Calls to action might be the most important part of your business strategy: the jewel in your marketing crown. Your brand’s success goes hand in hand with a strong call to action. You will have experienced this first-hand, whether you’ve signed up to Netflix or bought a new jacket online: the chances are a good call to action led you there. I’ve seen countless CTAs in my work, so I know what works — and what doesn’t. If your CTAs aren’t on-point, you’ll see conversions slow and sales fizzle out. So, if you want to know how to make your call to actions truly click-worthy, read on... So why are calls to action important? Well, take this as an example: if you include just a single call to action as part of your email marketing strategy, your clicks could increase by up to 400%, and your sales by over 1000%. A good call to action works as part of a more comprehensive customer experience strategy, building on useful and engaging copy and high-quality aesthetics to work towards a final goal. It should be compelling and drive your customers to take a specific action: to make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter. Without a compelling call to action, your customers are just lost sheep on a mountain without a shepherd. Your CTA can lead them to where you want them to go. So what makes for a strong call to action? A good call to action is so much more than just a button at the bottom of the page. When you’re writing your CTA, you need to… Make It Compelling This is an obvious one, but no less important. Your customers are like mice in a maze: they need direction, and you need to provide them with it. So when you write your CTA, it needs to have a clear and compelling directive. This means using a powerful, commanding verb to start your CTA with. This can vary depending on what it is you’re offering, and therefore what you need from the customer. For example, if you’re running an online store, you would want to start with “buy” or “shop.” Alternatively, if you’re marketing a newsletter or ebook, begin with “subscribe” or “download.” Charity: Water does this nicely with their donation page, below. They start with the imperative to give but follow it up with another command: “change.” It’s a pleasant surprise that gives their CTA a more emotional slant, compelling people to donate. Keep It In the First Person Your customers also like to feel like they’re the only customer in the world. They don’t want to share your attention with anyone else, so be sure that your CTAs are written in the first person. While this might not work with every call to action, it can be hugely effective for some. For example, saying things like “claim my discount code today” rather than “download your free discount code today” can make the difference between a conversion and a loss. Convey A Sense of Urgency Remember when you had to write an essay at school and as you got closer and closer to the deadline, all you could think of was that essay? While it might have been stressful back then, today you can leverage that in your CTAs to ramp up your conversions and boost sales. Consider including a deadline for a special offer or promotion in your CTA, for example: “Buy now! Sale ends tomorrow”. Just like you and me, customers have severe FOMO (that is, Fear Of Missing Out). The thought of losing out on a great deal or offer because of inaction is a powerful motivator. Check out online fashion retailer ASOS’s lead-in to their call to action in the example below. The command to “grab it before it’s gone” reinforces the sense of urgency, further compounded by the bold announcement that these are the “final reductions” below. Tell Your Customer Why They Should Click If you want your call to action to be truly click-worthy, you need to show your customer what’s in it for them. Will they get a great deal on shoes? Will they learn the secrets of the trade? The benefit might be a summation of your value proposition, the unique quality that your business has over your competitors. Clearly state the benefit they’ll receive when they click on your CTA to give them that little extra nudge. For example, the eCommerce marketplace Exchange lures their customers in with the promise of their “next big success,” a bold claim that is sure to hook any budding entrepreneur looking for businesses for sale: Combine that with a brightly-colored CTA button, and your eyes are drawn to it like a pink flower in a lilac field. It’s all about making the CTA irresistible to click. Engage Your Customers Consumers are bombarded with demands to buy, download, sign up and more from marketing all the time, from print, digital and television advertisements. This means they tend to tune out a lot of what they see and hear. So you need to slice through that and grab their attention. How? With a little quirky humor. Check out credit union Fairwinds’ website, below. They use the oldest (and in my unpopular opinion, the best) trick in the book to get their customers focused: a simple pun. It might not be the funniest thing you’ve read all day, but it’s enough to raise a smile on your face and hook you long enough to read it. Emphasize Freebies People love freebies. Whether it’s a cheese sample at your local grocery store or a ticket to a concert, consumers love getting something for nothing. If you’re able to offer something for free, such as a sample or product trial, make sure that’s clear in your call to action. It could