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Do you make this mistake with your inbound marketing Calls-to-Action?

Make sure your call-to-action has online visitors moving in the right direction.

Online visitors are at different points in the decision-making process. Applying personas to your calls-to-action will keep them engaged and lead to higher conversions.

Many online marketers view a call-to-action (CTA) primarily as the trigger for generating leads to insert into their sales funnel.

But there’s much more.

Traditional methods for qualifying leads focus on bringing them into your sales process, i.e. the funnel. The interactive nature of inbound marketing renders this only partially effective. There is far greater opportunity in aligning your sales process to the prospect’s decision process and where they are in it.

This has a direct impact on your overall CTA messages and approach.

CTA persuasion vs. engagement

A CTA designed to drive traffic to your landing page focuses heavily on persuasion triggers. This is needed to capture a lead for the top of the sales funnel.

However, once your lead enters the funnel, your focus needs to shift to engaging with them in a way that is relevant to their decision-making needs. Think of this as nurturing triggers. Bringing your content, offers and CTA into alignment with those needs will build higher engagement and higher conversions.

Planning for this level of interaction helps your visitor establish confidence in their decision and trust in your ability to deliver solutions and value.

The CTA decision funnel

Every click is a decision. It is one little step of faith and forward progress. Understanding the decision process helps you lead a visitor to resolution. Andrew Chak, author of Submit Now: Designing Persuasive Web Sites, breaks down the consumer decision-making cycle into five stages.

1. Satisfied browser In this state, your visitor is not aware of an immediate need. They have only mild interest. Your goal is to build interest and awareness.

2. Recognition At this stage your visitor acknowledges a need. Your goal is to build motivation.

3. Research Your visitor begins searching for information and establishing criteria for evaluating options. The search can take two forms:

  • Internal search, based on what they already know from personal experience
  • External search, to build confidence in taking knowledgeable action

Your goal is to give them relevant information.

4. Evaluation At this stage your visitor narrows the field of options to identify the best solution and who is the most trustworthy provider. The evaluation is based on two attributes:

  • Objective attributes such as cost and specifications
  • Subjective attributes such as brand perception, loyalty and confidence

5. Purchase decision

Each stage of the decision process requires a unique CTA that leads your visitor through the points of resolution along the way. Each click represents a series of conversions building persuasive momentum that leads to the ultimate decision to purchase. To skip these micro-level actions is a mistake that will diminish your opportunity and your conversion rates.

Following the metrics at each point gives you a solid basis for testing your CTA and conversions. On testing and optimizing your CTA, marketing software leader Hubspot offers the following advice:

CTAs based on previous behavior are built by taking the information you know about your prospects and making educated guesses about what they want to see next. In this way, you engage them further with your assets and keep them on your website.

inbound calls to actionThey suggest the following CTA best practices:

  • Make your offer clear. Your offer should be either low commitment (i.e. free white paper, ebook, video) or high commitment (demo or sales consultation) depending on the stage in the decision-making process. It needs to give a benefit – a reason for your visitor to take the next action.
  • Make it action-oriented. Invoke a sense of urgency leading with a verb. Tell your visitor what to do next.
  • Make it stand out visually. Always place it above the fold on the page and incorporate design and color choices that make it the most prominent element on the page.
  • Make it align with your content. The highest CTA click-through rates are attributed to ensuring you have logical context to the content your visitor sees or expects to see. For example, your About Us content will vary from your Product Info page. You also want to ensure your language and design elements are consistent from CTA to landing page.

Keeping your visitor’s decision-making process in mind will help you balance the optimum combination of persuasion and engagement to win their trust and confidence. And ultimately win their business.

SOUND OFF: Tell me what you think. How are you doing with your CTA conversions?

Related Articles:

Call-to-action marketing: 10 best and worst phrases

Call-to-action buttons: examples and best practices

Call-to-action examples for your social media copy

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