Inbound Best Practices: Calls-to-Action

3 min read
Aug 11, 2014 12:42:00 PM

Calls-to-Action best practices

Even if you've established a strong online presence by writing great content and attracting lots of traffic to your blog, you won't convert visitors into customers if you don't provide them with opportunities to interact with your business. 

The first step toward visitor engagement is a call-to-action, or a CTA, which is a link or button that appears on your website, blog, or emails and invites visitors to perform a certain action, like downloading an eBook. CTAs move visitors and leads down the sales funnel, as they prompt the prospective customer to fill out a short form in exchange for access to a page with a more valuable offer, which should be relevant and interesting enough to persuade the individual to provide you with their information. By following a few established CTA best practices, you can attract, convert, and close more leads in no time! 1. Give it a Makeover
Draw attention to your CTAs by making them visually striking. They should be large enough to stand out from the rest of the text, though not to the extent that they overwhelm the page or distract from the content itself. In addition to helping them stand out in size, make CTAs easy to find by including them in the sidebar, as a floating banner in the corner, or at the end of the page. CTA buttons should also be both eye-catching and aesthetically appealing; you can design them in vivid colors that relate to the general style of your website to make them both noticeable and coherent with the rest of your content. 

Though I applaud her enthusiasm, perhaps go for something more subtle.

2. Action Words Should Go in Your CTA
Use action-oriented language to empower readers and suggest an action in a clear, concise manner. Words like "download" or "register" propose specific actions and address the reader directly. In addition to using action verbs, try to incorporate some sense of urgency with words like "now" or "today", which will encourage engagement while the offer is salient. The text of your CTA should be straightforward succinct — tell readers exactly what they will get if they decide to click, but say it in 5 words or less. 

3. Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est.
Or, for those of you who did not suffer through 8th grade Latin, "knowledge is power." Use what you know about your leads to create more targeted offers with smart CTAs! By creating Smart Lists for different buyer personas and lifecycle stages, you can increase conversions through the entire funnel. Based on a given reader's previous engagement with your website, they will see personalized offers that relate to their specific interests or needs. First-time visitors can be converted with top-of-the-funnel offers (like a free eBook), sales-qualified leads offered a free trial, and customers delighted with specific offers based on their past purchases. 

4. Be Social social sharing CTAs
In addition to CTAs that link to various offers, you can also include social sharing CTAs, which allow readers to share your content or connect with your company's social media page. While many people do enjoy online engagement with companies that they patronize, they're more likely to actually follow you or share your posts if they are provided with an easy way to do it while they are reading your content.

5. Get Feedback

Finally, learn how to improve your CTAs with A/B testing. Create two variations of one CTA, each of which will be shown to 50% of viewers, and measure the results to see which one converted the most leads over a given period of time. We recommend an all-in-one marketing platform like HubSpot for testing and analytics, which integrates lead generation and analytics to make measuring the effectiveness of your CTAs easy!

CTAs are an important way to attract visitors, convert leads, and delight customers. Combine these CTA tips with other inbound marketing best practices and you'll see why inbound is the new black. Want even more ideas for optimizing your online marketing? Click this example of a CTA:

Inbound Marketing 101


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