By Victoria Greene
Victoria Greene is a branding expert and freelance writer. Her blog, Victoria eCommerce, is packed with tips on marketing, e-commerce, retail, and content. A big advocate of customer experience marketing.
What really drives home the point of a great ad? Snappy visuals, a great layout, and of course, a fantastic product or service are all winning ingredients. However, the thing that turns a prospective customer into an active one is your call to action.
This short instruction not only entreats the audience to engage with your brand on your terms, but it should also speak directly to their existing inclinations. The rest of your ad has to make them want to check out your website, product, or content; your CTA then encourages them to do so.
But how do you make your CTA stand out and do the job it’s intended for? It’s all too easy to overload a page with buttons, or alternatively, create a CTA that is ambiguous or inconspicuous. So to help you avoid these critical blunders, here are six tips for creating ad CTAs that sell.
1. Focus on Value
Your CTA needs to mean something. It’s all very well telling your audience to “Click Here” or “Download This”, but if the button has been positioned successfully to immediately catch their eye, there’s a chance they won’t yet be sure what they’re signing up for. This means that they need to examine the rest of the page to grasp your intention, by which point your CTA may have missed its chance.
Think about what you are offering to your audience, and tell them in the CTA, or in a brief sentence alongside it. Value-oriented CTAs could include “Download My 12-Step Plan” or “Learn More About Dinosaurs”.
If the user knows what they’re getting, then they are far more likely to feel comfortable clicking on your CTA. Ensure that all buttons are clear, responsive, and go to where they claim. Dysfunctional or misleading buttons are a significant deterrent and can be the difference between making a sale and losing a lead.
2. Be Creative With Orientation
The standard guideline for positioning your CTA is to keep it center-aligned and above the fold. But there are many tricks you can use to guide the reader’s eye to anywhere on the page that you choose.
Try using white space to emphasize the area around your CTA, for example. Another clever technique is to place your CTA in the sightline of a person depicted in your ad. Our eyes are naturally drawn to human faces, which can be a distraction if used inefficiently. However, we are also inclined to look to wherever we see others looking.
You can use knowledge like this to set up a more distinctive layout for your advertisement and make the best use of the available space.
3. Leverage Scarcity
Nothing sells quite like a sense of urgency. Flesh out your CTAs with language that implies a limited timeframe, or short supply. Avoid being dishonest, as this can do more harm than good once customers recognize the deception.
Some examples of effective scarcity copy could include: “In high demand” or “Our fastest-selling product”. A similar tactic is to introduce time-limited discounts. Not only does scarcity present a feeling that customers need to make a rapid decision, but also adds a sense of exclusivity, as they know that they will be one of just a few more people to secure that particular deal.
4. Embrace Paid Ads
The most effective way to get the most out of your CTAs is to ensure that they reach the right people. There are many ways to facilitate this, from polishing your SEO, to using sophisticated segmentation algorithms and content delivery systems.
You can also expand your reach significantly with the use of paid advertising. The reason this is so successful is that you can designate your preferred audience, and the platform on which you choose to advertise will then show your ads to people who fall within the demographics you have specified. For example, if you are using Facebook Ads, you can set delineations such as location, age range, and even interests.
While this does mean setting aside a larger portion of your marketing budget, it can definitely be worth your while. This is because your CTA is being delivered directly to the people who are most likely to respond to it, meaning a higher chance of click-throughs, conversions, and a long-term, steady revenue stream.
5. Use the First Person
Switch up your copy by writing your CTA in the first person. So many calls to action are written in the imperative: “Buy Now”; “Click Here”; “Read More”. By writing in the first person, you place the CTA’s intention in the mind of the reader, so if they are already interested in what you have to offer, the CTA verbalizes that inclination. For example, the button text could read “I want to learn more”, or “I need one of those”.
Of course, overusing this tactic can quickly cause it to become stale. However, used in the right place at the right time, it can be tremendously effective. Try it out and measure the results to get a feel of what works for your audience.
6. Keep On Testing
The final thing to remember about great advertising is that it is never perfect. You could always be converting a few more people, reaching a wider audience, appealing to a more dynamic demographic. All you can do is keep working towards the next level of CTA success by continuously testing and optimizing your ads.
Keep an eye on your performance metrics, and learn from each of your successes and failures. You should also consider split-testing your CTAs to really refine the finer features. Does a different font make a difference or even the shape of the button? Sometimes specific combinations of elements will work best. The more you test, the more you’ll learn.
Image credit: Pixabay
Effective use of your CTAs can transform your business marketing, and give your traffic volume a significant boost as we sail through 2018. There are plenty of ways to make your CTAs stand out, and if you want to really catch the eye of your audience, you need to focus on ways to make your CTA buttons and copy truly unique. There’s no perfect solution, and it will take some trial and error to find a style that works well for your business. However, once you nail that winning formula, you will have set your business on an upward-trending path, giving you the opportunity to explore new avenues for growth, and evolve your brand to meet, and even surpass your long-term aspirations.