7 rules for creating an irresistible call to action

Think about the emails you actually open and read.

Now think about the emails that contain a link you actually click.

After the marketer got your attention with a grabber of a subject line, how were you led to the next step, the all important click-through? What makes you do it?

In previous posts, we’ve explained how segmentation leads to more relevant messages. How upping your email cadence increases engagement. We’ve also shared a quick four-point audit that helps you build your email list faster.

You’ve got them reading your emails, so congrats! Half the hard work is over.

Now it’s time to direct those subscribers to do something. For this to happen, you need to be crystal clear about what you want them to do.

That means crafting an excellent call to action, known in the content marketing world as the “CTA.”

Oops, I clicked it again

Your CTA is an invitation for prospects and customers to take some desired action, or make the next logical step to engage further with your brand.

And according to Demand Metric, a well-written CTA can increase conversion rates 14-28%.

In consumer marketing, common CTAs take a varied approach depending on where they’re placed, like:

  • On a website: “Start your free 7-day trial”
  • In a blog post: “Join our community”
  • At the end of a video: “Hit those Like and Subscribe buttons!”
  • In a sales email: “Beat the backorder, buy today”

For financial services and business-to-business communications, the sales cycle is often longer, so your CTA should reflect the prospect’s point in your sales funnel. Don’t try to make a sale, just guide them to the next stage of discovering what you have to offer.

In either case, ensuring your CTA is as compelling as possible means following seven simple rules:

  1. Always include a CTA: Don’t send an email, post a blog, add a web page, or create a video without including some kind of call to action at the end. According to research, emails with a single CTA can increase clicks by as much as 371% and sales by as much as 1,617%. No kidding!
  2. Use one CTA per message: HubSpot advises Hubspot advises using multiple CTAs for different audiences and goals on your website. For email and social, however, multiple CTAs are confusing and will dilute response. Err on the side of caution until you can split-test multiple links with your audience.
  3. Keep it short: Three to five words that directly telegraph the next step works best.
  4. Use a button: A designed button is much more inviting than text. Also, buttons that have a lot of visual space surrounding them can stand out better visually.
  5. Use action words: CTAs leverage consumer power-verbs like “buy,” “shop,” or “order” because they direct specific action. But if you’re finance focused, action verbs like “download now” or “sign up here” or “find out more” will be as effective.
  6. Test and refine: If you aren’t testing, you should be. Whatever you can reasonably test fair game: word choices, button color, button size, and even the offer itself.
  7. Include your USP and some FOMO: Create more interest by adding the benefit of your unique selling proposition (USP) or fear of missing out (FOMO) language. Powerful CTAs should convey how taking this step will help them do something better, easier, faster, cheaper, or avoid missing out on those benefits. Consider:
  • Get a no-obligation portfolio risk analysis today
  • Reduce your self-employment taxes up to 32%
  • Still paying a mortgage? Sign up for our reverse mortgage webinar now
  • Don’t miss another content writing goal

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