be just enough to push a dithering shopper to purchase or sign up. Check out Spotify’s call to action. The offer of their free option is colored a punchy green and naturally draws the reader subtly to their Premium option too. It stands out, and the freebie is hard to miss. The layout as well is nice and simple, the cornerstone of any good CTA. Minimize Stress and Hassle As much as people love freebies, they enjoy a stress-free life too (and don’t we all?). So consumers are understandably wary of signing up to anything if they think that they’re going to have to endure countless tedious phone calls and annoying email exchanges if anything goes wrong. To counter this, you need to reassure them that by clicking your CTA, the process will be as easy or risk-free as possible for them. For example, Netflix knows that customers can be put off by the hassle of canceling a subscription to services. Recognizing that, they lead into their call to action with the promise that potential customers can cancel at any time, heading off their concern before they can even voice it. Keep It Simple This one is crucial. If your website or email is chock-a-block with copy, images, graphics and banners, your potential customers will get an instant headache. Instead of clicking on your call to action, they’ll probably be more likely to take a painkiller and lie down in a darkened room. Visual clutter is a big turn-off and will distract from your CTA. Want to see an example of a brand doing it right? Look no further than file hosting service Dropbox. Their aesthetic is built around subtle imagery and simple design, and their call to action is no difference. Contained in a bold blue box, it contrasts with the negative space around it. It jumps out from the page without any external distractions, and even the photo is simple and understated. Your call to action is your advertising Horn of Gondor, the guiding light down your marketing funnel. Work on creating a strong, crafted, and compelling command, and your campaigns will be rejuvenated, injected with a hit of energy and dynamism. Whether it’s part of your email marketing or placed enticingly on your website, be sure to heed the lessons imparted above. And it’s not just there either: a call to action on your blog post or social media content can open up new avenues for you to draw in the customers. So what are you waiting for? Get working on those calls to action today!
From startups to the largest corporations, automation has become accepted as business must-have. Automating workflows across all areas of your organization can help save time and money. Not only that, but it will reduce the need for your valued employees to carry out repetitive, redundant tasks. Ultimately, marketing automation supports scalability and will help increase the success of your business. So, the question becomes: what exactly should you automate? And how should you implement automation within your organization? Are there things you simply can’t automate? Our automation guide will give you all the information you need, along with some ideas on how to successfully adopt automation across your business. Market Research Every business model begins with market research. But it’s not just for startups: the most successful organizations will be continually refining and developing their offerings in line with up-to-date market research. Listening platforms such as Brandwatch and Google Alerts can be set up to automatically keep track of the latest market trends and competitors in your sector. The next stage will be using this data to ensure that your content strategy, internal processes, and sales funnel are evolving with the times. Market automation won’t tell you what to do — but it will help point you in the right direction. Reduce time-consuming research, and use market research and social listening tools to harness insights from billions of conversations happening online every day. Social Media Many businesses begin their journey into automation with popular social media tools — social media marketing lends itself to automation, and social automation tools are becoming evermore sophisticated. From scheduling posts in advance to automating responses to customers through social channels, they even give you the ability to automatically assign tasks to relevant internal departments. Platforms such as HootSuite and SproutSocial have allowed social media editors and communication managers to automate all aspects of an organization’s social media strategy — except the actual strategy bit. From communications to customer service, social media platforms can help you automate many tasks — but they can’t help you define your social strategy. That will be up to internal brand managers to define and refine. Email Along with social media, email is another popular area where businesses of all sizes and types can easily embrace automation (especially when it comes to the ‘promote and follow up’ sales sequence). From simple, time-saving tasks such as automatically sending welcome emails to forwarding contact form submissions to the relevant departments, there are countless opportunities to implement automated email sequences. These can help you scale your customer service operations, and ensure you operate an ‘always switched on’ business. Combining email with retargeting adverts is a powerful combo that drives people back to your website. Use email platforms to set up