Content Marketing and the CTA: Stop Flirting and Get a Room

barstoolSave the flirting for the barstool. Your marketing content should be as bold as a hooker with a mortgage. Yes, you’re attracted. Yes, you’re ready to hook up. Yes, you have a condom in your shoe.

When you have a specific goal in mind for those reading your marketing content, don’t play coy. Spell it out by adding a call-to-action.

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Make it clear that your address on the Internet is a consensual space – both parties should benefit from the give and take.

podcastAsk for What You Want

Maybe you want to encourage visitors to your blog to subscribe to your podcasts? Maybe you wish more readers would share your witty offerings to Tumblr and Twitter? And wouldn’t it be great if visitors left their email addresses behind so you could launch a more effective and far-reaching marketing campaign?

Indeed it would.

But you might never know if you don’t ask.

Make it as easy as possible for visitors to your site to do exactly what you desire by taking them boldly by the hand, leading them to the bed, and satisfying them with the stamina of your awesome marketing prowess.

Creating quality content never felt so good.

This is what’s referred to in the business as adding a call-to-action, and it serves a single purpose:  To encourage a conversion.

cementAdd Content Links to Cement the Deal

Once you’ve caught your reader’s interest, finalize the transaction by hyperlinking the text to your CTAs. According to the Content Marketing Institute, a simple path to conversion is best. Making readers click through multiple links to get where they want to go is a no-no. Every frustrated reader is a lost conversion, and that’s the one debacle you want most to avoid.

But just linking to your call-to-action isn’t enough. Where you place it on the page is important too. Your most important CTA – the BIG one – goes in the upper right corner in what newspaper editors used to call “the space above the fold.” This is the corner where the most action occurs – the Bourbon Street of web addresses – if you will. Whatever content you place here will experience the wonders of Mardi Gras all day long.

fatstacksZoom In for the Money Shot

Once you’ve attracted your reader, impressed him with your content marketing skills, and guided him to click-through conversion, it’s time to sit back and reap the rewards. Maybe you’ve successfully subscribed him to your blog. Maybe you’ve just sold him your e-book. Maybe you’ve convinced him to sign up for your next paid webinar.

Maybe you only inspired him to leave a comment.

But he did exactly what you wanted him to do, and that’s good, effective marketing.

And it happened because of your calls-to-action.

Now get busy making it all worth his while.

 

 

8 Landing Page Mistakes We’re Still Seeing in 2015

A landing page can easily become the most important page on a website. Whether it’s promoting conversions from a PPC advertising campaign, email marketing campaign or even a physical mailer, the landing page serves as a central nexus for your conversions. But as simple as a landing page may appear, there are still many mistakes that a marketer can make when trying to improve and optimize their messaging.

commitment1. Not Committing to Your Call-to-Action

Consumers are often easily distracted. If you give them too much on one page, they may just leave or get confused. It can be tempting to offer the consumer multiple paths to ensure that they convert to something, but this is usually harmful. The reader needs to have a single clear path of action. Decide on a single call-to-action early on and base all of your conversion efforts on this one action.

And it isn’t just that the reader can get confused — the content can become confused, too. Think of your landing page like a magazine advertisement. Every piece of content has to be geared towards a single ultimate conclusion. When you have multiple paths towards conversion, your content will be unclear and unfocused.

wordy2. Being Too Wordy

More isn’t always better. A landing page has to be direct. In fact, many of the most successful landing pages have almost no copy at all; just images, a simple tagline and perhaps a paragraph of text. This is an area in which infinite scrolling designs can really shine, because it allows the user to reveal more information when they desire it, but it hides the information until they do so.

Of course, you will also need to keep a conversion prompt on the page at all times, regardless of the scroll. Some achieve this by periodically prompting for conversion between paragraphs; others approach this through a floating conversion.

followup3. Forgetting the Follow-Up

Once a reader has successfully converted, the follow-up thank you page can serve as a secondary landing page and prime the user for further conversion. If you struggled when setting a single call-to-action, here is where you can expand your options. A “request a quote” form could segue into downloadable content, or a mailing list signup could lead to a social media sharing page.

Not only is a user more likely to continue engaging once they have already engaged, but they have already shown that they are interested in the product, service or content that you can provide. So on a certain level, you’re merely giving the consumer more of what they want.

speed4. Not Paying Attention to Speed

The proliferation of easy-to-use content management systems and layout systems, such as WordPress and Bootstrap, have made it easier than ever for designers and developers to ignore the more technical side of things — such as loading time. But loading time and compatibility issues, while easier to manage, are by no means a problem of the past, especially for mobile devices.

Most landing pages have a lot of visual content on them, from videos to images, which need to be properly compressed and optimized without losing quality. Content delivery networks and caches can be used to further boost speed and reduce tech-related bounce rates.

gold5. Failing to be Specific About Your Value

“Join our mailing list for updates!” may seem specific enough, but it’s actually still pretty vague. “Get a 10% discount on your future purchases by joining our mailing list!” is better (though still a bit wordy). When prompting readers to convert, you need to anchor the value within the consumer’s mind as early as possible. And the best way to do that is to describe your value in a way that they can easily understand it.

And additionally, “Join our mailing list for updates!” is also bad not just because it doesn’t provide specific value, but also because it’s a cliche. Users are prompted with the exact same prompt multiple times a day. As with all advertising, you want to be both clear and unique with your value proposition.

wrong6. Placing the Conversion in the Wrong Place

It’s a silly mistake, but luckily it’s one that is easily fixed. Conversion prompts should always be visible on the page and should be at the bottom of the content rather than the top, so that the user is prompted to convert when they have already experienced the landing page and its messaging.

For an additional boost to conversions, consider placing two conversion prompts; one at the top right and one at the bottom of the messaging content. But the conversion prompts should look similar enough that they can easily be visually understood as a single path that the consumer can take.

form7. Using Overly Complicated Forms

Most people are not going to sit down and fill out an overly complicated form, especially if there are multiple input boxes that are “required.” Either collect less information or break the process into multiple steps. If you absolutely need to collect more information from the prospect, you can create a two-page form that has only the most basic information at the very start: name and email. Even if leads fail to finish the form on the second page, you can then prompt them to finish through their email address, hopefully recapturing them.

And if you absolutely need to create a single form on a single page, for whatever reason, strongly consider making the majority of the input fields not required for submission. As long as you’re at least getting a name and email address, you’re still winning!

generic8. Generic, Unmodified Content and Titles

Your landing page should be integrated with and customized by the messaging that has led to the landing page. Email links or PPC advertising should seamlessly lead to the content. If your PPC advertising campaign raises a question, the content has to provide the answer. If your email link is promoting a specific product, that product has to be the first thing the user sees when they click through. Otherwise there will be a moment of dissonance that the user may not recover from.

Remember: test everything. Landing pages are the best example of the value of standard a/b split testing. Something as simple as changing the color of your conversion prompt from blue to green (or from green to blue) could potentially produce increased conversions. When you’re dealing with a high volume of traffic, just a few percentile points could make a tremendous impact in revenue.