Are you looking for more interaction, email subscriptions, and better community? I've seen a lot of blogs that struggle with community and a good email list because nobody is opting in to their call to action.
A Call to Action (otherwise known as a CTA) is a phrase or a link, typically at the bottom of a blog post or social media image, that creates a sense of urgency in your reader's mind and causes them to perform an action that you've requested. "Do this one thing now," or "Click here to see this live" are both good examples of effective CTAs. Why are they effective? Because they are telling your reader to do something, whereas the alternative is for them to click off your post or social media account and maybe return if they happen to see your pin on Pinterest or something, at some point. Giving your reader or potential client something to do at the end of the post eliminates the one-time-visitor epidemic and creates return readers or great connections immediately.
A great CTA should direct your reader somewhere, preferably right into your email list. It also isn't just actionable, but it SOLVES A PROBLEM. If you haven't yet, poll your readers to see what kinds of issues they're having and then solve that problem with a freebie.
Are you attempting to get more Twitter followers? Are you looking for someone to take your new e-course? Are you sharing a resource library? Here are a few effective CTA examples that you are welcome to utilize:
- Click here now to view _______________!
- View more details here!
- Join me for a live event tomorrow!
- Visit me on Facebook for more information on ________________!
- Get this information in a free e-course!
- Sign up for this free _______________!
- Comment below with your favorite piece of advice for new Twitter followers.
- What would you like to see from me in the future?
Each one of the CTAs above leads your visitor onward to another page where you get yet another chance to sell them on you and what you represent or causes them to comment, thereby leaving their blog URL so that you can connect with them in a new way. Make sure that every page the visitor lands on is effective and action-inducing. This is how you turn one-time visitors into repeat-readers or fans.
Why you shouldn't use "subscribe now!"
The goal, as I mentioned before, is to create a sense of urgency. If they don't do this one thing now, they're missing out (but without saying those exact words because you don't want to come off as the #beallendall). The reason "Subscribe Now" is a lackluster call to action is that it gives no details. Subscribe now, or what? Or FOR what? I tend to click off when I get a call to action that simply says, "Subscribe now for future updates!" I have to really be in love with a blog to do that, or have been following you for a while. Using the "Subscribe Now" CTA can represent the concept of weekly emails of blog posts you've written, and honestly? That's what Bloglovin' is for, or any other subscription service like it. Emails should be utilized to the full capacity and should be different than anything else the reader is receiving. Anyone can send out weekly emails of blog post recaps, but can you send out weekly advice that they aren't getting elsewhere? For example, I have a Friday Favorites email that goes out every Friday with tons of free resource links and articles and webinars. It's useful and it's unusual.
Using "Subscribe Now" can also lead the reader to feel that you have nothing more to offer outside of your blog posts. A subscription to their blog leads them to feel that blog content is the only thing they'll get. This can be discouraging for some readers if they're really in love with the information they're getting through your posts, but don't feel a connection to you personally. Interacting with them on Twitter or connecting with them through your Facebook page is a great way to interact with a potential new client or fan, so your social links should be displayed very clearly in a great place near the CTA. Let me give you an example:
"CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR MY NEW E-COURSE: SOME DETAILED COURSE NAME HERE
...or visit me on Facebook HERE, where I am most active!"
I actually like this call to action because it tells me that a) they have a cool new course that might be exactly what I need, and b) they're active on their Facebook page and I can easily reach them there should I need any further information, or just want to connect with them. Informing your reader of the best way to contact you can result in great new blog friends, biz besties, and community.
Different types of CTAs
The pop up:
Another highly converting method for gaining email addresses and contacts is to have a pop-up CTA.
If you create one of these, ensure that it's different than other pop-ups. Don't simply change the text color and leave it at that. Use a highly visual pop-up that is a large, hi-def image with a prettily styled form in the center of it. You can also use a pop-up that fills the entire page. Decide what works best for you, and then either hire someone to create it or put time and effort into making one yourself that stands out.
Instead of using the standard "Submit" text (or "Subscribe") on your submit buttons, reword it to say, "I'm Ready!" or "Hell Yes!" These encourage people to get enthusiastic about your product or freebie or emails. It creates hype, and hype is a good, good thing.
Some blogs actually have a sign-up CTA in their header image. I find these to be effective if the CTA is something like, "Get my FREE list of resources to help with your 30 day launch by signing up below!" or something similar. Emphasizing the FREE part and telling them HOW to go about getting those free resources is what makes a great header CTA.
A sidebar CTA has very little room to sell the idea to your readers, so wording your phrase carefully is necessary. If a sidebar sign up form says, "Subscribe Now", I won't be signing up. If it says something similar to, "Sign up for my secret Facebook group for lady bosses", I'm much more likely to enter my email address.
The landing page
As a side-note, I'll also include landing pages because they're very successful. You can put them in a post, obviously, but they're a great greeter for readers when they first appear on your blog. Landing pages are probably the most highly converting opt-in format that I've discovered so far. It's easy to use little text and a lot of image to get people to sign up for your newest free thing. I love the way Mariah uses her landing page to create trust with her readers by telling them that her free e-course is EXACTLY how SHE went from $0k to $120k in 12 months. It makes you want to sign up because you've seen her success first-hand.
One of my fav biz babes is Melyssa Griffin of the Nectar Collective. At the bottom of her posts - EVERY post - is a cute opt-in that is highly converting with actionable phrases like: "Join 15,000 subscribers!" That right there creates trust in a different way than Mariah's did - Melyssa's basically says, "look, literally THOUSANDS of other people have taken me up on this free offer." And the reader says, subconsciously, "Why shouldn't I do that too?!"
Signature opt-ins should be visually stimulating and very easy to fill out. 9 times out of 10, I won't fill out a janky form because I think, if their form is kind of all over the place, their emails probably will be too.
People won't hand out their email willy-nilly, so providing them with a good reason is important, and since free stuff is everywhere in 2016, make sure your CTA/freebie is unusual or at least ridiculously useful.
Unique places to put your CTA
Your Twitter bio, your Facebook About page, your Pinterest description, your Instagram bio, and your Periscope description are all unusual places to put your CTA that I highly recommend. These are profiles that people visit that may never see your blog so placing your CTA in these descriptions and in these highly visible areas is a great way to pull in new readers. I also like to put my bonuses or calls to action on my Pinterest images themselves. Who here just scans images on Pinterest? *raises hand* You want to make sure that for the scanners like me, there are easy to read, quickly available benefits that are appealingly worded and obvious.
So... Let's recap.
An effective CTA includes these qualities:
- It's full of urgency
- It leads them to a page that converts (to email list sign up or something that keeps them coming back)
- It creates connections that last
- It's attractive and pulls people in
- It is found in your social media profiles
- It's unusual and useful