How and When to Use a Call to Action in Your Blogs
If you’ve been working in marketing or studying it for a while, you may be familiar with the term “call to action”, but have you ever asked yourself, what exactly does that mean?
A call to action sounds self-explanatory. You’re calling someone to action. Simple enough.
Is it really that simple though?
According to Wikipedia, a “call to action” is a marketing term for any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale.
Does that mean throwing a call to action into a blog will immediately result in a rush of sales? Unlikely. So what’s the point of it then? I’ll tell you.
A call to action is meant to be sort of a subtle nudge in the right direction for your reader, and this doesn’t only apply to blogs where you’re trying to sell something. A call to action can still be useful to you, even if you’re selling a concept rather than a product.
For example, if you’re writing a blog about health care, encouraging someone to sign a petition, or get behind the idea you’re presenting can still be done with a call to action. Simple phrases like “What are you waiting for? You can make a difference” and linking a useful source are sure to invoke further action.
The point of a call to action is to tell someone what to do and encourage them to do so. You just have to make sure you do it in the right way!
When and how do I use one?
When do you use a call to action? That’s easy – when you want someone to do something!
What’s important to remember is that you can’t just tell them to do it, you have to give them a reason to. You can tell the reader all day that red apples are better than green apples, but if you don’t tell them why it’s probably not going to change their mind.
A great time to use a call to action is when you’re encouraging someone to sign up for a weekly newsletter, and you’ve likely seen this used before. Often, the words “Subscribe here” will be placed above a box where someone can enter their email address.
The reason this works is that it’s simple and straight to the point. No one ever bothers with telling you what comes in the newsletters or even how often you’ll get these emails. However, they usually throw in a “get 15% off your first purchase” followed by bold letters calling them to “subscribe here”!
This simple and straight-to-the-point strategy can be used in blogs as well. All you have to do is link the products you’re encouraging them to check out and tell them to do just that!
There’s no risk involved in clicking a link to a line of products or subscribing to a newsletter, and therefore, this will work in most cases.
There are two places that a call to action fits best: the beginning and the end.
The reason these two locations are more effective than putting a call to action in the middle of your blog is that they aren’t done reading yet. This makes the reader likely to forget that you made a call to action in the first place.
If you do put a call to action somewhere in the body of your blog, it is important that you repeat or remind your reader of your call to action at the end. This ensures that they don’t forget about it, and ensures that your call to action stays relevant and purposeful.
Having a call to action at the very beginning is a great way to grab the reader’s attention. You need a hook anyway, so why not give it some extra oomph? A call to action is one of the best attention grabbers for any blog.
I would recommend that if you put a call to action at the beginning, follow it up! You get where I’m going with this. Regardless of where you put it, make sure you put one at the end.
To make a call to action as effective as possible, it needs to be the last thing on the reader’s mind. This is what they’re going to remember the most, that’s why the placement of it is so important!
Make it clear, and make it convenient!
As previously mentioned, your call to action needs to be simple and straight to the point. Your call to action shouldn’t leave the reader wondering, how?
For example, if you’re encouraging them to make a purchase from your website, link the product or product line that you’re advertising. You don’t want them to get excited, be ready to buy the product, and then have to go searching for it. This can deter them from making a purchase at all, and now your call to action was a wasted effort.
This is why it is so important to not only make it clear but make it convenient for them. If you can give them direct access to do what you want them to do, then throw the link in there. The reader shouldn’t have to go digging on the internet for what they want.
For example, let’s say you’re encouraging them to buy a custom coffee mug for a friend’s birthday. You get to the end of your blog, and you finish it off with “now go gift!”. If there’s a link attached to that phrase, they’re going to click on it, browse your selection, and most likely buy something.
You may have convinced them to buy a custom mug, which is amazing! What happens though if you don’t link them? They may go looking for mugs from another company, and now you’ve lost a potential sale! This is obviously not what you want.
Now, what are you waiting for? Go call your readers to action!