Inbound marketing, and the leads it can generate for 60 percent less cost than traditional advertising, relies on the effectiveness of your website.
There are at least 25 essential elements your website needs to drive traffic, leads and sales. For now, let’s focus on just one: effective calls to action.
What Makes Calls to Action Effective?
The effect of a successful call-to-action is to drive a visitor to take a desired action. Here are the characteristics your CTAs need to be effective:
Eye-catching, clickable appearance
CTAs need to be easily visible and recognizable. That means they will likely be bigger and bolder than most other elements on the page.
The colors, whether the CTA is a link, button or image, should be appealing and inviting, contrasting enough to stand out.
It should also be obvious that the CTA can be clicked. That can be done by making it a button or by adding a hover effect to another element. You can also consider using imagery such as a download icon if that is what the CTA is for.
Calls to action can only be effective if the offer they promote has value. “Contact us” is not a compelling offer for most potential leads who are looking for information but not yet ready to talk to a salesperson.
Instead, your CTAs should be for offers that can help the reader somehow: a checklist, whitepaper, report, calculator or estimate. Keep the text of the CTA simple and clear with the value and benefit as the focus.
Learn more: Top 10 Ways to Write a Compelling CTA.
Relevant, segmented offers
In order for CTAs to be relevant, they also need to match their positioning on your website and in emails.
Segment your offers based on where they fall in the sales funnel and place calls to action for those offers in the most relevant places. For example, use a CTA for awareness stage content in a blog post that is also focused on prospects who are just beginning to gather information. That might mean an offer for a report of industry research on a blog post that analyzes a portion of the research.
CTAs for an offer aimed toward leads or prospects who are in the middle of the sales funnel, such as a free trial or a price quote, should be placed on pages such as product descriptions, where it is likely the prospects are farther along in their decision process.
Placed where they can be found
Don’t limit yourself to one call-to-action per web page, especially on pages that require scrolling, such as in-depth blog posts.
Place at least one CTA above the fold, where it can be seen even if the reader doesn’t scroll down the page. Then add another at the bottom—if a reader has taken the time to read all of the blog post and is intrigued, don’t make them scroll back up and search for an opportunity to dig deeper into what you have to offer.
(Check out our Call-to-Action Placement Checklist for more places you should be using CTAs to drive your inbound marketing lead generation.)
Added to thank you pages
Another effective location for calls to action can be on thank you pages, which a prospect is shown after completing a form to access an offer. At that point, you know the person is already interested, at least at some level, in the information or solutions you have to offer.
If you can do so, offer them the additional download, consultation, or other valuable asset without requiring them to complete another form. Or at least request only a small amount of additional information, for example a phone number for a consultation.
When all five of these characteristics are combined, you have the recipe for effective calls to action, one of 25 key elements your website needs to grow leads and sales through inbound marketing. Do you have the other 24 essentials listed in our 25 Website Must-Haves for Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales?