I read many company blogs online and, while they’re all very good (I only read the good ones), I don’t know what some of them do. As in, I don’t know what service or product they sell.
I assume they’re blogging to attract new customers to their site but they don’t have any email opt-ins or calls to action. So after I read their posts I just leave.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying you should bombard your readers with popups and banners.
The point is if you’re using your blog as a customer acquisition channel, it has one purpose — to acquire customers. To do that you need to encourage visitors to take some action after reading a post, whether it’s signing up for your email list, making a purchase or taking advantage of a new.
You need a CTA.
Keep in mind, the CTA is much more than just the words you write. While the words have an impact, it is essential that you also consider the surrounding elements and the context of your CTA. Let’s look at what you need to do to create high-converting CTAs in your blog posts.
Decide On An Objective
To start, you need a clear idea of what you want your visitors to do. Are you trying to get them to sign up for your email list? Share a new product on social media? Also, what is the most likely action they will take?
There’s a concept called attention ratio in conversion rate optimization. The more calls to action you have, the lower the ratio and the lower your conversion rates. The same concept applies to your blog posts. If your primary objective is growing the email list, then focus on that with your CTAs.
After all, if you don’t know what you want to happen, how will your customers ever know?
Place the CTA Strategically
Most CTAs are found at the end of a blog post. That makes sense, right? A person reads the blog and is then spurred to take action.
However, according to a study by Josh Schwartz, a Chartbeat data scientist, the majority of readers will only get through about 60 percent of an article. Rather than placing the CTA at the end of a post, consider using a CTA that will scroll down the screen as the reader progresses down the page.
There are plugins like SumoMe that slide a CTA up from the bottom of the browser after readers have reached a certain stage of your post. The sliding motion attracts attention and the CTA remains visible after that. When you increase the visibility of your CTA, you increase the chances of it being acted upon.
Alternatively, you can embed CTAs in the body of your posts. Anyone reading the post will have to look at the CTA, and if they’ve enjoyed the post so far, they’re more likely to take action.
Use the scroll map in Crazy Egg to see how far down people read your blog posts. You’ll find a certain point at which visitors start to drop off rapidly. That’s where you want to place your CTAs to maximize the number of eyeballs it gets. Here’s a test Neil Patel ran on QuickSprout to find out how much of his posts his visitors read.
Don’t Ignore Design
Apart from strategic placements, you also want your CTAs to stand out on their own. There are three key factors involved in creating attractive CTAs.
Often referred to as negative or blank space, white space is the unmarked areas in between words or other visual elements on a page. It isolates your CTA so it stands out from other content on your site, like the blog post text or sidebar elements. This makes it more visible and draws readers’ eyes to it, giving you higher conversions.
Another way to draw attention to your CTA is by using contrasting colors. There’s no standard color that converts best. It varies with each blog. So if your theme is predominantly blue, use a red or green to make it stand out. (That’s just a suggestion. You’ll need to run tests to know which color performs best on your site.)
This is related to the objective of your CTA. If you want readers to subscribe, make the email entry form field obvious. If you want them to click through to another page, use a button that stands out. The CTA should basically reflect the objective. Nice graphics are cool but if there’s no button, people won’t know to click!
Kissmetrics uses these principles well in their blog post CTAs. They haven’t used any unique graphics, but with the combination of whitespace, a contrasting dark background, and a clear button, they’ve created a CTA that readers can’t miss.
Write Creative Copy
Now that you have your readers’ attention, you have to convince them to take action. Your CTA copy should explain why they need to take the action you want them to take and what they get in return. There are three parts to the typical CTA.
The headline basically summarizes what you’re offering. Let’s say you want readers to subscribe to get your eBook. Your headline should say something like, “Get the free eBook.” Even if you don’t have an eBook, you can go with something like, “Get my best tips straight to your inbox.”
Body copy should just be a couple of lines long and go into a bit more detail than your headline without being repetitive. Tell readers what problem your book will solve, or what value they will get out of subscribing. You can use some humor too, if that’s your blogging style, or show social proof by calling out how many others have subscribed.
The microcopy is the copy you use on your buttons. Again, some creative copy here will help increase conversions. Instead of the boring “Subscribe,” use “Yes, I want that book.” Get people excited about taking action.
Stay On Topic
There’s got to be some connection between your blog post and the CTA. If you’re talking about how to pick a running shoe, your CTA should be a discount on shoes and not t-shirts. If you’re talking about how to build an email list, your CTA shouldn’t be an eBook on Twitter marketing.
Here’s an example on Hubspot. The blog post is about advertising on social networks and at the end of the post is a CTA for an eBook on social network advertising.
Keep It Simple
Don’t ask too much of your readers in your CTA. The last thing they want to do is fill out their phone numbers, home address, or pet’s name. If you want to collect emails, one form field is enough. You can collect more information about them later through email nurturing, but step one is to get a foot in the door with an email.
Similarly, if you want them clicking through to another page, one button is all you need. Any more and your conversion rates will start to drop.
Time For You To Take Action
The CTA is an essential part of any web page and blog post. However, in order for it to be effective and actually get results, certain factors must be considered. The tips here will help you create effective CTAs that will convert readers into leads and customers.
Try testing different aspects of the CTA to incrementally increase conversion rates. Test different placements, designs or copy. Look at the CTAs on your competitors’ pages and borrow what works.
After you’ve implemented some of these tips, come back here and let us know the results in the comments.
And while you’re at it, read other Crazy Egg posts by Sid.