Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 2,534 subscribers spend five minutes getting better at content creation and strategy.
There are a lot of great acronyms out there:
TL;DR — Too Long Didn’t Read
YOLO – You Only Live Once
IDFWU – I Don’t F@#$ With You
(Ok that last one is just one of my favorite songs, you caught me.)
In the content world, there’s one acronym that’s both extremely important and surprisingly misused.
And that’s the CTA, aka Call-To-Action.
Put simply, your CTA is your “ask.” It’s the thing you want your reader to do.
Click here, download this, call this number, buy this thing.
CTAs are everywhere.
Emails, social media, websites, billboards, print ads — the list goes on and on and on.
The CTA is fundamental to your content strategy because it drives the desired actions that fuel growth.
If you want to build your newsletter, you need people to subscribe.
If you want people to attend your event, you need them to register.
If you want to increase sales, you need people to buy.
You get the idea.
But just because CTAs are common doesn’t mean they’re all good.
I’m fact, many are wildly ineffective.
As a result, the intended outcome is not achieved, and all the effort leading up to the CTA was a complete waste of time, energy, and resources.
Here’s how people get it wrong:
- They use the wrong CTA
- The CTA isn’t clear
- The CTA isn’t compelling
We’re going to break each one down so you can spike your content growth and results.
Let’s start with the most important aspect…
- Pick the right CTA
One of the biggest mistakes B2B marketers make is picking the wrong CTA.
Specifically, they overuse the demo CTA.
Because demo requests (or any meeting with sales) are the most valuable metric for pipeline gen, they use it everywhere.
They never stop and think if this is really the best place for it.
So they ask for a demo even though their reader isn’t properly educated on the problem they solve, nor given time to build familiarity and trust with the company.
Guess what happens? The CTA fails. Very, very, very few people sign up for a demo.
By trying to force everyone down the funnel as fast as possible, they miss opportunities to grow their brand and business in other ways like growing their social media following, email subscribers, podcast subscribers, event programs etc.
The most effective CTAs consider where the reader is in their content journey and provide the next logical step that eventually leads to their ultimate end-goal.
Here’s a oversimplified example:
- Podcast CTA → Follow us on Twitter
- Twitter post CTA → attend an event
- Event CTA → see a demo
The path is longer, but the results are better. And if you do it right, you’ll build an audience and a trusted brand along the way.
That sure beats pumping thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars into failed marketing because the CTA is wrong.
Even if you aren’t in B2B marketing, this concept still applies.
Consider where your reader is in their relationship with you and ask yourself if they’re ready to take that step.
OK, now that you have the right CTA…
2. Make your CTA clear
How your CTA is phrased is the next most important part.
Clarity is your best friend here. Wordiness and vagueness are not.
You want it easy for your reader to understand what you’re asking so they can make a decision on the spot.
If they’re confused by your ask, they won't take any action.
And if your ask sounds too difficult, they won’t take your intended action.
Remember that simple sells. Write concisely and make it easy:
Offering survey results? → See the data
Offering a blog? → Skim the post
Offering a template? → Get the template
And if you’re in sales and want to book more meetings, here’s a post I wrote for Gong that shows you how to write irresistible CTAs via cold email.
Now time for the advanced part of today’s post…
3. Make your CTA compelling
If you want to add some spice to your and increase the effectiveness, you can evolve your CTA to a CTV.
A Call-To-Value (CTV) are essentially CTAs but with the addition of a value proposition.
A simple way to think of it is “what to do” + “what you’ll get.”
Let’s take CSR as an example:
CTA: Subscribe here
CTV: Subscribe here for weekly tips that’ll immediately boost your content results.
Neither are better, per se. Both have their place. It’s more about knowing when to use them.
Try it this week. Look at your CTAs and see where you can be more precise, clear, and compelling.
It’s a small tweak that can make a serious impact on your success.
Holler at you next week,