6 Ways to Create Calls to Action that Convert

6 minute read

Upland Admin

It’s frustrating for marketers to create an entire campaign that doesn’t seem to be converting customers. We don’t always understand customers’ behavior, and that can leave us creating reactive campaigns as opposed to proactive ones.

If you’re hoping to build a campaign that stays ahead of buyer behavior and influences action, as opposed to the other way around, here are some tips for creating highly convincing calls to action (CTAs).

1. Understand Your Objective

Before you begin crafting your CTA, know exactly what metrics you want to use as your measurement of success.

In other words, what does success look like? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be associated with this campaign?

Once you know if you want page views, downloads, email addresses, or sales conversions, you can start to build a CTA specifically around that metric.

If you don’t know, think about what the end goal is, and where your campaign sits in the marketing funnel (where it will hit the potential buyer on their journey), and then determine what the most valuable action would be at this point in their journey.

If you have several KPIs in mind, list out your goals and prioritize them, always keeping in mind the function of this particular campaign in the buyer’s journey.

2. Action > Information

The problem with many CTAs is that they aren’t really calling anyone to act. Instead, they’re providing information: “We have a sale!” “Our new eBook is out!” “We just added a blog post to our website!”

The issue here is that none of those statements compel the customer to act on anything. Information sharing has a place, and you can certainly put that in an announcement, but standing alone, those statements aren’t effective as clear calls to action because they aren’t calls to action at all.

Remember to use verbs (action-oriented words) to incite your customer to complete the desired action. Keep your main objective in mind when picking verbs for your CTA:

Objective Example of a Call to Action
Page views “Visit our new blog!”
Email addresses “Sign up here to preorder our upcoming eBook.”
Downloads “Click here to download our whitepaper.”
Sales conversions “Buy now before they’re gone!”

3. Numbers + Value + Urgency = Winning Combination

The brain can process things like numbers and images faster than words, so using percentages and visuals in your CTAs can be helpful.

Numerical data removes confusion and keeps things accurate and direct. Numbers are particularly effective if you want to communicate discounts, the amount of time left to claim an offer, the number of people in your community, or the number who have already downloaded your resource.

You also need to be sure that you’re providing value to your buyer. What will they gain from acting the way you want them to?

What’s in It for the Buyer? Example Call to Action
Why should they read your new blog post? Because you provide content that can solve their problems. “Read our new blog post to learn how to create winning CTAs.”
Why should they buy your product now? Because time is running out for them to get the discount. “Buy our product at 30% off for the next week only!”
Why should they join your email list? To stay current with resources your company offers. “Join our email list to continue receiving important trends in B2B marketing.”

When the buyer understands what’s in it for them, they’re more likely to act.

Finally, create urgency. People are more likely to act now when they know they don’t have a lot of other options. If your offer is time-sensitive, make sure they know that. If your offer is not time-sensitive, think of other ways you can create urgency with your content, which will then help you create urgency with your CTAs.

4. Always Communicate Clearly

In order for your CTA to be effective, you need to answer at least three of the five major W’s (and one H): Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

  • Who will help with your branding.
  • What (mandatory): is the action they need to take: buy, visit, download, sign up, get, etc.
  • When helps create urgency.
  • Where is another form of How, indicating where they can visit, sign up, buy, etc.
  • Why (mandatory): shows the value to the consumer if they take the recommended action.
  • How should make it simple and clear for your customer to take the action you’re calling them to.

If you answer just these questions in a simple and effective manner, you won’t need to include other information. In fact, it’s all fluff after you answer these questions.

Answer these clearly, use them in your CTA, and you’ll have the makings of a good CTA that converts.

5. Size Matters

The most information you can communicate in the fewest words, the better. Communicating clearly doesn’t mean being unnecessarily detailed—it means answering the major questions in a quick and concise way.

In studies cited by Dan Zarrella of HubSpot, headline-sized pieces of information are most effective when they are between 90 and 150 characters.

Keep your CTA the size of a Tweet for maximum effect and shareability.

6. Try, Try Again

If your CTA isn’t producing the desired results, don’t be afraid to play around with it.

Switch verbs in and out. See if there’s a better, clearer, simpler word to use for your offer. Change your KPI or main objective if you can. Do some A/B testing with it to see what performs best.

Retargeting is a necessary evil of marketing, but you may not have to retarget your entire campaign—just know that change is not always a bad thing, and sometimes, trial and error is what helps us meet our goals.

CTAs should live up to their name: they should call potential customers to take action.

Make that action clear, make the experience for the user seamless and convenient, and watch how effective they can be!

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