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The Call To Action: A Roadmap For Your Audience

Traci Browne
May 13, 2016
content marketing call to action

Last week I was taking a road trip and was relying on my GPS to get me there. I never had to worry about what my next step was going to be. When I approached the exit, a calm and authoritative voice told me in which direction I needed to go. A good call to action essentially does the same thing for your audience.

What Is a Call To Action?

A call to action or CTA may sound like just another complicated or empty marketing buzz phrase, but in reality, it is quite straightforward and inherent to human nature. A CTA is nothing more than a direction to the next step someone should take once they’ve consumed your content.

They might be reading the executive summary of a research study and at the end of the summary, they see a form where they are asked to provide some information about themselves in order to “Download the Full Report.”

Downloading that report is the action you want your reader to take. It is likely the action they want to take, so why not make it easy for them?

Why are CTAs so important?

It may seem obvious to you what the next action you want your audience to take is. You tell a potential attendee how great your event is going to be so, of course, they will try to figure out how to register. Or, perhaps you’ve convinced a planner that your venue is perfect for their next meeting. Of course, they will start looking for more information about pricing or available services.

Unfortunately, when people are left to their own devices though, they may not take that next action. Often distracted or pressed for time, they think, "I’ll check that out later" –which ends up being never.

Being explicit about the step you want them to take increases the odds they will take that next step right away. If you want them to register for your event, don’t give them even a second to think about it. Put that “Register Here” button front and center.

Where Should You Send Them?

Just as important as telling them what their next step should be, you want to make it easy for them to take that next step. Your “Register Here” button should go directly to your event registration form, not to the homepage of your event website.

If your CTA is “Download Our Report,” then you either want to embed a form right in your content or send users to a special landing page where there is nothing to do but fill out the form.

Think About the Entire Journey

My road trip included many twists and turns. At every point along my journey, my GPS told me what to do. Your CTAs can provide that same guidance for your audience through their journey.

A blog post might direct them to download a more detailed case study. That case study might lead them to request a demo. At the end of that demo, they might be asked to set up an appointment with a sales rep. The sales rep will end the conversation with an invitation to buy.

One organization I know uses e-books to get people to sign up for their mailing list. The last page of their e-books says, “If you like what you’ve read and want to receive more valuable information like this, sign up for our mailing list.” They embed a signup form right in the e-book.

From there, every email they send includes a call to action that drives the reader to sign up for a webinar, online course or event.

How Committed To Using CTAs Are You?

It does not matter what format your content takes. Whether it is an infographic, a blog post, a tweet or a white paper. Never leave your audience hanging, wondering what to do next. Gently nudge them to the next step with a direct call to action.

Take a few moments now to look through the content you’ve produced over the last couple of months? Does it have a clear call to action? If not, decide what next step you want the reader or listener to take, and add that direction now. (See what I did there?)

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