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My boss has been known around the office to make a fair amount of extremely unusual statements. One of my coworker’s favorite Ben Landers quotes is, “Would you look how skinny my legs are? I’m like an ostrich without its superior genetic abilities.”
As entertaining as it is, it’s not entirely useful for this blog post, but I included it because it cracks me up (cracked like an ostrich egg, perhaps? No? Anyone…?). A more fitting Ben Landers’ quote for this blog post would be, “traffic without leads SUCKS.”
While content marketing is essentially the only way left to market your company online, you’re not creating content for nobility’s sake–you’re trying to sell your services. You absolutely can’t do this without proper calls to action (CTA).
What Is a (Good) Call to Action?
Your website needs to have CTAs, period. The more specific, the better. Don’t just have “contact us” on every page. Offering a free trial? Include it in your CTA! Do you offer free consultations? That’s a great CTA. Try to be engaging and enticing, and linking to the contact page is even better because it makes the user’s life easier.
Here are some tips to get you started toward better CTAs:
- Include a link – By linking to another page on your website, users can get used to navigating your page and find all the information they need.
- Create urgency – Services like fire protection or A/C in the summer are tasks that users will want to get done ASAP. Include a “today” or “now!” in your CTA to make them act on their inquiry.
- Give directions – While it might seem simple, tell them to click on the link. Providing these instructions rather than just linking to your “Contact Us” page will prompt the visitor more.
- Provide clear benefit – Will they get a free white paper when they click the link? Is the estimate for your plumbing service free? Let the visitor know exactly how they will benefit by following your CTA.
- Don’t be shy! – Your website is there to sell your service or product, so sell it!
Buttons vs. In-Text Calls to Action
Once you’ve gotten the basics of a CTA, you may ask: should my CTA be a “button” on my website or text within the page’s content? Just like when your mom asks you if you want chocolate sauce or cherries on your ice cream, the answer is BOTH!
It’s a great strategy to offer multiple tiered calls to action in different locations on a page to capture as many visitors as possible. Depending on your users’ level of interest and commitment to their search that led them to your site, you want to satisfy all of their potential needs with your CTAs.
If they’re locked out and need an emergency locksmith, they want to see a “Call us now…” CTA. If they are thinking of rekeying their office deadbolts, provide an “Email us for a quote today!” CTA. Will they want to have a locksmith on hand in the future? Give them a chance to sign up for your monthly newsletter to establish yourself as an authority within the industry. With these tiered levels of CTAs, no matter what the visitor’s intent was, you’ve captured a conversion of some kind (lead, quote, future customer, etc.).
Each of these should stand out from the rest of your content, either by both font and button size and also text and background color. You don’t want to clutter your site with too many “CLICK HERE!” instructions, but make sure that the size and color position are prominent. This is important for your mobile site too! Since phone screens are smaller, you’ll want your company’s phone number to be prominent enough for even those who have yet to master the pinch/zoom technique to find it and contact you.
Check out some of our different calls to action within our own site (both button and in-text CTAs):
SEO Benefits of a Call to Action
Aside from adding pretty buttons and extra words to your web page, a CTA can have a great impact on your current SEO plan. Imagine you are going shopping on Black Friday and you’ve found the greatest deals on drills, flannel shirts, and a watch for the Mrs. Your hands are full and you’re in a rush to get back to turkey leftovers at home, but you can’t find the check-out… Shouldn’t there be signs? Isn’t there an employee that can help direct you to the line?
Some visitors might feel this panic and confusion when browsing your website. If there’s nothing telling them what to do next, they won’t know how or where to go from there! That “next” step can be a wide variety of actions for your business including:
- Filling out a contact form
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Finding the closest store location
- Completing an e-commerce check-out
Writing a good call to action can be greatly useful for your site’s meta description. The meta description is essentially a sales person for your link. It should inform searchers and entice them to choose your link over the links of your competitors in the search results. Any good sales employee is going to have a few CTAs up his or her sleeve, so why not put them in your meta description (arguably a sales person for your company that is always online, drawing in customers without vacations or sleep).
Can you spot the CTA in our own meta description?
At Blue Corona, we have the experience and data tracking skills you need to ensure your website traffic and conversion rates are keeping you (and the bank) happy. If you need help optimizing CTAs for your web pages or just bettering your SEO in general, contact us today or sign up for one of our SEO seminar and workshops next month.
See what we did there? That is a call to action. If you clicked those links, it was a successful call to action.
About The Author: Hannah is the SEO Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson