Note from Lee: Please welcome Andy Thomson from TopRank in his first post to Online Marketing Blog:
In managing the content marketing for a brand, you have to focus on the bottom line. You have to push sales to help you reach growth goals for the business. But in reality, most people who encounter your brand (especially in B2B) aren’t going to buy right away. The sales funnel has to attract, engage and convert people in a way that makes sense for them.
As content creators and marketers, knowing how and when to use calls to action to move prospective customers from awareness to purchase can be tricky. Luckily, last week’s Content Marketing World offered a flood of great content advice on the interwebs including insights on follow throughs and calls to action (CTA). Here are a few of those nuggets and some perspective:
— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) June 11, 2014
The content marketing ROI revolution is upon us, so creating a path and purpose in your content is required. For a writer, the call to action (CTA) can’t just be a big orange button that says BUY NOW. Your content plan needs to guide the reader through various stages to a sale. For a content type like a blog, the message is usally addressing a reader at a high position of the funnel, so the CTA should be a much softer sell than the one on your gated content or product page.
Within an ebook, social post, blog, or even content hosted on Slideshare, focus on coaxing your reader to move to the next step in the sales cycle with copy that serves a specific purpose. Here are some CTA tips supported by experts from Content Marketing World that will help you do just that.
Nurture Them: With prospective buyers in the early stage, awareness and interest are the top goals for content. When attracting and engaging buyers, content should bring them around to your ideas and eventually land them at your products. Here’s lesson from content guru, Jay Acunzo’s session:
Inspire Action: Whether it’s within social media posts, meta content, or the end of a blog post, a writer needs to create motivation for the next action, even if it’s just fostering a relationship. This requires using action verbs and plain creativity.
Hotshot keynote speaker Andrew Davis offered this tidbit:
— Andrew Davis (@TPLDrew) July 15, 2014
Utilize Online Tools: While a simple thesaurus is always a writer’s friend, you can now a/b test different options and track your results with different technology and techniques including tools like Optimizely. On social networks, there are a set of actions the user is likely to take aside from clicking your link.
For some guidance, Twitter has listed writing tips for brands who are advertising on their platform. Bernie Borges made this point about finding a tool that works for you:
Don’t Tease: Tricks and teases aren’t what anyone wants. Even Facebook is cracking down on click baiting schemes. Tell your audience what they’ll get at the next page, so if that’s what they want, they can have it.
Readers want clarity and will reward you for it. They’re already looking at your brand, and maybe a blog post at this point, so leave the sidebar buttons and forms to the designers and provide the reader with enough information to lead them to the next logical step in their journey from awareness to purchase.
In his typically poignant style, Kevin Spacey addressed this during his own CMWorld keynote:
— Lee Odden (@leeodden) September 10, 2014
Writing great content takes work, but the call to action and its purpose cannot be forgotten in lieu of creativity.
Heck, if you need help with a content plan or leveraging a specific piece of marketing content, you can take a look at what TopRank Online Marketing can offer. See what I did there?