retargeting ads to recapture people who have already taken that first, crucial step of expressing interest in your brand. Don’t forget that quality copywriting and attractive visuals are essential for email success — don’t pour precious advertising money into poorly-constructed and weak email concepts. E-commerce From shopping to shipping, there are many ways that e-commerce automation can be implemented to save time, simplify the sales process, and encourage customers to re-purchase through your e-commerce site. Automation is a fantastic way to recover abandoned carts (friendly reminders to people who leave your store without checking out). By using analytics tools and email platforms, you can pretty much run abandoned cart email campaigns on auto-pilot, complete with incentives and personalized offers. Once sales have been made, automation can also be used to save you time and money in shipping costs. Dropshipping is a fantastic example here – you can avoid getting involved in the entire fulfillment process by automatically forwarding orders to warehousing & delivery partners. Even if you prefer to keep fulfillment in-house, there are plenty of inventory tracking tools that can help you part-automate your shipping. The e-commerce dream of a fully automated store you can run from your mobile may be here — but customers are still customers. They will have questions, complaints, and queries — and no amount of automation can make up for some human intervention from time to time. Having brand guidelines and customer service avatars and scenarios in place will help empower frontline staff to deal with tricky customer service situations. People buy with their eyes and shop with their hearts. Make sure that you invest resources into creating a beautiful brand, as well a well-oiled e-commerce machine. Sales CRM platforms can be used to automate a company’s interactions with new and prospective customers. CRMs have a sales-focused approach, but they are also about putting the customer at the heart of a business development plan. They will help you listen, as well as sell. Automation is a big part of a CRM’s offering. CRM software providers like Infusionsoft allow businesses to send personalized communications to every contact without manual input. CRM platforms are increasingly intelligent and can help you automate almost every interaction with your customers, but they won’t be able to save a brand or product who have got their alignment all wrong. A great automated sales pipeline won’t make up for service or product offering deficiencies — make sure that sales automation doesn’t take precedence over product development. Internal Processes It’s exciting to think about how automation can help the customer-facing aspects of your business, but automation can also offer great benefits to internal functions. Popular apps such as Google Drive and Docs allow teams to collaboratively save, share and work on a range of business documents without manually having to send them to each other. Project management & team communication platforms such as Basecamp can help automate internal processes in a range of business functions. For example, by making sure that relevant team members receive automated updates about their projects, or by automatically checking in with staff on their progress on a daily basis. HR platforms give HR departments the power to automate holiday & sickness records and extract useful insights from the data they collect. This could lead to an improved holiday policy or lower instances of staff churn. Finance teams can use automation software to streamline many of their processes. Online bookkeeping apps such as Quickbooks can hugely simplify the invoicing process and allow employees to automatically track mileage and expenses. Automation can be very practical as well. Thanks to a large network of partners and service providers, IFTT can help you automate things from turning the porch light on when your pizza delivery is on its way, to tweeting your Instagram posts as native Twitter photo — the possibilities are truly endless. Don’t automate everything though — there is still a real need for human intervention on important HR and finance tasks. Use automation as a way to collect data and ‘plug in the gaps,’ but don’t let your tools run your business for you. Implementing Automation When you come to implement some of these automation ideas, make sure you have a proper plan in place and involve all stakeholders. Map out existing business processes to work out how many hours your organization is currently spending on tasks which could be automated, and prioritize the most promising areas regarding time and cost-savings. Calculate potential automation ROI – how much human resource, time, and money will you save by implementing a specific automation process? How much extra value could that new process add to your business on top of these savings? And don’t forget to think about the potential security issues involved, including storing data on external platforms — adding unforeseen vulnerabilities to your business. What Have We Learned? From pizza to retargeting, this guide has shown you how automation can increase productivity, save time, and improve margins across your entire organization. Prioritize your business automation goals and put a solid plan in place to implement change. You will soon reap the reward, without having to be there at every stage of the process.