Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is about the all-powerful call to action.
You’ve been working hard to develop great content geared towards your audience, and you’re starting to see the results. Your website has been getting more traffic, but it’s not leading to more sales.
Have you been barking up the wrong tree? Has everyone been lying to you about the importance of content marketing for your small business?
If your sales aren’t reflecting your traffic, chances are the problem is your call to action – either you don’t have one, or you have one, but it isn’t strong enough. Here’s what you need to do:
1) Take Another Look at Your Audience
Hopefully, you’ve already defined your target audience and have been crafting content specifically for them. If not, that needs to be your first step.
But what if you have defined your target audience, you’ve crafted content with them in mind, and they’re still not taking the final steps in the buyer journey? If that’s the case, it’s time to reassess your audience, because there are a few things that could be going wrong:
- They’re not the right audience for you. Either they’re not really looking for what your selling or they can’t afford your prices. Whatever the cause, it might be time to start trying to identify a new target audience;
- They’re the right audience, but the content isn’t addressing their pain points, in which case you need to reconsider your strategy for creating content;
- Your call to action is either missing, or it’s just not motivating your audience to take the next steps in the buyer journey.
If it turns out you’re targeting the right audience and your content is successfully drawing them in, then you need to figure out why your call to action isn’t sealing the deal.
2) You’re Jumping the Gun
Depending on what it is you’re selling, your customers might not want to buy from you right away. Some stores can get away with selling things on social media if the price is low enough, but if you’re selling high-end products, experiences, or if you’re in the B2B space, your customers are going to want to get to know you before they give you their money.
Half of crafting an effective call to action involves, not only knowing who your ideal customer is, but where they are in the buyer journey for each piece of content you create. For example, if you’re on social media, your best bet is to prompt them to get to know you better, so write a quick teaser about your latest blog post and post a link. At the end of the blog post, encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter, and consider sweetening the deal with a free template, checklist, ebook, etc. Once they’ve subscribed to your newsletter, they’ve shown sufficient interest in your work that you should encourage them to buy with every newsletter you send out. Never make it the focus of the newsletter, just make it an option and remind them of the benefits you provide.
3) You’re Not Pushing Hard Enough (Or At All)
For every piece of content you create, you should have a goal for what you want the reader to do once they’ve finished consuming your content. Ideally, your content should guide them all the way through the buyer journey. Social media followers and newsletter subscribers are great, but if all your calls to action involve asking people to follow and subscribe, you’re just leading them in circles instead of leading them to buy from you.
I know it can be scary for some of us to straight up ask for money, especially when we’re new to business ownership, but remember that your business can’t survive without money. Whether you’re providing products or services or both, it’s worth something, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.
4) You’re Missing Opportunities
When we talk about calls to action, we almost always talk about putting them at the end, and while that’s certainly a great place to put them, that placement forgets about a very important fact of content marketing: not everyone makes it to the end.
I know it hurts to think about people just skimming the content you worked so hard to create, but it’s true. We live in a world with too much content and not enough time to consume it all, so most of us cheat by just skimming the content. Some people who skim your content might reach the end to see your call to action, while others will search for a section of your content that answers the specific question they have right then, so why not put the call to action where they’ll see it?
I’m not saying you should include a call to action in every section of your blog posts, but if a section of your content relates to a specific product/service you offer, don’t be afraid to put a call to action right there, where it will have the highest impact.
Some people choose to put their call to action/special offer at the top of their web pages, or even as a pop-up that appears over the page until you accept or reject it. I know they’re super annoying, but there’s a reason so many people use them: they work.
5) You’ve Forgotten to Engage Them
When I talk about calls to action, I tend to talk about leading people down the sales funnel, but just getting them to engage with your brand is a worthy goal in and of itself. I’ve written about the dangers of prioritizing engagement over everything else, but engagement can play an important role in your marketing strategy if you use it properly.
Don’t ask people to like or comment on your posts just for the sake of the algorithm. Ask them what they thought of your post. Do they still have unanswered questions? Do they disagree with a particular stance you took? Did they get conflicting information from another source? Don’t just ask for their engagement for the sake of getting more comments – ask for their input so you can engage them in conversation. Not only will that solidify your status as an expert, but it will also gain their trust because you demonstrated that you value them enough to talk with them instead of just at them.
So don’t be afraid to use engagement as a call to action, then leverage that to lead them to other content that will then lead them through the rest of the buyer journey.
What do you think makes a strong call to action? Any important elements I missed?
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