How to Create Productive CTAs

Ginny Grimsley, Mar 14, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable content that customers can really use in order to build business relationships with them at every stage of their buyer journey

The first intention of inbound content is to help–and that kind of spirit usually finds not just customers but evangelists and promoters of your business. It’s how the flywheel spins!  

But, being helpful also involves making it easy for potential customers to find you when you’ve given them what they’re looking for in your content. 

That’s where the Call-to-Action (the CTA!) comes in. 

Let’s take a closer look at how they work and how to create CTAs that work as hard as you do to turn your potential customers into…well, customers! 

A group of people celebrating with confetti.

What can a CTA do?

A CTA works like a potential customer’s virtual doorbell to your business: a digital asset that forges a direct path to exactly what customers need from your company. 

Here are the three main objectives of your CTAs:

  • Generate leads/build your customer base: When people are directed to your website, you build brand awareness. If they like what they see there, a CTA can help them leave their information so that sales can contact them directly. 

  • Nurture leads with more of what they’re looking for: Once on your website, a strong CTA can lead to a landing page that offers prospects something for free that they might need. This builds trust and even more brand awareness–and inspiration to become your customer.  

  • Sell your product or service: CTAs that are well written and designed have a high rate of conversion, so if your best CTAs lead straight to your product or service, chances are, you’re going to sell it. 

Where to Put a CTA

You can put a CTA on just about any digital asset in your marketing toolkit. For instance: 

Your Website

There should be a CTA on every section of every page of your website. You never know exactly which part of your website might inspire a prospect to say: “Okay, yeah, I’ve got to have that.”

To inspire that feeling, give people as many opportunities as possible to get what they need from your business–give the people CTAs!

Email Campaigns

Every email you send can have a CTA at the bottom for recipients who are interested in getting in touch with your business for more information–or for a sales conversation. 

When you run email campaigns, you most definitely should have a CTA in the body of the email. 

Social Media

When you place sponsored ads on social media, putting a “learn more” CTA in the ad could increase the ROI of the ad through the increased conversion rate. 

Blog Articles

Blog articles are for sharing the information that your prospective customers need, but, at the end of each article, they should have a clear path to your business with a CTA. They may be ready to have a sales conversation.

A neat desk with a piece of paper on it that says “words have power” in black ink.

How to Write a Productive CTA

CTAs always involve copy–even if that copy is as deceptively simple as “click here.” But choosing “click here” as the copy on your CTA can be tricky because it’s not perfect for every CTA. 

So, how do you write a CTA that gets its job done? Our #1 tip for writing the strongest CTA? Hire a copywriter. 

Here are a few more tips if you’re new to copywriting or if you decide to DIY it.

Remember to help, not sell

An inbound CTA (and, really, any of them worth their pixels) should be written with the intention of helping your audience find your business. 

There should be no pressure at all–just a clear path with a welcoming attitude. 

Warmth and authenticity go a long way with CTAs. 

Use strong, active verbs

An actual word in the CTA’s acronym is “action,” so make sure to use active verbs that inspire people to act. 

That may sound like it’s directly opposite of the first tip, but it’s really not. Active verbs can be gentle, too. 

As Growth project manager Katrina likes to say: “Being clear is being kind.” And that applies to everything–including CTAs. 

Verbs like ask, shop, learn, find, and click are all active verbs that make for stunning CTAs in the correct context–and none of them are pushy on their own. 

Be concise 

In a blog article, for instance, a CTA should be less than 5% of the entire article–and always, always at the end. That’s a good rule of thumb for any digital asset. 

If it’s in an email, keep the CTA to the last short sentence. The very best CTAs get straight to the point. It should just be a quick “here’s how you find us.” BAM!

A vector graphic of the hands of a person typing on a manual typewriter surrounded by coffee, pens, paper, and a journal.

Make it pop

Your CTA should align well with your brand and your buyer profile, but it should grab the attention of its audience. 

A whimsical brand can have great fun with CTAs, but even a super-serious business can add a bit of warmth and creativity to it. 

For instance, if you scroll down our service page, you can see that our CTAs shift based on the services we offer. They’re direct, light, and on brand while also clearly indicating what action to take to get those services. 

Persuade

Writing a CTA is persuasive composition 101. You’re trying to convince someone to do something in a very concise way, that’s all. 

First, try drafting the ask itself. Free write a letter to your buyer persona. 

Tell them what you’d like them to do. 

Now go back and edit, edit, edit until you have mostly action verbs and nouns that include your product/service and your business. 

Inspire urgent action

The best CTAs honestly provide a time limit for the offer. 

We’re all buyers of some sort, and we all know how much more tempted we are when we know the clock is ticking on something we need or want. 

It’s also a kind gesture to let people know how long they have to act. Again, clarity is kindness. 

Just because CTAs are short and sweet (5% of the overall copy), don’t take them for granted. Instead, spend 5X the amount of time you spend writing them REwriting them for effectiveness, and you’ll see your marketing ROI spike in the right direction.

Don’t look now, but here comes the CTA for this article:

Speaking of your marketing ROI spiking, Growth is a HubSpot Platinum Solutions Partner, and we can show you exactly how to prove that ROI with the best data in the game. Talk to a regular human about it. We’re right here! 

P.S.–The last link above is the CTA “button” for the article, but the whole paragraph is part of it. Here’s another one below. See what we did there?

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