7 Elements of Effective Blog Call to Action
“A corporate blog must bring leads, full stop”. I know it was only yesterday when I posted these words here on SERPs blog but they still resonate with me.
After all, what’s the point in investing time in content and its promotion if it doesn’t convert into potential clients?
I also wrote about one single tool that can help achieve this – a call to action.
Today I want to show you how to construct one that actually works.
Before we start though, a quick recap for those new to this term – call to action (C2A).
In short, it’s a piece of content, in form of a text, graphic or button that motivates readers to perform a specific action. At SERPs.com for instance we invite our blog visitors to take advantage of a 14 day free trial of our software. Other companies offer downloadable content; offer a newsletter signup (just like CrazyEgg do) or anything else that might convert a reader to a lead.
A call to action is your tool to communicate that intended action to them. Without it you rely on them to figure this out, which believe me, rarely happens.
So in short, there are no leads without a C2A.
Elements your C2A should contain
No C2A is alike and there is no unified set of rules for creating converting calls to action. There are however certain elements it should contain to achieve its objectives.
The primary goal for your call to action is to motivate blog visitors to take action. To achieve this, you need to use actionable verbs. “Discover”, “Find”, “Get” and many other action verbs, coupled with a solid reason to perform the action (more on this later) will persuade your readers to do what you want them to do.
For marketers a call to action is just a tool to promote a service or product they sell.
For readers however, the most important thing a call to action should answer is what they will gain from performing the action you invite them to take.
That’s why your C2A should tell your readers what will happen when they click on it. Will they get better at their job? Find out that skill they’ve been missing? Become more efficient at their job?
It doesn’t matter if you offer a downloadable PDF or a weekly email packed with actionable info in return for clicking on the C2A. Unless you clearly communicate what your visitor will gain from doing so, it is possible they will never do it.
On our call to action we state the benefit of trialing our software – the ability to impress clients with data driven progress reports.
Attention Grabbing Headline
For your C2A to work, it needs to grab your reader’s attention. Otherwise they might leave the page without absorbing the message it contains.
One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is by using a compelling and action driven. The objective of the headline however is not to sell but to connect with your readers so that they feel compelled to read the rest of your offer.
One way to achieve this is by asking a question in a headline. Impact agency found that C2As that contained a question achieved a 0.4% higher conversion than those without.
Why? Because a question can both intrigue and engage your audience.
Another way is to focus on the main benefit of your offer, just like we do with our headline “Knock your clients socks off!”. It clearly communicates why you should try our software.
A small call to action might look great on the site, maintaining the design balance between all elements, no doubt. At the same time it will most likely blend with the other content so much that will go unnoticed.
The size of your call to action matters too and the rule of thumb is that the bigger it is, the better. This of course doesn’t mean that it should take up half of a page but it should be prominent enough for readers to see it.
Copyblogger uses a large C2A, taking up a considerable portion of the page. You can’t miss it and it attracts your attention once you reach the bottom of the article.
Our C2A is smaller but still it is the biggest graphic element on the page. There is no way a reader could miss it while reading the page.
Having said that, there is no unified standard for the best size of a call to action. Experiment with different ones until you find the one that works best for you.
Design and Contrast
Size isn’t the only factor that makes a C2A to stand out on a page. Using contrasting colors and design can also bring a call to action (or any other graphic at that) to become one of the most visible elements on a page.
Contrast is defined as “the state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association”.
Your call to action should stand in contrast to anything else that’s situated around it on a page. This way, it will stand out by being “srikingly different”, as the definition says.
Colors you use in your Call to Action affect how noticeable it is as well. And unlike what you might think, the best colors to use are not the ones your brand is associated with.
In fact, Impact discovered that
“Calls-to-action that contained colors consistent with branding generated a 2.1% click rate, while CTAs that contained completely different colors jumped up to 4.1%.”
The reason for that is simple. Colors consistent with your brand blend in with other (obviously branded) elements on the page. Using different colors creates a contrast and makes your C2A to “pop out” on a page.
Where you place your C2A is equally important to how it looks. After all, your C2A should be clearly visible on a page and prominent in relation to other elements.
There are two ways to look at the placement of your C2A – above the fold or below the fold.
Placing it above the fold means that your reader will not have to scroll the page to see it. On the other hand, your space and options to do so are greatly limited if you want to use a sizeable graphic based C2A.
If you place your C2A below the fold on the other hand, your readers will have to scroll down the page to be able to see it. At the same time, you will be able to place a much bigger call to action graphic below the post as you can above it.
You should experiment with different placements to find out the one that converts the most. Here at SERPs.com we discovered that the most effective placement for us is right below the post content.
A blog should generate leads for your business. This however can happen only if you create calls to action inviting your readers to take the action you envisioned for them. For that to happen though, your C2A should be constructed of several crucial elements like headline, compelling offer, design contrast, size and placement.