers what to do is something you can only really do online, so make the most of it!

A good use of command verbs:

Want to save money? Buy now. Our early bird offers expire on Wednesday, don’t miss out!

A bad use of command verbs:

We have lots of offers on our site at the moment. Buy now.

Can you see the difference in how you feel? The first sentence feels exciting, like being let into a VIP sale. The second… not so much.

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Take a look at your content and see how you could increase its effectiveness using command verbs. You might be surprised how quickly you see results!

As a digital copywriting specialist, I’m here to help you with any and all of your CTA conundrums. Let’s chat about how I can help you make your website more effective at ensnaring your inbound visitors.

Marketing with Clout! Give Yourself (and Your Work) a Kick Up the Backside in January

Regarding this headline on this post, I bet you didn't know you could give your work a kick up the rear end, did you?! Well you can - and here are a few handy instructions:

  • Gather all important paperwork
  • Hold it out in front of you
  • Now, swing back your leg (the right one is usually the best), before forcefully swinging it forward again, catching the edge of said paperwork and sending it flying.

Et voila; you've showed your paperwork - and your projects - who's boss.

But the clue here is: don't take my advice literally. All you'll wind up with is an office covered in paper, and an even more miffed you.

So, this January, aim to give your work - and yourself - a kick up the backside in the metaphorical fashion. And here's how to do that...

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Create a Content Marketing Plan

The best way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to ticking things off your marketing to-do list, is to...err..write a list. Or better yet, create a content plan.

Excel will be your go-to tool for this, and with a little bit of consideration, you should be able to put one together that works for you. Whether you're a full-time staff member for one client, or you work for multiple companies, your content marketing plan should help you achieve all your goals - month-by-month, and longer-term - with ease. Plus, when you write things down you're more likely to do them in the first place - and that's a fact.

Want another tip? Find out how and why 'working in threes' will help you get more stuff done, by reading this blog from the Lauren Holden Freelance archives.

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Start Small

The problem with to-do lists is that you can feel like you're getting nowhere with them. But that's if you choose the bigger tasks first. After all, why opt to tackle a job that's likely to take you all day, when you can cross three or four items off your list in the same time?

Providing none of your tasks are urgent, start with the smaller ones. That way, you'll be able to enjoy a sense of achievement straight away, which will probably spur you on to rattle through your list that bit quicker.

Fake a Deadline

'What is she going on about here, then?' Well, imagine your client has given you a deadline of February 20. I say, ignore that; pretend he/she never uttered those words. Instead, trick your brain into thinking the deadline was actually February 12. Now, get your thinking cap on and crack on with that work.

This has two benefits and one is the fact that procrastination won't pop into your day; you'll simply soldier on and get the work done - more than a week ahead of time. The bonus? Your client will no doubt be chuffed that the work's in his or her inbox earlier than planned.

Reward Yourself

So, unless it's Christmas, the only reward you can probably expect from your boss - or your client - is a 'thank you very much for your hard work'. And that's absolutely good enough.

So, if you want to push yourself to get that project done ahead of time, allow yourself a reward at the end of it. A huge slab of cake, perhaps, or even a little jaunt to the cinema. Whatever works for you, do it - and I promise January will be all the better for it.

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A Problem Shared...

You've heard that old adage: 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. Well, stew on this one; I made it up myself: 'a project shared, is a project halved'.

Okay, so I ain't telling you to delegate your work and put your feet up, but what I am saying is see if you can pool your thoughts and ideas with colleagues. Or, if you're self-employed, a fellow business owner. After all, when you're struggling on a concept or campaign, who better to test it out on than someone who may well be in your target market?

Do you have your own tips when it comes to achieving your goals in 2018? Don't forget to comment on this blog, or say hello if you've enjoyed this piece.

Until next time...