The turn-of-the-century newsboy had a simple call to action. "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" With this simple call to action, the newsboy drew in customers and sold papers. He knew that simply 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 to 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
The simple dictionary definition helps us identify a call-to-action rather easily but a call to action really means so much more and companies who don't use them are missing out. But, you say, I don't need to cajole my customers into taking action. If they like what they see, they will take action on their own. Why do I need to include a call to action?
Here are some things you will miss out on without any CTAs on your website:
Knowledge — 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.
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. 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 will you incorporate a call to action into your website this week?