It’s always satisfying to share useful information with others through your content marketing. But successful content from a business standpoint has to do more than just share valuable information; it has to target the right people and then inspire those people to take actions that help accomplish your business goals. And that means including a clear call to action and remarketing that call to action so you can successfully convert the maximum number of potential clients.
A call to action serves two purposes:
- It empowers your readers with actionable content they can use to follow through on what they’ve just learned.
- It benefits your business by making it easy for people to buy your product, or learn more about your company, or whatever your goal happens to be.
For example, our goal in this series is to (a) educate people about how to achieve content strategy and marketing success which serves our target audience and (b) introduce them to Answerbase in the process. To that end, we have a call to action at the end of each of our posts to encourage visitors to read our general guide regarding content strategy and marketing so they can become familiar with the subject and link to earlier steps we’ve outlined. We also provide calls to action to start a free trial of the Answerbase platform which you’ll see clearly on this page.
Now, what about you? What will be your most effective call to action for content marketing? In the content below, you’ll see additional examples of calls to action aimed at achieving different goals. You’ll also find some guidance to help you determine which is right for you, based on the action you want your readers to take, as well as tips to maximize effectiveness.
Building awareness? Provide an opt-in
Stay top-of-mind with potential customers by asking them to opt in to receive a newsletter, get email alerts about new posts or otherwise be advised of content that may be of interest to them. This is a good approach to use with people who have found your content independently – by googling while doing general research on a topic, for example. It reduces the risk that you’ll lose them once they leave your blog by providing a way for you to continue to stay in contact with them.
- Make sure what you’re offering is of real value to them. After all, they’re parting with their private contact information; whatever you send them in return should be engaging, useful and informative.
- Don’t alienate them by using their information for anything other than what they agreed to. In other words, if someone signs up for your newsletter, don’t send them a product pitch. That kind of “bait-and-switch” in content marketing only serves to erode their trust in your business.
Beefing up your list of leads? Invite inquiries
Follow through on posts by including an inquiry form a reader can fill out right there on the page. Accompany the form with an invitation to ask you a question about the topic, and a promise to provide an answer. It’s up to you what type of question to invite, depending on the content you’re publishing. It could be anything from general advice that’s related to the subject you’re writing about, or more specific information about how your company and its products or services might be of help to the reader.
- Keep it short. The only contact information you need for this purpose is someone’s name, business name (if applicable) and email. According to one expert, two of the top reasons people don’t fill out contact forms is that they’re too long and they ask for phone numbers. You can always request more information from the reader later if you need it.
- Be selective. While you do want to keep the contact form short, you also want to be sure you get the information as you need. For example, if you’re selling business software that targets businesses with less than 50 employees, ask how many employees their company has. That way you’ll be able to set priorities based on relevance.
Hoping to spark sales? Direct them to more info
Once you’ve piqued someone’s interest in a topic with a blog post, follow through by providing the opportunity to go to your web page to get more information. Don’t hesitate to lead readers to content-related products or to your online store. Remember, people want to be informed about the topic or they wouldn’t be reading your post. If the content is relevant to your products or services, it’s perfectly reasonable to direct readers to more information about them.
- Use clear, direct language. Try something like this: “Learn more about (your product or service) and how it can help you with (whatever the issue is that’s the subject of your post).” The sentence uses a strong command to them to take action (“Learn more”) and also tells them why they should act (“how it can help you”), two recommended qualities for an effective call to action.
- Make it easy to take another step. Once you’ve sent someone to a product page, don’t leave them hanging! Be sure the page is set up to make it simple to click to place an order.
Ready to close the deal? Just go ahead and ask
In tip 2 above, we recommend making it easy to take the next step on a product page. But this applies to other types of pages, too. If your goal is to close the deal – whether by getting a product order, a signature on a petition, a member sign-up or whatever else it means to your business – just go ahead and ask the reader to do it. One of my favorite examples of this is the simple “Join” call to action on an informational post on Angie’s List. The post answers a reader’s question about how much water heater installation should cost, and at the top and bottom of the page includes a prominent appeal to become an Angie’s List member.
- Make it stand out. Don’t bury the lead, as they say in the news business. Make sure your visitors can quickly see your appeal. In the Angie’s List example, it’s in a prominent navigation bar at the top of the page as well as on a large banner at the bottom.
- Make it compelling. In addition to making it easy to act, as in tip 2 from the previous example, give a reason to act. “We’ve done the research,” Angie’s List tells the visitor. (And right there on the page is proof, in the informational content.) For visitors who find that value proposition compelling, signing up is a natural next step.
Missed them on their first visit? Remarket to them
The beauty of online visitors is once they visit your site, you have the opportunity to continue to expose them to your services, products, and message on other websites through remarketing (aka retargeting). If you’ve been around marketing or sales for a little while, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the “Rule of 7″ which is basically stating this:
For the majority of customers, your marketing message must be heard at least 7 times before your prospects will take action to buy your product or service.
With online marketing, this is easier than ever to achieve. Take advantage of Google Adwords, Adroll, or any of the other remarketing services available that drop a cookie on your visitor’s browser, allowing you to continue marketing to them as they browse around the internet. This will get those 7 “touches,” bring them back to your site and let them convert. This makes sure that you don’t lose contact with those relevant visitors, so that you can continue marketing to them until they’re good and ready to react to your offering.
That’s it – now go make sure your content is achieving your goals!
Remember that its not enough to just create great content; you need to make sure those eyeballs that are seeing your content are engaged and the content is accomplishing your business’ goals. We hope the tips are useful and help you get the results you’re looking for.
Learn more about all of our 6 Steps to Achieve Content Strategy and Marketing Success and how they can help you get more from your content marketing efforts. See how that worked?