"Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" This was a simple call-to-action that a newsboy would use to draw in customers and sell papers. He knew that just standing on a street corner wouldn't get the job done. He had to go the extra step.
Businesses with an online presence need to do essentially the same thing as those newsboys did — develop calls-to-action that encourage potential customers to engage with what you have to offer. So are you using calls to action and shouting "Extra!" or are you just standing on the street corner holding up your paper? What are you missing out on by leaving out a call-to-action on your website?
Call to Action Defined
A call-to-action (CTA) on your website is a message for your website visitor in text or graphic form to click, email, call or take some kind of immediate action to engage with your content. Often, these CTAs ask users to submit an email address or other contact information in exchange for something else — a free consultation, a white paper, a webinar, a newsletter. It's essentially you calling out to your customers to take one more step towards engaging with your product.
Bringing in Business
Companies who don't CTAs are missing out on opportunities to engage with their visitors and turn them into leads. One might assume that if an audience likes what they see, they will take action on their own. You may ask, "What is the real need for a CTA?"
To stress the importance of CTA presence on your website, here are some of the things you will miss out on without any:
Data — You gain vast amounts of knowledge about your existing and potential customers based on their responses to your calls to action. Their responses to your message will tell you just how effective your online content is at engaging customers and help you determine ROI.
Leads — Every time a customer responds to a CTA, you have just developed a new lead. This customer has taken the extra step to engage with your company, which shows they are ready to work with you. Without these strong leads, you operate in the dark about your potential customers.
Marketing Strategies — Successful CTAs can translate to marketing strategies and help you jettison those that aren't working. Perhaps you find your weekly newsletter has attracted a wide following while your weekly podcast has just one or two listeners. You can adjust your marketing based on this information and put resources behind what's working.
Bottom line, not utilizing calls to action on your website is like expecting your visitors to channel themselves through your sales funnel on their own. Some will, but most wont. You will miss out bringing in new business and just like the quiet newsboy, you might go home with empty pockets.
With this important marketing insight, how can you start incorporating CTA into your website?