Content generation and CTAs: Do your site visitors know what to do next?

Posted by Valarie Geckler on March 10, 2011

A great content generation effort isn’t great unless readers are left with a clear call to action. When you’re optimizing content, are you giving readers a cue to help them understand what to do next?

As I kid, I heard a priest tell a story about a man praying over and over again, asking to win the lottery. You’ve probably heard a similar joke before but I’m going to adapt it for a lead and content generation context.

“My website is not working for me, God,” the man said. “It doesn’t generate business. It just sits there and I really need it to help bring in leads.” The man waited for his website to work harder for him, but nothing happened.

Again the man prayed, “I already have good traffic and a have updated my copy, but I’m not getting qualified leads through the website.” Still, progress was slim.

Frustrated, the man asks one more time and finally God clues him in, “You have to show your readers a way they can become leads first." 

Moral of the story: you know you need qualified leads; make sure you’re giving site visitors a good call to action so you can get the conversion.

What to ask yourself during a content generation effort

  • Content should be relevant and compelling. Fire up your writing team and have a generation strategy and schedule. And always ask yourself this: When a visitor reads this page, what should they do next?
    • Provide a call or calls to action in your content. Most importantly when you need leads is a call to action that will allow you to capture their information. Your most useful calls to action will guide prospects to a form where they provide a name and contact information so you can follow up with them.

Examples of calls to action

A call to action can be textual or graphical. If you’re writing a blog post and want to engage readers in a dialog, you may ask a question to prompt discussion in the comments. Ask a question that your audience will be drawn to respond to.

A call to action on a blog post may consist of a question

If you’re optimizing an About page, you may provide a link to a relevant page on your site where a reader can get more detail.

Call to action on an About page may consist of a link elsewhere

Although it will likely require the services of a designer, the most eye-catching calls to action are graphical. The visual cue on the home page leads me right to their sign up call to action.

Graphic calls to action are the best way to attract attention

Graphic calls to action should be distinct, clear and encourage a desired action. Here are a few great articles that tell more about call to action graphic design:

What to do if calls to action aren’t working

Finally, if you don’t get the results you want, make a change. Testing will help you figure out what calls to action work. Digett has displayed a free website analysis offer on our site for the last two weeks, but no one was taking advantage. We simplified and updated the call to action graphic touting that service on our home page six hours ago and already received a qualified lead. Coincidence? Possibly, but we’ll continue to monitor, test and adjust as needed.

Browse to your own website now and take inventory. Are you encouraging your site visitors to read and do what you would like? Do you have clear calls to action? Do your calls to action translate into a way to capture leads?

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Image "Push for Service": Godsmoon

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