A call to action (CTA) is simply the process of asking or telling a reader to do something. In the blogosphere, it’s not only acceptable to give your readers a CTA, it’s a necessity.
Whether you want readers to fill out a form, subscribe to your newsletter, buy your e-book or share your latest post on social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, an effective call to action makes it happen.
Here are four simple tips to help your CTA resonate with readers, guide them to perform certain actions and generate the response you want.
- Make your call to action direct and specificThe more direct and specific your call to action is, the more effective it will be. Instead of just adding a link or a “click here” button, let readers know exactly what they’ll get when they click.Do you want readers to share your post on Facebook? Ask them to share and provide the link: “Did you enjoy this post? Click here to share it with your Facebook friends.”
Do you want readers to subscribe to your newsletter? Tell them why they should and how to do it: “Click here to subscribe to my newsletter and get all the latest blogging tips delivered directly to your inbox.”
- Keep it simple and user-friendlyOffer only a few specific, distinct actions; if readers have too many options or receive excessive calls to action, they may tune out and move on. Sometimes a bit of hand-holding may be in order; point the reader in the right direction by directing them to a specific place on the page: “Share this post on Twitter by clicking on the ‘Tweet’ link below.”
- Use images, colors, contrasts and positioningGraphic attributes like color, contrast, size and positioning grab readers’ attention and guide them toward taking action. Avoid dark backgrounds with light text; they’re much less readable than light backgrounds with dark text. Using bright text or background colors, especially those that contrast with the rest of the site, attract the eye and create interest.Size does matter, especially when it comes to online design. As a general rule, the larger your call to action, the more attention it will generate. Make sure your font is large enough as well. Anything less than 16 pixels is probably too small.
For the best results, place the call to action centrally and high on the page. Don’t clutter the area around the call with text. Instead, leave enough white space to draw attention to the call itself. Alternately, use an image or logo to attract eyes to the call.
Though calls to action seem to fit well as the last sentence of a blog post, “Learn more about this topic by clicking here,” you can also include them earlier in the post, on a sidebar or in a header.
- Create a sense of urgencyExperienced salespeople know that customers are more likely to buy if they feel like they need to act right away. Maybe the sale ends today, another customer was really interested or, there are only a limited number left — whatever the scenario, a sense of urgency tends to make people take action.Communicate this sense of urgency with your readers by using active verbs, like subscribe, donate, register, buy, click, or share, in your call to action.
Increase the desire to act by using action words in conjunction with time-sensitive phrases, like:
- Offer good until midnight only
- Purchase today and also receive a free…
- For a limited time only
- Be the first to know
Test out different strategies by adding calls to action on several posts. Track the traffic and conversion rates until you get a handle on which methods are most effective with your audience.
Every successful blog should include calls to action that incorporate direct language, user-friendly features, good design and effective persuasive techniques. In your blogging experience, which calls to action have you found most effective?
Kit Pierce loves to read classic literature and blogs about human rights. In her spare time, she writes for www.attsavings.com. She’s interested in steampunk, likes watching funny cat videos, and enjoys discussions about philosophy.